Who should the USMNT start vs. Guatemala?

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

With three points in the bag following Friday’s last-minute World Cup Qualifying win against Antigua & Barbuda on Friday, the U.S. Men’s National Team heads into Tuesday’s match needing just a draw to guarantee a place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

Friday’s win was far from pretty though, and Jurgen Klinsmann is going to have some tough decisions to make on what starting lineup he will trot out to take on a desperate Guatemala team that also needs just a draw to secure a place in the Hexagonal.

While Eddie Johnson made a very strong case to remain in the starting lineup, some other starters weren’t as convincing on Friday. Throw in an impressive substitute’s appearance by Sacha Kljestan (and Alan Gordon) and you wonder just what changes Klinsmann will make against Guatemala.

Here is a look at lineup we see Klinsmann calling on for Tuesday night’s match vs. Guatemala:


———–E. Johnson———-Dempsey————-





Some thoughts:

The toughest call for me in projecting this lineup is choosing between Sacha Kljestan and Herculez Gomez. It’s tough to replace the hustle Gomez gives, and defensive work he brings from the forward position, but he struggled badly against Antigua & Barbuda and Kljestan provided a great spark to the midfield and should work well with Michael Bradley and Graham Zusi.

So why the midfielder over the forward? We all know both teams can advance with a draw, and Guatemala figures to sit back and let the USA possess the ball. Kljestan can take advantage of that possession to set up Johnson and Dempsey.

Danny Williams didn’t have the best game against Antigua & Barbuda, but in fairness the conditions didn’t help him at all in the middle of the park in Antigua. Jurgen Klinsmann could turn to a Maurice Edu or a Kyle Beckerman, but I think he keeps Williams in the lineup for this one.

In the back, it’s tough not to see Klinsmann giving Parkhurst the nod at left back. Bocanegra was expected at left back against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala’s wingers are more dangerous so Klinsmann needs some more pace at left back. Bocanegra may have struggled at left back, but Goodson also struggled at centerback and it’s tough not to think that Bocanegra is the better centerback option.

And in case you are wondering, this is both the lineup I think Klinsmann calls on as well as the lineup I would trot out in KC if I were the coach.

What do you think of the projected lineup? Who didn’t make the lineup that you would like to see start vs. Guatemala? Do you like that back four’s chances of stopping Carlos Ruiz and the ‘Chapines’?

Share your thoughts below.

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161 Responses to Who should the USMNT start vs. Guatemala?

  1. Marden08 says:

    This is the lineup I would go with. i would rather that he called in a natural left back but with the player left I like this lineup.

    • Two Cents says:

      The lineup is pretty good, but I prefer Klestjan playing in the center of the pitch. My lineup is more offensively geared, so unlikely to happen. More likely you will have Johnson going solo or with Gordon/Gomez up top, Dempsey playing behind him/them, and two d mids in Bradley and Williams/Edu, with Bradley being the more forward of the two.


      More likely:


      • AzTeXan says:







        • Datrufth says:

          Dude LOL

          I lost it when you put fiscal

          Sad thing is this team could beat guatemala

          • Ray Hudson says:

            With the issues this team has had on the back line, I’m amazed that Klinsmann hasn’t called up Demerit. The guy is a beast. At a minimum, he’d add security, depth, and reliability to the back four.

            I’m also curious to see if Omar Gonzalez is worked into the mix in 2013.

            • bryan says:

              well given SBI reported that Omar was on the “stand by” list for these qualifiers, i think it’s guaranteed. he’ll likey come to the Russia friendly in November.

        • Bump Bailey says:

          And the U.S. fails to qualify……

        • divers suck says:

          _________Terry Boss_________

          Jackie Joyner-Kersey_LeBron James_Kobe Bryant_Steve Nash
          _______Mia Hamm___Nomar Garciaparra________

          ______Chad Ocho Cinco___Justin Bieber_________

          ___St Louis Rams placekicker(?)________________

          _____________Woody Harrelson_________________

          • fischy says:

            Michael Caine — Paul van Himst
            (never capped by his (Sure, he was capped by
            native England) Belgium, but he’s Anderlecht,
            like Sasha

            PELE (’nuff said)
            John Wark Mike Summerbee
            Capped by Scotland, but Only 8 caps for 3 Lions
            scored for our boys in Victory but Man City’s best
            old-time right-winger
            Osvaldo Ardiles
            He gave the Nazis fits in the movie

            Russell Osman Kevin Beattie
            Caine’s stand-in, but a
            career defender
            Kevin O’Callaghan Steve Cherundolo
            Normally a left-winger Dude has lock on RB
            Like the USMNT, this team also, the movie team
            lacks a real LB

            and of course, Sly “Hatch” Stallone

            The coach would have to Gordon Banks, who consulted on the movie.

            OK, the defense is porous, even with Cherundolo — the other defenders are old and slow, — but I think the offense can really fill the net, putting pressure on the Chapines.

            • fischy says:

              Well, that didn’t line up right

              Caine — van Himst

              Wark — Pele — Ardiles — Summerbee

              O’Callaghan – Osman – Beattie – Cherundolo


    • Vic says:

      Here’s the pattern: Klejstan plays against a good team, turns over the ball alot, people say he should never play again. Klejstan plays against a weak team, lots of space on the ball, he plays pretty well, people want him to start. Then, Klejstan plays against a good team, turns over the ball alot, people say he should never play again. My thoughts: Klejstan may be ok to play against Guatemala at home since they’re a pretty weak team. However, don’t expect good performances against top teams that will pressure us.

      • Ryan says:

        You forgot the part where Sacha moves to RSC Anderlecht and improves vastly as a player.

        • Vic says:

          Didn’t forget anything. He’s been at Anderlecht for years and he still turns the ball over against good teams when we are pressured.

          • TomG says:

            So how many Anderlecht games have you watched this year?

            • Old School says:

              I’ve watched ever AZ Alkmaar match with the exception of two this year, too.

              What’s your point?

              With so many variables in play, playing for country is different than playing for club. Attempting to make the comparison is more foolish than not.

