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Just two days removed from Friday's disappointing 2-1 loss to Jamaica, Jurgen Klinsmann is left to figure out just which 11 players he can turn to for Tuesday's crucial rematch against the 'Reggae Boyz' in Columbus.
There were few good performances across the board for the Americans, and some that should lead to changes in the lineup. The issue for Klinsmann will be finding alternatives on a squad already missing a handful of key players.
The midfield is a particular area of concern, which Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu and Kyle Beckerman all enduring sub-par nights in Kingston. Klinsmann isn't going to bench all three, but it's a safe bet at least one of them (most likely Beckerman) will be on the sidelines on Tuesday night.
The U.S. sorely lacked attacking punch, which Klinsmann is likely to try and address by inserting Brek Shea into the lineup. He could also start Terrence Boyd at forward, but the reality is neither Jozy Altidore or Herculez Gomez could be faulted for being non-factors on Friday considering the lack of service they were provided.
So what will the U.S. lineup look like on Tuesday at Crew Stadium? Here is one potential squad Klinsmann could turn to:
USA PROJECTED LINEUP vs. JAMAICA
The four changes are Carlos Bocanegra, Brek Shea, Jose Torres and Danny Williams for Clarence Goodson, Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman. Goodson didn't have a terrible match, but didn't do enough to hold on to the position ahead of a veteran like Bocanegra, who is a better organizer and gives the team a threat on set pieces (Note- Goodson is suspended due to yellow card accumulation and will miss Tuesday's match).
Expect to see this group deployed in a 4-3-3 rather than a 4-4-2 (which was originally listed here), which will force both Fabian Johnson and Michael Parkhurst to get forward and cover more ground. This set-up will also give Dempsey the freedom to roam and pick his spots to go at the Jamaica defense.
Shea has to start because of the lineup needs an attacking boost and there simply aren't many midfield options. Graham Zusi is a player who could see some time on Tuesday, but Joe Corona lacks experience in high-level senior matches so he is highly unlikely to be thrown into the fire. Shea's energy should not only provide a threat, but his presence on the left wing should help Fabian Johnson find space to overlap.
Willams showed some promise in his second-half cameo on Friday while Jones looked frustrated and on the verge of a red card at times. Klinsmann could give a Jones-Edu combination a chance in deeper-lying roles in a 4-4-2, but Jones' showing on Friday has to be a cause for concern. It was one of his worst national team games in some time. The effort was there, but he was reckless and poor in possession.
Jose Torres is an interesting option. Klinsmann believes he can provide an attacking spark in midfield, and this could be a perfect chance for him to show what he can contribute to the offense. Edu didn't do enough on Friday to be considered a locked-in starter come Tuesday, but he could certainly get the nod again.
Beckerman simply wasn't good enough on Friday and seems to be the starter most likely to be on the bench come Tuesday.
Parkhurst didn't do too badly in place of Steve Cherundolo on Friday, but he did have some vulnerable moments defensively. It's a safe bet that, if Cherundolo is healthy enough, he will get the nod.
Altidore and Gomez get the start again, but you have to wonder if Klinsmann will be tempted to give Boyd a look ahead of Altidore. Expect him to stick with the more experienced Altidore.
Four new starters means some fresh legs for a match that will come just four days after the first meeting between these sides. With Shea and Torres, the Americans should be able to create some more chances after a Friday that saw the offense be invisible for the greater part of 89 minutes.
What would be a surprising? If Klinsmann made fewer than two lineup changes. Beckerman is the best bet to sit, but if Klinsmann doesn't bring in any more fresh legs than Brek Shea (most likely), the Americans could be in trouble on Tuesday.
What do you think of this lineup? What changes would you make to the starting lineup? Think the U.S. will rebound and beat Jamaica on Tuesday?
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