Projecting the USMNT World Cup starting lineup

USMNT Starting 11


We are less than 12 weeks away from the 2014 World Cup, with the U.S. Men’s National Team’s opening match vs. Ghana fast approaching and plenty of questions still unanswered about the likely starters Jurgen Klinsmann will call on for that all-important match.

The team has some clear-cut choices, such as Michael Bradley and Tim Howard, and some others that are safer bets than some might  think, like Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and Jermaine Jones, but there are a handful of positions that are clearly still up for grabs.

In my latest column, I projected the starting lineup Klinsmann will trot out against Ghana, and there aren’t many major surprises, though there are a handful of players left out who could easily wind up playing their way into the lineup in the coming months.

Chief among them is Aron Johannsson, who is scoring goals like no other American player at the moment. It isn’t a new development that he doesn’t project as a World Cup starter, but with him scoring goals and Altidore not scoring goals, many fans are clamoring for the current AZ striker to get the nod over the former AZ striker.

Give my column on the projected USMNT World Cup starting lineup a read and let us know what you think of the selections. You can also make your own lineup selections on the top positions up for grabs after the jump.

Cast your votes after the jump:

  • Jozy Altidore
  • Aron Johannson
  • Terrence Boyd
  • Eddie Johnson
  • Juan Agudelo

  • Fabian Johnson
  • DaMarcus Beasley

  • F. Johnson-Dempsey-Donovan
  • Donovan-Dempsey-Johannsson
  • Zusi-Donovan-Johannsson
  • Johannsson-Dempsey-Donovan
  • Donovan-Dempsey-Bedoya
  • F. Johnson-Donovan-Johannsson
  • Zusi-Dempsey-Bedoya
  • Zusi-Donovan-Bedoya
  • F. Johnson-Donovan-Zusi
  • F.Johnson-Dempsey-Johannsson
  • Zusi-Dempsey-Johannsson
  • Donovan-Dempsey-Zusi

  • Fabian Johnson-Geoff Cameron
  • Fabian Johnson-Brad Evans
  • DaMarcus Beasley-Geoff Cameron
  • DaMarcus Beasley-Brad Evans
  • DaMarcus Beasley-Fabian Johnson

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223 Responses to Projecting the USMNT World Cup starting lineup

  1. slowleftarm says:

    If we have to play 4-2-3-1, I’m ok with Ives lineup except no DMB – instead Johnson at LB and Zusi at RM. 4-4-2 with Johansson instead of Zusi is a better fit with this group of players but JK doesn’t seem to be a 4-4-2 type of guy.

    • slowleftarm says:

      In the 4-4-2, I mean AJ and Jozy as the strikers with Donovan and Dempsey on the wings and Bradley and I suppose Jones in the middle.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        slowleftarm: you perfectly described my thinking. The only difficult choice for me is between Zusi and AJ, and as you point out that all depends on formation. Against Ghana, I would like to see a 4-4-2. Not so sure about Portugal (but I’d lean toward 4-4-2). Against Germany I’d want to play the 4-2-3-1.

        If we’re ahead and trying to close out a match: Bedoya in for Clint and Zusi in for AJ.

      • Shaggie96 says:

        I don’t believe there’s any chance Dempsey will play on the wing. He hasn’t done it to this point as far as I remember. He doesn’t put in the defensive effort that JK requires from those positions so as long as Dempsey is in JK’s plans, he will play the 4-2-3-1.

        • Eric W says:

          Deuce used to play on the wings for Fulham and I believe he did for the US as well. But I agree that, at this point in the career, he’s not willing/able to put in the defensive effort.

          • beachbum says:

            he played all the time on the wing for Bradley, usually starting on the left, and he and LD would overlap and switch throughout the game a lot, pretty much the only real interchanging that team used to do

            • Shaggie96 says:

              You’re right, that’s where he played in the last WC. That was four years ago, though, and even then he wasn’t exactly a defensive stalwart.

              • beachbum says:

                not bad defensively tho for that team. Bradley made him work and he did, on the wings. I like Clint on the wing because he is physically forced into the game with the need to defend; makes him a better player overall, more integrated into the game

    • LIUnited says:

      I go with the 4-4-4. Jozy and Bacon,
      Zuzi, Bradley, Jones, Bedoya

      • LIUnited says:

        That was supposed to be 4-4-2
        Jozy and Bacon up top
        Zusi, Bradley, Jones, Bedoya
        F Johnson, Belser, Omar, Cameron

        Yes – this leaves Dempsey and Landon on the bench. Anyone remember the 2002 WC with Landon and Demarcus speeding down the field and counter attacking. Dempsey is in poor form and Landon has lost a step and a half.

  2. Freddy says:

    I really think a 4-4-2 is Klinsmann’s best bet. I would have Besler as a right CB to read the game and help Cameron contain Ronaldo. I think Omar would end up fouling Ronaldo too much and get an early yellow.

    I don’t like Altidore or Johannsen as a lone striker. Play them together and I think we’re more dangerous.

    If we do emerge from this group it will be a hell of a victory for US Soccer and MLS regardless of what happens in the next round.

    1-0 over Ghana, 1-0 over Portugal, and 2-1 loss to Germany. I think it can happen.

    • Umlaut says:

      They way it’s played out in my head is a W against Ghana, then ties against Portugal and Germany, with Germany beating Portugal and us moving on.

      • malkin says:

        We CAN also get out of the group going 1-1-1.

        • Sharkbait says:

          I think we can even get out of the group with 3 points if say Germany wins all 3, we beat Ghana but lose to Portugal, Portugal loses to Ghana and we wind up miraculously with the best goal differential or whatever the tie-breaker is. Actually now that I think about it I could totally see that happening…

          • away goals says:

            a la confed cup 2009.

            • Gary Page says:

              What I was thinking, too. That was close to a miracle result and then we go and beat
              Spain, for Spain’s first loss in something like 45 games. You never can tell, to quote an old Chuck Berry song.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          I agree. This is the most optimistic and still realistic scenario:

          Germany: W-W-W, 9 pts
          USA: W-D-L, 4 pts
          Portugal: L-D-D 2 pts
          Ghana: L-L-D 1 pt.

          It relies on the ranking going into the third match being: Germany (6), USA (4), Portugal (1), Ghana (0). Ghana could still overtake Portugal with a win, so they fight hard. Portugal needs a win to overtake the USA, so they push high and leave themselves exposed. Match ends in a draw. Germany doesn’t *need* a win against the USA, but they’re Germany so they crush us 3-0 without even trying :)

          • KingGoogleyEye says:

            The biggest flaw in my optimism is that the same arguments for why Portugal v Ghana will end in a draw apply to the USA v Ghana match, but I come up with a different result!