            • Vic says:

              You’re missing my point. Anderlecht is the top team in the league. They play inferior competition, maintain alot of possession which leaves alot of space for players like Klesjtan. If USA could dominate possession against Italy and Mexico I say fine, start Klesjtan.

      • primoone says:

        Sasha definitely has his fans but i think its more of torres’s critics pushing for a change. That said i have seen the movie you described many times. Indecisive on the national level as well as getting lost for long stretches. Its mostly a product of not being in a system full time. Always great with chivas and in belgium but mediocre with the usmnt. Blame it on soccer IQ ? Who knows…

        • Vic says:

          Klesjtan’s problem is the same problem with 90% of American players: worse touch and passing then their foreign counterparts. It has to do with less practice time and poorer coaching in their youth. Klesjtan is above average for a midfielder scoring goals and has a good work rate. However, when USA has less possession and is pressed by better teams, players like Klesjtan tend to have poor passing and alot of turnovers. Again Klesjtan will be fine against Guatemala. He can also come on in the second half against a better team if they’re sitting back and defending a lead. However, if Klesjtan doesn’t have alot of time on the ball he will be exposed.

          • RP says:

            Yep. This is pretty spot on.
            Said another way, he can not adapt to a faster speed of play.

          • Mr B says:

            I am really in agreement with your comment on the touch in US soccer and the problem beginning at the youth level. Besides practice time, locally (Eastern PA), at least the emphasis seems to be on fitness, strength, physical play, and play direct. There is little skill work. little passing, almost no intelligent movement or passing. It is sad, and I am not just talking about recreational soccer. People are paying in excess of $1,500 a year to have their children on club teams that taught virtually nothing of the fundamentals of the game. I hope it isn’t this bad everywhere or I don’t see the style of play here evolving much for the forseeable future.

            • Eurosnob says:

              Unfortunately, this is the predominant reality of youth soccer in this country. There are some exceptions, but direct style dominates youth soccer all the way through college. Most coaches select players based on size, athleticism and aggressiveness. Their teams play very direct at a frantic pace with very little soccer intelligence. I think that the lack of skill is not the main problem (I see plenty of kids with good skills in my area), but most teams, even those that have individually skilled players, do not maintain possession well against good level competition. The bottom line is that most coaches even at top clubs have no clue how to teach possession. During the games, I like to count sequences involving 5+ passes and not many teams do well in this area.

              • soccerhorn says:

                This is true. I have a kid playing on an elite 12 yr old team. Cost: $3K per year. Sadly, coach is an idiot. Wouldn’t know a tactic if it hit him in the face. There is nothing to his coaching except “TRY HARDER!!!” I see this problem EVERYWHERE in the US youth system. In England and Europe they have coaching academies that run side by side with youth development academies. No such thing here.

              • Tim says:

                Direct play in Southern California club soccer is almost non existent. Have had 3 boys play over 17 years and possession and skill have always been the main emphasis with every coach they played for. There is also a heavy Hispanic level of participation which helps foster that style of play.

        • Haywood says:

          Yours or his?

  2. Dinho says:

    Works for me. I agree that Gomez looked off his game. However, Maybe Gordon gets a start. EJ was GASSED in the second half.

    • THomas says:

      He was gassed and he admitted it. He played out wide left which is the reason. He’s not used to that, again which he admitted to.

      • Dinho says:

        Totally understand. Not faulting him, but maybe he needs a breather? Maybe I’m wrong. Just a thought.

      • dcm9 says:

        Oh, so, as long as he admits it, it’s fine? Come on buddy, that dude is lazy, always has been, always will be. We are about to find out the hard way

  3. justin says:

    asn, a great website to put your starting 11 on.

    here is mine

    link to americansoccernow.com

    • Ramsizzler says:

      I like the players. Wouldn’t mind seeing Zusi or Klejstan pulled out and throwing Gomez up top in a 4-4-2 diamond. Gives Dempsey more to work with underneath, since there is ZERO wing play to speak of on this roster.

      • Sarasota says:

        I agree w/ Ramsizzler. Keep Herculez in for a big game. No Klejstan. Would just put Parkhurst at left back (and hold your breath) and have Bocanegra at CB in place of Goodson. I want to see Corona get a chance over Klejstan as a sub..

        • Ramsizzler says:

          Agree with everything you say here. Just hopefully Klinsi has a game plan, and doesn’t just draw 10 names + Howard out of a hat, set his defense, set his #6, and then toss the rest out on the lineup card and see where they land.

          Hopefully there are only 2 CB’s, 2 DM’s (if you include Bradley) on the field at once Tuesday. I concur, hopefully Corona comes in at some point.

      • PetedeLA says:

        So… would your diamond be:


        • Ramsizzler says:

          Absolutely. Or go Klejstan instead of Zusi, I think Zusi brings more offensive firepower off the bench if it’s late and we need a goal. Then late game pull Gomez/Johnson (whoever is having the worse game or is more winded), push Dempsey up top, and let Corona float underneath and create. Against a team that isn’t going to dominate possession against us, let’s see what their two center backs can do against two out and out strikers.

          • Lucas says:

            All this stuff about Gaut not being able keep possession and siting back has me scratching my head. Not really their style. While not the most gifted/talented team, they are much more technically sound and attack-minded than some people are giving them credit for. I could see them coming out aggressively, trying to control tempo and possession as they go for the initial goal and then being more conservative but still dangerous.

            • Lucas says:

              Guatemala not gaut…ugh

            • Francois says:

              I think you’re forgetting how the better team is, and who is playing at home and not just playing for a draw. Guatemala sat back in the last game we played against them even though they were at home. What makes you think they would come and try to attack us as the away team?

              • Lucas says:

                Just saying…a different view. They’re a sound side and don’t want to underestimate them again. btw Guatemala, statistically speaking, was better the last time out in: 1) time of possession, 2) shots, 3) shots on goal, 4) higher pass %, &
                5) corners. Pretty important #’s, not suggestive of “sitting back.” I don’t remember the game from your perspective, and watching the game a 2nd time they were clearly the more dangerous team. And, no I’m not forgetting who the better team is, on paper at least.

