What is the USMNT Best XI heading into October?

USMNTvsJamaica (ISIPhotos.com)

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After the past two World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica, there are plenty of new ideas about just what is the best possible starting lineup for the U.S. Men's National Team when everybody is healthy. With two important qualifiers looming next month, it is time to think about what Jurgen Klinsmann's Best XI will be.

Whether you are talking the back four, the midfield or the forwards, each area of the field for the USA has some question marks regarding who to turn to. There are some players who are locks when healthy, like Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson, Michael Bradley and Steve Cherundolo, but there are multiple options everywhere else on the field.

Who will make up Klinsmann's Best XI when the national team returns to action? Here is SBI's selected USMNT Best XI and Second XI:


————-Herculez Gomez——-Clint Dempsey—————-

–Jose Torres———-Michael Bradley——–Landon Donovan–

————————-Jermaine Jones—————————–

Fabian Johnson———————————-Steve Cherundolo

————–Carlos Bocanegra—-Geoff Cameron—————–

————————–Tim Howard——————————–


—————Jozy Altidore———-Terrence Boyd—————-

–Brek Shea——————————————-Graham Zusi–

——————Maurice Edu—Danny Williams——————–

Edgar Castillo———————————–Michael Parkhurst

————–Clarence Goodson—Michael Orozco Fiscal———

—————————–Brad Guzan—————————–

Some thoughts:

These are based on players Klinsmann has tended to prefer, and players has actually called up, not necessarily the best 22 in the entire depth chart. For my money, Sacha Kljestan would merit a look in the Second XI as the attacking midfielder, with Eric Lichaj an option as well.

Danny Williams was outstanding against Jamaica on Tuesday, but I'm not sure Klinsmann is ready to hand him the job ahead of Jermaine Jones when Michael Bradley returns to the team. Jones is a workhorse who can handle the No. 6 role well. He hasn't been at his sharpest in recent matches, but he was solid on Tuesday and has shown in the past that he can work well alongside Bradley. All that said, Williams has served notice that he is ready to be a serious long-term option for the national team.

Same goes for Graham Zusi, who played well enough to be a solid Second XI pick, but not enough to be considered ahead of a healthy Landon Donovan in the starting lineup. Zusi was excellent against Jamaica, and clearly gives Klinsmann another dynamic option off the bench.

Zusi could be a starting option if Klinsmann wants a more direct attack. He could deploy Donovan on the left and Zusi on the right. That could wind up being the most dangerous attack the USMNT can deploy.

Carlos Bocanegra gets the nod ahead of Clarence Goodson because, for my money, his experience and threat on set pieces make him the better option. Geoff Cameron is a lock to start at this point. He has been outstanding in recent weeks and months and is only getting better.

No, Jose Torres isn't a natural left winger, but in this system he isn't really expected to play like one. He showed against Jamaica that he can keep possession and cover ground well on the left side of the field. He played well enough to remain a starting option heading into October's qualifiers.

You might notice a variation in formation in the Second XI. Fact is it's tough to see Maurice Edu playing in a more advanced role, but he is someone who would make the depth chart with the second XI. You could see that same Second XI line up in a 4-3-3, with Zusi playing at the tip of a triangle in front of Edu and Williams, with Shea at left forward.

UPDATE- Since some have asked, here the Starting lineup I would like to see take on Antigua & Barbuda on Oct. 12th:







What do you think of these selections? Who would you put on the first team that didn't make it? Who is missing from the 22 that you think should have made it?

Share your thoughts below.

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144 Responses to What is the USMNT Best XI heading into October?

  1. graham says:

    Didnt LD play on the left some for Everton? Id switch him over and slide Zusi in.

  2. swoopy says:

    fine. don’t have much with which to quibble. that beckerman isn’t on here makes me sit here happy as a clam.

  3. joemybro says:

    In order to disagree, I also need to advocate for a different formation. In a 4-3-3….
    F. Johnson–Boca–Cameron–‘Dolo

    Gets Williams on the field in his natural position, gives Johnson and ‘Dolo more room to roam forward. On form, Dempsey and Donovan have the legs to get back and help defend in the midfield if necessary (move to a 4-5-1). I’m still not sold on Torres, his give-aways and tendency to get pushed off the ball by bigger defenders and tendency to try to make-up for losing the ball with fouls and almost-fouls will only get more problematic.

  4. Freddie Footballer says:

    Some observations:
    1) Jozy must not be happy with not starting on the team. We’ll see how Klinsmann manages Jozy’s ego.
    2) I’d rather have Danny Williams in as starter ahead of “red card waiting to happen” Jones.
    3) I’ll agree on Torres starting, but only because Shea looked totally ineffectual on Tuesday after a solid outing vs. Mexico.

  5. zalk says:

    What is the yellow card accumulation for Antigua-Barbuda? Do Bradley and Jones each have a yellow? If so, do they start on the bench and preserve their status for Guatemala – thinking if everyone’s healthy a return of Donovan, an in-form Dempsey, Williams as the 6 – gives us enough to beat A&B away?

  6. K Bone says:

    Is there really a “no. 6″ role? I’ve never heard of that before…

  7. mug says:

    I agree with Ives on his best Xl except I would change Jones and replace him with Danny Williams.

  8. Kevin_Amold says:

    Torres out, Dempsey in his spot, Altidore in. Just my two cents.