            • K2 says:

              Another cause for optimism: If Germany wins their first two games, USA might face a less zealous German team, and just maybe we can squeak a tie.

          • beto says:

            Or all four teams end with 4 points.

        • Gary Page says:

          As I recall, Italy once won a World Cup after starting out that way.

    • James says:

      4-4-2 seems to be the consensus best formation us, but we’ve never once seen it under Klinsman. It’d be really interesting to see if it’s pulled out at the WC. Maybe Klinsman is avoiding it to not give opponents a chance to scout it?

      • Nate Dollars says:

        yes, we haven’t played a true 4-4-2, but it’s not unusual for us to switch to a 4-4-1-1, with dempsey as the withdrawn striker. if dempsey’s form keeps improving, my ideal lineup would be:


        where donovan cuts inside from the right while fabian overlaps, and zusi stays wide to provide service.

        if both donovan and zusi push up, it works as a 4-2-3-1, with deuce as attacking mid. if just donovan pushes up and zusi stays back to help with cristiano, it works as a lopsided 4-3-3.

      • Matt C says:

        James, i agree though i’d frame it slightly different. The 4-4-2 is not necessarily the best formation. But it is the formation that allows Klinsi to get his best 6 middies and forwards on the field at the same time.

        I think we’ll see Klinsi trot out three different line ups for the round-robin matches.

      • Shaggie96 says:

        We’ve seen the 4-4-2, but usually it’s a shift that happens in the last twenty minutes or so when we’re looking for a goal. The truth is there are many times during the game where Dempsey or whoever is playing the CAM role is high enough up the field to practically be a second forward as well.

      • Louis Z says:

        we have seen the 4-4-2 vs Bosnia and another game but JK doesn’t like it because it will either move Dempsey to the wing, which is not his best position or move him to be bench, which is not in JK current plans. If you put Dempsey as another striker it would end up being a 4-4-1-1

      • beachbum says:

        what??? not even close to accurate my friend. have played it a lot, and more, even when we supposedly are in the 4 2 3 1 it often plays like a 4 4 2, especially on D, or even a 4 1 3 2

  3. Don the Jewler says:

    Beasley at LB I will believe it when I see it. He can’t hang wuth the teams in our group, FJ at LB, Landon at LM and Zuzi at RM

    • Joe says:

      This. A thousand times this.

      • ronniet says:

        I like the thought of Parkhurst or Ream at LB, FJ at right back which would then allow JK to introduce Besler and Cameron as the CB tandem! We only need one of our fullbacks getting forward and that would be FJ and keep the more defensive but excellent distributors of TR or MP defending more! Our midfield would ideally set up goal scoring opportunities with the likes of Dempsey, Donovan, bedoya/zusi and clearly Bradley, so in my eyes this is the best lineup we could put out there!

      • Jesse D says:

        Bedoya Vs Zusi is the hardest decision for me. I think Bedoya plays with more energy and wears down opponents. My logic says Bedoya is better when you are winning, as he is better on the counter attack. Zusi is better when behind as he can create an opportunity even when the defense is condensed. Bedoya has excellent chemistry when Donovan is the CAM. If Dempsey is playing that role, then that advantage is gone. What I don’t know is who has better chemistry with Cameron. We haven’t seen enough Cameron at RB to make that comparison.

        • Bac says:

          I’d agree with your point that this is the closest toss up also, but you would have hoped by now one of them would have clearly claimed that spot – but I don’t think either has separated himself

    • James says:

      Frankly, I’m not sure anyone on the roster could hang with Germany or Portugal’s strikers. I’m not sold on him there, but he does bring a lot of experience

  4. HoboMike says:

    FJ has always looked better for us at LB. I think his inclusion at LM may not be what we need. It would also mean that Zusi’s set piece deliveries would be on the bench.

    I would go for a 4-4-2, but that means we’d have no width on the left hand side. You’d need to start Dempsey there, who will cut in. Take the good with the bad, I suppose.

  5. Aaron in SF says:

    That midfield 3 is a tough one. Assuming Dempsey and Donovan are fit they pretty much need to get the start against Ghana. I suppose the choice betweeen Johannsson and Zusi could come down more to tactics, but having a guy that’s been scoring goals (A-Jo) is enticing. Zusi probably gets the start though with Johannsson coming off the bench.

    • Josh D says:

      Dempsey is fit now and wouldn’t be on most fans’ starting lineup. He’s a huge liability and doesn’t contribute to anything but our foul count.

      Sort it out buddy! Go to Cambodia if you have to.

      • Scweeb says:

        biggest thing with AJ on the wing is Defense. You will not get any D out of the guy and to have him on as a wing against ghana or any team is just not going to happen. I know in the 4-2-3-1 you want a guy who can hold up the ball but i don’t think Jozy is going to be able to do that. That is why i would want Johansson as my forward cause he makes more out side runs to space that could open up the field.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Yes, Dempsey contributes massively to our foul count—our fouls *received* count, that is.

      • Julian in SF says:

        That is pretty funny!

      • Julian in SF says:

        Ignore post below… Cambodia reference is funny!

    • Shaggie96 says:

      The choice is between Johannsson and Dempsey, not Johannsson and Zusi.

    • Sandtrout says:

      If “having a guy that’s been scoring goals is enticing” to you, just remember that guy was Edson Buddle last World Cup. (Sorry, Aron)

  6. argh says:

    JOZY is gonna turn into a straight BEAST

    in Brazil. 4 goals

    Hopefully he does enough to get a transfer to a midtable German or Italian club

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      It’s all about the right tactics. Some of us would have put a lot of money on McBride producing in 2006 and he ended up very lonely up top and we struggled to advance the ball upfield in the full sided (not Italy) games.

    • Rooney's Hairpiece says:

      G. Cameron has more premier league goals than Jozy. We sure need a lot of guys to miraculously find great form if we are to have a chance at surviving the group stage. As current form stands now, there are only three world class players on the team Bradley, F. Johnson and Howard (and Guzan).

      • Jesse D says:

        Interesting conversation to be had about who is truly world class. There may be reason to believe no US players qualify in that category. I believe Bradley and Howard are good enough to be positive contributors to any team in the world. So I agree they are World Class. Fabian Johnson may be a stretch. He is a solid player for us, he needs to be in the starting XI, but maybe not World Class.

    • Expat4455 says:

      I agree with you argh, I watched Jozy play last week and I liked what I saw. However, Sunderland stinks, I mean really stink. You know, heck, everyone here knows, how I believe Julian Green will play in the World Cup. I did say, I would bet anyone that Julian has the second highest “goals+assists” of anyone on the team in Brazil.

