Who should the USMNT start vs. Scotland?


Photo by ISIPhotos.com


The U.S. Men’s National Team is in Scotland ahead of Friday’s international friendly, and while the lasting memories of the most recent meeting between these teams was that of a blowout, the return leg in Glasgow should be a significantly tougher challenge for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side.

Injuries to Clint Dempsey and Fabian Johnson have forced them both to withdraw from camp. Neither will be replaced. They join Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler among the players not available for the upcoming friendlies.

Those absences should create opportunities for several fringe players to earn starts and impress Klinsmann, like Mix Diskerud and Geoff Cameron.

Here is a look at the projected lineup we could see take on Scotland on Friday:







Some thoughts:

Clint Dempsey and Fabian Johnson have both pulled out of the USMNT squad due to injuries.

The defense seems like a pretty straightforward foursome, while Jones and Bradley should reunite for the first time since June.

Bedoya gets the nod here, and while his inclusion could mean we see more of a 4-4-2 than 4-3-3, it’s a safe bet he does get the nod. Now, if Klinsmann does decided to go with a more pure 4-4-2, we could see Sacha Kljestan get the nod.

Klinsmann has also shown an affinity for playing one forward on the road, and if he does, we could see Johannsson sit on the bench in favor of Altidore. Here’s a potential 4-2-3-1 lineup we could see:






So what lineup would USMNT fans most like to see? Here’s one combination:






What lineup would you like to see take on Scotland on Friday? Hoping to see an Altidore-Johannsson tandem?

Share your thoughts below.

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128 Responses to Who should the USMNT start vs. Scotland?

  1. Maykol says:

    $100 says lichaj is overrated

    • Darwin says:

      Competition for RB is doable for Lichaj. Competition for the spot is weak in this group. I think he gets the start, and I hope you’re wrong.

    • Hogatroge says:

      Relative to the other RBs on this roster (excluding Cameron, who JK considers a CB)?

      When can you mail me the check?

      • StevieBob says:

        Klinsmann hinted that he was called up because Castillo is hurt. Look for him at LB, not RB if he is to get any minutes.

        • Mueller says:

          This gets lost on a lot of people. At the same time, if JK sees Lichaj as cover at LB, it doesn’t really condemn Chandler completely on the right.

    • mdc says:

      He has never been called in by JK and plays in the Championship …How could he be overrated? He could be underrated or accurately rated (less than Evans, etc.), but not overrated.

  2. nick says:

    Would like to see Brooks get both games. He’ll probably get the Austira game though…

  3. beto says:


    is FJ not 100%, if is his good to go he could take LB or LW
    CAM is the spot in contention this time;
    1. in form Kljestan
    2. out of form Dempsey
    3. Mix Diskerud

  4. biff says:

    Did not know Fabian and Clint were out. This would be a great opportunity to call in Mike Magee. Oh, but I forgot, we have Brek Shea, who has truly earned a call up this time.

    • Hogatroge says:

      I usually agree with you on a lot of things, biff, and I know Shea’s inclusion is contrary to what Klinsmann says is necessary for a call up, but…

      1. Klinsmann often uses USMNT camps to elevate certain players in need of loans/moves. Shea desperately needs a loan.

      2. Shea hit a low point during the Cuba match, but he improved consistently after that point and was doing very well in Stoke’s preseason before getting injured against the Union.

      3. It’s not like we’re overloaded with left-sided midfielders on this roster. No Fabian Johnson, no LD, no Zusi, no Davis, etc.

      • biff says:

        But, Hogatroge, using USMNT camps to elevate certain players in need of loans/moves is not in Klinsmann’s job description. I agree, though, Klinsmann has been doing that with some of his personally favorite players and I personally think that is unfair to guys like Magee, who earned it the hard way and not by becoming the coach’s pet. I know that sounds hard and I do like Shea a lot and would love to see him get it together and excel at both the US and club levels. But I repeat: Brek does not deserve to be in this camp–and certainly not to help him get a January loan. It is a slap in the face to every player in the pool who dreams of being on the USMNT and is not getting called up by Klinsmann.

