A look at who the USMNT could start vs. Costa Rica

DaMarcus Beasley, Jesus Zavala


When the new U.S. Men’s National Team roster was announced earlier today, the initial reaction was one of shock at the dearth of defensive options on the 23-man roster, but you only needed to look a little closer to find that there aren’t as few defensive options as you might think.

The sudden rash of injuries to players like Fabian Johnson, Edgar Castillo and Timmy Chandler have left the ranks thin at the fullback positions, but it is a safe bet that Klinsmann will turn to some players to give him minutes at fullback who don’t normally play the position.

That isn’t meant as a knock on players like Tony Beltran and Justin Morrow, who both started in the team’s 0-0 draw vs. Canada in January, but the reality is neither of those players has World Cup qualifying experience.

So who does? DaMarcus Beasley has plenty of it, and his stints at fullback with the national team haven’t been covered in glory, his recent good form in Mexico with Puebla, and his experience playing in big matches make him a real possibility at left back. Conversely, Geoff Cameron has seen his share of playing time at right back for Stoke City so a run there in qualifying wouldn’t be a big shock for him either.

With those things in mind, here is a look at the starting lineup we could see Jurgen Klinsmann trot out against Costa Rica on Friday:



As I wrote about last week, Jurgen Klinsmann has made it clear that he is open to playing a midfield where Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley are alone in the middle of the park, with no pure defensive midfielder between them and the defense. The Costa Rica match would be a good opportunity for him to try that system out.

The wealth of in-form forwards makes this projected lineup make plenty of sense. Eddie Johnson has had success as a left forward before, and Herculez Gomez has been playing on the right for Santos Laguna this year. Throw in Jozy Altidore’s improved play as a target forward and you have the potential for a strong attack.

Getting back to the defense. While Beasley and Cameron aren’t shutdown fullbacks, both can give you quite a bit going forward, which fits in well with this group of players. Johnson and Beasley are no strangers to each other’s game. The same could be said for Cameron and Gomez.

Plenty is made of Beasley’s past failure at fullback, which came in a 2009 World Cup qualifier in Costa Rica. Yes, he was shocking that day, but so were plenty other Americans. Also, Beasley put in a short stint at left back against Mexico last August and held his own there. That cameo just might be what gives Klinsmann confidence to play him there.

Could we see Matt Besler in the starting lineup? It’s possible, but I think Klinsmann will want Edu’s experience and athleticism in there as a complement to Gonzalez, who appears to be ahead of Besler in the national team pecking order right now. Given the fact that Clarence Goodson has been playing regularly for Brondby you have to consider him as an option as well.

Ultimately, Edu slots in here at centerback because of his overall ability and given Klinsmann’s recent admission that he’s considering doing away with a pure No. 6 role. If Klinsmann goes back to that, then look for Edu to start in midfield and either Besler or Goodson to start at centerback, with one of the forwards going to the bench (though that would seem a more likely scenario for the Mexico match).

So why no Brek Shea in the starting lineup? He isn’t 90-minutes match fit so throwing him in as a starter would be a bit risky. He will definitely see time, and certainly will be an option against Mexico, but it’s tough to see him starting against Costa Rica given the relatively little playing time he’s received at Stoke City.

What do you think of this projected lineup? Think it can beat Costa Rica? What changes would you make to this lineup?

Share your thoughts below.

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316 Responses to A look at who the USMNT could start vs. Costa Rica

  1. Brad says:

    My chest hurts when I think about this D going to Azteca.

    • Ben Davidson says:

      Yep….we have 3 quality bundesliga fullbacks. Its very unlucky that none are fit for the tilt at El Azteca

    • Tony in Quakeland says:

      Not for me. Cameron back outside where he plays for his club is the right move. Gonzales has unfairly gotten all the blame for the last game. The fact is he is shaping into a dominate CB. I can live with EDu for one game and it is about time the Beasley player a role on this team. This is an improvement.

    • Boston Brett says:

      Realistically are we expecting a point in Azteca in WCQ? Probably not, so why not throw these guys in the fire and get them some big game experience. It HAS to come at some point if we’re going to be relying on some of them come Brazil and who knows – maybe they’ll surprise us like last year’s squad that escaped Azteca with a win.

      • Lorenzo says:

        Yes, we are expecting to try and get at least a point.

        • Lorenzo says:

          Getting 1 point in Azteca and keeping Mexico FROM GETTING 3 points is really important.

          • Nathan says:

            Keeping mexico from getting 3 is not, IMO, important (other than the fact that it means we get at least a point). Unless you think its going to be down to us and Mexico for the 3rd/4th spot, then it doesn’t matter how many points Mexico gets in the Hex.

            Would I rather keep them from getting points, sure, but as far as I’m concerned, Mexico is absolutely qualifying, whether they get points from that game or not.

      • Josh D says:

        Last time Klinsi brought a ragtag team of players to Azteca, against all odds and every critic, he pulled off a win. Believe.

        • evan says:

          Orozco scored the goal in that game. playing as a right back. how come he wasn’t included in this lineup? is he behind Beltran now in the peckin’ order?

        • Fat Money Jefferson says:

          Mexico played their B or C team too… So it wasn’t like we beat their best team, but yeah I see where your ignorance is coming from, it was huge for us to win there.

    • kb says:

      I say screw the routine 4 defenders and go with more attacking options. We might get some service with all 5 FWs playing at the same time. Ives already has 4 of them starting. Let’s see this attacking soccer that JK is so passionate about.

      • Darwin says:

        EJ has a good record for qualification, so I totally see this midfield working. However, good teams know that you can put two guys on Dempsey and cancel him out for most of the game. If Torrado and Salcido are DMs occupying Dempsey, then our wide forwards/mids will get pinched in, forcing Bradley out wide. This will expose us to Mexico’s wingers. I hope Jozy and EJ are ready to defend all day to help out Beasley.

        • Darwin says:

          Of course…if we can’t hold onto possession, which has been our problem, then our shape doesn’t matter. We’re F’ed. I see a 2-1 loss at Azteca with this team. Herc with the goal.

          • Gary Page says:

            Let’s worry about Costa Rica first. I don’t think we can or want to play the same formation in both games.

        • Gary Page says:

          Let’s worry about Costa Rica first. I don’t think we can or want to play the same formation in both games.

      • Gary Page says:

        I think if you play Beasley, you’re not playing with 4 defenders in the back. I don’t have near the confidence in Beasley in the back as Ives does.

    • Riggity says:

      Totally random but are we rocking the centennial kits?

  2. daggius says:

    looks good

    USA 2 – 0 CR

  3. TomG says:

    Hasn’t DMB failed repeatedly at LB? Why would this even be considered?

    • b says:

      There aren’t exactly a plethora of options available – Castillo and Johnson are injured. Parkhurst and Lichaj haven’t played in weeks. Beas has been in good form lately, so I think he could surprise some folks.

      • David JS says:

        I think Beas will play a huge role, but I’d prefer him playing left mid considering he’s one of the best guys we have as far as tracking back and helping out his fullback. I’d like to see this lineup:


    • Old School says:

      I’m with TomG here. Beasley at LB is a nightmare waiting to happen.

      • downintexas says:

        Who would you put in the spot? @ Old and Tom

        • Old School says:


          I didn’t make the call ups and echo what some others have said about considering Heath Pearce, considering our lack of depth currently, but if Morrow was called up, JK must rate him high enough to garner consideration.

        • TomG says:

          DMB is a fringe USMNT candidate to begin with at this point in his career. Putting him out of position in a spot where he’s never been successful seems crazy. Wouldn’t you rather have a fringe guy like Morrow playing his natural position, especially since you’ve already got cb’s that are also inexperienced internationally at that position? Can’t you see DMB completely out of synch and throwing the whole offside trap out of whack?

          • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

            Our lack of LB options make Beasley a candidate for left back, but playing Eddie Johnson in front of him would be a mistake. If we are going to put the guy in a position he really does not play, we need to give him some protection in front. A hard working player like Zusi would do better there than EJ.

          • chris_thebassplayer says:

            Morrow will be fine at LB. He has very good speed, plays hard and he covers well…nothing flashy.

        • baropbop says:

          Shea…..or many others who weren’t called in

          • TomG says:

            Shea is in the exact same boat as DMB. He’s failed before at LB.

            • baropbop says:

              That was 1 game after he was recovering from an injury. I played a bunch at LB for Dallas early in his career.
              Not saying he’s my starter, but it’s better than Beasley

        • Boston Brett says:

          I hear Johnny Bornstein is available….

      • Vic says:

        Watching Beasley at LB would not be good for my health.

    • Dennis says:

      Not so much repeatedly so much as just a memorable bad game for a lot of US players.

      And, that was quite a long time ago. Times and players change.

      • Old School says:

        They certainly do.

        I just don’t see a frail 30 year old winger suddenly become a LB at the National Team level.

        Playing defense is an attitude and mentality that Beasley doesn’t seem to possess.

