USA vs. Jamaica: The Pre-Game Tailgate

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COLUMBUS, Ohio– The task is a clear one for the U.S. Men's National Team. Win tonight and they ease the pressure on their chances of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup. Tie or lose and the Americans are facing a pressure-packed final two qualifiers come October with no more margin for error.

There were few positives from last Friday's 2-1 loss in Kingston against a Jamaican side that drew energy from a great crowd at 'The Office', but now the 'Reggae Boyz' must show that they can deliver on the road, where they don't have much of a history of success in qualifying.

A recurring theme for the Americans in the days after Friday's loss has been the importance of playing on a smooth surface at Crew Stadium, and how that will help the U.S. play the quick-passing possession game that can break down a fast and athletic, but at times disorganized Jamaican defense.

Jurgen Klinsmann will need to settle on a starting lineup that will not only have the energy to match Jamaica's, but also the technical skill to create more chances than the squad that took the field on Friday.

As bad as the Americans were on Friday, it isn't a foregone conclusion that Klinsmann will make wholesale lineup changes tonight. Brek Shea seems like the safest bet to break into the starting lineup, while Kyle Beckerman is the best bet to be on the bench after starting Friday. Beyond that, however, there is a good chance we could see as many as nine starters from Friday taking the field tonight (Clarence Goodson is suspended).

As we get closer to tonight's match, please feel free to make this your place for pre-match conversation on tonight's crucial qualifier. Who are you hoping to see start? Who are you hoping stays on the bench? Think the USMNT responds with a big win tonight?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF, U.S. Men's National Team, World Cup Qualifying. Bookmark the permalink.

41 Responses to USA vs. Jamaica: The Pre-Game Tailgate

  1. Benjamin C. says:

    Don’t be so sure that Beckerman will be on the bench. He seems to be Klinsmann’s Chris Armas. Neither fan nor analyst can see anything worthwhile in his inclusion, but the coach is dead set on plugging that particular player into the lineup for whatever convoluted reason.

  2. Big Chil says:

    ————–Jones ———-Edu————

    This is what I suspect. Can’t see Zusi or Torres starting since neither played on Friday. We add in all our experience, drop Beckerman for Shea, and Klinsi still plays it slightly conservative with 2DM’s and no real link-up.

    With Gomez, Dempsey, Shea, and Altidore up top, it could be a fun one if we can get them the ball.

  3. Rik says:

    This is my hope too, but we all know guessing Starting XI with JK is a true crap shoot. Wouldn’t be surprised to see something completely insane, or the same line-up as Fri minus Parkurst and Goodson.

  4. Big Chil says:

    It would be good to have someone other than Jones play the #8, so possibly we get Torres or Zusi paired with Jones, but we’ll see.

  5. Roy says:

    Armas was a rock. Maybe he wasn’t fancy, but he did the dirty work and got the ball to guys like Reyna to direct the attack. He was definitely a step above Richie Williams (a regular back-up). I don’t think Beckerman can be considered a step above the other guys (Bradley, Jones, Edu).

    I don’t even like the recent comparisons to Bornstein, because LB has often been a problem of quality and depth.

    I don’t dislike Beckerman, but he is no Armas.

  6. Roy says:

    I meant this as a reply to the first post by Benjamin.

  7. jon says:

    why can’t holden/bradley (or at least one of them) be healthy!!!!! they are the only decent two way central midfielders in our pool. oh well

  8. PD says:



  9. Benjamin C. says:

    I think you have a valid point concerning Armas. However, I thought the U.S. played better without him at the 2002 World Cup, where he was out with injury, than they ever did in games where Arenas made Armas an almost automatic started. The two things may have absolutely no correlation, but I think they did.

    Anyway, back to my original point: I guess, for me, Beckerman shows that coaches sometimes see something in a player that most others do not. Beckerman may a rock solid guy in MLS, but he does fit in at the international level. There is nothing wrong with that, but when the only opinion that matters is a stubborn national team coach, then it becomes an issue.

  10. Benjamin C. says:

    *Does not fit in at the international level is what I meant, sorry about that.

  11. Tony in Quakeland says:

    His Chris Armas? You’re kidding right?

  12. PD says:

    Herc–Deuce–Shea (would rather see Zusi)

    subs: Boyd for Jozy, Edu for Torres

    USA 1-0

    Come On You Yankees!

  13. SuperChivo says:

    I would be delighted with this lineup/formation! But it makes too much sense to actually see the pitch. Also, to nit-pick, I don’t know about Gomez as a winger but he’s got to be better than Danny Williams.

  14. Tony in Quakeland says:

    At least you explain yourself here. Armas was a very good player. Pablo Mastroeni took his spot and played well, albeit with a different skill set. But the reason we played better at the World Cup was that Arena integrated Donovan (and to a lesser extent) Beasley into the attack.

  15. jon says:

    Smart money is that holden never stays healthy enough to get on the same field as bradley. But man, that last game had me fantasizing about a holden bradley central midfield, and I’m a grown man who should be thinking about more important things.

  16. super mario says:


  17. JGD says:

    Bingo. No more of the “3 defensive midfielders” garbage.

  18. Tony in Quakeland says:

    If FIFA comes through, I’ll happily take a Bradley – Ozzie Alanso midfield

  19. RLW2020 says:

    please don’t call them the yankees! Yanks has grown on me but this USNT fan from Boston won’t stand for the full word.