        • David says:

          I think Brek Shea has been one of our most overrated players in the last few years.

          However, I think the idea that “using USMNT camps to elevate certain players in need of loans/moves is not in Klinsmann’s job description” is misguided. Frankly, I think his job description centers somewhere around winning games, or building the sport or whatever, but it most certainly isn’t about being fair.

          If I accept the idea that Shea could be helpful to the USMNT (which I’m not sure I do), I can absolutely support the argument for his inclusion:

          1. On his best days, Shea is mired to the bench at Stoke.
          2. Shea will be most helpful to us if he’s fit and in form.
          3. To get fit and in form, he’ll need a loan.
          4. To get a loan, some team will need to watch him play and like how he plays.
          5. To get some team to watch him play and like how he plays, he’ll need some playing time.
          6. The USMNT can provide him said playing time.

          It’s Klinsmann’s team. I don’t always agree with his decisions, but he doesn’t owe me anything. And he doesn’t owe Mike Magee or Timmy Chandler (both of whom I love) anything. His job is to put the USMNT in the best position to win as many important games as possible. If he thinks Brek Shea does that, then he should absolutely call him in.

          • Hogatroge says:

            Shea is not “mired to the bench” at Stoke.

            He suffered an injury (for which his opponent got a sending off) at the exact beginning of the season and by the time he recovered, his team had already settled into a starting 18.

            There’s a difference in getting benched due to poor form/not being in the plans and being injured.

            If Shea weren’t in the plans, he wouldn’t have been starting preseason.

            • David says:

              I agree that not playing due to injury is different than not playing because you’re not good, and certainly Brek got a bad break with that preseason injury.

              But…the MCL sprain was at the end of July, and he returned to playing for Stoke on August 28, when he played 45 minutes in a cup match. Since then, he’s played only one other time, a cup match on October 29. For the nine premier league games since 8/28, Shea’s not seen the bench even once.

              So yes, bad timing on the MCL sprain, but there’s more than just explaining his absence from the field.

        • John says:

          Shea is on the team because he fills a need this team just doesn’t have. Look at some of the line ups people have, with 5 central midfielders starting. You have to look at positions individually and not the best 23 US players.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          biff, I agree that Shea’s inclusion is a slap in the face to many USMNT-hopefuls. However, I disagree that “using USMNT camps to elevate certain players in need of loans/moves is not in Klinsmann’s job description.” His job is to develop the USMNT. Where players play professionally is a major part of that development. JK’s connections/influence are part of what makes him a valuable coach (as opposed to, say, Caleb Porter who might be a fantastic coach but has essentially no connections).

        • Hunter says:

          Very mixed feelings. I don’t thing Shea is good enough to really be in the mix. As to his being stuck on the bench… he’s not the only one in that situation. I don’t blame players that cannot escape their coaches decision not to play them and don’t think that alone should be used to exclude them from camps. Shea and Parkhurst both have bad team situations… Shea catches a break from JK while Parkhurst doesnt. Both would have been better to have stayed with their last teams

          MaGee has MLS goals but is not international quality imo. I see no reason to bring him in at this point. I think he’s little different than Wondo and neither are going

          I also think JK does play favs in some cases. Shea is one, Beckerman another. He also has no problem breaking his own “rules” as he sees fit. I don’t think Shea will see much, if any, time

          • Dennis says:

            Is Shea good enough? I think not. That said he is big strong and fast and has a decent left foot. That combo is missing from this team. I would say if you want a good soccer player on the left side, there are better choices, Castilla, Beasley, FJ, Bedoya, Donavon, and probably more. But despite his lack of a better first touch, not much in the way of a plan B in place if simply taking a touch down the side and powering through does not work, when that simple, straight-forward approach works, he can contribute. I just wish he would become a more complete player.

          • Dman says:

            JK’s JOB is to put together the best possible team for the World cup. If he thinks that Jozy Altidore, and Brek shea have potential that Mike Mcgee just does not have, then he has every right to try to develop that potential.