        • Mike V. says:

          Hate to break it to you but DMB has been lauded his whole career on his defense and his willingness track back. His defense has never been in questions for club or country. Now I will say, playing defending as a winger is different than an outside back and DMB has been so-so in his stints as a LB . For me DMB’s struggles at LB have been systematic. He just wasn’t in sync with the others. I’m hopeful that times have changed and he has a little bit more understand of a LB’s role. We don’t have many options, especially ones with experience such as DMB’s.

          • TomG says:

            That’s not something that just magically changes with age. That changes with repetition at the position and repetition with teammates at the position, neither of which he’s had in the intervening years.

            • dikranovich says:

              dmbs one real test at left back was four years ago in the saprissa, and now this is time for redemption for dmb. he is a warrior and been in battles.

              these guys can step up and do what is asked of them. plan and simple.

          • Scott says:

            Thank you. People who question DMB’s defense obviously have not watched US soccer very long. While I agree left back is another ball game, DMB has always been a beast at tracking back and playing some D.

            • Old School says:

              Your post is a contradiction.

              Yes, playing left back is “another ball game”. A ball game Beasley is not suited for.

              As for “not watching US soccer for very long”, I’d counter that with saying perhaps you’ve only watched US soccer and need to watch more soccer in general to understand this why Beasley is *not* suitable for LB.

          • Gary Page says:

            DMB is too frail and gets muscled off the ball much too easily.

    • biff says:

      Agree with TomG and Old School. Beez needs to start at left wing, not LB.

  4. Z says:

    This looks brutal on defense. Nothing against these guys, but this is patchwork, a B-team at the back. I close my eyes and picture Bryan Ruiz running rampant through this defense. Let’s hope our strikers really are in-form, because I think we’ll need some goals to win this one.

  5. Brad says:

    I really hope that Dempsey doesn’t have to track back often, or Jozy gets isolated, again.

    • biff says:

      But maybe Jozy won’t be starting…

      • Vic says:

        We shouldn’t look at Jozy’s play for USMNT. The decision to start Jozy should be soley based on his play in Holland.

        • chris_thebassplayer says:

          Dude, that made me gut laugh.

        • Mark says:

          I respectfully completely disagree with your opinion Vic. Taking the logic from your argument, Chris Wondolowski would have been our starting forward for the past 2 and a half years.

          My big problem with Jozy is that when he plays for the Nats, he never plays his hardest and doesn’t fight hard for 50/50 balls or dive for headers. It’s like he doesn’t want to get hurt and ruin his professional career. I could possibly say that Dempsey is a little guilty of this as well.

        • baropbop says:

          It blows my mind that anyone can actually think this way. Unless you were being sarcastic.

          • Dennis says:

            Of course, it was what Klinsmann said when he started as USMNT coach. It is something he has, thankfully, more or less forgotten.

    • Josh D says:

      I agree. I’d rather have Dempsey pushed as far up as possible. I don’t like him the top of the triangle.

      I’d like to see:


      Gomez and Zusi will track back until they are hyperventilating on the field and both offer more than Johnson when it comes to playing against quality sides as outside players. Dempsey as far up as possible please. Corona plays in Mexico, is in his best form, and has earned praise in the center. Bradley and Jones are both needed for their stamina and mentality.

      Unfortunately, Jozy gets the bench. He is performing for club, but we need people who are going to either A. hold up the ball and fight for it (Dempsey) or B. work their socks off chasing down balls (Gomez and Zusi). At this point, Jozy is a luxury striker who will do well against Costa Rica.

  6. b says:

    I really think the boys will need to be more attack-minded in order to take the pressure off the back line – this is not a back line you’d want absorbing pressure. This line-up can do that.

    • TomG says:

      They’d better. I don’t see this back line holding up to any kind of pressure. The scary thing is, even if USA dominates, this back line could easily get burned on the counter by messing up their line on the offside trap.

    • baropbop says:

      Yah. That’s why we gave up 2 goals to Honduras. We weren’t attack minded enough

  7. Iggy says:

    Can star this way and put in morrow if bease is getting smoked.

    Just read on soccernet tht Williams has a stomach bug. Can’t believe that keeps him out.

    • biff says:

      Sure it can, when you team is fighting a brutal relegation battle. Probably a hang-nail would keep him out and I do not blame Hoffenheim one bit. If they would lose Williams or Fabian to injury on USMNT duty, would really hurt chances of staying afloat in the 1. Bundesliga.

      Yeah, I am skeptical of some of these injuries, especially Timothy Chandler’s.

      • BrianVT says:

        Imagine how much more skeptical we’d be if TC wasn’t now cap-tied!

        • Beto says:

          +1. Timmy pledged his support to the USSF but still isnt comitted to the cause. I bet he plays a full 90 next week.. Real shame; could be our best defender but does not want to travel/give 100% effort to the team.

  8. PD says:

    This could actually work, even though the DMB at LB experiment was a disaster against Brasil, I think this can hold up against Costa Rica. I do think that the key will be making sure CR players at a slow pace when in possession to make up for the lack of cohesion and hours spent together.

    Depending on how this works, there’s a logic to seeing the same lineup in mexico, but I think I’d prefer to see a 3-2-2-2 against Mexico.

    • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

      Yeah, lets go with 10 on the field against Mexico. Sounds like a good idea.

      • Ben says:

        Granted it’s a formation I’ve not heard of either, goalies are never included in formation counts…

        • T P says:

          Not trying to be a jerk but 3+2+2+2 is nine, plus one keeper is ten.

        • az18 says:

          Thats the point. the goalie makes the count ten. here we go. 3+2=5+2=7+2=9 plus goalie = 10. need another player somewhere in that lineup

          • Christian says:

            C’mon guys, the 3-2-2-2 in Azteca is a good idea…it correctly assumes J. Jones will be red-carded early on.

            • Hogatroge says:

              Would be funny if it weren’t so uninformed. JJ has no RCs for the US and has only ever earned 1 straight red in his pro career.

          • AcidBurn says:

            The formation only has 10 because he is accounting for a Jermaine Jones red card about 15 minutes in.

      • Kevin says:

        Hilarious. Daunting math skills.

      • Kevin says:

        Let’s start the game in a 4-3-1, build Costa Rica’s confidence, then plug in 3 guys to overwhelm them.

    • Alex says:

      A what? I have NEVER heard of that formation. I don’t see how it could work.

    • PD says:

      what I really mean is a 3-2-3-2, which is to say a 3-5-2 with 2 D mids

      —-cameron goodson omar———

  9. Josh says:

    I think this will have the same problems as it did in Honduras. EJ (and maybe Herc?) are not wide players and forcing them to play there doesn’t help. We will have no width, and be lucky to be the offensive side.

    Also, a defense with three midfielders scares the daylights out of me. Especially since the one natural defender made the gaff that cost us in Honduras.

    • Alex says:

      Herc plays this position quite successfully for his club team. Johnson can make it work with his speed. This only works if they play as true forwards and not necessarily outside midfielders.

      • baropbop says:

        Herc yes. Johnson NO

      • Did anyone see Johnson’s goal against Tigres? He started from the left side and rounded his defender.

        Didn’t he already play that role against Barbados and Jamaica?

        • Beto says:

          He did and actually has been playing well in the wide position. That said i would prefer that duece starts as an outside forward and zusi, corona or sasha takes the central midfield link role

  10. Lake says:

    Guessing (hoping) Shea (for Eddie) and Boyd (for Jozy) come on as subs around 60′ and 80′, respectively?

    • biff says:

      how about Shea coming in the seond half to replace Beasley and Jozy coming on to replace Boyd?

      • Mark says:

        I agree that I would prefer to have Boyd start over Jozy Altidore. Jozy can come in as a sub. Boyd is hungry right now.

        • SBI Troll says:

          …And Jozy isn’t hungry? Comments like this are laughable, you have likely never met either, and the guy who isn’t hungry to you is scoring goals at a record pace.

          • WG says:

            Tru dat. His 18th goal in the Erdedivisie yesterday set the record for an American player. He had been tied with…Ernie Stewart.

          • Mark says:

            Yes, Jozy is doing a great job of scoring for his club, but what has he done for Country? Lately or ever?

            Altidore has to have one of the all time lowest ratios of minutes played/goals scored for any striker that has played for the USA in recent history.

  11. Red says:

    I hate that line-up. I’d rather see Shea wide left and Zusi wide right. That line-up above should get the job done though…in the CR game.

    • Josh says:

      I like this idea much better. Get in guys who play on the sides rather than forcing someone to learn it for a game

    • Adam. says:

      Agree 100%.

      Playing a defensive-minded team is fine against Mexico.

      But it’s time to give Shea/Zusi a chance to really show what they can do. Put them with Dempsey in the middle and Altidore or Gomez up top.

  12. Brad says:

    I would rather see Eddie and Herc play farther back, as mids, nor wingers, and push Demps up into the 10 spot.

    • Brad says:

      And move Herc to DMB side, with Jones, to tighten that side up.

    • Alex says:

      But that negates the whole point of using them wide. They are not wide midfielders, and are passable in wide forward roles. I mean, what you’re describing is basically already happening here. Dempsey will play behind Altidore, if that’s what you mean by a number 10 role.

      • Brad says:

        “But that negates the whole point of using them wide.”