  9. i just became a soccer fan says:

    Who is this Graham Zusi? where did he come from?

  10. Judging Amy says:

    On 1), Tough to complain when the guy ahead of you is playing better. Should be nothing to manage, Jozy just needs to step up his game.

  11. sarasota says:

    Those are your best XI? Seriously?????

    A different thought:

    Dempsey Gomez

    Donovan Bradley Chandler


    Johnson Bocanegra Cameron Cherundolo

  12. Chris says:



    Bench: Guzan, Goodson, Parkhurst, Edu, Torres, Zusi, Altidore, Wondo

  13. i just became a soccer fan says:

    thoughts on whether Dempsey debuts this weekend for Spurs?

  14. ZachTheFiveTwo says:

    For my money, Torres isn’t in our best Xi. I’m with JoeMyBro, triangle midfield of Williams Bradley and Jones with Donovan Dempsey and Gomez up top.

  15. Joel J says:

    People need to chill on Suzi. Yes he played well, very well, but he played against a team that pretty much bunkered in and played for a tie. I’d like to see him continue to show his influence against a team like Mexico or Honduras where they’re not simply playing deep. I’d keep him as a valuable sub off the bench, maybe for Torres and move Donovan or Dempsey to his spot, and slide in Suzi on the right.

  16. wides says:

    Me too, Jose Torres has not done nearly enough to be included in the USMNT Best XI

  17. elgringorico says:

    STOP it with Chandler. Jesus, people.

  18. Matt C in Tampa says:

    Contrarian here.

    I wouldn’t quibble about Landycakes starting but based on his play over the last several matches (Scotland excluded)where he hid and didn’t grab the game and was really soft, on some level, shouldn’t we be debating whether others starting ahead of him.

    Ps. i don’t think JT should start ahead of him.

  19. Evan W says:

    I like your idea of the 4-3-3 but 3 defensive mids? Bradley gives away more balls than Torres so I don’t really get your argument there. Bradley is not good enough to play that position in a 4-3-3 unless offense isn’t a priority.

  20. 2tone says:

    Hmm here is what i would put out because Klinsmann has played Donovna on the left i.e. against Antigua and against Guatemala while asking Jermaine Jones to play RM.


    I like Williams more than Jones because Williams just seems more mature, and lets face it Bradley is better than Jones. Jones in my opinion would be a great sub to lock down a lead. Bradley as the #8 because he is so much better when he can attack and defend not hamstrung by just being a CDM, and the CM #8 is the position he will be primarily playing with Roma.

    Donovan and Zusi as the attacking middies because both of them have very quick soccer brains.

    Cameron is now the starting RCB period, and one has to think Boca will be starting for the forseeable future.

    This starting 11 will be able to put up some goals.

  21. Joel J says:

    Too many deep lying mids there. You have to either put Donovan somewhere there or put in Torres or Suzi for a second link from midfield to attacking third.

  22. BUD says:

    I like the first one. Not in love with Torres starting though…Maybe Gatt or Zusi can get in there. I would also like to see Altidore or Boyd get a start when there is a competent midfield to see how they compare with Gomez. Just so we know what the depth chart is…

  23. Shawn says:

    I don’t think Jones has ever played the 6 under JK. He seems to always be in the 8 role. I think the US is better with Bradley in the 8 role and Williams in the 6 role. Williams is a cross between JJ and Beckerman. Better positional discipline than JJ but better athleticism and technical ability than Beckerman.

    My best eleven.

    ————-Bradley (#8)
    ———————Williams (#6)

    That set up allows the US to move between 442, 451, 433, all pretty seamlessly.

    Donovan and Zusi can play both CAMs in a possession game, with the backs overlappy… or they can play more traditional wingers, provideing their own depth

    Dempsey can move between a CAM and another striker.

    My only doubt is Gomez or JA- Jozey has been doing great for his club and if he can bring that to the national team then I think he is one up over Gomez. But Gomez is repeatedly outplaying him for the US team. Hard to call. In JA’s defense- he’s had little time to really get immersed with JK’s system with all the troubles with his club releasing him.

    But I think Williams has been the missing link at the #6 position that has really held back Bradley from doing more offensively. I think JJ is depth behind Bradley at the #8.

    Zusi is probably most controversial addition to the starting 11- but I think the US needs that speed and vision. I think Brek Shea is close behind him, and move LD to the right. But Zusi is more veritle. I just haven’t seen a whole lot from Torres and Shea is hot and cold.

  24. Josh says:

    After seeing the last appearances from the team, I would put Zusi in on the side before Torres.

    Especially at home in KC for Graham

  25. Joel J says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing that, but maybe also putting Donovan back on the right, Dempsey on the left with Boyd and Herc up top. I think Boyd and Herc could move a lot off the ball creating more space for Donovan and Dempsey to take advantage of.

  26. farcyde21 says:

    Have to agree with you there, Torres just does not look good.

  27. 2tone says:

    This is my full Roster for the October qualies.