      • justin says:

        I’ve had some similar thoughts too. I know it was a while ago, but the slovenia game was one of our finest offensive performances where deuce played the top of the diamond.

  4. Collin says:

    That would be the ideal lineup and formation in my opinion. Frees up bradley to attack, gets better passers in the game, and puts herc on the bench because clearly he isn’t in form right now for us. The only change I might make is beckerman over williams.

    • Haywood says:

      Beckerman (ie Jeff Autogoos .20?) no. those 2 ill timed free kicks cost the US points.

      too big of a stage for him.

  5. Ramsizzler says:

    What I want:


    What I think we’ll see:

    Klinsmann can say what he wants, but the only variation between Bob’s 4-4-2 and his 4-1-DoWhateverFeelsNatural is Bob had more clearly defined roles.

  6. Beto says:

    That line up should work, still have the option of Gomez and Gordon in attack and Edu and Goodson in defence. Someone like Pearce or Sinovic could really help

  7. Lost in Space says:

    What I want and what I think we’ll see are two different things. What I want….JK to have called in Lichaj and/or Chandler as soon as Castillo went down injured. Bedoya & Gatt called in as soon as Shea & Donovan were ruled out due to injury.
    What I think we’ll see….likely the line-up Ives has posed. Although I could see JK using Boca as the LB again and putting Edu in as the CB pairing with Cameron.

  8. Dave from charlotte says:

    What I hope we’ll see:

    Sacha will probably start over Corona and Williams will be a Holding Mid with Bradley. Unconscionable that Klinsi picked all these players that couldn’t go. No way Parkhurst is better than Lichaj at LB with Johnson and Castillo out.

    • Hogatroge says:

      “No way” is Parkhurst currently better than Lichaj?

      One of the two was benched for poor performances as an FB. The other’s gotten accolades for his fullback play in the Champions league against teams like Malaga & Chelsea.

      Guess who’s who.

      • groovin says:

        riiiiight… Lichaj never gets to play against the Chelseas of the world in that tiny, obscure league he plays in… oh wait, may you should look up his track record in games vs Chelsea first, then talk

        • David JS says:

          Parkhurst has been playing well recently against top competition. Lichaj has gotten benched (harshly I think) for his play vs Premier League competition. That’s the point he’s making. Parkhurst is good, and most people don’t seem to realize it. No hate for Lichaj.

          • RP says:

            Honestly I haven’t seen Parkhurst in a couple years, but as I remember it the book is that he’s position ally very sound and passs well. But is lacking in speed the type of back who will play we’ll all game then suddenly get beat the way (ironically) Cameron did.

            If Parkhurst had the raw athleticism Lichaj he’d have gotten his shot there too.

  9. David says:

    One thing that I think will happen is we’ll probably see Joe Corona on Tuesday. Otherwise, if JK goes with Ives’ lineup, the only sub for a Kljestan or Zusi is moving Danny Williams out wide and bringing in Edu or Beckerman.

  10. bottlcaps says:

    I am a bit worried about the US back line. While Guatemala is not as athletic and fast like Jamaica and AB, they have some quick players and some brilliant poachers in Ruiz.vWhile Dolo and Boca have experience playing against Ruiz, Pappas et al, Goodhurst and Cameron will have to be on their toes.

    I think, though, that the wider filed at Livestrong will suit the Americans more and hopefully open the field up. allowing more crosses into the box where the Americans height advantage will be more effective. AB essentially parked a bus on a wet, sloppy field and it took the US a long time to break down the defenses, Guatemala won’t take the same defensive tack, but you can expect them to keep a lot of players back and counter at every opportunity.

    Dempsey Williams Bradley ZUzi
    Parkhurst, Cameron, Boca, Dolo

    You may see Boca pushed out to the left and Edu paired with Cameron.

  11. Tony in Quakeland says:

    ———–E. Johnson———-Gordon————-





    Let’s be more attack minded. That said, this is only the best out of a poor selection. There are a handful of guys that could have been called in, especially post injuries, that could have added a lot in this game…

  12. Mike says:

    EJ and Dempsey compliment each other. EJ more of an air threat and Dempsey more of a playmaker threat. Gomez backs up Dempsey and Gordon backs up EJ for the sake of continuing with an Air/Ground tactical assault. Klejstan and Zusi on either wing with Bradley as AM/CM and Williams as DM..no complaints with midfield. On D: Parkhurst at LB, Boca and Goodson at CB with Cherundolo at RB. I do not fault Goodson on the goal since he was pushed down to the ground with no foul called on the A&B goal. Goodson has much more club and international experience than Cameron. I think Cameron replaces Onyewu at the moment until Onyewu makes a comeback.

    • Scott says:

      I think that you are waiting on a comeback that will never happen. Gooch will not get called in ahead of the current CB choices, short of a major calamity. That calamity involves numerous CB’s going down with injuries. Cameron is better, in every facet of the game, than Gooch and plays on a better team in a better league.

  13. squirt-lover says:

    Is there a little part of you that thinks McBride could still do a better job than EJ and Gomez?

    Is there a part of you that thinks DMB would be a key, versatile wide player on this team?

    Is there a part of you that now believes the ego of JK is getting in the way of the productivity of this team?

    Is there a part of you that knows the players sense this, and have started to lose faith in the coach, which has effected their focus, heart, and unity?

    • Lost in Space says:

      McBride now is not better than EJ and/or Gomez. Close…YES…but not better.

      DMB has no place on this team. The only thing he brings is experience over players like Gatt, Shea, Bedoya, Corona, and Gyau. By next year these young players will be better than DMB.

      JK’s ego isn’t necessarily getting in the way of the team…but it may be effecting his player selection. Lichaj is a better player defensivly than Castillo….and is more versitile. When JK realizes this and when Chandler finally selects the US is when we’ll finally see this defense take a step forward.

      • squirt-lover says:

        DMB was a quick flight in after all of the problems arose, and I don’t care who will be better next year. We need to get to the hex now.

        If you and I can see that Lichaj is better than Castillo, I believe the team members can see that. too. Jozy is ripping it up in Holland, and he doesn’t get called in..how does that make the rest of the team feel? Betrayed.