      I only said second most because I think Jozy will have the most. And I too, would like to see him playing at Mainz, Wolfsburg, Augsburg heck, even Nürnburg as long as they don’t get regulated.

      • Jesse D says:

        I watched Jozy play this week, and I’ve watched every game in which he has been on TV this year. I fully agree that his midfield cast is lacking. Johnson is skilled but doesn’t play with the team. Borini can create issues as well, but can go missing for large parts of games. Larson is awful and I have no idea why the coach plays him. They are in sore need of a Michael Bradley. I truly believe Giaccarini is their best player and I have no idea why he is stuck on the bench when they need his creativity.
        Jozy has plenty of fault too. He has several bad passes every game, where he carelessly gives the ball over without threatening the defense. His timing and positioning on crosses has been awful. I don’t know if you can teach anticipation and timing on crosses but that and first touch are his biggest deficiencies. He has gotten better at using his body as a shield and has helped create opportunities with that. He isn’t a Suarez or Aguero everyone know that. I think we are all sitting here hoping he develops the skill set of Balotelli, but he doesn’t have those ball skills or agility either. The best we can hope for from Jozy is to be a physical presence who finishes opportunities handed to him and forces defenses to account for him. Which is valuable if handled right, but a player like that requires his teammates to set him up. Sunderland isn’t good enough to hand him those chances.

        • Nate says:

          if by crosses you mean corner kicks, maybe you have a point. Sunderland rarely serves quality crosses in the run of play.

  7. The Imperative Voice says:

    Jozy AJ
    Donovan Jones Bradley Dempsey
    Beasley Dear God Helpme

    AJ Dempsey
    FJ Jones Bradley
    Beasley Dear God Helpme

    Flaw I see in the 451 or 4321 is we either have too few midfielders for too much space (and no wing play) or we have too many midfielders and not enough forward support. Jozy is not good at lonely hold up in pure target play, he is good at combining with others in close proximity in a passing buildup. He needs a second striker or a couple people sitting right under him. If we lack wing play and he lacks service and support he’s Worse Than Useless.

    The defense is a big concern.

    • Nate Dollars says:

      you don’t have fabian on the field in your ‘ideal’ lineup?

    • malkin says:

      You think Beas over FJ is ideal? I’d also switch the back line to:

      FJ DearGod HelpMe Cameron.

      I really can’t see how Geoff falls into the dear god help me camp.

    • Sven Bender's night on the town says:

      I like that back line!!!

  8. Brain Guy says:

    Very frustrating that there seems to be no place for Johannsson in Klinsmann’s preferred formation. He has shown himself to be a smart and dangeous striker, mature beyond his years.

    I see the advantage of playing Fabian Johnson on the wing, but I am not at all sold on Beasley at LB. He played well above expectations here in the Hex, but I worry about his size and defensive limitations in a WC.

    • cpldaniel says:

      He brings Icemann on as a sub in the 2nd half, switching to a 4-4-2. If Donovan needs resting, Beasly goes into LB and Fab Johnson ( <—my pornstar name) gets pushed up to LM.

  9. argh says:

    why do we need EJ?

    for me it’s Jozy, Johansson and Boyd. Agudelo has only 1 goal, 1 assist in like 10 matches in Holland. If he doesn’t finish with more goals, then it’s a NO-GO

    • The Imperative Voice says:

      I expect for Green to go in the last spot instead of someone like Boyd. Boyd looks interesting and has club production but has been anonymous other than in the Mexico Azteca friendly. I don’t know if we can take someone who has no proven international scoring record. Ditto Agudelo, who has scored but not in years in anything meangful.

      EJ is not a better player than Boyd or Agudelo in terms of ability, but I think EJ makes it because he has scored in some qualis and produced and Green makes it on upside. Agudelo and Boyd camped but cut as tried but not proven. It’s not enough to be talented, you have to show something. Brek Shea poster boy for the statement.

    • Gary Page says:

      Because of his incredible leaping ability, EJ is our most dangerous attacker in the air. I think he deserves to go to Brazil just on that basis. A good cross and he becomes extremely lethal and that could pull out a game for us.

    • Cairo says:

      I wish someone would give me a logical reason as to why Wondo is not ahead of Agudelo, EJ, and Boyd in the pecking order. How many goals does he have to score for club and country? To me, he is at least 3rd, and he gets minutes in Brazil. Ugh, don’t undertand folks…

      • Nate says:

        ej has has bigger goals in bigger games. Hes 7th all time in scoring for the US. behind donovan, dempsey, wynalda, mcbride, joe max, altidore/bruce murray. Pretty ggod reasons.

  10. Expat4455 says:

    In a 4-2-3-1 I would start Jozy as striker, as long as Julian Green was one of the 3.

    • Gary Page says:

      If I haven’t made it clear by now, you and others are putting way too much emphasis and expectations on a young player who has no first division or international experience.

      • Birgit Calhoun says:

        Let’s put it this way, Julian Green has great potential. But if Guardiola likes him so well, why is Green not in the Bayern first team? If Green is really that great, he wouldn’t put him in because it would wreak havoc among the seasoned players. It’s not being done in Germany. If Klinsmann actually used him in the USMNT right away, it’s because he is desperate, and it’s not a good sign to show Klinsmann as being that desperate. If he really thinks Green is that great, he is not going to play him in the first game. It would also be psychologically unwise to give Julian Green so much untested trust.

        • jzx says:

          Things are desperate and its not like other teams can’t see our glaring weaknesses. We have no speed on the wings, a very weak back line prone to several mega-gaffs per game, and our trusted stars on offensive end are slumping badly and seem to lack confidence, I’d even be worried about Donovan if Dempsey and Altidore weren’t looking so bad by comparison. The USMNT just showed that it struggles mightily against middle of the road European teams. We just came off a terrible stretch in Europe where we didn’t manage a single goal. It’s time to make some serious adjustments or its going to be three and out. If Green can provide a spark, why not let him? He’ll have four friendlies to show us what he’s got.

          We have the talent to do well, but need to have more courage to sit players that aren’t performing. I understand the reluctancy, if Dempsey and Altidore sit and we lose anyhow, people will scream.

        • Louis Z says:

          I think JK is getting desperate because our LB is weak and LD is not playing to the level that JK wants the LW to played, enter Green, if he is anything close to what the reports are saying, Green will be playing a half on each game.

  11. Maykol says:

    I cant believe people would rather see beasley at LB over FJ. He had his shaky moments during the world cup, really dont wanna see what Germany, Ghana, Portugal would do to him. I wouldnt mind seeing him as an offensive sub later on in the games though

    • Dc says:

      I think he is a serviceable left back and left mid, he should be included on the roster for that reason, but no way should he be started unless F. Johnson is injured.