        That is exactly my point. I would rather see a 4-4-2, than keep failing at our current line ups. I would rather see Herc and Shea, at LM\RM and tell them to occasionaly get forward, to allow Demps to play directly under Jozy. Every time we deploy our “wings” they get pinned back, unable to provide offensive support. And w/o Chandler and Fabian, behind them, they will be useless.

        Come to think of it, I would prefer to see Herc/Bradley/Jones/Dempsey in mid, and Jozy and Boyd up top.

  13. ryan says:

    Agree with that line up. Beasley > Borenstein

  14. Abe says:

    Really a shame Heath Pearce was thrown to the wind – could have used him here.

    • ChrisTheLSUTiger says:


      • baropbop says:

        and Lichaj…and Parkhurst…and Bocanegra….

        • ChiTown says:

          Hasn’t played in months or made the bench for one of the worst defenses in EPL history.

          Hasn’t played in a month despite the starting player at his position going down.

          Hasn’t played in months for one of the last place teams in the spanish second division.

          • baropbop says:

            So you think it’s more likely that Besler, Morrow, and Beltran continue on with the team than these guys?

  15. Steve C says:

    Optimistic thought: It’s at least pretty nice that we’re getting the toughest games out of the way first in qualification. The only “overly” tough games left will be @CR and Mexico.

    • baropbop says:

      If we don’t get 3 points this month, it’s over

      • PD says:

        it’ll feel like it, but not sure that math is correct (but what do I know, I suggested a lineup with 10 players…)

        • baropbop says:

          Definitely not mathematically eliminated. But a loss to Costa Rica and to Honduras is bad news. Jamaica managed a tie @ Mexico and we already struggled against Jamaica in the last round. I just don’t like our chances late in the competition if we need road wins.

          • Hogatroge says:

            While Jamaica did add some Reading & Championship players, they didn’t really trouble us in Kingston. Both their goals (and their only 2 real chances) came off of set pieces.

            Our anemic offense did us in there.

      • Byrdman says:

        Remember we only need to finish in the top 3 to book a spot or 4th to play New Zealand to move on.

  16. dabes2 says:

    Why not 3-5-2 v CR?


    • Old School says:

      “Why not 3-5-2?”

      To broadly answer this question for everything that keeps asking: Because it’ll never happen.

      It’s really that simple and there’s no explanation needed.

    • Dave says:

      If we did a 3-5-2 it would be criminal not to have Parkhurst in the middle. But we ain’t doing a 3-5-2.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      Since the team or our players don’t seem to have extensive experience playing with 3 in the back I think these calls are misguided.

      Is anyone else uncomfortable with Edu at CB. I know in theory it makes sense but to the best of my knowledge he’s only played in the back line in various camps with the nats. Is that enough to put him there in a virtual must win game against Costa Rica? I’s rather have a Goodson/Gonzo combo there with Cameron on the right and whatever stopgap possible on the left (none of the options are making me feel particularly comfy).

      If it needs to be pushed further…let Edu play CB against MX. that game is not a must win – it’s a would-be-great-to-win/get-a-result.

      • Sandtrout says:

        What position has Edu been playing in Turkey?

      • DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

        I for one agree. Goodson is an experienced CB. He has had some bad form for the US at times, but if he is playing well now, he could be the cement the back line needs. Isn’t he captain of Brondby now?

    • baropbop says:

      ummmm. a better back line just gave up 2 to honduras!

  17. Old School says:

    I cringe when I think about Hernandez poaching goals against a backline of Edu/Gonzalez.

    • Red says:

      He couldn’t get a goal v. Cameron/Edu a year ago and he had his 100x chances.

      Chicharito is a good player but not even a top 15 forward in world football. Mexico does not have a top 50 player either. They don’t have a Chiellini, Pirlo, Ronaldo, Messi, Pepe, Iniesta, Xavi, Vidal, ect….

      We can get a point off them with the right line-up.

      • Old School says:

        “He couldn’t get a goal v. Cameron/Edu a year ago and he had his 100x chances.”

        Who was in goal, that match?

        • Red says:

          Who has been in better form this year in the EPL?

          The answer is Guzan.

          • Old School says:

            Howard in form > Guzan in form

            There’s simply no debate. Guzan doesn’t stop “100x” the shots that Howard has proven capable of doing so.

            • Red says:

              I agree, Howard in form>Guzan in form. No question.

              But Howard has been ok this year at best…Guzan has been the better keeper even with the amount of goals conceded. Plus he has proven he can stop a lot of shots with that AV back line.

              I’m not debating that Howard is better…no question, but Guzan has proven this year he can stop shots and not make mistakes consistently. He has proven his worth and can get the job done.

              • Old School says:

                Well, we can both hope Guzan is up for the task.

                I know he has quality but I’ve never seen him face the barrage (that he may face soon) and still have a clean sheet like Howard has so many times.

                To be honest, of all the positions in question right now, GK is the least of my concern.

              • baropbop says:

                Howard WAS > Guzan
                No longer. He may not get either of his starting positions back

              • Old School says:

                Interesting, baropbop.

                Not sure I’m ready to signal the changing of the guard just yet though.

      • lol says:

        You keep belittling Mexico but the fact is they have the superior talent right now especially compared to this roster the US is trotting out.

  18. Adam. says:

    I’m over the Eddie Johnson at LW experiment… he had one good game there against A&B.

    No one in this lineup can provide Altidore with the service he needs to be effective. If you aren’t going to put someone like Zusi out here to feed him the ball… don’t put Altidore out there.

    • biff says:

      Agreed, Beez/Shea at LW, not Eddie Johnson.

    • TomG says:

      Generally agree, though I don’t see Jozy so much as needing service as needing smart, skilled, unselfish guys to combine with. Jozy likes to score and assist off of give & go/ combination plays. He’s hooked up in that way with Dempsey and LD before, but I don’t see that happening much with Herc and EJ who are more nose for the goal types. Neither is really a particularly good passer. They score more off of individual speed and hustle.

      • TomG says:

        ugh, the dreaded moderation. I wish I could figure out the rhyme or reason behind what the trigger is behind it. It seems so random.

  19. Mike says:

    Outside backs getting forward will be crucial with this lineup. If they can get forward consistently, I believe in this!

  20. Red says:

    In face Mexico would not get 1 player in a German, Italian, Spanish line-up. Not one world class player. People WAAAY over-rate Mexico.

  21. Old School says:

    Something I haven’t seen reported: Bradley/Dempsey both on yellow card suspensions with their next booking.


    I wonder what the rest of the squad looks like on bookings. Now, above any time, is less than ideal to lose a player.

    • ChiTown says:

      I think we’d be fine without Dempsey.

      The thing about Deuce is that he kills attacks. He slows down and as much as I like him–he can be a black hole for the ball.

      One of the main critiques of Deuce at Tottenham now by fans and the media is that he slows down the game because he isn’t thinking of passing–he’s thinking of doing Deuce-like things.

      If you took out Deuce and put in Corona I think the offensive cohesion might actually increase.

      • baropbop says:

        That’s why he should be forced up top or even all the way outside. The recessed forward position is no good for either team.

      • TomG says:

        I disagree. He’s one of the Spurs’ leading assist guys and has a great chemistry with GB. Does he occasionally try the creative play that no one else would even try? Sure, but sometimes it works, too. I don’t think he usually overdoes it by any stretch.

      • Vic says:

        I agree Dempsey may not be a good passer. However, he’s our best finisher. Besides maybe Gomez, Dempsey is the only one that can score against top teams. No way you can leave him out.

        • ChiTown says:

          That’s fine. Put him up top next to Jozy.

          But when Dempsey moves into the midfield we’re in trouble. Tottenham is realizing this.

          Deuce can put them away (when he’s not trying to dribble into the net….) but the guy is not a CAM.

      • chris_thebassplayer says:

        Chi-Town, I’ve been saying that forever. I don’t like Deuce in the midfield at all. Against CR, i wouldn’t mind seeing him all the way up top… make it impossible for him to drop into the midfield and bog things down.

      • Thebumswillalwayslose says:

        I think we’d be fine if we took Deuce out of the midfield, but no Dempsey entirely? He’s the only guy capable of creating something for himself. He’s not a #10, but I think he should be on the field. I’d go:
        — Deuce – Jozy – Herc —
        ——- Corona/Zusi ——–
        ——– MB – JJ ————-

        Then figure out a back 4 that looks somewhat cohesive, whatever that ends up being.

      • Hogatroge says:


        It’s heresy to say, but a Deuce YC might be the spark that this team needs to get a result at Azteca.

        It’s a Catch-22. He’s the only one scoring for the US right now, but as I’ve said before in other threads… playing with Deuce is sometimes like playing a man down but getting a couple free goals.

    • Travis in Miami says:

      Of course this is just my thinking – This is only a yikes if we drop points at home against Costa Rica. In that case getting points on the road will became more important and losing one/both for the away game at Azteca would be more worrisome.

  22. DUDEEROO says:

    Start Beltran. He can play right or left fullback.

  23. Mc says:

    Ives made me feel a little better about this…but just a little.


    BREAKING NEWS: Landon Donovan NOT included in upcoming WC qualifying roster

  25. ChiTown says:

    I actually think this forces the team to play more attacking and I think these guys who are being given a chance will step up and prove that having a big name isn’t always synonymous with being in the best form or being the best option for your national team.