        • Bryan says:

          Jozy’s replacement scored a brace……with his head. When was the last time Jozy scored a header for USMNT. I don’t think he gets to those balls like Eddie managed to do.

          The team actually seemed really happy to have EJ back. People need to stop inventing issues that are not there.

          • Ramsizzler says:

            You can’t claim Eddie is Jozy’s replacement when he got pushed out wide in midfield. If anything, Eddie was Shea/Donovan’s backup-turn-starter once they went down with injuries.

            I agree though, everyone on the team has to be thinking “uhhh… no Jozy? Really?” I understand the message he’s trying to send, but I think the message would be better sent calling him in, and then benching him for both games rather than letting him stay in Holland. Especially once all the injuries occurred. With barely 18 healthy players, this “message” sent by Klinsi seems quite petty and childish to me.

            • Steve says:

              I think Jozy’s lazy defensive performance, poor showing for the ball to support the midfield, lack of goal scoring production, and proven general poor performance for the US Nats over 4-5 games made his exceptional Club play irrelevant and made him an unacceptable risk for these final 2 games of the Hex.

              Gordon got called because he’s a battler.. in the box, around the box, when the opposition defense has possession. He’s difficult to play against. I think he fills a super sub role for tonights game if we need a goal.

              When the pressure is off, we can try to work Jozy back into a dominate National Team role, because we’ll need him in the next stage and Brasil.

    • RP says:

      McBride looked slow in the 08′ Olympics. So not really.

      DMB.. Maaybe. But he just sat for Purbla field to injury. Right?

    • Rags in DC says:

      Yeah dude. Totally hear ya on McBride and DMB (speed on the wings please).

      I really don’t know what to think about the klinsi regime yet. Just hope we qualify and keep developing US talent.

      Cmon you Yanks!

  14. joel says:

    spot on as always

  15. jerry says:

    Can someone explain GAM?

    • Mike says:

      Grown Azz man

      • DCP says:

        I still don’t get it… How did EJ get this nickname?

        • dutchtwista says:

          It’s more of a snarky moniker used by msg board trolls than a nickname that EJ or his teammates embrace.

          It’s a quote from an interview with Eddie in whether he played video games. His denial (“I’m a grown-ass man”)l was a referrence to Cedric the Entertainers standup routine about things adult men shouldn’t do. It was a JOKE but it stuck becau to some, he was an overpaid young athlete with an inflated ego and bad work ethic. He may have desrved the stick years ago, but its time to forgive & forget.

          • RP says:

            No way. GAM is a term of endearment. The kid came out of nowhere was 20 and had just scored in bunches.

            Add to that he was saying I ain’t no kid I’m a grown ass man. Comedy. We were all ready to adopt him the way we did CD9.. and Jozy to a lesser extent.

            It just turned out he was lacking “it” against superior players but somehow has “it” against small concacaf nations and MLS defenders.

        • Skeeter says:

          Someone asked him if he played video games… He said, ” no, I’m a Grown Ass Man.”

          Write it down and put it on Wiki…

        • Daniel says:

          Eddie did an interview with US soccer and they asked him if he played any video games and he said something like, “I don’t play video games. I’m a grown ass man.”

          It stuck.

  16. SoccerUSA says:

    The U.S. should call up Seth Sinovic and start him.

  17. Ramin says:

    I just read that since Johnson’s out we only have 16 field players and Klinsman (aka German Ellen Degeneres or Ellen Degermanis if u will) won’t call in another player. Is he stupid or what? I can’t fathom why some like Beitashour or Belser wouldn’t be called in. His tactics are just weird.

    • JRP says:

      Stupid he is not. Stubborn he is. He is German after all.

    • Mike says:

      I am sure Gulati has noticed too and wrote down a note for review at a later date. Little things managers like to do. JK is writing his own timeline and his own history.

      • Ramsizzler says:

        Well, Klinsi does think anyone can play left back. Maybe Guzan isn’t the backup keeper on the roster, but instead a potential late game offensive sub out on the left wing?

        Seriously, how can anyone defend Klinsmann as a manager anymore? Take away his “changing the culture and youth programs,” which no one knows what he has really accomplished there. He is a pitiful coach. 1-0 wins against A&B should NOT be celebrated.

  18. Mike In Baltimore says:

    Here’s my lineup:

    Dempsey- Bradley-Zusi

    I think the speed of Edu can help in the middle. I just don’t trust Parkurst out there at all. He really hasn’t done anything on the International level and I shudder to have to count on him in a game where we MUST get a result (at least a tie). In fact, I’d almost rather see Cameron slide out to the left. He’s playing outside right for Stoke right now anyway…why not give him a shot there? That lets you put Boca back in the middle.

  19. AH says:

    This has the makings of a dreadful game. Neither side has any incentive to send any numbers into the attack. It’ll take a goal on the board to open it up. Otherwise, it could be a long night for fans.

  20. Jeb says:

    if klinsmann doesn’t get us to the world cup….Ives for coach!!!

  21. Dennis says:

    If either team puts more than 1 player in front of the ball for anything but tiny bits of the game it will be surprising. The tactics are first DON’T LOSE, second DON’T LOSE, third, ……..

    Desp[ite Ives great insight, it might look more like
    —————–Gomez(or Gordon)——

    I know this is ugly but if Guatemela does not score, the US advances.
    It should be a really boring game.

  22. bizzy says:







    I think we’ve seen enough of nothing from Dempsey. Arguable the best US player but just lacks chemistry with the team. Scores better for club than country.
    Cameron plays DM for Stoke so maybe we should try something different against Guatemala.
    We need the “Bradley-Zusi- EJ”…combination and the sharpness and vision of Gordon up top.
    Altidore and EJ will be great on the Left and will be equally matched by Zusi and Alan Gordon on the right

    • rigoberto says:

      Altidore wasn’t called in and won’t be called in after the statements Klinsmann made. Why would you even waste your time making a pretend lineup that won’t come to fruition?