    • Maykol says:

      Oops i meant gold cup, not world

      • Nate says:

        he was pretty good at the 2002 and 2006 world cups (he assisted on Dempsey’s goal against Ghana)

  12. biff says:

    Klinsmann is stubborn, but when push comes to shove he will most likely give in to common sense and move Fabian Johnson back to left back, and then possibly put Beez up at left wing and the two can cover for each other. Or another option would be to put Zusi at right wing, Landy Cakes at central attacking mid and Clint on the left.

    It be interesting to see what truly great coaches and tacticians like, say Roberto Martinez or Jurgen Klopp, would do with the USMNT? Which players they would put on the roster and how they would play them. Would they have Beez at left back and Fabian at left wing? Would Johansson be on the bench? Would Jones and Bradely be paired in the midfield?

    • Josh D says:

      Jose would be the better “what if” because he plays to win, not to play beautifully. He’d shore up our defense and midfield and go for the 1-0, dragged-out win.

      Jones would be his Essien and Bradley his Lampard from Chelsea’s earlier diamond formation.

  13. biff says:

    Disagree with the contention in the news article that Clint “hasn’t shown his best in a national team uniform in almost two years.” Dempsey basically carried the team alone on his shoulders all through the group stage during 2012. He scored five goals with next in line Boca, Herc and Pay Me Eddie, each with two goals. Without Clint the USMNT probably would not have made it to the HEX. And while his form did seem to go down some during the Hex, Dempsey still scored three goals second only to Jozy’s — count ‘em — 4 goals, plus the golden goal in the Snow Bowl against Costa Rica when thing were lookin bad. And other members of the team picked up their games as the Hex progressed, meaning Clint did not have to go solo as much.

    • cpldaniel says:

      Saying thast Clint hasn’t shown for 2-years is pushing it, but I haven’t seen anybody say that until reading your post. Going into the World Cup, it’s about form, and form is shown by answering the question: “What has he done for me lately?” and it’s been the better part of a year since seeing him at his Texas best. I love clint, but I fear that if we don’t see something from him soon, his spot goes to someone like AJ or Bedoya.

      • Bumby Hemmingway says:

        I might say Dempsey seems to have not been in top form since moving to Seattle

        • Louis Z says:

          Dempsey started to have bad qualifier games since June of last year, vs Panama. His only good game was the friendly vs. the Germs.

      • biff says:

        @cpldaniel: The line about Dempsey not showing much in a US shirt for the past two years came from the linked article on, not from a poster on the SBI board.

    • Gary Page says:

      To add to your comment, when Dempsey came to Seattle he came from a summer layoff and only 2 pre-season games, I think, with Tottenham and then got injured. He came into a new team in a new league. You can’t really judge him on what he did in his first one-third of an MLS season. As for his Tottenham season, he had a similar situation, coming in late, with no pre-season. Some people called him a failure with 12 goals in 29 appearances in all competitions (based on memory, so I may be a little off). I just read an article defending Neymar, for Barcelona this season, who has 12 goals in 33 appearances. Neymar already had a half season with Barcelona last year. So, who is the failure? Some posters here completely ignore context.

      • beachbum says:

        thank goodness you do not ignore context! and many other astute posters here don’t either. Thanks

  14. biff says:

    Starting to feel nervous about Gonzo and Besler paired together for Brazil. Would like to see Orozco given a test next week against Mexico paired with Besler. Is Chris Schuler ready for a test against Mexico?

    • John says:

      The other week a few people were talking up Orozco, then the next match he gave up a PK and was sent off for it. Orozco was fine during the Gold Cup, but I don’t see changing Omar and Besler unless it’s a clear upgrade and I’m not sure Orozco is.

    • Bac says:

      Biff I agree I’m getting nervous about that pairing also, imo I haven’t seen OG improve consistently enough to dominate like he’s capable of…
      And if anything the options behind those two have fallen further, which may have JK still considering Cam in the middle.
      I just hope OG and Besler step it up big the next two months…

    • SBI TroII says:

      At this point you gotta stick with a pair and get them all the reps together they can get. Especially when they are as inexperienced internationally as Besler and Gonzo.

    • Dennis says:

      I think JK wants/needs to settle the CB spots. While I am not sure Gonzales is the best answer, I am not sure Orozco or anyone else is either. So I would keep the Besler -Gonzo pairing for now and use the May camp to make the final determination regarding the 3 friendlies and Brazil.

    • beachbum says:

      I’ve watched Gonzo’s entire pro career. He is playing too cute these days, trying to be Mr. Finesse w his dominating strength is his physicality which, with his new’ finesse approach, mitigates his strengths. Pisses me off frankly

  15. Expat4455 says:

    In other news, Julian Green did not make the trip to Berlin today.

  16. John says:

    I’ve watched a good amount of AZ this year and I just don’t see Johannsson as a midfielder. He’s great in open space and heading straight to goal but dropping deep isn’t his strength. His hold up play is better then some give him credit for however. He’s a striker, its where he’s played and practiced all season, if he’s going to play that where he needs to be.

  17. FRANK says:


  18. the original jb says:

    I would go with Ives’ lineup with one tweak. Switch F Johnson to left back and Beasley to left midfield.

    I have a couple of concerns otherwise, including wondering if Donovan still has the legs to play the 2-way wide role. That said, he obviously needs to be out there if healthy. I think Donovan would be better suited in a forward role, but like Ives said, if JK sticks to the 4-2-3-1 then the only way to get Donovan, Dempsey, and Altidore on the field together is with Donovan out wide. The other concern is simply the form of the players, most of whose form seems to be a bit down. Jones is going to be critical for us, but only if he is at his best.

    • cpldaniel says:

      It seemed to me that JOnes went down in form for a at least a couple months recently. Im not sure he recovered it yet or not. But for a few weeks I was penciling in Cameron to pair with Bradley in MF if Jones wasn’t at his best.

  19. Bac says:

    Over Under for this thread +/- 350 posts

  20. Expat4455 says:

    Aren’t we getting a bit ahead of ourselves here predicting the starting line-up against Ghana? Don’t we have a friendly next week against Mexico? And 3 send-offs before flying south?

    How ’bout we wait for awhile.

  21. Jake, from State Farm says:

    How many times has Julian Green actually made the Bayern bench this season?
    Is it even fair to call h a benchwarmer?

