Who should the USMNT start vs. Italy?

FabianJohnson (ISIPhotos.com)

A rash of injuries and illness have left U.S. men's national team manager Jurgen Klinsmann with a weakened roster ahead of Wednesday's match against Italy, making his decisions on a starting lineup that much tougher.

The loss of Landon Donovan, Timmy Chandler and Jose Torres, coming on the heels of losing Oguchi Onyewu has left Klinsmann with a group that won't quite look like the nearly full-strength side he looked like he would have available in Genoa on Wednesday.

Replacing Donovan won't be easy, and the decision to bring in Brek Shea as an emergency replacement shows just how limited Klinsmann's wing options are for the Italy match.

So who will Klinsmann start against the Italians? Here is the lineup we see him using:








Fabian Johnson plays left back for Hoffenheim and this match is the perfect opportunity to get a look at him at that position, partnering him with Shea to form a fast flank pairing. The right side isn't quite as dynamic, with the defensive-minded Williams teaming with Cherundolo. In fact, with Williams in the lineup in that grouping, the lineup would play more like a 4-3-2-1 than a 4-2-3-1. Having Edu, Bradley and Williams in front of the defense would squeeze Italy's dangerous midfield, but it also wouldn't likely lead to the United States creating many scoring chances.

Klinsmann could put Shea on the right and Johnson on the left, choosing to turn to Jonathan Spector at left back. This would allow him to play Williams in central midfield alongside Bradley. Williams has looked good in that role for Hoffenheim, but he question will be whether Klinsmann is better off with Spector at left back (where he hasn't played this year for Birmingham) or with Johnson at left back and Williams on the right wing. The latter would be a much stronger defensive lineup.

Altidore and Dempsey will work together, either in the 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 shown, or in a straight 4-4-2.

At centerback, Goodson brings experience to the table and should get the nod over Geoff Cameron and Michael Parkhurst.

Sacha Kljestan has been called in for this match, and while he has done very well for Anderlecht, it is tough to envision Klinsmann starting him after not originally planning to call him in at all (yes, the same can be said about Shea, but Shea is an established Klinsmann favorite while Kljestan is about as far from that as you can get).

What do you think of the above lineup? What players would you like to see in the starting XI? Who listed above do you NOT want to see get a start on Wednesday?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

217 Responses to Who should the USMNT start vs. Italy?

  1. JD in FL says:

    Sub Sasha for Edu, and I can go with that. It seems unlikely that Sasha gets much time, but I’d love to see what he’s learned at Anderlecht.

  2. danny says:

    Replace Edu with Sacha and Goodson with Cameron!

  3. wides says:

    I’d like to slide Kljestan into the middle and move Dempsey out to the right. But like you said, can’t see JK doing that for the aforementioned reasons.






  4. The Dude says:

    Looking forward to seeing the German national team play Italy on Wednesday.

  5. wides says:

    Heck, slide Williams in at CB next to Bocanegra, might be worth a look back there with Onyewu out.

  6. brad says:

    i like it…

  7. Sobe Uman says:

    Edu and Bradley in the middle?

    I’ve yet to see them play the pulley system together effectively. I’ve been absolutely unimpressed with their pairing every time it’s been made.

    Williams out wide is another spot I’m not feeling.

    I’d like to see Bradley paired with Williams in the middle and give me Kljestian on the right. Time to see what Sascha and his mustache can do.

  8. RK says:

    I’m glad it is during the day so I don’t have to watch it…

  9. MC Pharaoh says:

    Good stuff…
    However I really will be dissapointed if we see Williams in that sort of role. He needs to be holding. Unfortunately we dont have Donovan to play right wing so I think Dempsey will have to play out there. So either Bradley or Kljestan should be played a little more advanced in front of the holding mids. I also dont want to see WIlliams & Edu at holding mid as I feel we wouldnt keep possession enough. Edu can sub in if we can get a goal on them. This is just about what I want to see with whats available.

    Shea Dempsey
    Williams Kljestan
    Johnson Boca Goodson Cherundolo

  10. Sobe Uman says:


  11. prizby says:

    Terrence Boyd > Jozy Altidore

  12. marco says:

    Whatever 11 shows up.

  13. Ron Jeremy says:

    With a grand total of two German born Americans in Ives’ lineup it’s the German national team? wow

  14. marco says:

    In the two games I watched, Williams was very poor on the wing, well below some MLS players.

  15. AC says:

    Would be cool to see Sacha start, but the guy just can’t get a break…Williams is not a winger

  16. dan says:

    Lineup is both who should and likely will start, I think. I look forward to seeing Johnson get a long look

  17. marco says:

    If Williams starts on the wing, Zimmerman was correct, there are much better players in the USA.

  18. Felix says:

    I’d replace Williams for Edu and Parkhurst or Cameron for Goodson, and that’d be my lineup.

  19. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Going to see this one in Genoa, and I’m gutted that Landon isn’t playing (the other injuries suck, too).

    As for the lineup, I think Johnson deserves a look at LB for the Nats, but honestly he was so impressive on the wing against Slovenia that I think switching him and Williams (who has played the back positions before) would be more beneficial, especially considering the fact that Williams is weak on the wing.

  20. TomG says:

    Agree with everything you just said. There’s only one solution: clone Fabian and play him at both wing and LB.

  21. AM says:

    I really don’t want to see Bradley and Edu paired up. I don’t recall them ever playing well together.

  22. Eurosnob says:

    Is that you Preston Zimmermann?

  23. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    There is no ‘pulley’ in Klinsman’s system. One will be a strict #6. I’m going to guess that Coach K will put D. Williams in that role, though Bradley could also wind up being there.

    It’s not hard to envision that this will be a 4-4-2 with Dempsey at LMF.

  24. Dennis says:

    most likely setup in a 4-4-2 (or 4-4-1-1 like you’ve drawn it. But maybe Goodson as central back instead of Cameron.

    In a 4-3-3 I would expect something like
    This is a bit more attacking focused, but the 3 mids all know how to get back and defend when needed so it might not get caught out too often.

  25. TomG says:

    Agree with the sentiment of Sacha over Williams and/or Edu. Williams just hasn’t looked comfortable on the wing. He seems like he could be a lock down d-mid or back, but hasn’t offered much going forward. Why not start him at LB? Yes, he hasn’t really played there, but neither had Lichaj or Chandler before they were tried, and they both impressed. This gives us the flexibility to move Fabian to LW opposite Shea, keeping Deuce and Jozy together up top.

    I suspect Ives’ is right with his assessment of a heavily defensive starting lineup (essentially 3 D-mids (D-Will, MB, & Mo). Klinsi’s pattern has been to go into a shell and weather the storm against better teams in the first half and make offensive subs in the 2nd. I am not thrilled with this strategy, but I do understand it.

  26. chris says:

    I would rather see a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield. The so called 4-3-3 just turns into a 4-5-1


  27. Eric says:

    Based on what exactly? His showings in the U23 camp and with his club’s reserve team? Altidore is producing in one of the top leagues in Europe with his club’s first team.

    Just because you think Boyd might have higher potential than Jozy (No idea if he does honestly. Haven’t seen him play enough), doesn’t mean he’s anywhere close to being better than Jozy. The fact taht Boyd is even being called in just shows how much the US lacks a quality forward other than Altidore.

    I’ll finish by saying that i think Boyd should have gone to the U23s instead since I don’t feel like he has any real reason to be playing for the Senior team yet. I think Wondo or Gomez had a better case for a senior cap than Boyd.

  28. footyskillz says:

    Whatever the case is I want to see us again get forward and play offensively. Huge test for us. Unlikely, but I would love to see Boyd get gametime.

  29. Brodie says:

    I would like to see
    ——— Jozy ——–
    ——— Clint ———
    Shea ————— Johnson

    I know Carlos isn’t overly pacey but i think he could do fine playing LB. Could always put Spector at LB too sliding Boca inside for Goodson or Cameron. After seeing Fabian Johnson’s play the last two games he is (aside from Donovan) our most dangerous wing player. Please play Danny Williams at CDM or in the back not on the Wing Midfield.

  30. malkin says:

    Don’t feed the trolls

  31. Dennis says:

    Agreed. Bradley and Kljestian have paired up well in some games (2009 Mexico qualifier in Columbus, for example.

  32. Ben says:

    I agree with some above that I’d rather not see William used on the wing again…if we’re going with a CM-turned-winger route, I’d say put Bradley out there. He plays wide for Chievo from time to time, and looked sharp vs. Slovenia on the right. I’d rather see Johnson out wide than either, though. How about Altidore up top, Deuce underneath, and a Midfield of (L-R) Shea-Bradley-Williams-Johnson, or Shea-Williams-Kljestan-Bradley if Klinsi decides to try Johnson at LB.