    • Vic says:

      Dempsey has been our top scorer for the past few years. His form is a little off right now probably because of the long offseason and the transfer saga but I’m sure he’ll get better.

    • Rees says:

      The US attack lacks dynamicism for 2 reasons 1) a lack of penetrating runs from midfield, 2) a lack of width. This lineup solves neither of those. If you’re going to put someone at the top of a diamond, they have to be able to slip in and recieve the ball in front of the opposing backline, but they also have to be able to spot chances to make runs behind the backline from deeper in the midfield. Dempsey’s issue is that he ALWAYS wants the ball in front of the backline (when with the NATS) – its one of the reasons our attack looks so stagnate. Sometimes you have to let your strikers peel off the backline and recieve the ball in the pocket, and then the attacking mid makes his run in behind — Bradley is better than people think at making that run in behind (so is Jones), but he’s not a 10shirt and can’t recieve the ball in the pocket like Dempsey can. Can’t fault you on the lack of width – GAM is your best shot at creating any…we just don’t have any true wide players available.

  23. Dale Chihuly says:

    G.A.M. be solid

    Fight / win

  24. Eric says:

    People saying that Alan Gordon should start this match are making me laugh. When the only players left who are able to whip in crosses to Gordo are Zusi and Dolo (and with the speed Guatemala has on the wings, Dolo getting forward is no guarantee), Gordo isn’t a viable starting option. Super sub, sure. Starter…not with this player pool.

    JK will start Deuce and GAM up top. Maybe Gomez if he’s in a forgiving mood. But not Gordo.

  25. chris_thebassplayer says:


    I want to see Williams’ pace at LB, MB’s experience and distribution at Dmid, Herc as a mid flank attacker and Zusi given a shot at ACM…

  26. Pingback: International Break Links: England in transition, danger for Drogba, and next up for USMNT…

  27. sir coble says:


  28. biff says:

    I like Williams, but think he is being seriously overrated by a lot of USMNT fans after his good showing in Columbus against Jamaica. At this point in his development, I think the Columbus performance was the exception rather than the rule and that Beckerman or Edu are stronger options as the lone Number 6 defensive midfielder against Guatemala.

    I think we need a Latin flavor against Guatemala and I am sticking with Gomez at forward and would rather see Corona over Kljestan. I would be shocked to see Boca again at left back.





    • biff says:

      Just want to add that I hope Klinsmann and teammates had a long talk with Michael Bradley after his silly temper-induced outburst after being tackled in Antigua that some refs would have shown him red for and that was in a crucial game that had to be won. Does anyone remember Jermaine Jones ever blowing up like that in a US shirt and doing something that stupid that could have left the team down to 10 men in a must win game? MB has got to keep his cool because Guatemala is going to hit hard and kick and scratch and after what happened in Antigua MB is now going to be a prime target to wind up, especially with Jermaine Jones now gone.

      • sandtrout says:

        It was disappointing to see that side of him come out again. I thought Bradley was past those outbursts. Worst of all, it was probably not a foul, though it was a rough play.

      • Lucas says:

        Finally, someone with sense!

      • somidscr21 says:

        You mean like when Jones (on a yellow) went up and obviously handballed the ball against A&B to get another yellow? Or when he later then went in for a horribly rough challenge that was questionably a yellow? Don’t mean to sound like an ass, but I don’t think comparing him to Jones is going to help your case here.

  29. William the Terror says:

    The last-gasp win against a true minnow should leave everyone not just concerned, but outraged. Jamaica now finishes with A&B at home. They win by three, a distinct probability, and we lose, a distict possibility given recent form, and we are OUT. It should never have come to this. Even if we do get through, our current level of ineptitude will not get us through the hex. This is all on Klinsman. Grant Wahl wrote an article about Gulati last week in which he described the hiring of Klinsman as Gulati landing his “white whale.” Apparently, Grant forgot how that story ended, because the white whale sank the ship and killed everyone aboard. Klinsman, like Ahab, will one day be punished for his ego. Let’s hope it’s not this week. I, for one, am less than confident.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      Shut up Jurgi!

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      White whale to me is apt because (a) he took like three shots at Klinsi (including just after the World Cup) and (b) in the midst of the mania he seems indifferent to whether he creates a shipwreck landing the guy.

      At bare minimum this whole thing has been oversold because there is no new permanent style imposed and the results may even have regressed.

      As of the Gold Cup I thought Bradley had lost the plot and needed a break, but this is not what I wanted then — I wanted a more proven winner — and it’s not really helping now.

  30. Tom says:

    I love this place. Beckerman is not better than any of the options Klinsmann has, anywhere, and I hope he realizes that. Corona, with zero experience, will not start. Ives is pretty realistic with his lineup and based on what we’ve actually seen, it’s probably the best to trot out there. I do not get the infatuation with Cameron, though. Somehow Mel Kiper said he was doing really good and so it must be. I’d rather see Goodson and Bocanegra back there.

  31. jb says:

    I don’t get all the Klinsman hate. Is he to blame for all the injuries/illnesses? Would calling in replacements somehow make the starting 11 play with more urgency? He’s very clearly stated his displeasure with the effort, but its up to the players to perform. If anything, the recent injuries/bad play is just proof that the lack of depth of the US pool is still the biggest problem we face.

    For my part, I expect a much better performance in KC on a real pitch.

    • biff says:

      No, jb, Klinsmann is not responsible for the injuries. But he is responsible for a) wasting two roster spots to call in already injured Donovana and Shea and then having to send them home the next day despite his wonderful strategy of waiting to announce the roster at 3 p.m. Monday in order to avoid such screw-ups and b) failing to call call up wing replacements and left-back replacements when he knew full well at least a week ago that Fabian was sick the flu and would definitely miss Antigua and possibly Guatemala and then on Wedneday Castillo was injured.

      The depth is there, Klinsmann has a replacement list but he has not used it and it just about cost us when Bocanegra got smoked on a simple throw-in that he failed to adequately defend against that ended up being an equalizer.

      I do think we will win in KC and at the very least draw and if not chances are not good that Jamaica will beat Antigua by 3 goals. But stranger things have happened and if we don’t make it to the Hex then Klinsmann’s defiant and silly refusal to call in wing and LB replacements will go down in history and never be forgotten. It truly boggles the mind.