  22. reignman says:

    Not sure at all why every time one of these is posted that people seem to think Green is going to replace Boyd. Green is much more a LM or LW than an out and out striker which is what Boyd is. If Green replaces anyone it’d be Shea or Bedoya who play much more similar positions to him. Also Boyd is Jozy’s direct replacement if he were to get hurt, very similar player who can (theoretically) hold up play like Jozy should be doing. Jurgen wants to use a big striker up top so Boyd will be there.

    • Expat4455 says:

      I agree reignman, Terrence Boyd should be in the starting 11, as one of the 3 along with Julian.

    • away goals says:

      If green makes it, he takes the spot of the last attacking player on the depth chart. The green-for-boyd crowd are basically already assuming that brek will miss out.

      I don’t think anybody is saying jk will take green AND brek, but they also don’t mean green is a like-for-like replacement for boyd.

    • Dennis says:

      Agreed. Else, an injury would change the whole attacking dynamic. I just hope Boyd is up to it.

  23. JayAre says:

    Beasley at LW and Fabian at LB. Thats what they play at the club level why switch it up at the international level and the MLS now underway the roster seems to be shifting again. Jose Torres, Joe Corona and Maurice Edu are playing themselves back in. That whole Kyle Beckerman rhetoric is going out the window. If Danny gets back from injury he can forget a roster spot.

    • John says:

      Beckerman is the only player that can step in for Bradley in any form. Perhaps it’s simple and he passes back a little to much for some but he brings a calm to the possession no one else does besides Bradley. Jones, Williams and Cameron all turn the ball over far too much to handle that role.

    • jzx says:

      Stop hating on Kyle Beckerman, please. If any of the fringe players have earned a spot, it’s him. He’s probably been the most consistent (and consistently good) player that’s not named Tim Howard or Michael Bradley. If he were a bit more athletic and able to contain international level talent on defense, I’d start him over Jones anytime. I might start him over Jones anyway. Maybe someone can run their regression analysis, but I suspect that the USMNT has had a much better rise in their % winning with Beckerman in the lineup that with him out. I wish that they had called him up for the Europe friendlies to put him to the test – I think he would have held his own.

      • byrdman says:

        ” If he were a bit more athletic and able to contain international level talent on defense”…. but he is not. Thus I don’t think he should go to Brazil. Why take a guy who is not athletic enough to contain international level talent, when he is going to be playing international level talent, and his entire job would be to contain them?

        Being a slower smaller version of MB is not enough to warrant a ticket in my opinion. He was great in Gold Cup, but ….. well you know..

  24. Ali Dia says:

    Ives apparently has a pretty serious doofus doing his visuals on over there at I can find a problem with pretty much every jersey on that weird graphic.

  25. Expat4455 says:

    I have an idea, let’s have a poll on whose sock puppet Jake, from State Farm is.

  26. KingGoogleyEye says:

    The results of the voting restored my faith in the fans on this site.

    • MN Footie says:

      Never lose faith! There’s some loud minorities that pop up from time to time, but it’s still the best audience, top to bottom, of anywhere on the interwebs. I mean… Try going to like, ProSoccerTalk sometime. It ain’t wonderful.

    • Freddy Adu says:

      This. I can’t fathom the posts from some people here at times. Then I realize they are just loudmouths who don’t reflect the population.

      It’s crazy to me how little respect Cameron gets, also. He’s a regular starter on a PL team and is occassionaly included in TOTW in one of the best leagues in the world. Previously, that would have made him at least one of our best players. Now people have a wide midfielder in the MLS with an inconsistent national team record at fullback peciled in as a near equal in the effort to contain the likes of Goetze and Ronaldo in 3 months.

      • KingGoogleyEye says:

        Freddy Adu: I just think a lot of people have been confused by JK’s tinkering. Who knows what that guy is thinking?! He might be crazy like a fox—in which case, none of us will predict the line-up correctly. He’ll start Aron as a CDM, Clint as a target forward, Landon and Zusi as fullbacks, and a CB tandem of Besler and Howard.

        Alternatively, consider that the “craziest” moves JK has made were in friendlies. For qualifiers/Gold Cup, he played the best players he had available. Yes, that called for some surprises (e.g., Brad Evans), because he had to work with what he had. But for friendlies, JK continues to play fringe players in odd positions. Why? Well, maybe:

        a) he wants to develop diversity within the roster.
        b) he sees no need to announce to the world the line-up he will use. If you were the coach of Ghana, how would you prepare to face JK? Will the LB be a speedy 120-lb converted winger, or the stronger, defensive FabJo? etc.

        I won’t be surprised if JK has a very different line-up for each match. DMB against Ghana, FabJo against Portugal; Zusi against Ghana, AJ against Portugal; etc.

        • KingGoogleyEye says:

          One more thought: I think many fans put waaaay too much weight on the outcome of friendlies against teams where we have nothing to gain from win (i.e., anyone but Mexico and maybe Germany).

          A coach who determines to win friendlies does not understand his job.

  27. Expat4455 says:

    Holy Cow Batman, Kroos and Götze score, Bayern up 2-0 over Berlin at the 19 minute mark.

  28. Carlos says:

    Has Jozy shown that he is that much better then Aron as a target forward? Also Ghana is coming with 5 in the midfield if we counter with 5 mids thats going to be one tight midfield with Jozy stranded all alone up top & we know how that works out offensively for us.

    If Aron can be released for the Mexico game, I would love to see him up top w/ Dempsey underneath & Green/Donovan out wide. This will give us a good look & not only to see what Aron can do in that role but also get a good look at Green.

    • John says:

      AZ play Benfica 2 days after in Europa, there’s no chance Aron is coming for the Mexico friendly.

    • Bongwater says:

      Is it possible that we are being unfair in expecting Jozy (or anyone) to be a true “eat what I kill” target forward? I mean… really…. is this not incredibly rare? In the past 15 years, I can think of Shearer, Drogba, Ibrahimovic, Larsson, Klose, Torres (5 years ago), and maybe a few others (Dzeko perhaps? Does Suarez count? Balotelli? ) who can actually be entrusted with going out there as a sole target man and getting the business done on their own consistently.

      Jozy clearly seems to do better with a strike partner– is this so strange? I don’t know why he is asked to do the isolated role so often…. and is discarded and discounted when he can’t bag bunches of goals. Why don’t we just give the guy a proper strike partner, instead of having Deuce play in the hole behind him, which has yielded mixed results at best? Once upon a time we all seemed to be salivating over a future of a Jozy/Davies partnership… it was not to be, but seems like a path that was strangely discarded. I hope we get to see some extended first half minutes with AJ or Boyd or Gomez or Green or whoever up top alongside Jozy… heck, just go straight 4-4-2 if only as an experiment,,, worked in Bosnia once we shuffled up, no?