  33. Ben says:


  34. Polo says:

    I imagine Williams will be playing centerback (where he plays for Hoffenheim) with Boca in the left back spot and Fabian Johnson in the middle or as a left winger.

  35. RLW2020 says:

    Bradley isnt a winger but he can hold his own by himself on the outside connecting with Dempsey. The other way of spinning this would be Johnson to take Bradley’s spot, MB to take Edu’s spot and Spector to start at LB. Also I am assuming Whitbread or Ream get called in, if they don’t then Cameron or Williams to start at CB. Goodson is a good player but he isnt getting any better and is not who I want on the field vs. top teams like Italy.






  36. Bolt says:

    Odd how nobody seems to think of Beasley these days. He’s healthy and playing well in Mexico, and there are few US wingers with his international experience. I really don’t see why he doesn’t at least get into camp.

  37. Eurosnob says:

    I agree that this is a nice line up, assuming Klinsi picks this formation as opposed to 4-4-2. Perhaps Klinsi will switch Bradley (who actually can play on the wing) and Willams (who did not look good on the wing in his latest appearance for the USMNT) and maybe replace Edu with Jermaine Jones to add some creativity and toughness:






  38. Michael F. says:

    I agree we should sub Sasha for Edu just based on what I have read as I have not see either play for their respective teams. I also think it’s time to see Cameron on a bigger stage. So swap him for Goodson. We know what Godson can do and he’s a good option. My bigger concern is our formation. Any time wemhave Jozy as the lone striker it’s hard for him to produce. he has come a long way this season but can’t do it a all alone. If this season has shown us it’s that he’s at his best when he’s paid up and can play off someone. Agree?

  39. elgringorico says:

    I think most people consider Beasley to be too old or already tried. He was given many chances were given in the past at the int’l level…and the chances of him playing in ’14 are slim to none. Let’s see what the young guys have goin’.

  40. bottlcaps says:

    Nonsense. Beasley was off the Klinsmann radar because of lack of playing time in his previous club. Beasley has performed a lot better now than many of those chosen for this current lineup.

    Of course Beasley may not feature in ’14 and he may be older now, BUT he is playing very well in the tough Mexican league AND in a friendly like this you are looking for future players BUT you also look to win the game. Many national team coaches use veterans like Beasley a lot to calm the newer players in friendlies and to provide the extra experience they need.

  41. bryan says:

    Jozy, Boyd
    Shea, Bradley, Sasha, Dempsey
    Johnson, Boca, Williams, Dolo

    also, i’m confused about Jones. is he actually injured but remaining with the team? i’d like Beasley to get called up since JK hasn’t replaced all the injuries yet. with Beasley, I would go with:

    Jozy, Dempsey
    Shea, Bradley, Sasha, Beasley,
    Johnson, Boca, Williams, Dolo

    as for the projected lineup, like everyone has said above, there is no reason to see Williams on the right. if anything, switch Williams and Bradley. when JK played Bradley there (as well as Bradley’s club) he has looked good.

    I guess Ream and Whitbread have to be considered possible last minute additions too. If so, I’d be fine with one of them at CB too. Goodson/Williams/Whitbread/Cameron/Ream is a toss up.

  42. UPG says:

    Dont love Williams on the wing. Seems like he can get lost when playing out wide.

  43. Sobe Uman says:

    My general point is Edu and Bradly BOTH hang on the backline.

    That adds zero productivity to the attack or even counter.

  44. jgdurl says:

    What I’d like to see:


    Yeah, I know. Spector is hardly a sexy pick. But he’s shown a propensity to get forward. Actually played rather well last year for West Ham in such a position. He’s not a winger, but he doesn’t need to be either. A holding right-midfield player capable to back-tracking against a superior opponent. If not, we bring in Williams or Edu to pair with Bradley, or add a second striker and push a 4-4-2 with Sasha dropping next to Bradley and Dempsey pushing further right.

    In an ideal world of the future, Chandler takes Cherundolo’s spot, Donovan takes Spector’s, Holden takes Kljestan’s, and the revolving door at CB settles itself out.

    What we will likely see:


    So not much different than SBI’s.

    Prepare for a “bend-but-don’t-break” defensive performance from USMNT against Italy, much like in the France friendly.

  45. Pete Wilson says:

    switch Bradley and Williams (MB played surprisingly well on the right for the usmnt a couple games back and switch Sacha for Edu. i have noooooo clue my Mo keeps getting the call he adds absolutely nothing to the squad

  46. jgdurl says:

    Well I’m glad that came out well…(sarcasm)

    SBI should think about investing time and treasure in a message board. There are a lack of really good, well-frequented soccer message boards out there.

  47. Four Cents says:

    My lineup-






    Do it.. Do it…

  48. ryan monaghan says:


  49. Bob34 says:

    I like this ^


  50. Kelly says:

    I like Cameron in there over Goodson…I want to see if he can play center back against the best.

  51. Bob34 says:

    Arrggg, that was suppused to go under Sobe Uman’s post…

  52. Gardner says:


  53. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think Altidore as a lone striker is a recipe for frustration, he lacks back to goal or finishing chops. I also think Italy’s bend but don’t break low-pressure defensive philosophy should encourage tactical bravery.

    So I’d go:
    Altidore/Boyd (Dempsey late)
    Shea/Bradley/Edu/Dempsey (Klinsi may start Dempsey up top Williams wide but this is MY 11, I don’t have to beat my head against the wall)
    Johnson/Boca/Cameron/Dolo (I could see Goodson over Cameron on a Klinsi Kontinuity basis but this is what I’d do instead, I think they’d torch Goodson)

    I don’t see them calling in U23s (away from Dallas) to sit them. I don’t see Kljestan going from late filler to the lineup. I’d prefer to run a 1 AM 1 DM formation but I’m working within the names called to date and Benny, etc. were omitted.

  54. Four Cents says:

    My revised lineup-






    Do it. Do it.. Do it…

  55. froboy says:

    Funny to see all the calls for Sasha, how many of us were wishing he would never wear the jersey again not all that long ago

  56. buff111 says:

    Exactly. The US has demonstrated time and again, that a single striker just doesn’t work. The US has to have 2 strikers.

  57. The Imperative Voice says:

    Personally I think that Donovan and Dempsey are the best two wingers in the whole pool. But they are also two of the better forwards and that is a need position. Which does open the door for someone to bust in at either forward or mid.

    I think Beasley slipped from the radar because (a) of the lack of PT, (b) the coaching change, and (c) the rust he was showing when he did get called in.

    There was also that Costa Rica road game, that hurt both him and Torres, though to be fair, we got our tails whooped in general and the 433 itself was probably ill-advised and under-practiced to try for that type of game. There is also a perception out there that with the knocks on his fragile build he’s lost a step.

    But I agree, with his history from 2002 and 2006, he should merit consideration on legacy alone, and his combination of speed, some touch, and some tactical versatility would seem useful, particularly if Klinsi wants to play fast-break-type soccer. I mean, are some of these pseudo-wingers like Williams he’s used as good or better at THAT position? So, why not.

    Also, I think that with the rust shaken off and regular Puebla PT you’re talking about someone who on his game would have to be on the level with at least the Holden/ Benny/ Mixx/ Bedoya second tier, and would be superior to the MLS/Gold Cup/Camp Cupcake alternatives. Let’s say, DmB versus Rogers?

    But he would have to get into camp and show immediately, at 29 and out of favor at present the window’s closing.

  58. Excellency says:

    I don’t see how we can continuously put Williams out of position at right attacking mid as a place warmer for Donovan when it obviously isn’t his game.

    Put Bradley out at right mid and use Sacha to help out Edu with the central defence on the right. I don’t know how well he plays that kind of defence. Maybe Williams is better, I don’t know.

    I think what this team needs the most is to get Shea a steady gig in Europe where he can learn something besides dashing into empty spaces with brio

  59. Faily says:

    Jones is out injured

  60. boosted335 says:

    Id also like to see Bocanegra put in a performance worthy of the captaincy…its been a long time

  61. Excellency says:

    You can’t play wingback when you aren’t pacey.

  62. Jamie Z. says:

    This is exactly what I’d like to see, as well.

  63. RLW2020 says:

    true. good to see that a player’s development doesn’t stop at 26 years old.

  64. Amru says:

    If klinsmann plays three D-mids we will have absolutley no offensive threat, just like in the game against France. My preferred line up

    Bradley would play deeper then dempsey and shea though and have sacha look to spring shea up the left when he gets the ball

  65. Excellency says:

    This would be my lineup too, but maybe Edu instead of Williams just because I don’t know too much about Williams’ ability at that position.

    I wonder what’s up with Donovan. I understand not playing in previous games but this is Italy and qualifying is upon us soon. I would have liked to see him play with the present squad. I think JK has done a good job of letting many players show what they’ve got and having LD away has actually helped that process.