    GK: Rimando, Guzan, Howard
    Defense: Dolo, Parkhurst, Johnson, Castillo, Goodson, Cam, Boca, Edu
    CM’s: Bradley, Williams, Jones, Torres
    AM’s: Donovan, Zusi, Shea, Gatt
    FWDS: Dempsey, Herc, Altidore, Boyd

  28. Moy says:

    Dolo Geoff Boca E.Lichaj
    LD Fabian
    H. Gomez/Altidore

  29. Jay says:

    Count me as still unconvinced that Jones should be that high on the depth chart. Just don’t think his positives are better than the other options, not a play maker, nor a time keeper passer, he is a physical presence as a D mid, though like many prone to cards, but he seems to lack the positional and tactical discipline of beckerman, bradley, williams and even edu. He just seams to be a more physical rico clark.

  30. farcyde21 says:

    I don’t think AVB has it in him. My thoughts are no.

  31. farcyde21 says:

    Wrong and wrong. He hasn’t played poorly (you said it yourself) so even as a joke calling him Suzi isn’t really funny. And moreover, Jamaica wasn’t the team that bunkered down, the US was. Jamaica had more chances in the last 10 than they had the rest of the game.

  32. 2tone says:

    Also now that Cameron has solidified the back, and with his ability to cover a lot of ground with his speed having Williams just sittign on toop pf the defense i.e. like Beckerman is not really needed. Cameron is a CB/Sweeper/ CDM all wrapped up into one package. Never before has the USMNT had a CB like Cameron

  33. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    Or…move Johnson up and leave Edgar at LB. Moving Johnson up would pay dividends on offense though I get the concern on the D.
    Also “There are some players who are locks when healthy, like Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson, Michael Bradley and Steve Cherundolo”

    Donovan is a LOCK as well…

    (SBI-While I would tend to agree with you, I wonder if Klinsmann feels the same.)

  34. DJ says:

    100% right. Zusi on the right, or at CAM as needed. It would indeed be our most dangerous attack. Torres at wing or LM is not what we need.

  35. Andy says:

    ————| Howard |————

    I think 4-2-3-1 is our best formation.

    For the Hex, I’m projecting this lineup:

    ————| Howard |————

  36. moy says:

    Dolo— Geoff—— Boca—— E.Lichaj
    LD—————————– Fabian
    ———H. Gomez/Altidore

  37. TGA says:

    Please stop mentioning Edu in these roster projections…he may be a nice fellow…but he plays SCARED…surely we can do better than Edu…

  38. DJ says:

    LOL. Zeus is still new. He’s been tearing up MLS in terms of assists for a couple of years now. He can boom them long-range, too.

  39. GoGetta says:

    This did say when everyone is healthy, I assume that could mean Holden as well… Let’s not forget that he is a boss and should make the starting XI (when healthy)

    (SBI-And it clearly states “Heading into October.” No point in discussing Holden right now when he’s actually still rehabbing and months away from being a viable national team option. Is he someone who, by the Hex, can be in the mix if healthy? Absolutely, but right now it’s pointless to bring him up when he has zero chance of playing a role in October’s qualifiers.)

  40. Siberian says:

    Agree, but there’s the problem. The US is missing an attacking midfielder. If not Torres, then Shea? Zusi? We need to find more options. I can’t even think of who I’d put there. We can fill the spot with MLS players like Zusi for now, but when Donovan is injured, the team gets weak in attack.

  41. DJ says:

    Yep. You got it. I like Clint more as withdrawn CF than all the way up with Herc. Zusi on RM/RW and Donovan on the left would be deadly.

  42. Freddie Footballer says:

    Apparently, Roger Federer is disguising himself as a soccer player.

  43. Brolo says:

    Love Dempsey and here up top. No antidore.

  44. Brolo says:

    Nice work autocorrect

  45. PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo says:

    Do not think you are correct on giveaways from Bradley. He usually is #1 or 2 in passing completions.

  46. thomas says:

    I hate when people say Jermaine Jones is a “red card waiting” and can someone please remind me when his last red card was.

  47. Siberian says:

    And who are the others who could possibly replace Donovan at the moment? Donovan has bad games and we are stuck with it.

  48. Daniel says:

    I would actually like to see this lineup:

    Dolo Boca Cameron Castillo


    Donovan Bradley Johnson



    Obviously it wouldn’t actually be a 4-1-3-1-1. Dempsey and Gomez would both be free form floaters running off of each other, and Bradley would drop to a 2nd CDM when we lose possession.

  49. Dank says:

    Club situations have to matter in some way. One of them is a full-time starter for a Champions League team, and the other a squad player for a relegation contender, in the same league.

  50. Cornelius says:

    I like this a lot.

    Neither Torres nor Wondo would be on my bench though. (But still on the larger team) Really need an all out attack type midfield player for bench like Feilhaber was last World Cup. I’m not sold on either Kljestan or Adu, but they’re closer than Torres. Prefer Boyd over Wondo.

    I don’t understand why Klinsi hasn’t called up Lichaj yet. Without Lichaj, have to drop Johnson to LB and find someone else (Torres?) to play LM. Or switch Donovan to LM and find someone (Zusi?) to play RM.

  51. Rik says:

    SBI’s preferred lineup for A&B game is same as mine.

    If it’s an absolute must for Klinsi to get Jones in there too, I’d switch to this. Bradley higher up, with one of Jones or Williams making runs forward and the other providing cover. Someone made very good point though about yellow card accumulation…may want to keep Jones out of game with presumably bad pitch (fouls from misjudged long balls ala Jamaica).

