As we stand two months away from the start of the U.S. Men's national team's World Cup qualifying process, it is about that time to start considering just what sort of team we can expect to take the field for the United States in June.
Jurgen Klinsmann has never coached a World Cup qualifier before (Germany didn't have to qualify as World Cup 2006 hosts), but that doesn't mean he doesn't have some idea of what lies ahead in venues like Guatemala and Jamaica. He will spend the next two months scouting and figuring out which players to bring to his pre-qualifying camp in May, before embarking on the quest for World Cup 2014.
So just who might Klinsmann turn to once the matches go from being friendlies to being World Cup qualifiers: Here is a starting lineup I could see him work with against Antigua & Barbuda on June 8th:
PROJECTED USA LINEUP in World Cup Qualifying
Please note that the above lineup is the lineup I see KLINSMANN using, not necessarily the lineup I would use.
It should be noted that, yes, Oguchi Onyewu is currently injured and recovering from knee surgery, but he is expected back well before World Cup qualifying begins. If he cannot recover and be sharp enough to start, then Clarence Goodson would be the sensible pick to start alongside Carlos Bocanegra.
Some might question the inclusion of Jose Torres, but the fact is Klinsmann is a big fan and Torres has been playing well for Pachuca. Also, Antigua & Barbuda could be the perfect kind of opponent to showcase Torres' skills against.
If Klinsmann decides he wants a more attack minded squad to blow away Antigua & Barbuda, we could potentially see a lineup like this:
Herculez Gomez gets the nod in this lineup. He's in outstanding form right now, and with little more than a month to go before a national team camp convenes, it's tough to imagine Klinsmann not at least bringing him into camp.
For those wondering, this second lineup is the one I would trot out for qualifying, assuming Onyewu is healthy.
We will take a closer look next week at what a 23-man roster might look like for the U.S. national team camp. For now, give our projected lineupsc a look and let us know what you think and what you would change, if anything.
Who would you like to see earn a start in World Cup qualifying? Which if the players we listed do you NOT want to see in the starting lineup?
Share your thoughts below.