    • Ramsizzler says:

      He’s responsible for putting guys in roles where they can succeed, and fielding the best team possible. Can’t blame him for injuries and sickness, but you can blame him for not calling in replacements once those things were discovered. Carrying 3 keepers on the 18-man roster is a joke.

      Also, while the effort may not have been great, when you have zero wingers on the team, and force a striker out wide left, and play a CB at left back, you deserve all the criticism you get. The player pool isn’t the problem, putting those players in a system where they can succeed is the problem, and that is all on Klinsmann. If the name of the coach wasn’t Klinsmann, and instead “Brown” or “Young,” they would be DESTROYED for naming that roster and starting lineup on Friday. Klinsmann is getting every benefit of the doubt, and at some point, he needs to put up or shut up.

    • slimkid32 says:

      The player pool may not be the only problem but it definitely is one. The reason the player pool is weak is our development program. Klinnsman inherited an inefficient development system with no real prospects. It seems to me the coaches have an idea of the guys they are looking to use over the next couple of years and don’t see the point of calling in players who aren’t in the plan just for a game or two. Part of playing an offensive, free flowing style of football is players being able to play all over the pitch. I think the idea is to use the players on the roster to fill in different places just like they would in a tournament setting. It could be said this is a risky game to play right now but we did win the last game ugly or not and are in good shape to advance. In ten years we will only remember that we advanced not the manner in which we did so. I’m seeing a lot of negative comments on the board and mostly the things just being said over and over. Whether right or wrong just felt the board could use a different perspective. The type of change trying to be made is one that will take time and a long time at that. If someone, whether it’s klinnsman or someone else, is given the chance to make the change, we most go into it knowing the results won’t come with the current senior squad but with the u-20’s,u-17’s, etc. when they become the senior squads. I believe in positivity and patience.

      • The Imperative Voice says:

        What concerns me a little, and I don’t know if it’s coaching or the pool, is that both the senior and U23 teams look imbalanced in terms of player roles. The senior team has a bunch of DMs and GKs and a smattering of other players here and there. The U23 team had an excellent offense but no good defenders. It’s kind of like, I could sit down and point out the problem areas months ahead of time, and yet they remain unaddressed, or through stuff like the Chandler/ Lichaj debacles we let them scoot back over to the Problem Area pile.

        Some of this may relate to the coach not settling on a formation. Some of this may be the coach’s weird selections. Some of it may be that we seem to be in a lull in terms of producing developed players, we’re instead riding a German wave past the fact the next generation is not quite revving. But it’s kind of like, how do you show up for qualifiers without big forwards, without much of a true wing presence, etc. Some of that is the pool but some is Klinsi, because there are places like LB where the pool is actually improved but by way of selection and stubbornness we’re undermanned. But at other areas like wing, it’s like, with Landon out…..what is there? You could move Dempsey back, but then that creates different problems up top. And that one is less dumpable on Klinsi….he doesn’t control Gyau Agudelo Shea etc., who are all off the rails.

        • bryan says:

          and further, Beasley and Bedoya were also injured. I still think Pontius should have been called up though.

          • The Imperative Voice says:

            As I said, I don’t think it explains the lack of balance, or the lack of replacements, but it does perhaps explain how he could feel painted into a corner by factors outside of himself.

            That being said, there are some options so some of it is a dungeon of his own choosing. He could call in Agudelo, et al.

  32. Joe says:







  33. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    Can we all agree to stop writing about how the conditions may have played a part in one team’s or player’s performance? Seriously, last time I checked both teams always play under the same conditions. So it just seens like a very sill point to make.

    • Brain Guy says:

      I mostly agree, but doesn’t a bad pitch (as well as a narrow pitch, plus terrible weather) favor the less talented team bent on bunkering in a countering? If one team has better skills and would like to rely on passing and possession, doesn’t a bumpy/muddy pitch work in the other team’s favor? And if the more skilled team then relies on crossed, doesn’t the narrow pitch also work against them? It’s no excuse for bad play, but I think it’s a factor.

    • Scott says:

      Bad conditions always hurt the more finesse team. Narrow, short fields help the defense and counter attack. The cliche that “both teams play on the same field” ignores the fact that different teams react differently, based on their playing style and what they are used to, to different field conditions. Not considering the conditions, when commenting on the performance, is senseless. The conditions had a very definite effect on the game. If you ever played, you would get this. Any outside sport above the rec level. Indy Colts in the cold on grass. Most tennis players on clay. Ask a golfer about how different course effect their game. Wet tracks for cars and horses. Water temperature in a pool. Field goal kicker in the wind. I could go on forever. Environmental and field conditions matter.

      • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

        Brian and Scott,

        Thanks for the replies. Great points all around. And I almost bought all of your points. But than Scott got personal and petty with his “if you played” comment. I actually did play, in college, on a scholarship, etc. My point has nothing to do with playing. My point is why don’t we ever hear: “The field is beautiful, the weather perfect. With a field smooth and 120 yards long, so-and-so team will be at a sever disadvantage.” We never hear that. So if good weather and field conditions don’t help teams, why does bad weather and field conditions?

        Anyway, what were on this subject how about we also stop saying “we just need a tie tonight”. As if a tie was an easy thing to get. If we don’t play to win and go in in with a play for a tie mentality – we will lose.

        And that’s a 100% guarantee.

  34. Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

    I want to know what you guys think: Has JK proved he can lead, pick the right team and play the correct strategy? I was one of the first to call for him to be hired. Nothing against Bob Bradley but I bought in to the thinking he took us as far as we could go. But JK’s questionable tactics and team selection and I’m worried.

    Anyone else worried?

    I just thing by now, and with the most important year ahead of us, you would think he woulf have landed on our starting 11 and a formation.

    Am I off base here?