  66. TomG says:

    Agree that U.S. has always been better with 2 forwards, but to say Jozy lacks back to the goal skills is incorrect imo. Just yesterday he scored on a beautiful turn move at the top of the box and perhaps you remember Capdevilla being flung from Jozy’s back like a monkey in a centrifuge as he spun and scored against Spain? He has also been successful playing 4-3-3 in the Eridivise. The problem with the formation is less the forwards, than the inability of the wings and midfielders to string enough passes together to get the ball up to the front. This is not surprising when we typically play 2-3 D-mids every game and our overall skill level is not as high as the top nations.

  67. TomG says:

    Ugh. Sorry, dude, but Spector at RW? I know that absence makes the heart grow fonder, but this is taking it to the extreme. We can’t manufacture any kind of passing game with him in that spot.

  68. TomG says:

    I couldn’t stand the guy 3 years ago, but he’s improved his game and played well lately do he deserves a shot, esp. when the side is distinctly lacking any healthy attacking CM options at present.

  69. iheartscotch says:

    Best chance of winning-


    Slide in Edu and put Dempsey up top if you are really against Boyd getting a look as it seems many are for some reason. He dominated our U-23’s in camp. In my book that allows for a look in a friendly. Also, people here need to stop thinking Sacha and Torres are soccer gods on this site, its starting to get annoying and is most likely than not, misdirected hope (at least at this point).

  70. cajun says:

    I agree,







    If Whitbread gets called up, replace him for Goodsen. Cameron backing both CBs due to not being in season form yet

  71. The Imperative Voice says:

    To be generous, perhaps with the passage of time we forget how certain players used to be termed Bradley’s Boys, and how one particular Bradley Boy was — during Confed Cup 2009 — part of our 3-1 loss to Italy before getting tossed from the Brazil loss, then sat out the Egypt and Spain wins, only to come back and be on the field when Brazil completed their 3 goal comeback in the final. Was left out of the 23 for South Africa, etc.

    In terms of “development,” he doesn’t play defense, can’t handle increased speed of play, and for someone lauded for offensive ability, has never scored for the US outside of Jan/Feb Camp Cupcake contests against Sweden and El Salvador. Perhaps I’m supposed to be blown away by his recent stint at Anderlecht, but there he has 7 goals in 2 seasons. 3 goals a season for an AM = development? Brek had 11 goals for Dallas just last year. The bar seems to get lowered for certain players who only have to score 1 goal or make 1 decent pass to be qualified; meanwhile Benny has a general resume of appearances, the Mexico winner, and several memorable passes….including one key setup against Ghana before we lost in OT….plus a nice overhead just last week…but that’s craziness.

  72. Andrew says:

    This is the line-up that has the best chance of springing the upset.

  73. The Imperative Voice says:

    Your lineup is not bad though I’d switch Dempsey and Bradley.

    Torres and Sacha are on different planets. People forget Torres was on the Confed Cup and World Cup rosters and started the Slovenia game. Though he occasionally makes gaffes (Costa Rica) and may be content sometimes just to pass it around and not push the attack enough, he’s the real deal.

    Now, that’s not saying he should necessarily start for us in 2014, but he’s certainly 23/18 material. I’d rather turn to him than Mixx or Jeff L or Beckerman or Edu or a long list of less talented potential CM subs. I see him as the equivalent of Holden and Benny, who few would dispute are World Cup-types.

    But Kljestan is a whole ‘nother story. He’s someone like Bornstein with a demonstrated history of letdowns. I’m disappointed he keeps getting callups because by now you know what you are getting and there are plenty of young players of interest (Gatt, Corona, Mixx, Shea, Bedoya, Agudelo) or people who have been NT successes but are out of fashion (eg, Beasley), where we shouldn’t bother with neverwas’es.

  74. PD says:

    well, simply put this is a bummer. the only upside is that Italy might phone this one in and USA can sneak a draw, but what was looking like an opportunity is now going to be a “what could have been” matchup. Additional bummer is Shea being called in when he REALLY could have benefited from being in the U-23 match against Mexico, especially when one considers that players like Beasely and Gomez are both readily available for callup.

    so, with that in mind 3-3-4:

    shea dempsey altidore
    bradley williams
    johnson goodson boca chandler

    second half give minutes to Spector Boyd Rimando Kljestan Cameron, taking off altidore williams edu goodson and howard.

  75. PD says:

    Wow…. You did NOT just compare SK to JB, did you? That’s cold.

  76. PD says:

    sorry, ‘dolo should be on instead of chandler… forgot he was injured too.

  77. Two Cents says:

    I’m thinking something like this:


    Subs: Guzan, Bradley, Cameron, Shea, Williams, and Boyd

    If you are so inclined, you can switch Edu for Bradley. Also, we would move Johnson in at LB and put Shea at LW. As useful as Johnson could be at LB, I’d just prefer to use his offensive skills on the wing. Granted, he and Shea could do some work on the left. Either way is good, but I know Spector has been playing substantial minutes, so I’m sure he’s continued to improve, even if he’s mainly been at RB. We’ll see soon enough.

  78. Colin says:

    Maurice Edu is not good. Brek Shea is not good. Clarence Goodson is too slow. Sacha Kljestan isn’t very good.

    Cameron is good. Feilhaber is good. Adu is good. Agudelo is good. Dempsey is good. Bradley is good.

  79. fischy says:

    Who should Klinsi start? Herculez Gomez. Too bad he’s not in the squad.

  80. The Imperative Voice says:

    I don’t think defense-shy Eredivisie = USMNT internationally. Disagree? Jozy had 3 goals in 859 minutes last year (Dempsey had 5). Year before that he had as many goals as Buddle for the Nats (2) and played many more minutes to accomplish it. He went 0-fer the World Cup.

    I’d rather have Donovan or Dempsey up top because I know if they get the look they’ll put it on cage. Second best, I’ll start one of them plus Jozy. Ergo my lineup.

    Don’t get me wrong, he’s capable of moments like the one you point out, I just think (a) he’s more capable of them in a 442 where he’s not carrying the whole load and (b he’s) still not well-rounded and skillful enough of a forward to be a guaranteed starter. To me, he’s like Gooch, a bunch of tremendous potential and capable of World Cup play, but maddening over the long run because the physical tools are paired with substantial sloppiness.

    So I’ll start him but not alone, because I saw that movie all last year, either the offense stagnates in the last third, because we can’t find him, or he gets chances and misses them. And then we wonder why we can’t score for Klinsi…..

  81. jb says:

    I’m surprised at myself for the amount of “letdown” I feel after hearing Donovan is out. Just can’t shake the feeling that our attack will be woefully inadequate without him. And that leads me to worry about the future of the USMNT, I mean eventually LD is going to have to hang up the cleats (probly around the same time as Dempsey), and we have no real replacements. We seem to have quite a few potentially “good” international prospects, but none to me seem capable of leading our attack against the best teams. As always, our lack of depth is what is keeping us from really running with the big boys.

  82. Joamiq says:

    Williams out of position again? Why?

  83. The Imperative Voice says:

    Played together at Chivas, for Bradley, were accused of getting callups because they’d played for the boss, similar history of letdowns on the NT, etc. Quacks like a duck…

  84. Annelid Gustator says:

    1) His failings are largely a few years in the past. 2) He’s a box-to-box midfielder. 3) I’d be happy with Feilhaber, too, but he’s in preseason on the and West Coast. Sacha is in the mid-season and in the same timezone as Genoa.

    4) Klejstan hasn’t had many recent looks–you think a few and done forever is a good model? That’s insane.

  85. Joe Creighton says:





  86. OC says:

    MB on the right, PLEASE. I don’t really remember if he was ‘deployed’ as a CDM or RM last time out, but he made the right side of midfield his own. I really would like to see him build on that performance. I still rank him top 5 in our pool and he is one of our most experienced vets at this point.

  87. Spank says:




  88. Dinho says:

    Jones hurt (calf)

  89. Joe Creighton says:







  90. Dinho says:

    I like this post. I’d like to add to it.

    F. Johnson is good. Altidore is average. Spector is not very good.

  91. Dinho says:

    Williams will play and start. Don’t fool yourself.

  92. Vic says:

    Spector is too slow for Left Back. I prefer him on the left side of the bench.

  93. Joe Creighton says:

    Haha. We’ll see.

  94. TomG says:

    I just have to respectfully but fundamentally disagree with your characterization of Jozy. He is not a perfect player by any means, but the flaws you cite are not what I see at all. Jozy’s flaws are poor training habits, workrate, and off the ball play, notably the timing of his runs. He is quite solid on the ball, especially since he improved his touch this year. He is not a poor finisher by any means. He has an extremely hard shot that is fairly accurate. He hasn’t missed opportunities at a high rate. The problem with the 4-5-1 variations the USMNT plays is that the ball never reaches Jozy, not that he doesn’t convert. The early Klinsi era with the 4-5-1 simply did not CREATE any scoring chances.