      • MN Footie says:

        Thank you. I agree completely. Anyone who was expecting Jozy to be the next Drogba/Zlatan/Suarez (who does count, yes) was guilty of irrational exuberance from the get-go.

        I don’t think a switch to a 4-4-2 is likely. Klinsmann has gone with a 4-2-3-1 almost exclusively since he took charge, and I don’t see a big change-up of that in the 4 games left before the World Cup. Had we seen any sort of tendency to experiment with formations in the past, I would say it’s possible, but 4-2-3-1 (love it or hate it) is almost certainly what we’ll be running with. And hey! It worked for Jozy in the Hex (4 goals/10 matches/not bad). If FJ and Zusi (or whoever) can find him, as they have in the past, there’s no reason to think he can’t find the back of the net a few times in Brazil.

  29. UclaBruinGreat says:

    Even as a big Galaxy fan, I have been disappointed/disgusted with Omar Gonzalez’ recent play. Look up the 2nd leg of the Galaxy/Tijuana game and check out the last goal (4th goal) that Tijuana scores. You will see Gonzalez lazily give up on a play and allow TJ to score. He could have/should have done more to block that shot. This is not the first time he does this. I would go as far as to say it is something he consistently does.

    link to
    (at the 1:33 mark)

    • Don says:

      I saw him get beat but wouldn’t call it lazy. He is a big dude and isn’t going to close that gap fast enough.

      I’m still not convinced he’s all that

    • Gary Page says:

      I don’t think he has improved since he was the MVP of the last Galaxy victory for the MLS championship. At times he looks like he has even regressed a little. I used to think he was potentially our future CB for the next 8 or 10 years. Now I am having serious doubts. Besler seems much steadier, more consistent, and less mistake prone.

    • Bongwater says:

      I hate to say it as a Galaxy fan and former Omar enthusiast, but I agree. I get this awful feeling sometimes that he will start against Ghana, and we will spend our final 260 minutes in Brazil trying to repair a mistake he makes in the first ten.

    • beachbum says:

      I wish he would just get back to being that physical presence. All this finesse BS mitigates his strengths, weakens his confidence and resolve, my opinion. Just let him do his thing!!! But Klinnsman has tried to change him and I think we seem to all agree Omar is not the better for it. Pisses me off

  30. if you asking says:


  31. Expat4455 says:

    City scores in 1st minute

  32. Expat4455 says:

    btw, Did any of you catch Jessica Kastrop, Sky Germany’s sideline host, while she was live on-air, getting a pre-game warm-up (Leverkusen) kicked ball to the back of her head again? This one was a glancing blow, not like the one she took square on the back of her head a few years ago.

  33. Joamiq says:

    Start Jozy as the target striker and play Johannsson off of him. Jozy unquestionably plays better with a strike partner, and ArJo is ideally not a target man.

    Dempsey IMO is not a starter at the moment. That’s not a knock on him, but he’s not in form. I also think he’s a poor matchup defensively against Ghana. He has time to change his form. If he doesn’t pick it up, I don’t think Deuce as impact sub off the bench is such a bad thing.

    • Don says:

      I totally agree and touched on this in another post in this thread. JK cannot continue to start people that aren’t getting it done and Dempsey and Jozy are two that fit that description

  34. Expat4455 says:

    U just wait until Jozy plays with Julian Green, You will see how good Jozy is.

    btw, Swansea goes one up on Arsenal, score 1-0 at 38 minutes. Could this be the end of Arsenal in the Preemie?

  35. Dikranovich says:

    I wish deuce had been listed in the loan stiker role, so I could get a little more accurate number of how many fans don’t think he should even be starting?

    • Dan Svoboda says:

      Not for Dempsey starting – Klinsmann’s “You have to be in good form to have a place” mantra is pipe smoke. Besides his current form being the determinant, Dempsey’s attitude is dismal, jawing at teammates, flop prone, kicking-out. These aren’t the signs of an intense competitor just a player that’s struggling with form and wants to “look like” he’s doing something. If he wants to play, stay on your feet, make a pass, be a positive influence with teammates (see M.Bradley) At this point, his attitude looks like vintage Rafa Marquez. Although crazily enough Marquez is back in the fold with MX, which should bode well for the US should they match up with MX at the WC

  36. Expat4455 says:

    Lukas Podolski subs in for Oxlade-Chamberlain in like 67th minute with Arsenal down 0-1 to Swansea. Lukas scores at 73rd minute and assists at 74th minute to put Arsenal up 2-1.

    Yep, those Germans can play football.

    On the other preemie, City goes up 3-0 on United, although the Roo is playing his heart out, at minute 90+2

  37. Expat4455 says:

    Wow! Swansea scores. 2-2 at 90 min + 4

  38. Don says:

    Maybe its wishful thinking but can someone please explain to me why Altadore is the number 1 selection as striker when he has shown nothing in forever?

    Also I couldnt vote on the defensive pair because I dont want any combination that includes Beasley or Evans. I am hoping neither of them is even on the team. Both are defensive liabilities

    I always thought JK would pick a team that would give us the best chance of winning. I am starting to get scared that he wont. His fierce loyalty to some of his nonperforming favorites will result in 3 and out I fear. I hope I’m wrong and that hes just testing people… and in the end, he will field the best 11 but am having doubts.

    • John says:

      Fabian and Cameron, doesn’t include Beasley or Evans.

    • Gary Page says:

      I’m sure the US would be better off with you in charge instead of Klinsmann. He has ruined this team so much that they scored the most points ever in the Hex and had their best year ever in 2013. Are you available?

    • Jesse D says:

      Jozy is still the best and most talented A team striker we have. What other explanation do you want? He hasn’t scored for the US in like 5 games? Okay. He scored in a bunch consecutively before that. He isn’t scoring for Sunderland? It is a different team and he is not a good fit for what they are doing. The truly need and Suarez or Aguero to work with their lazy midfield team.

  39. John says:

    Does anyone have any word on how Oguchi has looked? I see Sheffield Wednesday has won 3 out there last 4 and only given up 2 goals in that time.

  40. Expat4455 says:

    For all of you doubting on Jozy, just wait ’till the 3 send-off friendlies. Then you will see.

    • Gary Page says:

      Anyone remember how in the pre-Cup friendlies in 2010, Buddle looked really great against Australia and was clearly on the top of his game? Then BBradley went and started Findley instead. I never understood that move.

      • Expat4455 says:

        Neither did I Gary

        However, since watching the whole Sunderland game last week, and I must say, it was my first time watching Jozy play, I was impressed. Jozy was the only attacker for Sunderland that had a clue.