    • Ramsizzler says:

      Not sure if JK can lead, but his ability to pick the right team and put them in the right spot has proven to be quite questionable. Even if you discount his “we will play more attacking soccer” statements which have yet to come to fruition (3+ DM’s =/= attacking soccer), he is trying to fit square pegs in a round hole. Eddie Johnson isn’t a winger. Williams isn’t a winger. Boca isn’t a left back. He is more than welcome to prove me wrong with a sound approach and game plan for tomorrow night, but if history is any indication, expect 0-0 or 1-0 game with at least one “whaaaaaaat?” lineup decision.

    • slimkid32 says:

      We will always worry no matter what, that’s just who we are. And JK makes decisions that we just arent used to, right or wrong, so it is OK and logical that there is worry around him. He was hired knowing he would make those kind of decisions.
      I actually believe the starting xi is more or less set, which factors into his decision not to call in other players to fill in for some of the injured or sick. As far as formation goes, it seems it will continue change slightly depending on the match up.

      • Michael F. SBI Mafia Original says:

        Thanks for the replies. I wish I knew how the players felt about the constantly changing call ups (which I’m ok with) and tactics (which I’m not).

        If we don’t win convincingly tonight I honestly don’t care if JK is fired and we have a new coach to take through the HEX and WC.

  35. bryan says:

    i think i would be ok with the SBI lineup. but i would be fine with Gomez starting and Kljestan sitting. i think Gomez will be really hungry after a stinker. plus, Kljestan and Gordan were good options off the bench. i’m hoping to see Corona in this game too.

  36. mikeandike says:

    Wasn’t Williams hobbling in the A&B game before being taken out? Anyone else notice that?

    Is he OK to play?

    If he sin’t I expect, JK to double down on (laughs) what worked on Friday, with Beckerman replacing Williams and Goodson given a seat on the bench


    • biff says:

      In all the excitement, I had forgotten about that. He did take knock but he had appeared to shake it off. I did not think he was pulled because of injury, but because unsatisfactory play. But you got a point, possible that he is not 100%. But we are deep in DM so would not be a problem like the left wing and LB.

  37. The Imperative Voice says:

    Who is out because of cards? Jones and anyone else?

    I think Ives’ XI is pretty close to what Klinsi runs although that should be frightening. I think if you threw out this list months ago people would have thought it was a half-hearted friendly callin or Gold Cup.

    In particular, that defense looks glacial and the wing mids are technical guys rather than work rate and speed people. That worries me because Guatemala seemed to have some wing speed, Ruiz can be a handful.

  38. cj says:

    I think Corona fits in another way. This game will be defensive as neither team wants to chance a loss. The Xolos play a lot of defend counter strike play, he would fit this perfectly, plus he is more of a true winger than Sasha.

    On another note I know we all would have loved to see an addition here. I think Adu rather than a left back would have been nice. Adu can control the ball against a team which will just sit back.

  39. PD says:

    ———–E. Johnson———-Dempsey————-

    seems spot on.

    my subs: Gordon for Dempsey, Corona for Zusi, Edu for Williams

    I really hope Zusi can give another strong 65-70 minutes and that Kljestan can also show some consistency witha full 90 on par with what he showed in AB.. If we come out of these two matches with both of those players showing a little more consistency that would be a huge plus. I think that the biggest holes that need to be filled are finding someone who can make up for the eventual loss of Landon Donovan and also address a post Bocanegra CB pairing.

    The january camp needs to be about addressing these issues right quick.

    This FB issue was pretty alarming in these matches, but it was a bit of a perfect storm. I mean, everyone on the depth chart was unavailable. Still baffled as to why JK didn’t bring in another player, unless he wanted to see how the team reacted to this adversity.

  40. Felix says:

    I’m fine with this lineup – but I wouldn’t be shocked if Klinnsman starts Beckerman over Williams.

  41. Chris says:

    I like this 11

  42. THomas says:

    I’m not asking to be a smart ass, but does anybody know if there is a rule preventing this…

    we sit and stare at eachother for 90 minutes and it’s a 0-0 draw and both go through.

    Is that match fixing tecnically or just tactics? I want us to go for the win but I can’t imagine everyone hasn’t thought it at some point.

  43. Travis in Miami says:

    One forward+ 4 DMs+ Zusi+ 3 CBs+ Dolo + Howard = 0-0
    Whoopie!!! Bring on the Hex!

    • Travis in Miami says:

      Or: 1 Forward + Deuce + 4 DMS + 3CBs + Dolo + Howard = 0-0
      Yippee! Yahoo! Bring on the Hex!

      PS. They should be more concerned about Pappa than Ruiz.

  44. JW says:

    The Bradley Bucket for this game:


    I’d take it over a lot of the formations I see above.

  45. Joe says:

    I agree with JK that you play games to win them, not to avoid losing them. USMNT FTW!

  46. Thomas says:


    • THomas says:

      Can you explain Corona as a CDM??? Not sure I’ve ever heard of him used there, but I’m not too familiar w/ his club role.

      • bryan says:

        you can’t. he doesn’t play that position….at all. If anything, Kljestan and Corona should be switched given that Kljestan played one of two “CDMs” at his club last year in a 4-5-1. He played the #8 role. But Corona at CDM is a joke and I hope it was a typo.

        • The Imperative Voice says:

          Kljestan at CDM would also be a “typo” because on defense he’s a dribbling cone.

          • bryan says:

            lol yeah but at least he actually has played that position. as the #8. that’s why the label “CDM” is a little inaccurate. last year Andrelect played a 4-2-3-1 and Kljestan was one of the “2s” in that formation. in FIFA, yes, a “CDM”, but in reality, a “#8″.

            • The Imperative Voice says:

              Try actually showing up to Guatemala with your “#8″ in lieu of a DM and see what happens. I tend to believe many of the basic roles exist for reasons and should be filled by specialists ready for their roles. Playing an attacker of questionable value at DM to get him on the field, when what I know for certain is he is a defensive liability, is like putting on a tactical kick me sign. We have plenty of quality DMs suited to the role of destroyer and should pick 1 (just 1 IMO) and use them in the role. We should then have an AM and two wings suited to the roles but on the present roster who knows how to fill them.