    Beasley to left wing and Morrow to left back. Beasley provides great cover for left backs.

    This team can score goals, no question. The best defense is an opposing team that gets less chances. Let’s go!

  26. Swanny says:

    What about three at the back? Something like: Guzan; Edu, Gonzo, Cameron; Jones, Bradley; Shea, Dempsey, Corona; Altidore, EJ. Klinsmann won’t do it obviously, but it could work nicely to just try to ourscore opponents and get our best players on the field together.

  27. EricL says:

    I worry about Jones and Bradley if Jozy gets isolated. They may push forward and this back four will need the support on top of them. One of the two of them must drop back and sit with the CB’s if a FB gets forward.

    I think with the current options we have this is our strongest/most experienced line-up. I have a feeling we may see this group maybe organized in a different way.

  28. Alexandria says:

    I think if Cameron and Gonzo are the CB pair then they need to play together this round. Let Morrow play out right. If consistency is what this pair needs then dont change it.

    • Old School says:

      I absolutely agree with this.

      With Bocanegra’s absence, the time is now for Gonzalez and Cameron to get the ball rolling.

    • biff says:

      No Way!!!!! Cameron will be playing right back. I bet you 25 cents.

      • chris_thebassplayer says:

        Okay, I’ll take that bet with one qualifier. The only way that Cameron is at RB is if Besler comes up big in training and starts in the middle. I don’t want to see Goodson at all, and an Edu/Omar pairing would be chaotic. Besler is the only other option besides Goodson that can organize things if Cameron is outside.

        • biff says:

          Oh, I’m so happy. Come Friday evening I am going to be rich! But seriously…

          Cameron has been playing mostly right back for Stoke since September, and I have been touting him as RB for months and Cameron in my opinion is a better right back then Timothy Chandler, who, ahem, is claiming heh-heh, to be injured (and I truly suspected this would happen with Timmy after he learned in Honduras what it’s like to sweat blood in a dirty Concacaf WCQ game and I bet he had no desire to suffer though 90 minutes playing Mexico in Mexico City).

          Can we please get over Timothy Chandler. We are better off without a prima donna like him on the team and I bet 50 cents that Omar Gonzales, who was put out of action for nine month by good ol’ exuberant Timmy in practice is happier than heck right now that he doesn’t have to look at Timmy’s face in the next two games. Omar did not seem real happy to be next to Timmy against Honduras.

          • Byrdman says:

            You have a very strong dislike for TC. I think it clouds your better judgement. The kid struggled to decide against his dream of playing for Germany. Plus we don’t know what kind of other pressures he may have had. Truth is he may not be hurt, but the isNO WAY YOU CAN BE SURE. so you are just ranting and disparaging him without proof.
            Please for the rest of our sakes, let it go until we know he isn’t hurt or he says something stupid.

  29. Todd says:

    I like this line up!!! It is what it is….and the back line has a mixture of experience and youth. Mexico is Mexico, as long as we don’t get destroyed we will be fine!!!

  30. jake says:

    —————- Gomez
    ———– Bradley
    ———- Edu — Gonzalez

    Essentially a 4,1,3,2 with this spacing for Costa Rica. But I would not do this for Mexico.

    • baropbop@baropbop.com says:

      Swap Shea for Beasley and Beckerman for Jones and it really isn’t that bad.

      • biff says:

        Actually, that is a thought. I would ratther see Shea at LB than Beasley.

        • WG says:

          Shea has been a defensive liability for a team with a putrid offense that needs attackers(which is why I believe he’s not been dressing). And that’s with people behind him. Why on earth would you expose him at LB with no one behind him?

        • Hogatroge says:

          Irrespective of who would be a better LB, Shea is not fit for 90 minutes right now and using a sub there would be a waste.

      • biff says:

        oh my. but Bekcerman for Jones. Yeah. Sure.

        • slowleftarm says:

          Call me crazy but I’d rather see a guy who is actually a LB at LB instead of plugging in people out of position.

          • biff says:

            I agree, leftarm. I was just saying that if Klinsi is going to do his tinkering big-time this week, but Shea at LB than Beez. But, yeah, a true LB is better.

          • Jake says:

            Shea would be a disaster at LB. He isn’t in 90 minute match condition. Anyone remember how bad he was coming back in defense in the Olympic qualifiers last year….against U-23 inferior opponents? Come on, this is a joke. I don’t like our options, but you have to pick someone that is fit to play 90 minutes and actually plays LB. Not a time to bounce players around out of position.

            • baropbop says:

              Speculating about a professional athletes fitness is idiotic. Just because he hasn’t been playing, doesn’t mean he can’t. Unless you do not know what fitness is and you meant form

              • Jake says:

                I should have been more specific. He is coming off an injury. I don’t think he’s ready.

              • WG says:

                Have you seen Brek on the pitch for Stoke? He can go forward, but is being left flat-footed by FBs, because he can’t shift directions at speed. Later in the cycle after he’s had more time to heal? Sure, but not right now.

          • TomG says:

            You’re crazy…. for thinking that the logical move is necessarily what Klinsi will do. The man flat out loves to tinker.

  31. ChcgoStingInMyBlood says:

    My main concern about this lineup is Dempsey. I don’t like him in this role when he is fit, yet alone coming off a hammy. Donovan, you have really screwed us here, have you managed to dislodge your head out of your backside yet? We need a monster game from Mo no matter where he plays against the Ticos thank the soccer gods above or below or wherever for his regained form in Turkey. I’ve given up hope for anything down at Azteca with this bunch. WE MUST BEAT CR.

    • TomG says:

      Your main concern is Clint Dempsey? You must be new to this game we call soccer.

      • TomG says:

        We are playing DMB, Brek Shea or Justin Morrow at LB in the biggest games we’ve played in years and Clint Dempsey is your main concern???

    • the original jb says:

      I get what he’s saying, Dempsey is rusty and looked awful in the Fulham match. Yet this lineup plays him as the linchpin of the attack and creative force, things Deuce isn’t great at on his best day. If it’s believed that Dempsey must start despite his form (which I get), he should be pushed up or out wide. Bradley, Zusi, or Klejstan would be better options in that spot.

      • TomG says:

        I disagree. He played extremely well in that role for Spurs earlier this year, but really? This is your main concern? Have you seen the back line? We have a bunch of guys playing mostly in low to mid-tier leagues, some of whom don’t actually play defense, yet your concern is the guy that is quite possibly the greatest player to ever don a US jersey, in his absolute prime years. A man who has come through for club and country in heroic fashion time and again, or an unproven, untouted, and inexperienced group of misfits? Do you understand how strange that sounds. Everyone needs to take a step back sometimes and now is the time for you.

        • the original jb says:

          Ok take a deep breath and consider who needs the step back. Here’s the reality that neither of us or JK or anybody can do anything about – the defense will be a patchwork because of the ridiculous amount of injuries. I guess I’ve moved past this fact and conceded we will be scored upon. So in order to win we will need a productive attack and score multiple goals. Therefore YES, the fact that our best attacking players have either been injured (Dempsey) or not seeing much PT (Bradley) is of great concern to me.

          • TomG says:

            We’ll have to agree to disagree. I would never concede goals and if I’m desperate for offense, the last person I’d be concerned about is Deuce.

            • ChcgoStingInMyBlood says:

              Don’t get me wrong, I love Dempsey. But with this lineup, we are totally relying on him to create THROUGH the midfield which is not his strong point, and he’s injured. TomG I’m not new to the game no matter what you call it – mark my words if Dempsey is in that position there will be a MASSIVE gap in the center of the park, hopefully we’ll get away with it. I’d rather have Deuce start on the bench and then bring him in up front and get as much as we can out of him for 20-30 minutes. Just my opinion, if I’m wrong or right, it won’t be the first or last time.

              • GW says:

                CSIMB, TomG, original jb,

                With all due respect, you guys act like this is the NFL with separate offenses, defenses and special teams.

                That’s not exactly how it works.

                All three sections need to do their part.

                The midfield will have to protect the defense by keeping as much possession as possible and assisting them when needed.

                The midfield also can then help out the offense with the aforementioned possession by converting it to scoring opportunities for them.

                It’s all about how all three “sections” interact because during the course of the game forwards, midfielders and defenders will all occasionally spend time in the three separate sections of the field.

                If they all work together well, then the US should win.

                To me this means the guys who will be the most influential and should be the most “worried” about are Mikey, JJ and Mo Edu. They will set the tone and the tempo for the US.

                If you must isolate it down to individuals, those are the guys who will most likely win or lose this game for the US.

  32. Joel says:

    with the players available, i would go with these 11….
    it would be a waste to play johnson at the left….

    Zusi dempsey gomez
    jones bradley
    beasley goodson gonzalez cameron

    • baropbop says:

      Playing the Jones/Bradley combo directly in front of a nonideal back line is the surest way to make sure they fail. We need a game manager like Torres or Beckerman or Edu or anyone who doesn’t have a zillion turnovers and fouls to help them out.
      Having MIchael Bradley and JJ together in the middle of the field makes me cringe more than the roster. It hasn’t worked.

