Photo by ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
With the two easy group stage matches out of the way, the U.S. Men’s National Team now faces their toughest test of the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup when they take on Costa Rica on Tuesday night.
Just who will Jurgen Klinsmann turn to in his starting lineup for this one? He has some difficult decisions to make, at every area of the field. Up top he can go with red-hot Chris Wondolowski or established USMNT regular Herculez Gomez. In central midfield he has Stuart Holden and Mix Diskerud to choose from. Then in the back-line he can choose from a variety of players there, such as Michael Orozco-Fiscal and Tony Beltran over projected starters Oguchi Onyewu and Michael Parkhurst.
One thing is clear. The time for experimentation is over. There will be no more resting regulars or rotating players. Klinsmann will lock in his preferred starting lineup for the rest of the tournament against Costa Rica, which could be the toughest opponent the Americans face before the final.
So who will Klinsmann turn to against Costa Rica? Here is our projected USMNT starting lineup:
PROJECTED USMNT LINEUP vs. COSTA RICA
———Chris Wondolowski———Landon Donovan—————–
Edgar Castillo————-Stuart Holden——————–Joe Corona
DaMarcus Beasley————————————Michael Parkhurst
—————Clarence Goodson——–Oguchi Onyewu—————–
No real surprises here, with Wondolowski getting the nod over Herculez Gomez. That one makes sense given Wondolowski’s hot form, though Klinsmann won’t be afraid to bench him in favor of Gomez if he feels Gomez is the better match-up vs. Costa Rica.
Stuart Holden looked a bit fatigued against Cuba, but he still gets the nod here over Mix Diskerud. Kyle Beckerman will have the No. 6 role, that much is pretty safe to project, but the battle between Holden and Diskerud is a good one. We see Holden getting the nod here, and through the rest of the tournament.
Edgar Castillo is not a good defender, but he contributes to the attack, and he can form a solid flank partnership with DaMarcus Beasley so we give him the nod here over Jose Torres.
Joe Corona has started both matches this tournament, and you could wonder about fatigue, but he’s coming off his best USMNT match to date, so it’s tough to see him sent to the bench for such an important match.
Who would I start vs. Costa Rica? The same group listed above. I would think about Michael Orozco at right back, but would give Parkhurst the runout.
And who would the majority of fans probably trot out against Costa Rica? This group most likely:
————-Chris Wondolowski———-Herculez Gomez——————
Alejandro Bedoya—Stuart Holden—–Mix Diskerud–Landon Donovan
DaMarcus Beasley————————————————Tony Beltran
—————-Clarence Goodson———Michael Orozco-Fiscal———–
What do you think of our projected lineup? What changes would you make to that group? Would you rather see the “Fans XI” projected squad face Costa Rica?
Share your thoughts below.