              I get the idea people wish we were Barca but then you have to develop and call in Barca-type players. If you call in a 442 roster or a bunch of DMs you’re basically wedded to the empty bucket before a whistle blows. I think the callins are still somewhat more attacking but overall put you in a position where Kljestan would have to carry his weight two ways and that’s inherently risky.

              • bryan says:

                dude, i think we agree. my point was, in that above formation, Kljestan is listed as a “LAM” which he is not. He has spent his entire time in Belgium playing in a CM position as a #8 in a two “CDM formation”. nothing more, nothing less. I was also pointing out playing Corona as a “CDM” is even worse than playing Kljestan there. I was not advocating that either SHOULD play there.

                I feel like you completely missed the point I was making…which was that Kljestan doesn’t play “LAM” and Corona is not a “CDM”. But if you HAD to use that lineup, I would switch them.

              • The Imperative Voice says:

                I don’t think we quite agree because I would only risk Kljestan and his slow homerun swings way up on a wing without defensive responsibility. I’d really rather not at all. And if he normally plays on the next to last tier in a 2 DM situation I think that’s woefully mis-cast for our team, even if you view it as a more appropriate use in light of club play.

                Personally, I think he has a speed of play issue with most top level games, and for this particular game lacks the stuck-in mentality necessary to make an impact. I tend to think those touting the slow-playing Adu and Kljestan, neither of whom play much defense, aren’t seeing a likely tackle-fest with Guatemala for what it is. For those games I tend to think you need a mix of tough players like our DMs, and some speedand quickness players and target men who can convert chances when openings avail. You do not need players who move slow, sit on the ball, and try to hit home runs. Guatemala will break their legs, they won’t be able to freely pass and pass.

                So I actually like a Corona or Zusi as a central AM who is quick, can try to evade tackles, and can feed the meal tickets or create for themselves. If Kljestan plays at all it should be on a wing with lots of working room and few defensive responsibilities. But I’d leave him rotting this game, I think people are under-estimating what this one will demand, and I think the attacking mid callups could simply have been better, eg, Benny.

              • bryan says:

                The Imperative Voice – “So I actually like a Corona or Zusi as a central AM”

                Again, the original post has Corona at “CDM”. I agree about Corona or Zusi playing as attacking mids. What I don’t think is Corona at defensive mid.

  47. Turd Bradley says:


    Must make sure no craziness happens. F any thoughts of style. Make sure we don’t give up any freebies. Nothing stupid. Also think JK really likes Beckerman’s game , try to play simple and quick, get stuck in when he has too. Don’t see him sitting Deuce. Play Gomez because of his honest effort.

    LINEUP: Turd Bradley’s projected JK LIne-up
    4 -2 -1 -3 or 4 – 5 -1




  48. bgood says:

    I am in the school of thought that once JK sits down to draw up his lineup we will side with safety and put out a lineup that he thinks will ensure NO WORSE than a draw. I know he says he wants to win but he is smart enough to realize that a 0-0 draw does do the trick and won’t put that result into question. :


    ——-Kljestan Zusi———-




    My biggest fear is the set piece, and I think JK will relieve pressure on Boca and Cameron by keeping Bradley and Williams tied closely to the back four. The ‘attacking’ four of Dempsey, Gomez (or EJ), Zusi, and Sasha should create enough opportunities and hold the ball well enough for us to transition slowly into the attack with Bradley as the late runner. (He is great at that role by the way). We can’t afford to have the back four caught running at our own goal trying to clear away danger and keeping Williams in front will push the attack wide and force them to work it from the outside in. This is a big advantage for us with Boca and Cameron solid in the air and the Guatemala side undersized in the attack.

    I am a nervous wreck already.

    • biff says:

      Playing defensively to ensure NO WORSE than a draw is a recipe for disaster, opens the door for a shock Guatemala goal to take the lead and then have to play catch up and then if Jamaica gets lucky and is up by three goals and all bets are off. I think Klinsmann will start with a strong offense to score early and then keep the pressure on so he can wake up tomorrow morning and still be head coach of the USMNT.

  49. Heft says:

    I’m hoping that E. Johnson gets the start. His current form is better then the rest. Gomez is fading right now.

  50. 1EyedJack says:

    Can’t lose this one, and defense wins games, so

    ————-Really Defensive DMid1
    —–Really Defensive DMid2——-
    —Converted DMid that forgets to defend
    ————-Attacking DMid————-

  51. huh?? says:

    Timmy Chandler would make the difference right now…

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      Yeah IMO wingback is not a position where we suffer from lack of options. Even without Johnson and Castillo there’s Dolo, Boca, Chandler, Lichaj, Dunivant, Pearce, etc. Staffed up well enough where we’ve seemingly forgotten about the days of Wynne and Bornstein. I am thus at a loss for how it’s a potential Parkhurst situation.

      Now, the Fs could be better, we could use some more no-doubter attacking mids besides Landon, and CB is becoming a wasteland, but RB and LB should just be a matter of who gets the call. It’s not quite DM or GK but we shouldn’t be able to put a foot wrong on the selection and yet here we are.

  52. Excellency says:

    I’d start with 2 dmids, Cameron and Edu, instead of playing Williams and Kljestan. Goodson would play CB instead of Cameron.

  53. Aaron in StL says:

    Think Ives’ lineup looks about right. The only difference would maybe be a similar lineup to A&B with EJ shading more left in a 4-3-3ish lineup (with Parkhurst likely not much of a threat going forward on the left) and Kljestan swapped for Edu/Beckerman to crowd the middle, and Herc for Zusi. I like this lineup, but JK is always one for a curveball

  54. John Dougall says:

    USA needs to watch defense and yet still carry a punch. Both Dempsey and Gomez cover defenisve duties fine. Johnson is a handful and is playing well. They should go 4-2-3-1.

    Dempsey Gomez
    Jones Bradley
    Parkhurst Cameron Edu Dolo

  55. Keeping_The_Brek_Shea_Faith says:

    Can I just put this out there?
    Deuce is not a CAM/creative mid.
    Deuce is not a true winger.
    Playing him in these positions wastes his considerable talent and goal scoring threat.
    He is a withdrawn striker.
    He needs to be played here.