    I also don’t see the Gooch comparison at all. Aside from the fact that one is a forward while the other a CB, Jozy is 22 while Gooch is almost 30, and I don’t even see what is so maddening about Gooch other than his injuries. Gooch is a big, strong, clear the ball type defender. He is what he is. There’s nothing really maddening about him that I can think of. Jozy, on the other hand, is a player with a ton of tools and skills that is still figuring out exactly what he will be.

    If you want to start LD and Deuce up top because they are better players, that’s inarguable at this point, but neither is a pure forward and Lando is much more valuable at wing providing service and backtracking. You also don’t want Deuce being forced to suck up the punishment up top, though he’s capable of doing so. Having Jozy to do the dirty work allows Deuce to be more creative and dangerous.

  95. elgringorico says:

    I think you are caught with the oh-so-common case of blinders, only seeing the players you listed as “good” for their moments of technical brilliance, and not judging them for their overall consistency.

  96. marco says:

    Very good case against Kljestan, who is nearing Bornstein like performances. Klinsmann didn’t pick him for the original roster, so there’s a good chance he won’t see the pitch.

  97. Shounen Bat says:

    I think someone above did something similar to this, but I would like to see:





    I understand that SK doesn’t play that advanced of a role at Anderlecht, but it would be interesting to see what he could do there, and it would be nice to: 1) See Dempsey play in the LM position, as he does at Fulham, and 2) See Shea play a Robben-esque role on the right side. Also, I just really don’t want to see Williams play that right “winger” role again. He hasn’t looked good at all there and so it would be nice to see him in the DM spot.

    I don’t see Johnson as the long-term answer to the LB problem (he is way too talented to not have higher upfield) but he has been playing there for his club team and we really don’t have any other options (putting in Spector back there would be suicide).

  98. YO says:

    This would work if our back line was solid.

  99. marco says:

    I think you have the starting 11, Spector and Williams fighting for the last spot.

  100. golfstrom says:

    I see some people putting MB90 out on the right wing. Folks, he played on the right side of a diamond in one friendly. He can certainly play there (he’s an incredibly smart player, after all), but it’s completely different putting him on the right side of a 4231 or vanilla 442.

    Moving him out wide takes away his influence on the game. We need him 1) snuffing out attacks, getting stuck in, etc.; 2) on the ball as much as possible, orchestrating, linking defense to attack.

  101. Shounen Bat says:

    Wow that lineup did not post at all how I wanted it to. But you get the idea…

  102. Kev says:

    I like this lineup alot. The one thing I will say is that I have my doubts whether Shea gets the start due to the travel and him being ran ragged.

    I do like the prospect of Johnson and Shea on the same side – even more so, the prospect of Landon (when healthy) and Johnson on the same side. Johnson looked lively last game and now coming from the back, I could see him providing attack from a full back for once. But is Shea capable defensively to cover? hmmmm…..

    I like Boyd starting too. Him and Altidore up top? Man, physically at least, that will be hard to handle. Dempsey needs to be in the middle and involved. Putting him up top isolates him and he tends to get lost. Bring Dempsey up front towards the end of the game, if needed. I always liked that move by Bob Bradley.

  103. Eurosnob says:

    This changes things – MB will most likely have to play centrally.

  104. jgdurl says:

    It’s going to be hard to keep him off the field. There’s simply a lack of attacking options on this roster. Believe it or not, I trust Spector’s attacking ability more than Williams’s or Edu’s. The only other option would be to put Johnson on the right side (which isn’t out of the realm of possibilities) and then try Williams or Spector at LB. The Chandler loss really hurts at both LB and RW.

    It’s not going to happen, but it wouldn’t hurt to try either. Spector is one of the few on the roster getting 90 minutes every single week.

  105. bryan says:

    for starters, he isn’t an attacking mid. in the 4-2-3-1 they usually play, he is one of the holding mids.

    like others have said, he was not a good player for awhile there. but the guy starts every week for Anderlecht, which isn’t just some tiny team. clearly he has improved. now is the time to see if he can show that on the USMNT.

    this isn’t to say Benny is less deserving. it’s just that Sasha should be given another chance given his playing time in a good league on one of the top teams.

  106. bryan says:

    main difference being JB has done nothing to correct his game. he moved to mexico and rots on the bench. meanwhile, sasha, who was terrible, got his S together and earned a regular spot on a good team. i would say we do NOT know what we are getting from him. we did, but he actually stepped up his game and may provide us help.

    i like the other players you listed, but just about all of them are with the U-23s and should stay with that team. bedoya is injured and hasn’t played much at all since moving to Scotland. makes no sense to call him up.

    and i couldn’t disagree more about beasley. we are the USMNT, not Germany, Brasil, or Spain. if we have a good player, like beasley, start to play well again (which he is), especially in a position we don’t have a ton of options for, we should ABSOLUTELY be using them.

  107. pancholama says:

    To his credit, Kljestan put in a stellar performance in the last Olympics. Especially v. Holland he and Adu paired well in the midfield and he settled a laser guided missile of a pass, on the run, entering the top of the box and a put it away in a beautiful goal that almost eliminated Holland from the tournament.
    He has flashes of brilliance – and has the potential to play on the level of Torres, Holden and Feilhaber. I wouldn’t write him off.

  108. Shounen Bat says:

    I have this exact lineup below, except with Williams for Edu, and Dempsey and Shea trading places. Want to see what Shea could do cutting in on his left foot!

  109. biff says:

    can’t believe I’m doing this, but here goes: +1

  110. hogatroge says:

    I would agree. I think Kljestan should be ahead of Williams and Spector for that spot, but I doubt JK thinks similarly.

    That said, I really want Cameron to play at least a half against Italy. I don’t think it’s any riskier to start him than Goodson, and they’re both probably in equivalent shape (even though Cameron’s offseason ended earlier with the start of the Jan. camp).

  111. biff says:

    wrong, Dude, the Germans are playing France on Wednesday. The Americans are playing Italy. Pull it out, man.

  112. AC says:

    Altidore-Dempsey, Sacha-Bradley-Shea-Williams, Cherundulo-Bocanegra-Goodson-Johnson, Howard….

  113. bryan says:

    4 goals and 2 assists for his club this year so far. not bad for a box to box midfielder.

  114. Jeffrey Kean says:

    Yep – would love to see Williams in place of Edu, just to see if that works any differently. Not sure who goes out to the right in that scenario though – perhaps Sacha?

  115. iheartscotch says:

    To be fair, in a full strength match, the right mid spot is Landon Donovan’s without question. Due to him being sick and the lack of a suitable up-in-comer like a Gatt to plug into the role, Bradley is the best plug in for this friendly only. When at full strength I agree Bradley shifts back into his DM role, where he should be fighting Jones and Williams for the starting gig.

  116. Dos says:


    Has there been any talk of who the 2 over age plasyers for the olympics will be?

  117. biff says:

    This is exactly right and I don’t understand why people are putting two DM slots in the proposed lineups. Klinsmann’s formations thus far generally had only one holding midfielder (one DM) slot-or as Pancho-whatever says it, “a strict Number 6″. When Klinnsman did experiment a few times with Beckerman and Edu in at the same time, Beckerman was playing the Number six lone holding midfielder slot and Edu, inexplicably, was playing basically up ahead in an attacking central midfielder slot. It’s possible Klinsmann will play with 2 DM slots against Italy (4-2-3-1), but I would be surprised.

    Up to this point Klinsmann has tested Beckerman, Jones and Edu in the single DM slot. With Jones and Beckerman injured, this is the perfect time for Klinsmann to give Michael Bradley a shot, see how he does as the lone holding midfielder. Against Mexico last August, Bradley was playing up front as an offensive CM, against Ecuador when Bradley was subbed in he was placed centrally well ahead of Beckerman, and against Slovenia Bradley played right midfielder. Klinsmann should finally give MB a chance as the lone DM. I want to see once and for all how MB looks as a strict Number 6, without Edu and Williams to hold his hand. We have seen Beckerman do a good job as a lone 6 and Jones do an excellent job.

    Anyway, I personally would like to see Johnson used as an attacking midfielder. With Torres and Donovan out, Johnson in my mind is the most skilled ball handler/forward passer we have (he has been cookin’ the past few games at Hoffenheim) and I think we need him up high. I am a big Danny Williams fan, and he has improved immensely in just five months since his last USMNT appearances and on Wednesday is going to surpirse any who have no seen him for awhile, but please, not again on the right wing. So here is one possibility line-up (I see Klinsmann’s starting Kljestan. His experience can be a steadying influence and, oh, is he ever hungry to prove what he can do.):







    **But Klinsi will probably play Johnson at LB. Plus, he had success against Slovenia with Buddle and Altidore on top (3 goals in the first half), so:






  118. Colin says:

    Explain to me how the midfield doesn’t get steamrolled. I don’t see how Edu can possibly protect the back line against Italy by himself. If in reality Johnson and Kljestan are playing next to him rather than advanced even with Dempsey in the hole, maybe they could hold their own, but I have my doubts.