  20. Roy says:

    There was a natural turn-over of players, as Pablo, himself, was replaced.

    I’ll agree with Donovan and Beasley comment. They brought daring, speed and width.

  21. Mark says:

    Hey LA!

    Come watch USA vs. Jamaica

    West Los Angeles Soccer Viewing Party!

    Come support our boys on this emotional anniversary of 9/11. They have a huge screen there.

    Cock N’ Bull in Santa Monica. Tuesday 9/11, 5pm 2947 Lincoln Boulevard Santa Monica, CA 90405, (310) 399-9696

  22. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Sigh…daring…speed…width. Exactly what we didn’t have on Friday

  23. Mark says:

    I hope Boyd gets the start over Altidore.

  24. 2tone says:

    I am going to go with.

    a 4-2-3-1

  25. PD says:

    sorry, that was supposed to be YANKS!!!!!

  26. PD says:

    90 minutes to kickoff…



  27. vivavilla says:

    Has Cock N’Bull been having regular viewing parties? Would love it if that bar became a US bar for the westside. Dislike Dillon’s…

  28. Andrew says:

    In the parking lot… Cant wait… Go USA!!!!!

  29. BrianK says:


    Are you joking? Armas could play….no doubt about it. What you should have said was Beckerman seems to be Klinsman’s Agoos. Then you would have it right.

    That said, I don’t think Klinsi is going to suffer too many poor performances from anyone. My bet is that barring injuries, this is the last we see of Beckerman. He just doesn’t have it at this level.

  30. Jamie says:

    What confuses and bothers me the most is this-

    Why do so many of our players seem to be better on their resume than in real life? Do we over-inflate the value of starting or playing major minutes on really good teams (Schalke for one, I’m looking at you Jermaine Jones), or what?

    It’s obviously an imperfect way of deciding who is good and who isn’t, but while playing in MLS doesn’t mean you’re bad by any stretch, shouldn’t playing in England or Germany and starting mean you’re at least pretty good, relative to CONCACAF?

    That’s what frustrates me more than anything else, and I think a lot of other nats fans too-we have so many players playing in the EPL and the Bundesliga,a solid amount playing in places like Holland, Mexico, Italy, etc. (ok maybe collectively but still…), being a star in MLS means much more than it used to be, so what is going on?

  31. Jamie says:






  32. Stuck in Cali says:

    Anyone have a streaming link that’s not ESPN3 (have Directv and can’t get access) for us west coasters still at work?

  33. Jeb says:



    Shea—-Lebron James—–Gomez




  34. PD says:

    Your post is great. I call it “almost-England-Fan-itis”

    England fans put their players and team on such a high pedestal, convince themselves that they are going to win it all, and when those hopes come crashing down they just don’t understand how their boys could let them down, when those expectations were so unreasonable to begin with.

    i see a lot of US fans do the same thing, and I am guilty of it at times well.

    We (US soccer fans) love our team and dream of a day when we have our own golden generation and finally get that gold star above the crest on the national jersey. When you feel that strongly about something it’s easy to get carried away.

    We should rejoice that we have folks playing for Stoke and Roma and Tottenham, but these clubs are are not Barca, Real and Chelsea. Our most celebrated player of this generation, Landon Donovan, could only muster a successful stint at Everton. Part of this might be anti-Americanism or bad karma, and say that Dempsey could play for Chelsea or Dortmund right now if given the chance, but until we have a national squad that is comprised of 15 players that are starting for Champions League sides, our expectations will always border on self-aggrandizing.

    I don’t say this to be a downer, but to try to answer your wonderings. I love this team and we are climbing the ladder. I thrill when they punch above their weight class and am happy to see it happening with more regularity, but that’s all it is right now and all it can ever be seen as until we have the system the network and the depth of quality and a generation of players that play at that level for the majority of their careers, not just for two or three seasons.

    We celebrate each step, cause each step is fantastic. But we lose sight of where that step is in the ladder sometimes. hat’s what sets up the wrong expectation.

  35. byrdman says:

    Absolutely love your attitude and agree with your insights. I’m a fan. Sometimes I yell at the TV. But at the end of the day, I understand that any big win for us outside of CONCACAF is an example of American spirit and probably not our football acumen. That being said, “GO USA”.

  36. Francois says:

    #USMNT lineup for #USAvJAM: Howard; Cherundolo, Cameron, Bocanegra (c), Johnson; Williams; Zusi, Jones, Torres; Dempsey, Gomez’
    Via Twitter

  37. Francois says:

    The #USMNT will lineup in a 4-1-3-2. Here’s the lineup card: #USAvJAM

    Why Klinsi keeps putting Williams on a flank, when he ISN’T A WINGER, is beyond me.

  38. PD says:

    totally called it. first time.

  39. PD says:

    oh wait. no i didn’t. williams over jozy? that’s racist.

    BTW that’s a joke.

  40. louis z says:

    so far so good. got a decent lineup. let’s up they can come through.

  41. juan says:

    We’re in trouble. We cannot beat a bunkered defense with crosses to a short forward. This is where Klinsmann just doesnt get it. You need a dribbler or two to beat a packed defense like this and he has none on the roster