    Dempsey Donovan
    Jones Williams
    Johnson Boca Cameron Dolo

  52. KillerInstinct says:

    There are plenty in the MLS…Benny Feilhiber(World cup experience) & Freedy Adu( as a super sub)…or how about we try Farfan or Pontius..there are players, its just that Klinsi is enamored with Torres.

  53. Call Up Lichaj says:


    Johnson – Bradley – Donovan


    Lichaj – Boca – Cameron – Dolo


    By 2014:
    -Chandler for Dolo when the former decides he is “ready;”
    -Groom Williams as a replacement for Jones;
    -Groom a young CB among J.A. Brooks, Gonzalez, Ream as a possible replacement for Boca;
    -Give Boyd experience so he’s a 90-minute option in a big game;
    -Give Shea experience and keep his confidence up.

    Quarterfinals in 2014. BOOM.

  54. g-loff says:

    Why does there HAVE to be an attacking midfielder? In this line-up, you would have LD and Zusi tucking into the center while the outside backs push forward to provide width. On top of that, Bradley is a good box to box player with someone sitting deeper behind him. There doesn’t always have to be true 10 on the field in my opinion.

  55. Nate Dollars says:

    usually the d-mid

  56. cairo says:

    People have to stop mentioning Holden as a possible USMNT. When he’s playing competitive matches again and looking good doing it, we can talk about him. He is not the savior.

    I’d go with this lineup for the next qualifiers:


    This team needs someone who can cross from the wings. On the left, the only other candidate is Brek Shea, and he’s just not ready yet…

    IF we make it to 2014, I think it might look like this instead:

    Sorry about the inclusion of Chandler, but I think he ends up wearing the stars and stripes, and we’ll have to accept it, because he and Johnson running up and down the wings is just too enticing for a team that otherwise has trouble scoring. Shea is still the future–just needs to watch Gareth Bale videos every night before bed….

  57. Tab says:

    1. I love you all. Bleed red white blue. And all that.

    2. Disagree on Torres. He’s super tidy on the ball and brings a range of passing we sorely need. Michael Bradley has improved tremendously as a distributor, but we still need another midfield presence who can circulate the ball in traffic. With Fabian providing width on the left, Torres can pinch in and do this.

    3. Torres isn’t a ball-winning type. But he’s got a great sense of space and closes down passing lanes well. Think he can really shine if he settles into the team. Some of the disagreement probably boils down to aesthetics. And a built-in preference (prejudice?) among many for players who are athletic and “get stuck in” and among others [like me] for a team that keeps possession. That’s cool. There are many ways to bring quality to the side…

    4. Assuming we progress through qualifying, I am hopeful that Danny Williams makes the sitting central midfield role his. Let Bradley have full freedom to go forwards. In Williams you get a player who is tidier and more disciplined than Jermaine Jones (whom I actually love).

  58. cairo says:

    Oops, forgot to put Williams in at Defensive Mid in the 2014 lineup. This is actually a pretty strong team


  59. THomas says:

    I’d agree but I don’t think Dempsey is willing to put in the defensive work he once was.

    For me…and I have extensive experience playing FIFA…the only change I would consider is Donovan to the left and Zusi on the right since he and Dolo clearly combined well.

  60. PD says:

    Right on, Ives. In my opinion the only guy missing from this discussion is Beasely, but other than that your thinking is right on.

    BTW I am frustrated with why so many folks haven’t figured out the Altidore riddle yet; on his club he’s playing with a front three and usually running at goal at speed. He’s not really playing as a traditional hold-up man, which is what is being asked of him on the US squad. This is a much less sexy role that is by design a lot more messy. This is a large part of why he’s not ripping up the back of the net.

  61. THomas says:

    Great point, and the fact is he adds the ‘nastiness’ that JK called the team out for not having after getting crushed by Brazil.

  62. THomas says:

    It’s okay…we’d beat Antigua w/ just 10 anyways.

  63. THomas says:

    I’m trying to decide if it’s a good or bad thing that our second XI isn’t that big of a drop off from our first XI

  64. THomas says:

    I also love how gently Jones is touching Gomez with his left hand in the picture. Showing his soft side.

  65. Benjamin C. says:


  66. hogatroge says:

    Are you serious? I can list his good performance on one finger, but that one match was Tuesday night.

    He covered a lot of ground, and while he didn’t unleash any amazing attacks, he did keep a lot of possession for the US.

  67. The Imperative Voice says:

    Boyd/Gomez [Altidore/Dempsey late]

  68. biff says:

    I am not a fan of two-striker line-ups (= four midfielders), would rather see a lone striker with five midfielders in a 4-2-3-1 or 4-1-4-1. It should not be forgotten that Clint Dempsey scored his 23 Fulham goals last year as a midfielder, tops 17 in league play and tops for a midfielder. Even during the great first-half Tuesday against Jamaica, Clint and Herc as strikers did not get many touches, it was mainly the midfielders creating the fireworks. A second striker is a waster of manpower, better to have an extra attacking midfielder like Clint or Zusi or Landon who can storm the box and score.

    Way too soon to be banishing Jermaine Jones, one of the best defensive midfielders in the Bundesliga who also played extremely well Tuesday evening, to the bench. And, quite frankly, it ain’t gonna happen. Klinsmann is smart enough to know how lucky he is to have a thoroughbred of Jones’ caliber. Whether Jones will be starting in WC 2014, or Williams will be starting then, is still an open question. But right now we need a big win against Antigua and Jones is the man.