  119. Yoreau Snaub says:






  120. biff says:

    +1 proposed the same line-up above.

  121. pancholama says:

    Both you and “amru” have Bradley in a R-wing middie position. He doesn’t have the speed or attacking skills for that. He is a pit-bull / Rottweiler – CENTRAL DEFENSIVE MIDDIE. Period.
    He excels in that role – that is his job, 100%.
    Don’t use bulldozer to do a Ferrari’s job.

  122. biff says:

    well, agree with your Cameron-Goodson assessment. Cameron looked good in January and would seem to have much more upside potential. If he is in good form in camp, Klinsi might start him.

  123. biff says:

    Like your first one. I so very much want to see Bradley would perform as the lone Number 6 holding midfielder.

  124. Vic says:

    You’re pretty confident putting only 10 men against Italy?

  125. Tremendous says:


  126. TomG says:

    Hey, we can’t disagree on EVERYthing. This isn’t politics, after all.

  127. Edwin in LA says:

    Really don’t see how this changes things? People are down on Edu but remember he use to be a really good player and came into every come back in South Africa when Bob kept picking Clark over him or even Findley over him and Feilhaber. He did replace Torres vs Slovenia but honestly that wasn’t really much of Torres doing to fall down 2-0. I recall thinking “Gooch was barely late to close in on 1 goal and hesitated on another”

    Williams is capable of playing in the middle and so is Edu, if not Sacha’s been bitching and everybody buys his great form that he is worthy of a call up well let him prove it if Edu does not so well in the middle as 1 of the holding mids next to Williams

  128. pancholama says:

    You have us playing with 10 men.
    I would put Boyd or Agudelo, perhaps Dempsey in slightly withdrawn role up top w/ Altidore.
    Also – just my thoughts, not a criticism of your line-up Edu and Bradley are interchangeable units – I wouldn’t play them both at the same time unless you are taking out a forward late in the game to preserve a 1 to 2 goal lead. Bradley is better paired in the middle with a play-making holding mid-fielder like Feilhaber, Torres, Williams, Adu, etc. I am not sure how well the Jones and Bradley together in the middle combination has worked in the past – but I would say that that pairing has great potential, as both Jones and Bradley have full field vision and the skills to be playmakers from the center of the field at the same time.
    In a 5 player midfield – you put Jones and Bradley deep in the middle. Put a Torres, Adu, Feilhaber type middie in the middle, and use your Dempsey, Holden, Donovan, Williams, Johnson, Shea, Beasley types on the wings.
    Then you have an isolated striker like Altidore, Boyd, Agudelo, Buddle, etc. in the middle – but you have speed on the wings, service from the center of the field, mid-field and deep mid-field.

  129. EndangeredMD says:

    Do you smell something? It is either the US line up vs Italy, or the residuals from an Post Oscar party. It is obvious that our midfield and offense have been decimated. Now it the time to be creative JK! Let the guys play. What have you got to lose???
    Jozy has lost his starting position for his club team. Edu does not have the finesse to wash a car. Sasha was called up to save airfare. Goodson has the speed of an offensive lineman. Whitbread can come in -he played this weekend. Thus:
    –Boyd and Buddle–
    –MB and Fabian Johnson–
    Boca-Whitbread(or Cameron)-Dolo
    Good Luck!! (3-0 Loss)

  130. 2tone says:

    Shea not good? I have to respectfully disagree. Shea has created the most chances out of everyone under Klinsmann thus far. Enough said.

  131. EndangeredMD says:

    Thank God for ‘Mr. T’ Howard.

  132. Benny Dargle says:

    He’s not proposing 10 men. He’s proposing two goalkeepers. It’s brilliant really. Plus, Howard is a proven goal scorer. This will free him up to launch missiles up the field.

  133. biff says:

    actually, I kinda like this one. but i would switch MB and Williams. I’m not a fan of Williams on the right wing, but between MB and Williams I think Williams would be the better choice over Bradley.

  134. 2tone says:

    Most likely starting 11.

  135. Mingjai says:

    “the Germans are playing France on Wednesday. The Americans are playing Italy.”

    Something about that whole scenario seems so… 1943?

  136. TomG says:

    Agreed, there really isn’t any such thing as a classic CAM anymore. This isn’t the era of Ronaldinho. The goals come from the wings now. The CMs are expected to defend and distribute, not score goals.

    Benny has scored a grand total of 5 goals in 6 years of club play, so goals certainly aren’t a good criteria to justify his inclusion over Sacha. I used to love Benny and hate Sacha, but right now, Sacha is in form and playing for a better team, in a better league, against much better competition, so I have to rate him higher. I still like what Benny brings to the table, but managers hate him, for whatever reason.

  137. TomG says:

    Agreed with everything.

  138. The Imperative Voice says:

    About every game I’ve seen him play, when he tries to do the McBride/Ching holdup man thing, he either lacks the work rate to get to the ball/open, or his “trap” skids 5 yards backwards out of his control.

    You seem to be hopeful but I believe some of this is simply he’s a big fellow, like Gooch.

    I beg to differ on the shooting, for the US in big games he usually sprays them wide. Full credit to him for the nights like T&T, he’s not an EJ-type bum, but the problem is this doesn’t translate into big games. One might see a similar parallel in how he prospers in the Eredivisie (or MLS) in a way he did not in Spain or England.

    No, I’d definitely want him in my US 18 and perhaps in the 11 depending on the opposition, but he’s no McBride. Nor is he Dempsey or Landon.

    I disagree that it’s the mids’ fault he can’t do well in a 451. We had no problem getting the ball to the middle third and knocking it around. The issue is IMO his limited mobility makes him a tough target to find in a 451, and with a 451 I need to find the forward to progress into the final third. I need to combine with the striker.

    Also, like I said before, if I do get him the ball in a 451, he needs to finish, because the formation is not so heavy forwars like a 433 or 442. But he’s sloppy.

    Gooch shoved over the poor guy in the World Cup, Ghana wasn’t it? Promising physical defender who like Altidore has not harnessed the physicality to a little better ball work. If either of them refined just a little? Wow. But as-is you have to accept bad with good.

    Dempsey/Donovan should really be playing second forward running off of a holding forward. But Altidore is not quite a holdup guy yet, and brutally honest half our problem is no one is within the pool. Bunbury sometimes. Agudelo occasionally. If someone could play that role the team would improve. But for now it’s like a Ram truck at the front of a Ferrari, the technical guys can work it around but the finishing instrument is a tad blunt. Until that changes I’d hedge my chances and have a proven scorer up top, unless you like 0-0 ties or 1-0 losses. Gimme Dempsey whacking in late goals up top any day….

  139. TomG says:

    We can put Shea on the right and Fabian on the left or put Dempsey on the right. I agree that the cupboard is bare, but I don’t think it is so bare as all that. I would tend to agree that Williams over there might not represent much of an improvement offensively over Spector, but he’s better defensively and Klinsi seems to think he has some technical skills that he hasn’t shown yet. Spector has a good right footed cross, but he’s just such a sloppy short passer and has so many moments when you just wonder what he could have possibly been thinking.

  140. Andy says:

    Swap Bradley and D-Will. Bradley did well on the right against Slovenia and Williams has sucked on the right.

  141. TomG says:

    It’s true that MB has played wide right on occasion with Chievo, but he lacks the foot speed to play wing in Klinsi’s system. I’d rather pair Fabian and Shea or Dempsey and Shea at the wings.

  142. Andy says:

    This is my take: Let’s go for it! Why the hell not?


  143. TomG says:

    +1, though with a caveat. If DMB has lost his speed, then I completely understand and that’s not something we can judge without watching him every day.

  144. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think Sacha is a reflexive choice because he’s in Europe (short travel on short notice) and has some prior experience. Does that make it wise? Not IMO.

    I think it’s an all star team and he needs to blow my mind to deserve the looks. It should not be that his failings are beyond some safe distance, it should be that he’s shown me positively he deserves it. I seriously doubt that.

    I think it’s also relevant he’s a known — iffy to be more precise — quantity. Since I know he’s mediocre, show me someone actually promising instead. He’s just a “safe” pick for a game where to be blunt I don’t know if safe is enough. We may just be messed with the roster issues, but I don’t see him changing a darned thing.

    I don’t buy box to box because he’s lanky and not all that fast, and tends to lose his man. I prefer my 2 way types with more of a motor, better able to play in tight spaces, get stuck in more. I think he really likes to play in scads of space a la Geoff Cameron when used as a CM, but he’s not really a winger when he does it though. A CM needs to be able to make quick, accurate passes with a minimum of touches, and he tends to like to dribble and hit home run balls.