        • Hogatroge says:

          Until the National Team starts losing, I think Klinsmann’s perfectly entitled to make whatever call ups he wants.

          There is no fairness to being selected for the national side. Life ain’t fair.

        • wandmdave says:

          I totally disagree. The coaches job is to *build* the best team possible. That should include boosting young prospects with high ceilings or calling in top dual national prospects a little early in order to help persuade them to join the US when it is possible. Magee just doesnt fit that bill. Hes 29 so he doesn’t have an international future and even in his current form he wouldn’t be dressing for Stoke either so what is the point?

          If anything bringing in Wondo is the head scratcher. Bring Agudelo instead. Give the young guy with upside some more reps not the old guy that has peaked right at the line between the club and international levels.

          Maybe if soccer in the US grows to the point where we have a ton of talent like the Germanys, Brazils, and Spains of the world then we can have the luxury of bringing in players based only on current form.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I’m not a fan but my primary worry would be that he repeats Boca’s Russia experience and goes out with a muscle pull.

  5. biff says:

    Jones is in crap form, wanna see Mix and MB together. Would have had Fabian at left back, but with his injury will play Lichaj as LB, his weaker side. Don’t think Brooks is ready for prime time.





  6. biff says:

    Oh, yeah, forgot about this key position…

    *Chief Locker Room Ham-it-Up Guy: Brek Shea

    link to dailymail.co.uk

  7. Steevens says:

    Get Mike Magee on a fight NOW

    • Lost in Space says:

      A flight to the Costa Rica for some R&R…sure thing. But for the USMNT…I’ll pass.
      MaGee, Wondo, and Davis aren’t worth the time. Not saying Shea is….but he could be….those 3 though aren’t.

    • jlm says:

      you trying to toughen him up ? you think this is the miami dolphins?

  8. Soccerhorn says:

    I like Ives’ second lineup, but I’d swap two of the midfielders – swing Diskerud out wide and move Sasha to the attacking center midfield, where he thrives as a playmaker for Anderlecht.

  9. BryanW says:

    No Eddie Johnson love?

  10. QuakerOtis says:

    C’mon Ives. Didn’t you read this story: link to soccerbyives.net?

  11. Two Cents says:

    I like the one Ive’s posted for a 4-2-3-1, but with Lichaj instead of Evans. Although Kljestan has been in form, he is not an out and out winger, so I think Lichaj can provide some width to the right side so that Kljestan can push towards the middle a little bit more in order to create with Mix.






    Depending on Scotland’s shape, a 4-4-2 may be a better idea. I don’t consider Scotland to be a strong offensive team in the general sense, so we may be able to pull off a 4-4-2 with only one DM. However, this may be better later on in the match. Start with the 4-2-3-1 and then moving to the 4-4-2 as the match progresses.





  12. Alex says:

    I’m sorry but neither Kljestan nor Diskerud are wide midfielders. Might we see a return of Beasley to the left wing, with Lichaj playing left back? probably not… And we will probably see Sacha played wide. And that annoys me to no end. ALMOST as much as seeing Danny Williams played as a right midfielder.

    • Ives Galarcep says:

      The lineup listed they would be more in a box midfield than playing as true wide midfielders.

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I agree with your basic premise. One of the things that makes this team hum is wide play and speed, which creates chances and gets Jozy his necessary service. You remove that and you have the makings of the stalemate machine from Klinsi’s Early Period that was not very effective. Like you’re saying, we might as well go back to Danny Williams wide.

      • Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

        Totally agree. I’m not sure if I’d take Kljestan or Mixx at CAM but I do not want to see them both on the field at the same time. Hopefully Bedoya can provide the flank speed we need to some service to the strikers. With Landon, Zusi, and Fabian out, Bedoya better have a good night, or I think we could have a very isolated striker(s).

  13. Chris says:

    I have the same lineup as ives, but in a 4-2-3-1 with bedoya and johannsson switched, I feel like bedoya is really right sided so i would keep him there. Off the bench I want to see brooks, lichaj, kljestan, EJ and Boyd. Maybe given shea a cameo with the last sub, or if its a blowout bring in sean johnson

  14. That Guy says:

    Why does every team picture look like the old AT&T commercials?