    Zusi convinced me. Loved his play (and Klinsmann next needs to call in Chris Pontius). I would like finally to see Torres in his club position. I always felt Donovan is best from the right side with support from Dolo. And I would like to see Johnson and Dempsey stirring things up on the left. With this line-up, we will beat Antigua 5-0 and pump up that goal differential just in case Guatemala gets lucky four days later.





  69. Alex says:

    If there’s a lone defensive midfielder, that’s the no. 6. Can also be called the Makelele role. It’s more specific than holding or defensive midfielder, because you can have more than one of those, but a no.6/Makelele is doing the job himself.

  70. Alex says:

    He’s not wrong. You’re wrong. Jamaica definitely bunkered for the majority of the game. We had 80% possession in the first half. Come on.

  71. Alex says:

    Right now, no one, but I could see Gatt eventually taking his place. Notice I do say eventually… Kid has a lot to prove, including that he can stay healthy, but long term, I see him taking Donovan’s spot. For the moment, Landon starts.

  72. Benjamin C. says:

    Is Torres over Bradley an oversight or done on purpose?

  73. Alex says:

    Praying Holden gets back to his old form. He’s been out a long time. I’m not doubting him, just wondering if it hasn’t been too long.

  74. The Imperative Voice says:

    I think if you push the two franchise players wide like during the Bradley era you resolve the wing service limitations.

    I think we could really use a #10 type and no one’s stepped up yet.

    I prefer a big/little forward combo and felt Dempsey/ Gomez while not sloppy like Altidore was not productive enough…gotta be better than 1 goal squeakers.

    I wonder if you put Chandler where he belongs on his natural R if some of the grumbliness goes away. Dolo’s good and should be in the 18 but he’s getting older and I see the current problem as not really presenting our best XI, instead merely a good one.

    I think one of the issues confronting Klinsi is getting the second ten players in a 20 man callup chosen better. There are 10 or so players I’d agree with Klinsi on, but you start getting into the people in the SBI second XI and I wouldn’t even have them in camp much less “second team.”

    For example, Guzan, Torres on current form, Shea on current form, Castillo, Orozco when viewed objectively long term as opposed to as “big goal scorer.” We have better people in the pool. Klinsi has to put better XIs out and also do a better job of assembling a camp list. Too many mediocrities in this last one. More speed, more technique. Less lunchpail.

  75. Four Cents says:















  76. Jeff says:

    What is JK’s aversion to calling in an attacking midfielder? Or if he does call one in, it seems he doesn’t play them to see what they have in a game

  77. Dave from Charlotte says:

    Please, please…i’m going to start having nightmares if I see Torres in a Best XI on the left. He had an average game at best on Wednesday, he’s not a winger, never will be…he is most definitely the Bornstein of the Klinsi era.

    Zusi played well and based on the Columbus game be a 2nd choice consideration behind Donovan, but not a starter when everyone is healthy. Agree that Jones will get the nod over Williams for the foreseeable future, but Williams was defintely impressive in his natural role.

    I’m also glad to see affirmation about leaving out SK and Lichaj. I really hope they’re called in soon. Very troubled by some of the line ups, let alone overall roster selection.

    I really like the A&B line up, I think SBI has it about 90% right, except Zusi to the bench assuming a healthy Donovan and Altidore up top:






  78. moy says:

    that’s sort of what I said but dont forget about Gatt as a back up for Dolo or AM, also Gyau will be better than Brek Shea in the future.

  79. dan says:

    Really like it, Ives. My only question- do you think Beckerman is involved on the fringe of the second XI?

  80. PD says:

    Orosco-Fiscal over Gatt

  81. Waterlewd says:

    This is the way I’d want to play our team:

    Gomez/Altidore (toss-up based on form)

    Ok, so Dempsey needs to be cloned or we need a new player for the #10. Dempsey can fill that spot but would be better used as a flank MF (#11). The issue is that we don’t have a true #10 right now. So what we’re seeing is Torres, Zusi, Shea making the lineups because Dempsey is being played out of position in the #10.

  82. Adam says:

    I understand that he isn’t starting (and maybe someone already mentioned this), but I like Beasley over Shea in the super sub role. Shea can have his moments of brilliance, like in Azteca. He can also look unsure of what to do, like Tuesday. Beas is a veteran who understands qualifying and can be the perfect spark for the last 20-30 minutes if you need a goal, or the perfect possession guy to kill off a game. Am I way off?

  83. TomG says:

    Agreed – or put Shea on the left. Torres is simply zero threat out there. The object out wide is to push the ball forward, combine with Fabian and send in crosses. Instead, he makes safe, short passes backwards and sideways and tends to hold onto the ball too long. He does not combine well with Fabian. Zusi and Dolo showed how it’s supposed to be done. Torres never gets any chalk on his heels, he pushes inside way too much and doesn’t take advantage of the width of the field.

  84. Mat says:

    Best lineup in my mind would be.






  85. Adam says:

    I question the second choice behind Landy for Zusi. When he decides to play, yes Landy should be the starter. Too many games he just looks uninterested though and you have to read the box score later to even realize he was in the game. Maybe having Zusi push him will help with this. If not, maybe being behind Zusi on the depth chart will help him out a little bit.