  145. iheartscotch says:

    I agree to an extent. If available, the right mid spot is Landon Donovan’s without question. Due to him being sick and the lack of a suitable up-in-comer like a Gatt to plug into the role, Bradley is the best plug in for this friendly only. When at full strength I agree Bradley shifts back into his DM role, where he should be fighting Jones and Williams for the starting gig.

  146. Edwin in LA says:

    Ummm Kljestan was horrible that entire game, hell he was horrible that entire Hexagonal.

    Didn’t do a damn thing allowed the likes of Fernando Arce and Gio Dos Santos to run rampant on them.

    I think those two can play fine and people forget it was those two that dealt with our comebacks in South Africa. However given the injuries, not even sure why anyone is still considering the line up like the one Ives proposed up there. I am aware this is what he THINKS that KLINSMANN will do but why?
    Why not Williams in the middle where he excels and Bradley out on the right? Like vs Slovenia except this time we would have a Williams in place of Beckerman who who’d likely excel there and not turn the ball over
    so much…Bradley is not an ideal option at Right mid but is the best one we have with the people available.

    Now if we try to stick with what worked last time…the closes I can see us coming to it would be this:


    I hope we see Cameron in sub in for Goodsen at one point, Clerance was very shaky the last few times, would like some minutes to see to see Cameron

  147. The Imperative Voice says:

    Holding mid? Like Bradley? Jones? Edu? Why don’t we just stick one of the Carroll brothers out there?

    All the Anderlecht discussion underlines my belief it’s Europhilia that now drives his interest. People understand they have been mostly in the Europa League in recent years, and have been eliminated from tournaments the past 2 years by FK Partizan (Belgrade) and 2 Dutch sides? I’m not sure how Anderlecht would fare in MLS. It might be a cushier gig with the European fanfare but he’s not exactly starting for ManU or even Lyon.

    I think Benny and Torres are on a whole nother planet in terms of just desserts here.

  148. Alex says:

    So you want four central players in a straight line down the middle of the pitch? Five, if you count Kljestan, because he’s not much of a winger. You’re going to need more structure than that. If the way you have it set up is that Johnson and Bradley would be more even with each other, but with Johnson given license to get up more, you’re defeating your own point, because you’re playing two holders. I think you’re right that Klinsmann prefers to play one holding midfielder but I think against Italy, which is a team that crowds the middle, that’s asking to get dominated. I think you play Edu and Bradley together. Put Shea and Johnson on whatever which wing they want, and let Dempsey pull strings and link with Jozy.

  149. Eurosnob says:

    Edwin in LA, I did not mean this to be a knock on Edu or Williams. I agree with you that Edu and Williams are each capable of playing in the middle. However, both Edu and Williams have similar limitations (inaccurate passing, lack of creativity) and, thus, I don’t think that playing BOTH of them in the middle is a good idea if the team intends to play a possession-oriented style that Klinsi likes. This is not to suggest that Jones/MB are Inesta/Xavi combo, but they are better passers than Edu/Williams. If the holding midfielders start making inaccurate passes that result in turnovers, Italy is the team that will punish them on a counter. I don’t think that Sacha will get a start – he was called in as an afterthought and only as a result of injuries to other players.

  150. Edwin in LA says:

    Umm actually from what I remember reading both of those guys have played Left Back in the past even if just for a few instances.

    Why do you think Daniel Williams would fare any better in a position simply more defensive but still on the wing? And on the opposite side of his natural foot at that???

    If we were going to see him make a move to the back, then it should be as a Center Back given that he’s played there before, I do think he played Right back for a couple of times, but he is 1st and forthmost a D-Mid and has recently, as in this season since he became a US citizen and part of the pool, played Center Back. That could allow Bocanegra to play Left Back, not ideal but more serviceable if you ask me?

    I still think we need to look at Fabian Johnson at Left Back, him and Chandler on the wings at Full Backs could be deadly down the line in Qualifying and would put less stress on say Donovan and/or whomever is on the left wing to go be able to go central as we all know Donovan likes to with someone like Chandler coming forward from the back…

  151. The Imperative Voice says:

    Fair point but Adu hasn’t exactly crossed the bridge from U23 (and other youth) to senior success either. Half my question is whether the style he plays works when I step him up to international ball. IMO every time Kljestan and Adu get their callups, they tend to spray the ball to the other side too much trying to hit home runs. They kill possession and neither seems suited to tiki-taka ball.

    I don’t think Kljestan absolutely stinks, he can hit those gorgeous bending shots, I just think he’s a notch or two down from what is needed.

  152. Stay Thirsty says:

    Switch Jones for Bradley. I would also like to see Whitbread play with either Boca or Goodson, but dude is seriously injury proned.

  153. The Imperative Voice says:

    That’s actually my point is there are players out there like Beasley who have had proven success who if in-form deserve a chance to repeat it again. Or there are kids out there who show great promise. In contrast I think Kljestan is like a safety school that you know is not as good but you content yourself with. I don’t see the point.

  154. Todd says:

    Very funny! Nicely done!!!

  155. Todd says:

    Not bad…I like it. Williams hasn’t showed me enough yet.

  156. Todd says:

    I like this one alot. Williams is not a winger but I like his technical ability for the middle. To me Boyd next to Altidore will show badly for Altidore. This young kid looks great. Hope he will get on the field.

  157. bryan says:

    injuries require this possibility. for crying out loud, he has played RM for Chievo multiple times and has played it for the US and looked good. it’s not ideal, but he is more than capable given the circumstances.

  158. Edwin in LA says:

    This might work but my question is why would you bench Micheal Bradley when he plays in Italy and is the only guy with experience against pretty much most guys the US will face on Wednesday? Add to that Dinho’s reminder that Jones is out and well I think you line up looks good but would just need Bradley in place of the injured Jones. I don’t like Kljestan tho, even with his form everyone keeps saying he’s gotten, but that’s just me I would rather see Edu in his place next to Bradley or maybe Williams in place of Kljestan to play next to Bradley

  159. bryan says:

    100% agree.

  160. bryan says:

    Yeah, exactly like them, but you could argue less defensive. Point is, basically all of our CM options are the same player with slightly different strengths and weaknesses. my point is that Sacha is the best option at this point. Anderlecht is still a solid team, and I never ever eluded to the fact they were on the level of United or Lyon. But they are certainly a good team. What’s wrong with getting eliminated by a Dutch team? The Dutch league is very strong. And I absolutely disagree Benny is on another level. He had a chance, but since his wondergoal, he has really been a big let down. I still like him though.

    As for Torres, I like him the most. But he’s also not an attacking mid. He’s the same type player as Sacha, but with (IMO) more potential.

  161. bryan says:

    agreed. but if you watch the Puebla games, he is still really fast. most of his goals and assists have been the direct result of him burning by someone.

  162. bryan says:

    i do see your point. to be honest, i think Beasley and Sacha should be here. while Beasley has shown ten times more than Sacha, i think this is a good friendly (especially with the injuries) to give Sacha another shot. with qualifying right around the corner, we need a lot of depth. and even though we have a ton of CMs who all basically play the same position, it can’t hurt.

  163. Judging Amy says:

    Who are these people who have seen Boyd play in a non-youth age, 1st division game? Do you live in Germany? Where did you guys see him play?

    Honest question.

  164. Mat says:

    I wouldn’t be surprised if Dolo was tried at LB and Spector played RB. I think Johnso is one of our most creative players and it would be a shame given our player pool to waste his talents in the back, though I can see how he might be useful there for this game with all the injuries.

    My pick, with a fancy 4-1-2-1-2 (just a prettier way of saying 4-3-3)
    Spector, Goodson, Boca, Dolo
    Williams, Bradley
    Depmsey, Altidore

    I think Johnson has the skills to be a decent play-maker.
    Wouldn’t be surprised if Shea got tested at LB either, I don’t think he’d be that bad back there as a last minute replacement, either.

  165. Louis Z says:

    Honestly I don’t know if Boyd is better than Jozy simply because I haven’t seen them together but I know the kid is dammed good. I think that is one of the reasons JK called the kid.

    but here is a question…would Jozy or Buddle have any chance to crack Dortmund’s squad?…NO, well, guess what? Boyd is about to do it. As to him playing mostly in a reserve team, you have to keep in mind one thing, he plays head and shoulders above his teammates, people can’t see beyond the league 4 label, what do they expect? promotion from 4 to 3 to 2? that is for independent teams, regionalliga players usually (if ever)get promoted to their first teams in LB1.