    Are we trying to “raise the bar” as a team?

  15. myett says:

    What I’d like to see (not saying JK will do it)





  16. John says:


    I know it seems crazy but for the most part, I went with everyone playing there actual position

    • SBI TroII says:

      I can dig this.

    • Steve says:

      I like Shea in the line-up. Not because he plays soccer. He can’t – not particularly well, anyway. He’s our tall, fast show pony. He better do his hair all fancy like.

      • John says:

        If F.Johnson Dempsey or Donovan were here I’d would have had them in but they aren’t. If there were any other left wide players in the roster I’d go with them. It’s just a friendly and you can take him off at half if its not working. Its just annoying playing guys like Kljestan out wide and then wondering why they can’t play a position they don’t play. At least with Shea we’ll see what we have.

    • Wonderloaf says:

      You forgot Wondowlowski.

  17. Umlaut says:

    I just want to see Bradley and Kliestjan paired up centrally for at least one half.

  18. quozzel says:

    How weird is it that we’re missing Donovan, Dempsey, Fabian Johnson, Eddie Johnson, Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, and Stuart Holden went and blew his knee out again…and we still expect to win this game? Oh, and yeah, Timmy Chandler has probably been written off, Cherundolo’s lost the last year-plus with a bum knee and may never make it back, and we still haven’t really found a right back…and, oh, yeah, we’re starting DaMarcus Beasley at left back.

    Rewind a year and make that statement, and USA pundits would be screaming train wreck. Instead we’re talking a team that’s won 14 of its last 15 and is ranked #13 in the world, and has just handily won its group and the Gold Cup. Oh, and in that stretch we’ve beaten Germany, Bosnia (in Bosnia), and Mexico.

    Say what you want about Klinsmann, the man has done an amazing job with the Nats.

  19. Johnnypauly says:

    Why not AJ on the left and Bedoya on the right in the 4-3-3? Against Scotland I would like to see:


  20. Dinho says:

    This my preferred lineup for this game (a lot of changes mostly because we lose FJ). Dempsey would not start for me (in his current form). Say what you will.

    ———– Altidore — Johannsson ———-

    Beasley —– MB90 —- Mix ——— Bedoya

    Lichaj — Brooks —– Orozco—- Cameron

    ——————- Howard ——————–

    • Dinho says:

      A comment on my lineup:

      I may be in the minority, but I still can’t buy into Omar Gonzalez as a lock in the back. The guy is a mistake waiting to happen. And, I’m a Galaxy fan, so there’s no hate intended. I just sh$t myself anytime he’s in the lineup against a half-way decent squad (Yes, I’ve gone through my fair share of undies).

      Brooks is untested. Why not test him here? What is the downside? I’d like to see trial by fire with him. T

    • Wonderloaf says:

      You forgot Wondowlowski!

    • Joamiq says:

      I think this one is my favorite out of all those I’ve seen posted. (No way in hell does it happen, of course.)

  21. SanFran415 says:

    Wondowlowski > all other options at forward except maybe AJ. Jozy just falls over. He’s dreadful and is flunking out of the Premier league again.

  22. Benny Dargle says:

    I think Ives’ second lineup, but with E. Johnson on the left and Bedoya on the right, is by far the most likely absent injuries or other information about form at practices. EJ has played on the left wing for JK a lot and Sacha has rarely played on the right wing for the USMNT this cycle.

  23. Birgit Calhoun says:

    Wondolowski would be my choice as a starter in with Altidore next to him in front. He has great stamina and knows where the ball is going to be. John Therry thought he was a difficult opponent when he played against him in last year’s All-Star game. Wondo scored in that game against Chelsea. Or at least put him in as a sub around the 60th minute.