  86. Mat says:

    Main difference with SBI’s is no Torres – never really impressed me, for a attacking player he never scores and never has any assists really, we’ve better options.
    Also, Altidore has to play if he’s fit. He’s our best striker in the pool by far and very young

  87. luke s says:

    the way i see it, if we needed a roster of 23 for a tournament right now, JK would take your listed 22, subtract orozco, add beckerman and rimando. not a bad squad either, but i also agree that kljestan and lichaj deserve a further look by JK.

  88. luke s says:

    and it will be interesting to see who starts with MB at CM in october, assuming him, jones and williams are all available

  89. Waterlewd says:

    I’d be more concerned about the tactics than anything with this lineup. That group of players could be quite flexible and line-up against any opponent in many different tactical formations. Anything besides a 4-3-3 basically. Although, like you’ve noted already, I think we’re all creating lineups trying to get around the fact we don’t have a #10 right now.

  90. luke s says:

    not way off. i think tie goes to the young guy.

  91. luke s says:

    definitely on the fringe and he’ll keep getting call-ups

  92. bradsdsu13 says:

    I don’t understand why we continue to put players out of position???????????

    I understand trying to get the “best” players out on the pitch but come on.

    Torres looked better then 2nd time around against Jamaica, but please out of the 20 call ups I haven’t seen anything that indicates to me he deserves to START for the USMNT as a LM or CM (his natural position) at that.

    Our best lineup if the World Cup were today
    Forward: Altidore Gomez
    Mid: Dempsey (v)Jones (^)Bradley Donovan
    Def: Fjohnson cameron boca cherun
    G: Howard

    bench: Spector, Lichaj, Goodson, Gatt, Shea, Edu, Guzan

    My opinion who I’d like to see 4-3-3
    Forward: Altidore
    Wings: josh gatt, donovan
    Attacking mid: dempsey
    Center mid: jones bradley
    Defense: FJohnson Bocanegra Cameron Lichaj
    G: howard

  93. bradsdsu13 says:

    zusi is not a right midfielder!

  94. Mat says:

    In the long run it might be interesting to prolong the Edu CB experiment (in friendlies at least), since we’re looking thin back there for 2014. I suppose Goodson, when healthy, is serviceable enough in the meantime.

  95. fischy says:

    The US needs a left-sided midfielder. Where will we find that guy? Here I am with my DC United season-tickets and I am struggling to think who could play at the international level at that position. Who’s strapping, fast, good on the dribble, creates chances for teammates and can score, too?

    Where, oh, where is that left midfielder the USA needs. Only the Real Fans Know the answer.

  96. julio says:

    Stuart Holden should be in these best players the US has and so does Gatt.

  97. bradsdsu13 says:

    Four Cents, how the F*ck is Torres our 2nd best midfielder????? I would put Spector in at CDM before Torres(jones is #2). Spector for one can play mid or defense, he lacks speed but has good deliveries from rb, he can play cb and he has actually done well on the USNMT. Torres has done nothing in his 20 call ups.

    Same goes with Fiscal in your 2nd Best XI. He has absolutely done terrible in every match he’s played, the mexico goal was luck and doesn’t mean he played well AT his position in the game.

    On the other hand I do like your ADU selection as I love his creativity and the fact he has contributed to the usmnt in his few appearances.

  98. Chef says:

    No, just no. Bradley’s possession game by game over the past 2 years is far superior to Torres’.

  99. bradsdsu13 says:

    PD give me one good reason why Fiscal should be picked over Gatt

  100. Dave from Charlotte says:

    True in the sense that he does not play RM for his club.

    But, unlike every other “out of position” choice Klinsi has made…whether it is the 3 DM abomination in Kingston, or the Torres as LM… whatever, this is the ONLY Klinsi “experiment” that seems to have worked (for 1 game). Williams out wide did not work, etc.

  101. bradsdsu13 says:

    donovan and dempsey can play on the left, so can shea, and gatt

  102. Shawn says:

    Everyone keeps talking about how good a 6 Jones is. When has he played a 6 for JK? He’s almost always played as an 8. Linking play and gettin forward. I rarely see him sitting in front of the CBs- and he gets forward waaay too much to be considered a 6.

    The question regarding his inclusion is not is he better than Dwilliams, beckerman, or Edu as a 6. Its whether he is better than Bradley as an 8?

    I, personally, don’t think so.

  103. Chris H says:


    This would be my preferred lineup. Donovan and Dempsey are free to go at attackers and cut inside to free up the wings for Johnson and Dolo. I would love to see two of our most creative and technical players (Johnson and Dempsey) overlapping, going at defenders, and generally causing mismatches on their side of the field. Donovan and Dolo have an amazing rapport together because of their experience with each other, they just always work well together.

    Williams plays as the #6 and Bradley as the #8. I agree with everyone above that Williams is more disciplined than JJ and brings the technical ability we need in that position. Bradley is just a boss, and pushing him further up the field allows for him to combine well with others. Jozy always plays better for the nats when he has a striking partner with him, and this allows Gomez more freedom for his movement and dropping into midfield without stretching the field, which we saw a little bit of in the Jamaica game. Besides, a two forward alignment that doesn’t include Deuce makes it much less possible for three defensive midfielders to be on the field at the same time, which is what I hate more than anything

  104. Mat says:

    I might be mistaken, but I believe that Jones plays more traditional 6 in Shalke, no?