  166. Yoreau Snaub says:


  167. Two Cents says:

    That’s the thing Colin. I would like to see us play more offensively. More possession and constant attack. I realize we are playing Italy (one of the strongest midfield’s in the game), and we still might not be ready for an attacking style of play. So, yes, we can play with 2 DM’s, but that leaves us open to the Italians possession and waves of attack. We will pretty much be pinned down. If, however, we have a slightly more attack minded squad, we may be able to counteract their attacks with our own. In essence, we can bunker, or attempt to beat them at their own game (unlikely I know, but far more interesting than watching us play defense for 90 minutes).

    Even if we load the midfield with 5, Altidore is not good enough alone up top, so that leaves us with congestion in the midfield and not much in the form of attack unless we get lucky on a counter.

    Just my opinion. I know plenty have their doubts or don’t agree, but I wanna see what I’ve been seeing from the u-23’s. If we don’t try, it’s hard to know what kind of force we can be offensively.

  168. away goals says:

    I can see bradley being used on the ‘right’ in an unbalanced formation. The width/speed will come from dolo getting around him, as bradley will tuck in.

  169. GW says:

    What gets lost in all this Sacha retro love is that he is playing well for Anderlecht but can any of you guarantee me that will translate that to the USMNT?

    As I recall, during his salad days as one of “Bradley’s Faves” when most of you wanted him shot on sight he was doing just fine for Chivas.

    And does this lstest run at Anderlecht mean he is clearly better than Bradley, Dempsey, Donovan, Jones, Edu Or Torres?

    Maybe in the Jupiter league but maybe not at USMNT practices.

    It doesn’t matter if he wins the Ballon D’or for Anderlecht, if he can’t play better than his competition at USA camps in front of JK then he ain’t going to play.

    And it would seem that is what happens since even now that he has called him in JK makes it clear that Sacha has a lot of tough competition in the USMNT for his playing time.

    Hios last apperance for the US under Klinsmann was not awe inspiring and he is not clearly better than sing

  170. kelso says:

    I fear that if Bradley doesn’t get the start for this game it means the JK is unwilling to give him a fair shake. How has he not earned the opportunity to prove his worth?

  171. away goals says:

    Boyd gets a little better every time somebody mentions his name on this site. Just like sacha and omar got better every time they were left off a roster.

  172. Vic says:

    I think Bradley will start. However, I think he’s on the level of Jones, Williams and Edu, not any better. Its not like he’s playing for Manu or Barcelona. He’s playing for a mid-table club in Europe, similar to our other D-mids.

  173. KISS says:


  174. Scott says:

    Why Williams at RM when he plays DM for his team? Swap him and Bradley and then play a 4-1-3-2. Lose Edu and put another fwd with Altidore.

  175. beachbum says:

    would like to see MB and Sasha paired together somehow. They actually played OK like that vs. Spain in the second half when they came on last year. With Jones out, hope it happens

  176. Judging Amy says:

    Jones is playing for a CL caliber team. Schalke is consistently elite in the BL.

    Williams and Bradley play for comparable quality teams but I’d say Edu at Rangers is not in their league teamwise. I like Edu but Rangers nowadays isn’t nearly on par with the teams Bradley and D. Williams play for.

  177. fischy says:

    I’m surprised at you, too.

  178. Warren says:

    You mean the problem is Jozy is too immobile/doesn;t go get the ball. If he had better training habits and was in tit top shape, he could manage to move around more.

    That’s what his club coach was just complaining about.

    So while we can blame the US middies for Jozy’s inadequacies, let’s start by recognizing what everyone knows, the problem is – one guy up top – who doesn;t bother to train hard enough, as you yourself said.

    I’m for sitting jozy and starting boyd, who by all accounts will move to the ball, and out it in the net if given half a chance.

    Yeah I know he hasn;t even started a game in Bundesliga yet – but neither has Jozy ; )

  179. Warren says:

    I meant tip top honest…

  180. Turgid Jacobian says:

    “neither seems suited to tiki-taka ball.”

    So you’re saying that they fit in? Please, please, be reasonable. SK is on very good form with his team, is quite nearby, and the game is two days away. Seriously, you just *do* play it safe in that situation and bring in whom you know.

    SK was just fine during his limited time in his most recent callups. He’s in his mid 20s–giving up on him completely is asinine.

  181. MicahK says:

    I want Whitebread to be called up. But I want Jozy and Buddle up top. I am worried about who is going to play rm I guess Daniel Williams, but I do not know if he will be used as a CB. I also do not know who will play left back neither.

  182. SBI Troll says:

    Why not Williams at LB? Johnson is an attacking minded player. Also I wanna try Spector at CB, I just think he could be a good player there. So…


    This would be a lineup I would pick. Although I’m not high on Edu, we are missing Donovan, Chandler, and Jones I’ll go with him.

  183. tom says:

    The league isn’t on par, but the teams? Chievo is a very small team. Bradley only went there as a stepping stone to get to a better Serie A team.

  184. Edwin in LA says:

    But the thing is Williams has been given a chance to truly show how good his passing as well as other things are in his best and more natural position of Defensive mid. Hell he might even do better as a Center Back then a winger….

  185. MC Pharaoh says:

    Tbf, its William’s best position just fyi.. (showed at hoffenheim)

  186. Eurosnob says:

    I agree that Klinsi is yet to play him in his natural position, but unless playing away from his natural position unrattled him to the point that his passing suffered, there is no reason to think that his passing would improve dramatically by switching positions. If anything, he would have less time and space to make a pass in the center of the pitch. Obviously, Williams has talent (he starts in Bundesliga), but I am just not sure if Williams and Edu are a good combination. Perhaps Klinsi will experiment and pair them together as central mids and I will be happy if they both do great.

  187. jayrig5 says:

    No doubt…did we already forget how much more effective the US looked with two strikers? Altidore/Buddle, Dempsey/Shea on the wings, Bradley/Williams or Edu in the middle, Johnson/Dolo outside back, whoever at CB. I wouldn’t mind playing Johnson at winger instead of Shea, to be honest. It’s a shame Donovan will miss this one.

  188. Two Cents says:

    Yeah. I was quite upset when Donovan had to drop out of the squad. It was finally going to put Dempsey and him together under Klinsmann, but alas, it was not to be. This was the perfect game for it too. Oh well. We certainly have the ability to win the game, but it requires the right formation and careful choosing of what players will fill in the formation.

  189. g-dub says:

    @ TomG – it was Pujols not Capdevilla :) awesome moment. Jozy is an average striker on the international stage right now and he’s young. Our expectations of him are sometimes unreasonable.

  190. Four Cents says:

    A 433 could be amazing, or disastrous.. But it’s like in Vegas- if you don’t bet big, you won’t win big…






    You can do it USA!

  191. Four Cents says:

    The good thing about the US team now is that a lot of players are versatile and can be interchanged.. Even at left back… :p

  192. TomG says:

    Neither has Wayne Rooney, but I’m not sure what that has to do with anything. Can we please stop falling in love with guys that you haven’t even seen play yet? This is ridiculous. I hope Boyd is great, but I’m sure he has lots to learn, just as Jozy did and still does. Just as Juan does. I’m sure in two years, everyone will have given up on Boyd and pushing for another 18 year old to get starts.

  193. TomG says:

    Based on what you’re saying, I just have to question how much you’ve actually watched Jozy play. I’ve seen this kid play a LOT, and I don’t think you really have, or you haven’t been watching closely. Comparing him to Gooch again just seems crazy and superficial, like you’re just judging him on what he looks like rather than actually looking at his skills. If you’d seen him in the Eridivisie at all this year, you would have also noticed a vast improvement in his touch which has become much, much better. You’d also notice that he’s scored some of the best goals ever seen by an American striker. He’s not quite there yet and still has some rough edges, but the potential is massive. We just have to agree to disagree on this one, but I’d encourage you to watch him more closely, paying close attention to the improvement in his touch, his passing, his turn moves, his hold up play, and his combination play. He really has quite a nice skillset and to call him just a big fellow is ridiculous, in my opinion.

  194. TomG says:

    We certainly could do that. I always forget Boca has played a lot of LB. I think Klinsi likes speed from his fullbacks, though, and Boca is pretty slow at this point in his career, but that would certainly be a safe choice.

  195. hogatroge says:

    I think you make a lot of good points. I suspected that JK hasn’t called him back based on what he saw in the pre-Belgium camp.

    I disagree somewhat regarding your assessment of his recent calls up, though. He showed well during the Gold Cup under pressure (subbed in down 1 to Panama) and in a similar situation against Costa Rica later (subbed in right after CR goal, involved in the late surge for an equalizer).

    In short, his recent performances on the pitch don’t merit his exclusion when 5 players have now been stricken from the roster. Again, I can’t speak to his training habits though.

    And people forget that Benny’s wonder goal against Mexico was nearly 5 years ago. He hasn’t done wonders for the U.S. since, even though he’s been decent.