  24. Gary Page says:

    These are friendlies and since he called him in, I hope he starts Lichaj for one game. Otherwise, why bother calling him in? I’d also like to see a Johannsson and Boyd pairing up top at least one game to see how that would work out. The results of these two games don’t really matter, so time for at least some testing.

  25. John says:

    Excited to see the return of starting 5 central midfielders…..not so much

  26. Marcelo Balboa's Mustache says:

    Anyone else nervous about the Gonzo Cameron pairing at centerback? Both seem to pair well with Besler, and it seems like Besler fills in the gaps and coordinates the back line. I’m a big fan of Cameron, but I don’t think either one of these guys plays that role very well. Betcha we concede at least one in each game on a run/through ball right through the middle.

    • John says:

      I’m actually not a big fan of Cameron at center back as long as he is playing right back for his club.

  27. Liz says:

    Looking forward to watching Wondolowski in action. Mmmmmm…

  28. SBI TroII says:

    Not really sure how Klinsmann feels about certain players who are somewhat new to the scene, but I would prefer to see something like this. I think Aron and Mix will be quite fluid and switch positions throughout the match. I also hope Lichaj gets the start. I want to see how he looks.

    ————El Pato Timmy Howard————

  29. louis z says:

    Here is my lineup


  30. Cool Hand Luke says:

    Beasley simply has to play left mid right? Lichaj at leftback

  31. hudson says:

    With Dempsey, Donovan and F. Johnson out, I think it’s a good bet we’ll see both Altidore and Johannsson starting, possibly with E. Johnson in place of his namesake on the left side. So the lineup posted by louis z above looks likely, except Evans will probably start ahead of Lichaj.

  32. Ryan in NYC by way of NC says:

    Me: People are still upset about Mike McGee not getting called in…

    Soccer fan: Man who is Mike McGee? Like really, I have no idea who this guy is. *shrug shoulders*

  33. Gary says:





    —————————Wondowlowski or maybe Howard——————

  34. Jom says:

    How many times must we say Shea has potential before we all realize that he’s pretty bad at the whole soccer thing.

    • John says:

      I guess as soon as we develop or find other options on the left wing. That or just keep putting strikers out there.

  35. WK says:

    Whoever does start better be ready for a fight, as the Scots certainly remember the beat down we gave ’em last time. Will be interesting to see how the team deals with it.

  36. Dave from Charlotte says:

    Stop putting the porn moustache guy out wide…the dude is a CM.

  37. CM says:

    I see it this way……..We are taking 4 forwards to Brazil…….Altidore, Dempsey, EJ have seats on the plane right now……There is room for 1 more…….AJ, Wondo, or Gomez?………We are taking 8 midfielders to Brazil……..Donovan, Bedoya, Bradley, Jones, Zusi, Diskerud, Beckerman have seats on the plane right now……..There is room for 2 more…..Corona, Davis, Klejstan?………We are taking 8 defenders to Brazil………Evans, Goodson, FJ, Cameron, Besler…….There is room 3 more…..Gonzo, Beasley, Parkhurst, Brooks, Lichaj?

    • blokhin says:

      F: AJ as the 4th with emergency reserve being Gomez at #5
      M: subtract Beckerman -that makes six and add either Beasley or FJ, now Corona, Klestjan, and Beckerman compete for 1 of 3- I pick Klestjan over Beckerman
      D: OG, Besler, Cameron, the other of Beasley/FJ are locks…Goodson and Brooks for one more CB, Castillo, Lichaj and Parkhurst for one more LB and Dolo, Lichaj, Evans and Chandler for two RBs…I prefer Lichaj, but given JK’s history I’d pick Castillo for other LB and Dolo and Evans for 2 RBs-Evans would be bumped for Chandler if he ever made his way into team’s graces again.