  33. baropbop@baropbop.com says:

    I’ve never thought of myslef as a eurosnob, but considering who JK left off, I can’t help but conclude that he has gone full retard. I don’t see how he doesn’t value Bocanegras experience. I can’t wait till we are beyond the dolo Boca era….but with qualifying on the line you have to lean on the veterans. Lichaj, Parkhurst, Ream, etc. Not good enough?
    I also think that he’s an idiot if he plays MB and JJ as center midfielders as the article suggests. They haven’t worked well together in that capacity, I feel like I’m the only one watching games.
    are possibilities….I like Shea (who started out as a back) way more back there than Beasley. I’ll be surprised if more than 1 MLS guy starts in the back.

    • biff says:

      Hey, baropbop@baropbop.com. I totally agree with that sentiment. Boca should be on the roster and it baffles me that Klinsmann left him off. And I can’t help but think maybe he should have scratched one of the forwards and called in either Lichaj and/or Parkhurst for a look this week. Both have USMNT experience and both could add some needed stability and it could be they look better in training then the rookies for these big games.

      • Adam. says:

        Boca hasn’t played a game since Feb. 2.

        Explain how his presence helps? Moral support?

        Lichaj hasn’t made the 18 in a while at Villa either….

        So then you’re wasting 2 roster spots on guys who aren’t match fit.

        Makes no sense at all.

    • DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

      You realize when you say “Ream” that people laugh at you right? Ream hasn’t been able to crack the 18 at Bolton lately. I like the guy, but his form is awful right now. Even Stu Holden is holding down their bench, and he hasn’t played 90 minutes in 2 years.

      • baropbop says:

        I do realize that. But I also think under these circumstances I’ll take a guy who made it to Europe and has caps over a regular in MLS who hasn’t proven anything

        • ChiTown says:

          Proven what?

          He is not making the bench for a mid table second division team. That’s not proof of anything other than that he’s not good enough to play in the second division.

          Give me an MLS starter every day over them.

          • baropbop says:

            You don’t think that Bocanegra, Lichaj, etc would start in the MLS? Give me a break.

            • ChiTown says:

              Dude, there are guys starting in MLS that make 35,000 a year.

              Can Boca start in MLS? He can’t start for a nearly third division spanish side–so it might actually be up for debate if he could start for an MLS squad.

              • baropbop says:

                You’re right. Him not starting in the 3rd division is certainly a decision based on his ability

              • GW says:

                Read JK’s interview on the topic as the USSF website.

                Santander has had 4 managers since Boca got loaned there, the implication being Boca sitting is not necessarily about him being “good enough”..

        • away goals says:

          The thing about making it to europe is that it doesn’t necessarily mean anything.

          European clubs are far more willing to pay for potential than mls clubs.

          • baropbop says:

            In many cases it means you did really well in the MLS. Which seems to be enough to get you onto the USMNT

      • GW says:

        Stu went 90 last night in a reserve match.

        However, Bolton are going to be super conservative with his ongoing rehab. He’s probably not going to play a lot between now and the end of the season.

  34. az18 says:

    On the bright side, I have been waiting for Beasley to get called back in

  35. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    Pretty good except for the Beasley part. He is just to light to put in defense. A strong breeze pushes him over. Shea or Morrow would be better choices. I don’t know how Besler would handle LB, but that guy can deliver a ball, so it might be pretty good. The question is does he have the speed to corral the wingers?

  36. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    Oh also, I expect to see Goodson next to Gonzo. Goodson has experience which is what the defense is lacking. Goodson vs. an out of postion Edu is a wash in terms of ability.

  37. slowleftarm says:

    No problem with the lineup except that DeMarcus Beasley is a ridiculous suggestion at LB. And I know Ives is right to say it may happen but it makes no sense. There’s no need for a national team manager to play guys out of position. Just pick the best healthy left-back available. Using that criteria, there’s no way that Beasley is the guy.

    Otherwise I like the lineup except that I fear Klinsman will play Beckerman instead of Johnson or Gomez because he still wants a pure No. 6.

    • biff says:

      +1 Pleeeeeze play Beeeez (and other players) in club positions.

      • Dennis says:

        While I tend to agree. With the dearth of backs on this roster, I would probably make an exception for Edu. A mostly defensive mid is closer to a center back than a wide mid/forward is to an outside back in mindset and that is what defense is all about.

  38. Jake says:

    Surprised to see all this support for Heath Pearce at left back. His last consistent starts for USMNT was in ’08-’09. He doesn’t even play left back at his club. At this point in his career, he is an above average MLS defender. Lichaj was the best option – JK clearly is not a fan of his game though.

    • ChiTown says:

      How is Lichaj the best option?

      He hasn’t played in months (and in many cases not made the bench) for the worst defense in the EPL.

      Why do you think he is the best option when he would not only be out of form, but not fit?

    • Adam. says:

      Lichaj hasn’t played since January 25th!!! link to espnfc.com

      How do you ask him to come in and start against CR?

      • baropbop says:

        He has probably just been sitting on his couch eating cheetos since then. I bet he never runs or trains. No way a guy who made it to the EPL is actually putting in extra work to try to get on the field. He”s probably totally out of shape.

      • Jake says:

        MLS defending is garbage, absolutely horrific – game does not translate to competitive international play at all. When was the last time USMNT used a defender from MLS on a consistent basis….

        I’ll take a player that trains every day in England vs the best in the world and plays in reserve matches over the best outside back in MLS.

        • baropbop says:

          I mentioned it above….but people act like these guys (Lichaj, Boca, etc) wouldn’t be starting if they were in the MLS. If they were in the MLS they would be some of the very best….which in many cases is how they got offers in Europe in the first place….so how are they suddenly inferior to MLS players?

  39. HLavoe says:

    Klinsy has to put the RIGHT personnel on the field to execute his game plan. They may not be the *best* players, but the RIGHT players.

    I like this option. The U.S. is suffering from a dearth of scoring and the forwards are hot in their leagues. Capitalize on that. Go out there and out-score them.

    The U.S. getting in a scoring groove is the best thing that can happen to it right now, and I think this is what Klinsy is going for.

    • biff says:

      “Klinsy has to put the RIGHT personnel on the field to execute his game plan.”

      @HLavoe: Have you actually figured out *his game plan*? If yes, could you please explain it to the rest of us.

      • baropbop says:

        I don’t think he has EVER put the right team on the field for any game plan. Not even in terms of my preferences….he constantly starts players out of position

        • GW says:


          Why do you assume that a player’s club position is the only one or even the best one for him?

          If you play, for example, left back for your club is it possible that you are also a very good right back but your club has an even better right back than you so they play you at left back instead?

          If you play left back for your club does that mean you are the best left back for your country?

          Maybe they have a better left back and will move you right back.

          What if your country has two better fullbacks than you but you can play midfield as well, what’s wrong with putting you there if you are better than the other midfielders? The much maligned Lichaj has played every back four and every midfield position for Villa as he was coming up

          You’ll probably tell me if you put a guy at his club position he’ll feel more comfortable and play better and I’ll say he’s not playing for his club team so everything is different anyway. He’ll have to adjust anyway so if you need him at a different position you might as well fill that hole while you’re at it.

          Of course the best solution to this is to cap an entire team, like Spain more or less does with Barca. Well, we can’t all be so lucky though just for fun I’d try to cap as much of SKC or the Quakes as possible in a friendly and see what happens.

          I’m not a great believer in limiting a player by confining them to their so called “natural positions”.

          If you are a fundamentally good international soccer player you should be able to play any of the outfield positions without embarrassing yourself too much especially if it’s just for a couple of games.

          The great Dutch teams of the 70’s proved this. In fact they had players switching positions frequently during the course of the game. The great Cruyff would often spend time at right back.

          JK tinkers so much because it’s the fastest way to learn about these players. There was a great hue and cry when Bradley spoke about trying out Edu at CB. Yet when JK finally did so at Azteca he did very well. Which proved to Mo that he could do it if he really wanted to.

      • HLavoe says:

        Hmmmmmmmmmm…..let me thing, could it possibly be to WIN and get THREE points?

        I am pretty sure that is his game plan for both Los Ticos, El Tri, and every game thereafter.

        Klinsy parallels Herb Brooks, the coach of the 1980s Olympic team. If you compare the two, and how they approached building their teams, there are many similarities, except one. Herb had the team all to himself for 8 months or so. Klinsy has to deal with leagues and a long qualification process, etc… so it is harder. This is why I believe he experiments so much and changes things so much. Who cares if you lose friendlies, or tied Canada…. He needs to understand his entire arsenal and formations he can run to get the U.S. to the World Cup, period.

  40. Jake says:

    anybody else want a first half of Jozy and Clint up top together. If they can’t link up in the first 45, bring on Eddie and Gomez or Shea in the second to mix things up. These are our 2 purest scorers, I don’t want to see Demps dropped in the midfield, let them work together up top.

    Jozy – Dempsey

    Beasley – Bradley – Zusi


    Morrow – Goodson – Gonzalez – Cameron


    • baropbop says:

      I like this.
      I think you have to throw MB, Dempsey and Altidore forward….and say, “It’s on you. Score goals.”