  105. Jeff says:

    Agreed on sk and lichen points Torres too dor that matter

  106. Shawn says:

    I’ve read that he doesn’t anymore. That playing the 6 was one of his major beefs with a past coach, but I honestly don’t know.

    I just havent’ seen him play it for the US much at all.

  107. Chris H says:

    Sorry, two edits “free to go at defenders” in the first paragraph, not to go at attackers, and then the sentence about Gomez should read “this allows Gomez more freedom for his movement and dropping into midfield without compromising our ability to stretch the field”. What I meant was with Deuce and Gomez up top, both of them like to drop into midfield, and sometimes we weren’t able to stretch the Jamaican defense because both were playing so shallow. Having Jozy and Herc would allow Herc freedom to roam and still leave a target man up front to stretch the D.

  108. bradsdsu13 says:

    yes zusi did well, and I am ecstatic that you realized it was only for 1 game. My mind set is that Zusi, while he did play well, lacks the qualities of a RM. Because he is out of position, he has a CM mindset which is look middle, not down the flanks, and he lacks PACE.

    While I would choose Zusi over say Williams Torres Beckerman Jones or any other unfathomable CM on the Right, I would prefer a natural RM or outside player.

    This leads me to suggest Donovan(obviously if hes healthy), Dempsey as our best choices.

    And if we use them in other positions CALL UP GATT.
    Ive seen some of his matches and highlights, the Boy is faster then anyone on the current squad. He can score goals, track back on D(from his split time as wing and RB) and he can TAKE PLAYERS 1V1, something nobody on the US can do.

  109. Shawn says:

    Regarding Zusi- cutting middle is how they want their RAM- to provide overlaps by the outside backs. I don’t think Zusi is any slower than Dempsey.

    Both can play outside mids and cut inwards.. creating space for Dolo and Johnson. What JK mostly wants is technical ability, vision, and outside shooting. Thats why Torres got the nod there. Gatt is likely to be a RB in this sytem. Thats where most of the width comes from.

    Really, in this system there are three interchangable attacking mids. I don’t know if Zusi is the best there, but he’s a lot better than Williams and Torres. I think it would be interesting seeing guys like SK, Pontius, Adu, or Feilhaber in those roles. But none of them seem to be on form enough- aside from SK- and for some reason he doesn’t seem to fit with JK well.

    So until a better option comes around with high techincal ability, vision, and high Football/soccer IQ- Zusi seems the best fit.

  110. Chef says:

    Starting XI





    Second XI





  111. fischy says:

    Real Fans Know.

    There’s one Choice Possibility, but also one Nicely Developing Left side option.

  112. danny says:

    Why do people keep calling Jones and Bradley defensive mids as a way to dismiss their offensive value? They are 2 of our best attacking players.

  113. andrew in tally says:

    I’d like to see Eddie Johnson called in to the final two games. He can give us a dual threat – aerial and speed – which we sorely lack. None of our forwards worry defenders for pace. Also EJ can surely bring it on set pieces and corners.

  114. Call me crazy but... says:

    2014 Lineup



  115. BL says:

    don’t like the argument of moving Johnson. U.S. has been looking for a solid left back since Agoos decided to start putting balls into his own net in 2002. We finally have one and people are trying to push him into midfield? Lets not forget the past 10 years of Heath Pearce, Johnny B, trying to convert Beasley and Convey, shifting Boca, etc. Let Johnson develop in this role and we will have an anchor there for the next 6 years.

  116. RLW2020 says:

    they are good in attack, but they don’t contribute to the wing play. leads to a congested middle when there are more that 2 cm’s on the field unless one stays with the attack..

  117. RLW2020 says:

    torres is B team material! I would rather have Zusi, Dempsey, Gomez or Shea in the LM/LW spot. I really hope someone from the Gaat, Shea, Gyau, Adu, etc. class steps it up soon!

  118. RLW2020 says:

    not bad! but Williams or Jones > Edu. I want Lichaj to be there just as much as you but he doesn’t start for Villa or even play much at all so why would he be with the National Team. once he is ready it would be great to move Johnson up.

  119. RNG says:

    Having seen Torres’ best US match– which was the friendly against Turkey–I agree that he has a lot of potential, and at his best could be an extremely useful player moving the ball around. But right now he just seems so slow (of thought) and so timid, that it’s hard to push for him. Even Klinsmann has said it. {On the flip side, all of his issues seem to be mental, not physical, so perhaps he can turn himself around.]

  120. Joel J says:

    Oops, I misspelled, Zusi, honest mistake. But yes, we had 79% possession in the first half, Jamaica definitely bunkered down. In the last 10, he was pretty much out of the game and subbed… so what’s wrong with what I wrote? I think he’s definitely a nice piece to have on the bench, and he’ll definitely get more opportunities to prove himself.

  121. Joel J says:

    Gatt would be nice to have on the wing. I would love to see Donovan and Gatt on both sides tearing it up, with Dempsey and Gomez creating space.

  122. Since 82 says:

    This is my preference as well.

  123. 2tone says:

    Torres over Bradley and Williams no and no.

  124. 2tone says:

    Gatt+RB=NO. Gatt is a winger plain and simple!!!!!!!!!