  196. Nic D "the TX 2 Stepper" says:

    My Squad


    Halftime Subs:

    Dolo –>

    <– Edu Brek to LW Danny to RDM Edu to LDM Sacha to CAM If I were the coach that’s what I would do. Just my .02

  197. biff says:

    man, you beat me to it. my revised line-up very close to yours. After sleeping on it, have also concluded that might be wise for Shea to begin the game on the bench and come in later as a super-sub. He is a great spark plug, as we saw against Mexico in August. Not starting also would take some of the pressure of his young shoulders. With Donovan and Torres out, I still think Johnson’s ball-handling and great passing skills are needed in in the midfield, so would rather see him as left-winger than left back.

    I am not a fan of Williams on the right wing. But without Donovan and Chandler out, I think Williams (possibly Kljestan) is a better choice as right winger than Michael Bradley. With Beckerman and Jones injured, this is a golden opportunity to give MB the chance to show what he can do as the lone holding midfielder (Number Six). Jones, Beckerman and Edu have all played the lone holding mid in the Klinnsman’s system. Jones was exceptional, Beckerman good, and Edu mostly solid. Time to let MB have his chance in the limelight against his host country and see whether he can jump above those three on Klinsmann’s lone holding midfielder depth chart.

    Buddle hasn’t really convinced me yet. But he did score a nice goal against Slovenia and worked well with Altidore. Plus, his experience on the field among a mostly young USMNT would be helpful. I liked Cameron in January and want to see him get some time against Italy, but Klinsmann might want to start the game with the much more internationally experienced Goodson and sub in Cameron later.





    This line-up would leave Klinsmann the option, if the back-line is having trouble, of moving Johnson to left back and subbing in Shea as left winger. If Bradly or Williams need help, Edu or Kljestan also would be solid subbing options. And when Buddle gets tired, we can take a look at Terrence Boyd. I have a feeling this kid is fearless and if he gets the chance he will not be intimidated by the Italians. Doesn’t mean he would have success in his first USMNT outings, only that he won’t be standing out on the field scared stuff-less for his first cap.

    Even with Donovan, Jones, Torres, Chandler, Onyewu out of this one, I am sooo excited for this match. And Klinsmann somehow seems unusually upbeat and confident for this match.

  198. juan says:

    Ill go further…Edu and Bradley = no goals or even chances for us.

    I was looking forward to this game…now, with the injuries, I dont care too much

    I think Klinsmann might surprise some of the experts with his player selection

  199. Vic says:

    People that are suggesting Spector at left back have forgotten how poorly he played as a defender in the EPL. He was voted worst player on the team at West Ham last year. He’s too slow against top competition. He’s been playing better in the Championship but thats a lower level league and he’s playing in midfield.

  200. The Imperative Voice says:

    Man, just because I say he’s a big guy who’s sloppy on the ball and not real mobile to make runs off the ball doesn’t make it racial. Ernie Stewart used to be a great US attacker who had skill and speed and endurance…..who played in the Eredivisie…..and happens to be black. It’s about body type and fitness, as well as skill level (and those attributes can link up, a big guy with marginal fitness can have touch problems). I just believe that players built like Landon have it easier at being elite soccer players, if they can stay healthy. They’re built like endurance runners and they can skitter all over the field, and they don’t have the muscle mass to deal with for skills and endurance purposes. You can overcome that and there are plenty of big-legged examples, but it takes a lot of work.

    In terms of the rest, I am a Houston Dynamo fan, I think I can tell whether a player can hack it back to goal or not. All we do is bang away in a 442. IMO Altidore looks like a center striker in build but is in fact better used on a wing, where he has space to execute skills and build speed and fewer defenders draped on him. He’s one of those T-Mac types who looks like a power forward but should probably play guard, so to speak.

    I just really really think using him alone with his skills set in a 451 is unwise and asking for frustration. I don’t think he sucks, but I think he has limited ball skills and often a heavy touch. If you’re relying on him to be the next McBride, you’re kidding yourself….and at his age I only expect modest change over time.

  201. The Imperative Voice says:

    Jozy’s been playing pro for 6 years now….he’s like Owen and Rooney in that sense….so the notion I should expect some massive burst of further improvement is not necessarily called for. Granted, he’s not been adequately used for a few years, so maybe an uptick there for rust coming off, but he’s been a pro for years, he won’t just change quality overnight. It’s not like he’s a draft pick or academy signing blossoming under pro exposure. He’s a veteran.

    Don’t get me wrong, I think the Eredivisie is a good choice for him and other attacking minded Americans. And he may sharpen somewhat what he has. But it strikes me a bit naive to act like he’s going to obviously “blow up” when his coach’s whole point was, “Where’s the beef?” He’s clearly not seeing it.

  202. The Imperative Voice says:

    Yes, he’s close, I said as much in another post, but I don’t think he keeps possession well enough for the new style, and while travel is a concern, Shea got drafted from Dallas, so it’s hardly the only factor.

    I’m not giving up on him I just think that people who’ve been pro since their teens don’t tend to have much more development to go in their 20s before they plateau and slide back down. Other than playing for Anderlecht in and of itself, I’ve not seen a sign he’s grown. Again, it’s not like he’s playing at Man U and setting the world on fire. It’s the Belgian and Europa leagues.

  203. biff says:

    But Spector has played LB before. Can anyone else on the roster fill in at LB? Klinsmann is facing a major quandary with the absences of Donovan, Torres, and Chandler (who has been starting at right wing the past few games for Nurnberg). If he wants any offense at all, he needs an attacking midfielder who can handle the ball and make good forward passes. Johnson is it. Actually, I just thought, maybe in this emergency situation Klinsmann will put Edu up top as CAM again, as he did in some of the earlier games, when he had Beckerman as the lone holding midfielder and Edu up ahead as CM. Edu did not shine, but at the same time it could have been worse. But this time it would be Bradley in back as the lone DM and Edu up top as CM.

  204. paul says:

    My starter picks with the assembled crew:

    ——- -Altidore——–

    Shea: In a couple of friendlies Shea’s played the winger swap in mid game, I thought it was alright. He knows the role. I think he and Dolo could own the right side, all the way to the attacking corner, together.
    Dempsey: Makes a living here for Fulham
    Williams: Makes a living here for Hoffenheim
    Bradley: Has the motor and d-skills to be the box/box mid
    Kljestan: Is making assists and scoring goals, let him try it here.

  205. bryan says:

    wow, it really isn’t hard to understand what i am saying. so here it is again:

    Sacha deserves to be called up given his recent form, especially with all the injuries.

    i didn’t say he was better than anyone, i didn’t say his club form would carry over. all i’m saying is, based on his club performances for a strong side, he deserves to be called up again. nothing more, nothing less.

  206. Joe says:

    Flip Shea and Dempsey. Shea is left footed and therefore needs to play on the left.

  207. Dennis says:

    I don’t think so much in the game I mentioned, Mexico did not score!

  208. Tipper Gore says:

    Don’t really care as long as Dempsey is playing up top and not gassing himself trying to look like he is playing defense.

  209. Dennis says:

    I just don’t get all the love people seem to have for Jones. For the USMNT, he has had good games against Panama and Venezuela, but mostly he has failed to impress me.

    He was once an important part of Schalke’s squad, but injury, then a falling out with the coach, then an 8 game suspension that was deserved (this was not a 20 year-old losing his temper, it was a deliberate attempt to (re)injure the most dangerous player on the opposing team when the ball was not even in play) have limited his effectiveness since 2009 when his injury problems began The only extended bright period was a few month loan to Blackburn where he did play well and only got about 1 yellow card per 2 games. I am afraid he is just always a bad decision away from getting tossed of a game.

    He is more athletic than Beckerman, more skillfull than Edu, dribbles a bit better than Bradley, but in many facets of the game he is not a big improvement, and at 30 years-old he is not so likely to improve a lot.

  210. Dennis says:

    Boca can lay LB, so can Johnson, they are probably both better choices. Of course they may be needed elsewhere.

  211. TomG says:

    Look at Didier Drogba’s career path. Look at Brian McBride’s. Big forwards generally progress slower, but play at a high level longer than smaller speed guys b/c you get stronger as you get into your mid to late 20s and 30s, but you are at your fastest in your late teens/early 20s and get slower afterwards. So the Michael Owen comp is silly. Drogba is the much better comp.

    Guys like Messi, Rooney, Christiano Ronaldo, etc. are the exceptions. Just b/c a guy isn’t Rooney doesn’t mean he can’t be a very, very effective player.

  212. TomG says:

    I would tend to agree, but it’s tough for a manager to leave out a guy who has been a really good player in the Bundesliga and has been a big player on a team that has made deep runs in the CL when none of his other CMs have resumes that come close to JJ’s.

  213. Birdman says:

    I say we play with experience in this one.