    • zztoppppp says:

      I like this, but I would prefer Besler over Goodson

    • MJC-DC says:

      I’d take Jones over Beckerman. He may not be as influential offensively in this position (#6), but I still think he can be quite effective distributing the ball around from deep.

  41. J Dog says:

    This shows one of the problems of bringing in Klinsmann. Why start a ragtag group out of position? Personally, I would put the Galaxy back line in there.

    Dunivant – DelaGarza – Gonzalez – Franklin

    Against Costa Rica, this D would shut them down. Dunivant is a significant upgrade over Beasley on defense, calm collected, doesn’t make mistakes

    DeLaGarza is very fast and has played with Omar for 7 years since college.
    Then Franklin is faster and once again, combines well with Gonzalez.

    Anyway, I think this is a better stop gap solution than the one above

  42. Kyle B says:

    This lineup is just asking to get hit on 1 or 2 counters by CR.

    You have to start with a good CB pairing for any team. Continue to play Gonzo and Cameron together if that is what you think will be the CB pairing for the future. Play Beltran at RB because its not as if Chandler was all that bleed into the team either. Losing F. Johnson is what really hurts too me, but I would rather have Morrow play LB even with little int’l experience than someone with no good experience at a completely different position (Beasley). I think Zusi has to start as he is a player that can unlock a side that is playing for a draw (same with Dempsey). Push Bradley forward more as that is where he seems best for the US. Just play with our talent and our home advantage and we will win, trying to put round pieces in square holes to make us more attacking will only bog down the team. Games like this are what builds depth for a national team.
    Beltran Gonzalez Cameron Morrow
    Jones Edu
    Zusi Bradley

    If still 0-0 in the 60th bring on Shea for Edu pushing Dempsey to the middle.
    Anything later offensive Beltran off Edu to CB Cam to RB on comes Gomez

    • Kyle B says:

      Beltran Gonzalez Cameron Morrow

  43. Herschel Skywalker says:

    I’m OK with most of this, except the Edu at starting center back thing with Gonzalez. I know a lot of teams are doing away with the traditional center back position in favor of Defensive mids who are more comfortable on the ball and can pass out of the back better, but I still don’t trust Edu in defense and I don’t think we’re good enough to experiment with the guys in front of goal. Also, Gonzalez needs some reps with a veteran like Goodson. Goodson is playing well and regularly right now. I don’t mind Beasley at left back, though I think he would do better up front. Also, I still think our players would do best in a 4-2-2-2 with the fullbacks playing as wing-backs, two CM’s, two CAMs and two forwards, but since we have numbers in the forwards department right now and less in defense, I like putting more forwards on the field.

  44. chris_thebassplayer says:

    oops, posted this on the wrong thread, more applicable here…

    JK will open it up and push the attack. The back line is thin but hopefully they won’t have as much to do. Omar and Cameron in the middle with Morrow on the left. I don’t mind Beltran on the right. I’d rather see Cameron in the middle instead of RB.

    No offense, but even under potentially less pressure than normal, Edu and Omar in the middle with Beas at LB would be suicidal against the counter. The middle would be disorganized and chaotic, you need an organizer…really need Cameron in the middle. Beas would be fine getting up field, but Morrow is better defensively. He’s not much going forward, but if we have EJ or Shea on the left, we need better cover at LB.

    4-2-3-1 on D, transitions to 4-3-3 attacking

    JK’s front six


    What I’d like to see for this game.


    Deuce isn’t a target forward, but he’ll draw a ton of fouls around the box and draw more defensive attention than Jozy…opens things up for Herc and Corona.

    We’re going to rise to the occasion and put a few in. We just need to manage the counters and we’ll be fine.

  45. Adam. says:

    Can’t screw around with Cameron/Gonzo pair if thats what you want for the future. Let them play every match together in the CB.

    The two kids from the MLS should suffice against CR.

  46. Turd miller says:

    Lineup for CR

    Gk- Guzan

    RB- Geoff
    RCB- Omar
    LCB- Besler
    LB- DMB

    DCM- Beckerman
    CM- Jones

    RM- Herc
    Striker – Jozy
    LCM/Hole- Deuce

    This line up will win v CR. Have to win must win. Play Johnson and you will lose he is not good enuff. DMB has much more experience at LB role now than in CR in 2009. He is a totally different player. Still wish we could get Cobi Jones to come in the last 15 minutes v mexico.

  47. Hector says:

    Wow!! Our defense is suspect at best. Nonetheless, we have enough players to come out with 2 positive results. One man’s wish for a starting 11:


  48. bottlcaps says:

    Helluva time for JK to start “experimenting” with line-ups and formations. Duly noted are the injuries, BUT JK has put too much of his eggs in the European basket. There have been a lot of great defensive displays put on by experienced US MSL’ers the last two weeks. I wish JK would have watched some.I think the coaching staff should be constantly rating and changing the depth charts even on a weekly basis. Depending on who’s available, whose injured, whose in form,

    Klinsmann has challenged the US players to “get out of their comfort zone and take a step up to a harder league or a better team. That’s good in the long run, but you are putting the fate of the USMNT into the vagaries of foreign coaches. who may or may not be any good, or even the least concerned over playing time. They play favorites too, sometimes unfairly, to the detriment of the USMNT.

    For some players, moving to a new league, new coach is NOT good if you are a peripheral player.

    I think it’s time we put pressure on JK to look more closely at the MLS players, capped or uncapped, that have shown outstanding form in the pre-season, concacaf league and the nascent MLS season.

    The goalkeeping is perilously thin, and this is one of the US’s strong-points. Bill Hamid and Cody Cropper I would rate ahead of Sean Johnson. Where;s Brad Friedel? I know he’s “retired”, but a plea from US Soccer and he would be on the next flight across the pond.
    Remember, he was the starting goalkeeper for the 2nd place EPL team before national team politics got in the way.

    If JK puts together a team that get 4 or 6 points this next week, kudos for him, but most likely we will come back with 3 points or less and a LOT of question to be answered.

    • GW says:


      You might have noticed this roster has a lot of MLS flavor.

      What makes you think he and his staff don’t do what you are suggesting?

  49. TomG says:

    My concern is that the injuries just give JK the license to do all the crazy $##! that’s been bouncing around in his head. The man loves to mess around and come up with stuff no one else would even think of doing (because it’s too dang cray cray).

  50. Matt says:

    Klinsmann’s “Attacking” Lineup:


    Jones Bradley
    Beckerman Cameron Edu
    Morrow Goodson Gonzalez Beltran

    • baropbop says:

      Just trying to understand. This sentiment seems to be everywhere.
      We just gave up 2 goals to Honduras and are peicing together a back line that will have never started a single game together. Why would anyone remotely consider an attacking line up? If there was ever a time to bunker, get through the month, and hope for injuries to go away it’s now. A 1-0 win against Costa Rica and it doesn’t matter too much what happens in Mexico.

      • TomG says:

        Possibly a good home field and CR coming out looking for a tie? I can sort of see the idea of offsetting an inexperienced back line with possession but I don’t really see the personnel here for a great possession game.

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        “bunkering” is not the way to go in my opinion. It invites pressure on our defense as we wouldn’t get any sustained possession or attacks. The players we have in our team are not inept. We have injuries, but this is still a team fully capable of beating Costa Rica at home. We don’t have to park the bus inside the 18 and hope for a point. I’m not saying we throw caution to the wind, but a balanced approach would do us good.


        Wouldn’t be against Zusi for Beas or maybe Edu at CB but the point is there is no need to bunker and play for a point at home. We still talented players who can get us 3 points.

      • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

        Whoever we play at left back will be a potential weakness for us. Doesn’t matter if its a player who doesn’t normally play LB or a player who just isn’t a spectacular LB, Costa Rica and Mexico will know this and try to attack down our left. We need to solidify that left side as much as possible. Starting Eddie Johnson or Brek Shea on the left would be irresponsible and hang whoever we have at LB out to dry. If we go with the 4-2-3-1 most people seem to favor, it has to be Beasley or Zusi as our left wing. Both very hard working guys who can give a little cover for whoever gets called upon on game day to play LB. could we possibly see something like this though?


        I believe we used a similar lineup against Slovenia and it was very successful. Not sure if I prefer this to the 4-2-3-1 but we certainly still have options.

        • baropbop says:

          I think having Edu, Jones, Bradley essentially as 3 cdms is probably the worst thing we could possibly do. However, JK has done something similar many times before.

          • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

            I don’t particularly want the 3 of them starting in midfield, but was just pointing out we have gone with a similar formation before with success. Giving Jozy a partner up to would be very helpful to him.

        • TomG says:

          I kind of understand what you’re saying but don’t you think you’re being a bit cavalier with the lb spot? It doesn’t matter who plays it? So Verne Troyer in a unitard out there, we won’t give up any more goals than Justin Morrow? Think of this. If you want to play offensively and with possession, you need to play a high defensive line in order to support the midfield and prevent gaps for counterattackers to slip into. This provides the opportunity for long ball counters where attackers slip behind your defenders if they aren’t able to stay together and maintain a straight line across. Who is better able to maintain that line? An experienced fullback who does this as second nature or a midfielder who played a few games at fullback several years ago?

          • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

            My point was that a lot of people are focusing on who will play left back when that is not the real issue. Whoever we stick there, be it Morrow, Beasley, or whoever will be a weak link. We should focus on how to protect that left back so that when teams try to overload that side, we are prepared. Sticking EJ or Shea in front of them gives little in the way of defensive help.

            • chris_thebassplayer says:

              I don’t think Morrow will be the weak link, but I do agree having someone like Zusi in front would be better defensively than Shea/EJ. I’m hoping after training with Stoke, Shea brings a more enlightened effort than we’ve seen in the past.

  51. baropbop says:

    < 3 points in March = Serious talk about firing JK

  52. Wang Chung says:

    Our play throughout qualifying has been consistently inconsistent. That being said, Jurgen cannot continue to play 3 CM’s and starting Altidore. If your going to play 3 CM’s, start with a striker who does not need service to produce goals ex: Gomez. He’s absence in the Honduras game was key. Gomez, if he plays will while be the key for this two qualifiers.

    The “Dream” line up from this player selection for Costa Rica:

    Cameron Edu Gonzalez Morrow

    Zusi Bradley Jones Shea


    What we’ll most likely see against the Tico’s:

    Cameron Goodson Gonzalez Morrow

    Bradley Jones

    Zusi Dempsey Eddie Johnson


    The back 4: Klinsi will look past Goodson’s mediocre pace and value his experience, he’ll play Cameron in position for the first time and Gonzo will have to play better. Morrow is the only wild card here. Edu will have to protect Goodson and Gonzo, he’ll be up to the challenge.

    The midfield has been a cluster frick with the Jones and Bradley partnership being an odd pair of them both wanting to go forward Jones more so than Bradley. If I was Klinsi, I’d take away his ability to roam and have him sit back more. Jones is not Yaya Toure, Jones is a mediocre attacker.

    Zusi will be good a set pieces, but his service on the right will be lacking. Eddie Johnson will continue to play out of position and we’ll get lost in the match.

    Dempsey will be Dempsey he’ll score a scrappy goal and Altidore will get no service and will fail to hold the ball up as usual. Then we will all complain about how lazy he is.

    And Finally, I think a 1-0 USA Prediction is fair, I think this will play out like the Jamaica home match last qualifying round.

  53. AcidBurn says:

    So with all this “DMB at left back” talk, I went back and re-watched the highlights of the US – Costa Rica WCQ from 2009.

    I saw DMB get smoked 2 minutes into the game and get caught hopelessly out of position while one Saborio waltzed through the defense and scored from outside the box. Hope that Saborio won’t be playing against us again.

    Actually, I wish I had those five minutes back. Yee gods, that was some crappy play there. I watched Bradley get turned in the box for a move that I only thought worked in FIFA. The back line looked more like traffic cones.

    • fischy says:

      I guess that’s the game I was remembering in my post just below.

      • AcidBurn says:

        I guess the silver lining is as bad as the US looked in Honduras, that CRC game was much worse. The highlights show a 45 second stretch where the US is hopelessly chasing after the ball, with the accompanying ole’s….

        And let’s not forget DMB’s whiff in the 09 confed cup.

    • beto says:

      +1 i like the idea of DMB contributing, especially in Mexico, but not at LB. I would rather someone like Morrow or Besler just play defense in that spot and lock down Ruiz, Sabario, etc.

  54. fischy says:

    Given the options, Ives’ lineup is realistic, and might be effective. Certainly, it’s putting in the more experienced players available, which is what most managers would do.

    One concern I have — Beasley got a run out at left back once before and flat out cost us the game. He’s just too small to play strong defense.

  55. Steve says:


    Defenders to stay at home. Bradley/Jones must stay disciplined and only have 1 move forward at time. Width to come from RM and LM, who will also need to track back.

    • baropbop says:

      I don’t have any faith that JJ and MB are able to play that way…or be accountable in any sense. If Jones plays back, whatever. Not my ideal, but ok. However, I think you have to throw the guys most likely to score forward and hang your hat on it. I would put MB in that category. Neither JJ or MB has any business running a midfield in front of a rag tag back line. Too many turnovers and too many fouls. I think you put MB the furthest forward he has ever been and tell him to get a goal.

      • Steve says:

        Yeah, I don’t know whether or not they will be able to do that either. This is just my guess on tactics based upon the players selected and the desire to have some cover in the event of further injury. Could see them pressing the attack and then subbing in a LB for a FW once we have a goal on the board.

      • Dennis says:

        This silliness you have about Jones and Bradley giving away the ball is just that. Game-in and game-out they are the best US players at keeping possession and have the highest pass completions on the team. Of course, on those occasions when they do turn the ball over, because of where they play it immediately presents an opportunity to the opponents. But they are consistently better than any other choices available for the role.

      • SBI Troll says:

        These guys wouldn’t be professionals in a top 4 Euro league if they weren’t accountable for their roles. Both Bradley and Jones have played a number 6 role numberous times before, so it’s not like we have two #10s side by side who don’t track back.

        • baropbop says:

          They are accountable when they don’t have someone else to blame. But you can’t run a 3 man midfield in an attacking style with defense first personnel.
          The midfield has looked absolutely horrible in almost every WCQ match. I don’t deny their pedigree, but to suggest that it’s working baffles me.

    • beto says:

      the 3-5-2 gets our best players in their best positions. if Jurgen thinks the team is able/ready for that transition it could be interesting.

  56. martin says:

    I will be in Mexico City to watch the US get killed. They need to beat Costa Rica.

  57. Tex says:


    Based upon historical games played with USMNT,

    Dempsey – 0.35 goals/game
    Gomez – 0.31
    Altidore – 0.25
    EJ – 0.31
    Bradley – 0.15
    Beasley – 0.17
    Boca – 0.12
    Shea – 0
    Jones – 0.06

    Defensively, allowing no more than 1 goal/game would be a success

    Any thoughts

  58. Divers suck says:

    Form is overrated. So is experience. Experience is a proxy for head game. If you play a lot, you’re supposed to be calm and composed. I’m sure experience helps your head game, but many experienced players still flub (ie- Jeff Agoos), and many inexperienced players play like champs (ie- Rafael Varane).

    As for form, my little brother got a full ride playing D1 soccer. He’s in med-school now, and hasn’t played a game for 3 years. I however, have been in great form in my Sunday rec-league for the last several months. He comes to visit occasionally and whoops all our a$$es. Because he’s better than us, and our rec-league just isn’t that good. Ball skill, athleticism, speed and composure matter way more than form. I would take Lichaj over Morrow or Beltran. In a heart beat. He’s just better than them. And for those of you who like to site how poor he’s played, have you ever played on a piss-poor defense? Defending is a team effort, and if your team is sucking it, it’s pretty tough to look good, especially if, in reality, you’re not that good compared to your competition, and you’re playing as a freeking “wingback.”

    • Vic says:

      Great post!

    • the unmistakeable Ronaldinho says:

      The thing about Lichaj is he isn’t even playing for the piss poor defense. He isn’t even making the bench in many games. We are talking about professional soccer players here not your little league team. The comparison just doesn’t work. Your argument against experience is just off the mark too. Soccer is a very mental game and experienced players are generally stronger mentally. That matters. Just because you found 1 example of a veteren player playing poorly and a young player stepping up doesn’t mean there aren’t hundreds more examples of the opposite occurring. thats why conventional wisdom places value in experience. No one is saying it solves everything, but it can’t be so easily dismissed.

    • baropbop says:

      I mostly agree with you. But there are 2 positions where experience does matter. Goalkeeper and CB. An experienced CB can make up for a lot…look at Rio Ferdinand for instance. For this reason I think Boca should have been called. Especially considering the injury situation and importance of these games.
      However, I am in total agreement that I would take Lichaj (and many others) over anyone in the MLS

  59. Travis in Miami says:


    I don’t think this would be too far fetched considering JK’s love for that #6 in front of the back line.

    • baropbop says:

      As far as things that JK might actually do go, I’m hoping for something more like this. I don’t see him leaving Jones off though.

      • Travis in Miami says:

        with rumors of Jones being the captain…you probably have a point. If that is the case it would look like your line up w/Jones in Beckerman’s spot. Not very different from what we’ve been seeing.

        • baropbop says:

          Which is exactly what I’m afraid of. I think it has been made abundantly clear that a midfield consisting of Jones, Bradley and Edu doesn’t work. They are just too similar. I know everyone loves to say that Jones and Bradley are box to box. But they aren’t. When you make all 3 of these kinda responsible for defending, you end up with no one responsible for defending. We also need someone to minimize turnovers and play possession, these guys are the worst at it. Not against any of them being on the field. Just not in this form.

  60. Vic says:

    There seems to be alot of debate about Beasley playing LB. Question for Ives: do you have knowledge from sources that this is being considered or is this your opinion on who you think will start at LB?

  61. baropbop says:

    To Ives…and everyone
    I hadn’t really thought about it until now, but do you think that JK is choosing MLS guys because he is listening to the fans? I just can’t imagine a day 1 JK making these selections.