  125. Lorenzo says:

    Jones is not as good as Bradley offensively. Dude can shoot, but always tries to do too much on offense, and can’t control the ball under pressure (on the attack) as Bradley. Bradley’s passing is a tad better I think.

    I would like to see Williams behind Bradley. Absolutely agree with Ives. Watching that game I was thinking, just imagine if it were Bradley infront of Williams.

    I really like Ives line up (possibly put Altidore up top and swap Dempsey on right for Zusi). I WOULD LOVE TO SEE EITHER!

  126. Louis Z says:

    My opinion is, If and when Chandler comes back, it won’t be to replace DOLO just yet. he will be replacing Johnson as a LB and Johnson will be our LM.

  127. Scott says:

    if you are going to move Dempsey to the midfield, then put him on the left and LD on the right. That is their preferred sides. Personally I like having Zusi working with Dolo. Instant chemistry and trust. Short of Zusi showing that he can’t perform at this level, you don’t miss opportunities to pair up players that meld naturally. Much like we are seeing with Boca and Cameron and LD and Altidore. I think that many people don’t realize that LD brings out the best in Altidore. It seems like every time he scores for us, he is assisted by LD. Chemistry is everything when skill is approximate.

  128. Scott says:

    On Zusi, I agree that he is untested at this level. Having said that, I play him against A&B. He didn’t cost us anything when he came in late against Mexico, he was very good against Jamaica and he plays against better teams than A&B routinely in the MLS. I see the A&B game as another good game to further test him. He is a mature player, a leader and has shown (however briefly) that his game has translated to the international level (so far). He combines very well with Dolo, reads the game well, shuts down passing lanes and isn’t afraid to shoot (and if you look, you will find that he is an assist machine and hits some great long shots). If he looks good against A&B, play him the next game.

  129. Joel J says:

    Agreed. I would completely play him against A&B. No offense to them, but they are not on the level of the other teams in the group. They’ll probably look to counter, and Zusi and Dolo played extremely well with each other. I have no problem with him seeing the field there, but whether he starts or not, really depends on who else we bring. But definitely, he’s in my 23.

  130. colin says:

    Both Altidore and Boyd are better options than Gomez, who, has a low strike rate and brings little else to the team other than dead ball ability, which he would not even be the first option for if Donovan and Bradley were healthy. Dont mind gomez, but he is a sub not a starter. Just look at how well he does in Mexico off the bench. Further, I think Altidore for sure, and to a certain extent boyd are both much better starters. Altidore just does not seem to do so well off the bench, which he has commonly been resigned to doing since Klinsman came in.

  131. Pete says:

    I love this line up, but I would put Jozy up front. He is our only CF to play at the world cup, and this is a service line up!

  132. Pete says:


    Cherundolo(Chandler in future). Cameron. Boca(Onyewu if he plays regular at Malaga). Johnson
    Edu or Williams
    Jones or Kljestan(Diskeruud/Corona in future).Bradley
    Donovon(Gatt in future). Dempsey(Gyau in future)

  133. Pete says:

    Agreed. Look at the France (Altidore was our best player) and Italy game. Gomez couldn’t survive at that international speed.

  134. Cornelius says:

    I hear you, BL. But based on his excellent play in the Gold Cup, I don’t see why Lichaj couldn’t be the LB anchor. At the very least, Lichaj should be brought to camp. I prefer him as a backup to Johnson over Castillo.

  135. Artie says:

    Torres is torrible, just torrible. The idea that anyone could think he’s one of the best eleven soccer players in this country makes me hang my head in shame.

  136. schmitty says:

    No to a Williams-Jones-Bradley midfield. It will produce no attack what-so-ever. As a sporting KC fan, I’ve watched this type of midfield with the Caesar-Nagamura-Espinoza lineup. Way too defensive. In a 4-3-3, there has to be a creator and as good as Bradley is, he’s not a creator

  137. Tank says:

    Ives love the last formation with Donny back on the left side would love to see how they play out maybe they get 85% possesion and even more chances at goal against A&B go USA!!!

  138. bha says:

    Wow. I think the team you mention here is the most mentally tough. Would love to see them play this formation against Antigua if and only if it didn’t affect the preparation for Guatemala.

    The only problem I have with it is that Zusi isn’t playing. We must develop a play-making midfielder before Rio. Somehow, I think we need to have Bradley and Zusi together by early 2013. Either Williams or Jones will be the odd man out, provided both stay healthy.

    One thing though–I love Jermaine Jones’ toughness. But he’s straight red card or double yellow card just waiting to happen. That may not hurt in a game with Antigua, but it could be devastating in a game with Guatemala.

  139. bha says:

    Beckerman has always been a step-and-a-half slow. In a pinch, I can’t quibble with him being called up to the team when someone is injured during a friendly. However, under no circumstances should Beckermen ever be called up for a WC qualifier.

    Now, only getting to World Cup matters. Beckermen will never make the WC team. Give someone else a chance to play who may have some speed.

    Jamaica has speed. Why would the coach think Beckermen was a choice? It was just insane to play Beckermen against Jamaica.

  140. Chad says:

    Gomez has played awesome, but not sure he should start ahead of Altidore. Gomez, is better suited as a sub. I know there’s plenty of complaints on Altidore’s MNT performance…but he’s extremely skilled and could peform better with an offensive midfield.