        Knowing how good he can play, with, at least, decent players on his side, and knowing how good Julian Green is as a play-maker I believe we will see Jozy shine.

  41. Edwin in LA says:

    Does anyone only where to buy World Cup Pins?

  42. The buffed Biffer says:

    Klinsmann is crazy if he even puts Green into the game against Mexico.

    p.s. All the girls love me because I am buffed.

  43. Expat4455 says:

    I am so excited, we are only days away from the USMNT’s getting together to train for the Mexico friendly. During that training period, and what will it be, 2 days?, I just hope some regular on the team takes charge.Maybe Donovan

    Because our Captain, the highest American scorer of all time in the Premier League, is p§€ßed off, big time is in one of his petulant some leader on the team must set the little boy straight.

  44. I think Beasley will get the start at LB and be one of our consistent subs. Fabian will start in mid-field and drop to LB for Beasley should we bring on another mid/striker in the 2nd half…those two always seem to play well together on the left and can interchange/cover for each other as we move forward in attack. JK likes Beasley’s experience and he plays well Fabian. Plus, you can’t coach speed and Beasley still has it…

  45. I think Beasley will get the start at LB and be one of our consistent subs. Fabian will start in mid-field and drop to LB for Beasley should we bring on another mid/striker in the 2nd half…those two always seem to play well together on the left and can interchange/cover for each other as we move forward in attack. JK likes Beasley’s experience and he plays well Fabian. Plus, you can’t coach speed and Beasley still has it…

  46. Tommy says:

    Here it is: The best lineup. THis allows Jermaine Jones to play on defense when he needs to but allows him the freedom to move up. Bradley could switch with Jones as well.

    F. Johnson______Gonzalez_______Besler___________Cameron

    • Jesse D says:

      Those are the right pieces but we don’t play that formation. Isn’t it too late to introduce a new playing style?

    • Bac says:

      1. I agree this would be our best approach, mostly because MB would be in the middle by himself
      2. IF.. this happened, you have the right people but a few in the wrong spots. Deuce would play on the left side up top ahead of Jones, because Deuce won’t drop and Jones provides cover.. and LD would be on the right up top ahead of Zusi, LD is a goal scorer, Zusi is a middie
      3. But… I don’t think it will happen.. but I’d like to see it

  47. Mitchell says:

    1st xi
    Johannsson Dempsey Donovan
    Bradley jones
    Beasley besler Cameron f. Johnson

    2 xi
    E. Johnson
    Green bedoya zusi
    Mix Beckerman
    Castillo gonzo Goodson Evans

    Rimando 3rd gk

    • Expat4455 says:

      No, no, no, a thousand times no. Jozy and Julian must be on the pitch at the same time.

      • John says:

        What would say Julian needs to do in the Mexico match? What would you consider disappointing?

        • Expat4455 says:

          Very good question John. What I am hoping for is that Julian puts his mark on the game. Maybe with an assist or a goal or with his ball control and passing, making 3 or more crosses. something like that.

          But what I would consider disappointing? If his USMNT teammates show a lackluster acceptance of his play.

  48. Expat4455 says:

    Okay, I have a question. We all know our team Captain, the best American player of all time, is in a snit right now. For whatever reason, he has his panties all in a twist, so, which player on our team do you think can straighten our Captain out?

    I say someone on defense.

    • Jesse D says:

      Tim Howard is the only person on that team with the credentials and personality to help Duece refocus. Truth is Dempsey has to work on himself. Just like an AA member can’t depend on others to fix their life. Dempsey needs to fix his own attitude.

      • Expat4455 says:

        Thank you Jesse, why didn’t I think of Tim. I am okay now, we do have a footballer, and a great one too, that I have confidence in this regard. He can let Dempsey know where the bear &%§€ in the buckwheat.

      • Expat4455 says:

        And just as you correctly say Jesse, like an AA member, if Tim can’t straighten Dempsey out then I say, sack him. Send him packing. No Brazil for him.

        We do not need any petulant players with us in Brazil. We need every player completed focused on one thing only.

    • beachbum says:

      he’ not the best American player of all time

  49. milbo says:

    Can’t wait for Dempsey to get team MVP in this years Cup. It must be.. All the haters ganged up on Donovan and Altidore Jones AJ who else?.. You losers turned on Klinsmann – and every foreigner on the squad with your xenophobic ‘Merica first bullSh*t-

    –MEMO– Klinsy flat out WON the Group in qualifying..

    All you haters will be crying with joy when “Lazy” Dempsey does his country well

    : backstabbing know nothings

  50. 57Tele says:

    I don’t think Donovan is going to be playing outside unless he can’t win the starting spot as the withdrawn forward, which I think is his best position. I think Klinsmann is going to play the person he thinks is the best at the time at that position, which I think will be between Donovan, Dempsey, and Johannssen. I expect that Donovan will earn that spot which would put Dempsey in a battle with Altidore for the most advanced forward. I also think Fabian Johnson will be at left back where he played the second half against Ukraine. If Klinsmann wasn’t considering this, I don’t think he would have dropped him to that spot in a friendly. This would leave both the outside halfback spots open. I don’t think there is any chance he would play Dempsey outside because he would be a defensive liability at that position. Dempsey is a goal scorer, but I don’t think he has very many assists at all with the US team and IMO is not a very good passer. If he isn’t playing one of the two forward positions, I don’t think he is on the field. Here is what I think the starting lineup against Ghana will be:


    Cameron Gonzalez Besler F. Johnson

    Bradley Jones

    Zusi/Diskerud Green/Diskerud



    • Expat4455 says:

      Yes, yes, a thousand times yes. I really like this line-up 57tele. My only change would be if Timothy Chandler recovers from his injury and gets up to full steam. But that is a long-shot to be sure.

      • John says:

        At some point I think you do have to take certain team dynamics into consideration. Perhaps Chandler is the best right back we have, but he played no role in qualifying outside of a loss in Honduras. Not saying that’s a deal breaker but I think you just let Chandler get healthy at this point. Knee injuries aren’t something to mess around with.

        • Expat4455 says:

          Of course, let Chandler get healthy, but if he does get healthy in time, let’s say he plays in Nürnberg’s last match in the Bundesliga, then I say bring him to the U.S.A.

          He is after all, the most experienced defense player, playing against the best in the world, that we have on the USMNT.

      • John says:

        I still think there was some kind of falling out between him and Klinsmann anyway

        • Expat4455 says:

          There absolutely was a falling out between Klinsi and Chandler John. Everyone football fan in Germany knew it. And Klinsi came in after Chandler declared for the USA. Maybe Chandler didn’t kiss Klinsi’s ring. You and I know Klinsmann has a huge ego.