  62. Chris2 says:

    Ives – Me
    Beasley Deuce Gomez
    Jones Bradley
    Cameron Gonzo Goodson Shea

    We’re doomed, so let me and Galarcep play. We’ll have fun. Put out a serious lineup when Donovan’s back.

  63. twh says:


    Can Morrow play either side?
    Can Goodson play outside? (RB)
    Can Edu play RB?
    (Morrow played the whole game vs Canada. Beltran got pulled at HT. I think we should leave the Cam/Gonzo pair at CB, so RB becomes more of a concern than LB)

    • beto says:

      maybe – the question is can he play his natural position at this level..
      Edu is better in the middle, cameron plays RB for Stoke often.

    • baropbop says:

      As far as MLS guys go. I’m surprised sean franklin isn’t first choice for outside back in this position.

      I definitely think Edu at right back is a possibility. Don’t know that he ever has, but I would trust him with it. Cameron is much more likely. With edu, Cameron, and gonzo as 3/4 of the back line I can feel confident.

      Goodson cant play outside. I dont see big tall guys kn at the same time…and I assume JK is keaning toward Gonzo

  64. Peter says:

    I absolutely love this lineup to be quite honest. Regardless of what you feel about him EDU is our best defensive player hands the hell down!!! Look at the Italy game, Mexico Game, hell even go back to last world cup when he comes in vs. Ghana. and any other game he is featured, we simply do not give up goals while he is playing. He is not better than Jones nor Bradley, but we do not give up GOALS when he plays. Teams we’ve lost too when he starts (Brazil, France, and Spain) damn they’re terrible. Teams we’ve beat or tied: Italy, Argentina, Mexico in Mexico. But the honest numbers are these

    GOAL Differential WHEN HE IS IN THE GAME IN 2012 GAMES:
    Beat: Italy, and Mexico in Mexico
    Tied: Russia in Russia

    He is our best defensive player. I broke down everyone, and he alone makes our defense better.

    • beto says:

      Edu is legit. I can see him playing CB or CM.. just not sure how to work him into the starting XI

      • beto says:


  65. beto says:


    FWD: Goal Scorers! I am betting on Herc Gomez for a few. Boyd, Shea and EJ off the bench too
    MID: Zusi should have the CAM role and be tasked with providing the assists, Corona is his back up if needed. a lot is being made of Jones/Bradley but if Zusi is playing a good game in front of them they will just need to hold the possession and play into the attack when needed. Kljestian, Beckerman and Beasley off the bench if needed.
    DEF: hopefully they are not tested too much but the Besler/Gonzo partnership should complement each other well (this will be the Gold Cup CB’s and maybe many more future games) and Morrow and Cameron on the wings hopefully will work for one day! Edu off the bench in CB if necessary.
    GK: faith in Guzano

  66. MA1 Rodriguez says:

    I hate then 4-3-3 formation for USNT…doesn’t work for our boys.

    I just wish for no more Eddie Johnson and Beckerman.

    Cameron Gonzo Goodson Morrow (I guess)
    Beasley Jones Bradley Dempsey
    Boyd and Altidore

  67. Go dynamo! says:

    Beasley Deuce
    Corona Gomez
    Shea/morrow edu Gonzales Cameron

    Chemistry = Cameron edu at stoke (for a bit) did well at azteca last year
    Beasley, corona and Gomez all from mex league ( if that counts)
    Edu and Gonzales from college

    I feel this is an attack oriented team that also has the option to push with Cameron Shea and morrow. When klinsi tossed Castillo into the lineup he allowed him to push up often and I would think he would expect that if he played Beasley, Shea or morrow at left back.
    Cameron can also push up the right.
    I actually like the options that DMB, Cameron, Shea and edu give us with so much experience at different positions.
    I chose Boyd because he has always looked dangerous compared to Altidore who seems to be turning into Brian Ching with his back to goal all the time. Not that that’s that bad, but not right from the start, maybe a late sub for a spark.
    For sure a different look against Mexico, but klinsi does well against Mexico if you all haven’t noticed. He understands they don’t like high pressure late in games.

    Go USA!!

  68. jlm says:

    altidore gomez

    beasley dempsey shea


    besler edu gonzalez cameron

  69. Lu says:

    Let’s not forget Hernandez scored a hat trick against Guzan

  70. Stan says:

    I think Bradley would make a good center back. Smart, disciplined and very skilled. In my opinion good center backs/sweeper is always one of the most skilled and inilectual players on the team. With more options in the midfield, it wouldn’t be a bad option.

  71. rainORshine says:

    ives – we know you realize dempsey is not a CAM, so basically you are suggesting a 4-4-2 with EJ and gomez as your outside mids. suppose that would work except EJ and gomez are not outside mids

    beasley was mediocre in 2005. its been a LONG time since he was a decent option to start for USMNT


    • Ives Galarcep says:

      First question. Do you watch Dempsey with Tottenham? He plays as an attacking midfielder (I don’t say CAM because there’s no such thing as a LAM or RAM, enough with the video game designation).

      Second question. Do you really think Johnson and Gomez can’t play on the wings? Funny, but last time I checked Santos Laguna’s coach is playing Gomez there almost exclusively and Klinsmann has kept Johnson on the left wing for a handful of matches now. Therefore it seems the idea that they are NOT outside mids isn’t something established coaches seem to agree with you about.

      Lastly, you knock Beasley but you want to start Morrow, who has one cap under his belt against a Canadian C team. I’m not saying Beasley is a lock to start, but he’s no less absurd a suggestion than any being made for left back.

      • rainORshine says:

        when dempsey plays centrally, whether for TFC or US, he is functionally a 2nd forward. his touches primarily come with his back to goal. he seems himself primarily as a goalscorer – which he is. we both know this is true and the fact that he has recorded far more goals than assists throughout career supports this.

        ok, fine, you want to play a 4-4-2 with dempsey underneath a target forward. great. now you just need to find outside mids…

        …and we know gomez and EJ are not outside mids – they are basically forwards/attackers. gomez has made his mark for santos almost exclusively on the outside of a forward 3 – as i have him positioned, not an outside mid in a 4-4-2. its kind of a big difference.
        johnson mostly plays (and has played) centrally in a 4-4-2, although he can occasionally be found wide in 4-3-3 (i think we will see more of this with addition of martins)

        aside from his starts at LM for JK i dont think he has otherwise played that position. personally i dont think it has looked too good and dont see why you would want to go playing guys out of position when there are options that put players in roles they are comfortable in…

        just my take…

        also, i dont play video games so im not sure what you are talking about with that comment. in the formation you posted it looks like dempsey is in a forward midfield attacking position, yes? i shortened that to CAM, which stands for central attacking midfielder. you can explain where my logic with that is faulty…

        • Ives Galarcep says:

          It’s a 4-3-3, not a 4-4-2. You’re choosing to call it a 4-4-2. At times the 4-3-3 could morph into a 4-5-1, but either way I don’t see Dempsey sitting way forward. I see him in midfield receiving passes from Bradley and Jones and circulating from there.

          And I gave you stick about the CAM acronym because that isn’t a term anybody in the sport actually uses. It’s one found in video games but not in real world soccer. Call him an attacking midfielder if you must, go ahead and say AM if you want, but when I see CAM it’s a bit suspicious of where that use comes from.

          Lastly, I was never debating Dempsey’s best position, but making the point that he CAN play as a playmaker and would in what I consider a very likely lineup. We’re trying to project the best possible team, and how best to use Dempsey on THIS team. Is he a better goal-scorer? Sure, but he’s also arguably the best playmaking option in the bunch, and when you consider that right now there are much more quality forward options than attacking midfield options, that’s why I can see Dempsey playing in an attacking midfield role.

      • Peter says:

        I absolutely love this lineup to be quite honest. Regardless of what you feel about him EDU is our best defensive player hands the hell down!!! Look at the Italy game, Mexico Game, hell even go back to last world cup when he comes in vs. Ghana. and any other game he is featured, we simply do not give up goals while he is playing. He is not better than Jones nor Bradley, but we do not give up GOALS when he plays. Teams we’ve lost too when he starts (Brazil, France, and Spain) damn they’re terrible. Teams we’ve beat or tied: Italy, Argentina, Mexico in Mexico. But the honest numbers are these

        GOAL Differential WHEN HE IS IN THE GAME IN 2012 GAMES:
        Beat: Italy, and Mexico in Mexico
        Tied: Russia in Russia

        He is our best defensive player. I broke down everyone, and he alone makes our defense better.

  72. Dick Tracy says:

    A case for Besler to start at CB

    1. Great supplier of the ball from the back, what a 4-3-3 is built on.
    2. Left-footed
    3. Defensive awareness is unparalleled in MLS

  73. Ryan B says:

    Is it that far fetched to ask if we can emulate AZ as best we can, that way we can get the best form for Jozy? If we play the team around him and structure ourselves like them, it will give Jozy the same mindset to score goals. It’s not a long term solution, but he does have 25 goals this season and USA is all about adapting to different styles of play. If it will get him to score and get a win or a point, we should give it a try. We have versatile players who can all play most areas of the pitch.