      With FJ, Beasley, Donovan, Dempsey and Castillo/Zusi/Bedoya all capable of playing on the Left, there is literally no room for Shea on this roster, no matter how much fans want to squeeze him in for a flash in the pan super-sub role too many other players are in better form and offer more flexibility

    • Dinho says:

      I don’t think Goodson has a seat. I think Omar does although I’m not so sure he should. This is my 23:

      Goalkeepers (3): Howard, Guzan, Rimando

      Defenders (8): Cameron, Gonzalez, Besler, Beasley, Evans, Brooks, Lichaj, Orozco

      Midfielders (8): Bedoya, Bradley, Jones, F.Johnson, Donovan, Zusi, Diskerud, Kljestan

      Forwards (4): Altidore, Dempsey, Johannsson, E.Johnson

    • Judging Amy says:

      AJ is better than EJ. Club form and nat team performances. I get that he’s new but we’ve seen enough to see that he’s def better than EJ.

      • John says:

        They play the position in such different ways its hard to even say one is better. EJ can give you some hold up play and act as an outlet as a target forward. AJ just isn’t going to give you that but he can make a timed run and is a great finisher. However EJ is far better in the air as we’ve seen. Both give you different options and it might come down to who you are going up against.

      • The Other Jeff says:

        EJ is the only viable backup for Jozy’s target role. That puts him on the plane.

        • Joamiq says:

          Boyd. Not saying Boyd is better than EJ (though I think he will be when he’s done developing), but he can be a backup target striker. We’ll have to see how things go in the beginning of 2013. Form can dissipate quickly.

    • Joamiq says:

      There’s not really any reason to assume those breakdowns. In 2010 we took 6 forwards, though Landon was one. Still, besides him we had Gomez, Dempsey, Buddle, Findlay, and Altidore. You never know how things will shake out in the end.

  38. Joamiq says:

    I wish we had more wing threats. I think a midfield trio of Jones, Bradley, and Mix could do some damage. They should fit together well. But if they’re not complemented by wingers who can stretch the field, things could get clogged up in the middle. I love Bedoya, but he’s not going to stretch the field and consistently provide service. Kljestan’s definitely not a winger. I would like to see Lichaj get some minutes at LB so Beasley could move up to the midfield, but JK’s not going to try Beasley at a new (albeit old) position at this point. And I wish Shea were in form, but that’s almost certainly not going to be the case. Lack of width changes things so much that it almost seems pointless to play games without Donovan, Zusi, Fabian, hell, even Castillo…

  39. Ben says:

    I’m just hoping that JK washes his hands of the Beasley Evans combination…. they are both not suited to the task when it comes to real competition. Let’s face it, CONCACAF is not the best of the best, and if we’re going to have a real chance at going somewhere in Brazil, we have to look past these two. Is Lichaj and Castillo the solution? I don’t think so, but they’re a lot better, and it’s their natural position that they play day in and day out. Here’s hoping Timmy Chandler and Fabian Johnson are deployed there come time to play some real games.

    • DC Josh says:

      Let’s face it, Tim Chandler is not in the USMNT picture for next summer. If he was, he would be in camp / would have been in camp the last 11 months.

  40. Johnnypauly says:

    How’s this look?:

  41. DC Josh says:

    Let Bradley and Mix get into the offensive third:

    ——–Bedoya———–Jozy———E. Johnson——–
    ^ ^



  42. DCUnitedWillRiseAgain says:

    Bedoya is great, and should get the start, but last time we played him on the left it was a disaster. I like the idea of playing Lichaj at LB and moving Run DMB up to the wing. Cameron also played some LB for Stoke last season. Here’s mine:

    Jozy Aron
    DMB MB90 Sacha Bedoya
    Lichaj Brooks Gonzo Cameron

  43. Jason says:

    Gotta start getting away from the whole target man mentality for Jozy. He’s unreal in hold-up play and is more serviceable as a CF. AJ should be our lone striker


  44. rainORshine says:

    im confused as to why a 4-4-2 is displayed as a ‘4-2-1-3’…

    gotta be kljestan (somewhere)!

    having to scroll to bottom of page is a real thread killer. give us the option!

  45. cps says:

    Iceman deserves the start on Friday. Guy is a flat out playmaker.

  46. Theo M says:

    For the cup:
    Starting XI


    Backup XI:

    —Fabian Johnson–Diskerud—-Bedoya—-