          But, we are in a different day now. From what I heard, Bayern sat Klinsi down, had what you may call an intervention and explained things to him, then they gave him Julian Green.

          Yes, Klinsi is an egotist, but he is no fool. That is why I say if Timothy Chandler recovers and is fit he will go to Brazil.

          • Bac says:

            Chandler came in under Bradley, but only played in friendlies. He became cap tied under JK

            • Expat4455 says:

              So,what are you saying Bac, did Klinsmann or Bradley bring Chandler on board? Or is it what I think, Timothy brought himself on board?

              • Bac says:

                All 3?? Lol, just kidding… He originally played a few friendlies under Bradley starting in March 2011, and JK was hired 4 or 5 months later. You stated that JK came in after TC had “declared” for the US, but he actually hadnt filed his official switch-he’d only appeared in a few friendlies. He filed for his switch after JK was hired, so to your original point, I dont think there was any “initial” bad blood.. but it certainly seems like it became oil & water for a number of reasons shortly thereafter-
                If that answers your question

              • beachbum says:

                just what Bac said.

                interestingly, Chandler played well for Bradley, we all got psyched, then he played in the Honduras game to open the Hex and get tied, and we all know the rest of his miserable USMNT story so far

          • John says:

            I just think this the one call where Klinsmann really risks loosing the locker room. When you have a team of guys who played through qualifying together.

            Even guys like Fabian might be saying to them self, I’m better then him, why didn’t I just skip all the transatlantic trips to central America and pick up my ticket to Brazil at the end too.

    • John says:

      That a good point about Dempsey, if he isn’t scoring he doesn’t really create enough from that role under the striker. It’s also the spot Bedoya has been playing for Nantes lately. I’ve been really impressive with some of the runs he makes finding space. It’s just been his finishing that’s let him down at times this year.

      • GW says:


        Are suggesting the replacement of a proven scorer who is in a slump with a guy who has scored 20 goals in 5 years as a pro?

        I like Bedoya and he can be very energetic but he fact is he does not produce much in terms of goals or assists. There is about a month and a half left for Dempsey to round into some sort of form

        Dumoing Dempsey strikes me as premature.

        • Expat4455 says:

          I very much appreciate what you have to say, always GW. But in this case, what I have seen of Dempsey’s play, and his purposing striking the guy in his balls, and his knowing what he did, and just walking away, without a glance, well that tells me something.

          Clint Dempsey is a jerk. He can not help the USMNT, his poor attitude will only hurt the team, so I say, dumb him.

        • John says:

          No I was just throwing it out there as a role Bedoya has been playing. If you shift around formations or bring him on as a sub ect.

          • Hogatroge says:

            I agree, John.

            While Bedoya’s been okay on the wings, his best showings have been when he takes someone on. He doesn’t provide the same service as Zusi, even if he has more pace and better 1-on-1 skills.
            Honestly, if we could fuse Zusi & Bedoya into one guy, keeping their strengths, that would be one hell of a player.

            Anyway, I think a central role would be more valuable to the USMNT for him, even if he’s currently needed more out wide.

  51. Expat4455 says:

    We will know if the USA is taking World Cup 2014 seriously by what happens in the 3 send-off freiendlies.

  52. Dennis says:

    What is looking bright is that in 2018, this team will have only about 4 players age out. Jones, Donavon, Dempsey, Howard and Beasley (maybe one of the 5 will still be on the USMNT). That implies there will be an experienced core returning and with Green, AJ, Agudelo, Corona, and Yedlin all very promising young prospects things will be looking up for the USMNT.

    • Kojo says:

      You might want to add Darlington Nagbe who will be eligible to play come Dec 15, 2015 as another young prospect. Also add in Luis Gil.

    • if Landon is fit and still playing in 2018, he’ll be hard to leave off the roster…would make one hell of a super-2nd-half-substitute…

  53. wandmdave says:

    On the midfield trio I would have considered a Donovan-Johannsson-Zusi combo. Sometimes I think Dempsey, while a great player, plays rather slowly. I was thinking Johannsson might play a bit faster.

  54. Petro4ever says:

    I’m basically in agreement with Ives’ line-up. Fabian Johnson is probably our best LB, but he’s also our most dynamic player out on the left wing (as much as I like Zusi and Bedoya, Fabian is faster than both of them and I don’t see a category in which either one has an advantage over him). Given that in the last couple of friendlies, we’ve run out of ideas in our opponents’ half, I would rather have Fabian’s speed and crossing ability in a more advanced role, particularly against Ghana — it will be a struggle for us to beat them, but they represent our best chance at generating some offense and getting a win. Beasley may not be a natural LB, but he has good recovery speed and big-game experience, so I’m not as worried as others on here about him getting completely overrun (and in any case, Fabian is a capable 2-way player and will probably be able to help out some).

    Up front, the only change I would consider making is starting Johannson at RW in place of Donovan, and bringing on Donovan at some point in the second half to replace whoever of the front 4 is the weakest. We know that Donovan has a tendency to drift in and out of games a little bit, so it may be worth bringing him in for a shorter, more intense burst of playing time. I’m not married to the idea, though — Johannson could just as easily play that “2nd half offensive sub” roll, and benching Donovan (even with the understanding that he will still appear in every game) could just mess up his rhythm. It is something to consider, however, in order to start the Ghana match with our hottest goal-scorer on the field without benching either Altidore (our best pure forward) or Dempsey (who is still probably the most likely player on our roster to create something out of nothing offensively).

    • biff says:

      Although I am in total disagreement with your support for playing Fabian Johnson at left wing instead of left back, I nonetheless like this comment. You might be right about Donovan being more valuable as a Super Sub for the second half. That is definitely food for thought.

      As for Johannson, I simply don’t get it. In my eyes, he has had only a few good moments in a US shirt, but otherwise has been mediocre, albeit generally with a good first touch. Against Ukraine I thought he was bad. Zusi is much better think, and I think also an in-form, as in Gold Cup, Joe Corona is better.

    • I agree about the Fabian/Beasley LW/LB setup. they can both overlap/attack/cover for the other…if Beasley is winded or getting beaten badly… then we can add some midfield/attacking help and Fabian drops back to LB…Beasley has the speed and experience…you cant coach or replace either of those…

  55. dan says:


    • Baropbop says:

      With only the possibility of bedoya replacing Zusi, I think this has been a lock for at least a year

    • this is among our best formations… seems the toss-up and debate is over benching Zusi, moving Fabian up and Beasley in as LB… Zusi gives us versatility as a great option to replace donovan or dempsey or even altidore (if we move clint up)

  56. Baropbop says:

    My pipe dream:
    Dempsey – donovan