U.S. Men's National Team

Who should the USMNT start vs. Costa Rica?

Timmy Chandler (ISIPhotos.com)

The second match of the Jurgen Klinsmann era with the U.S. national team is set to take place Friday night at the Home Depot Center with the United States taking on Costa Rica, and while it is the less intriguing of the U.S. team's two upcoming friendlies, it should still help shed light on Klinsmann's work with the team.

After seeing some young players step up in the team's 1-1 draw against Mexico, it is a safe bet we will see some of the same relatively new faces who did well against Mexico in the starting lineup to take on Costa Rica.

Here are the players who will be available to take on Costa Rica:

GOALKEEPERS-Tim Howard, Bill Hamid

DEFENDERS-Carlos Bocanegra, Edgar Castillo, Timothy Chandler, Clarence Goodson, Michael Orozco Fiscal, Tim Ream, Jonathan Spector

MIDFIELD– Maurice Edu, Sacha Kljestan, Jeff Larentowicz, Robbie Rogers, Brek Shea, Jose Torres, Chris Pontius

FORWARDS-Juan Agudelo, Jozy Altidore, Teal Bunbury, Landon Donovan

So who might we see start against Costa Rica out of this group? Here's one projected lineup we could see:








Some thoughts:

I could definitely see Klinsmann throwing Bill Hamid a start, but you also wonder if he'd want a young goalkeeper playing behind a defense that hasn't played together.

The USMNT could come out in a 4-2-3-1, which would put Donovan on the wing, but I get the feeling we'll start seeing more of Donovan in more advanced roles as a second striker.

Maurice Edu should get the start, but it will be interesting to see whether Klinsmann leaves him alone in a 4-1-4-1 or pairs him with someone like Jeff Larentowicz. Could Klinsmann sit Edu and save him for the Belgium match? That is entirely possible, but Edu needs national team minutes to show that he truly is capable of holding down a starting job with the USMNT.

So why isn't Brek Shea starting? He's logged SERIOUS minutes for FC Dallas lately so you wonder if getting a start here would make the most sense. Yes, he's young, but I'd bet on Klinsmann wanting to see Shea in both friendlies. A Shea start wouldn't surprise anybody, but him coming off the bench in the Costa Rica game shouldn't come as a shock either.

Torres, Castillo and Orozco all seem like safe bets to start. Yes, Castillo was shaky against Mexico, but Costa Rica could be the type of opponent he has a solid game against, a game that could help build some confidence in him.


What do you think of this lineup? What starting lineup would you like to see Klinsmann go with against Costa Rica?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Annelid Gustator

    He’s much better than he gets credit for. I’d be happy to see him on a wing, too–he’s faster than most people sesem to think. I’d be happy to have Landon, Edu, Kljestan, and Specs give a run in midfield. Kljestan is really getting back his mojo.


  • Dennis

    Agudelo is 18.
    Hamid is 20.
    Altidore, Chandler, Bunbury and Shea are 21.
    Torres and Ream are 23.
    Castillo, Rogers, Edu, Orozco, Klejstian, Pontius, Spector are all 25 or less.

    I may have missed one, but that is at least 14 on the roster below the age of 26. Only Howard and Bocanegra are over 30. Whatever else you may want to say, it is a young team.

    That can be exciting in both good and bad ways.


  • Hood Rich

    Yes, I agree that there are not enough players on the field with him that have high level of soccer acumen/vision.

    It’s because the majority of these players did not play unstructured/pick up soccer all their life. So they don’t “know” the game
    as someone would coming from outside the US.

    Would it make his job easier easier if others around him had high tactical awareness and moved off ball more cleverly, of course, but we have to face reality.

    Reality is that Torres when faced with pressure from bigger and quicker opposition needs to make better decisions than holding on and losing possession.

    The shape of the team is changing, rest assured Klinsi will look at soccer acumen first and foremost before any other attribute for a USMNT level player.


  • bryan

    i would probably do the same, except i would rather see Sasha in Jeff’s position and Shea, Pontius or Rogers in. I know a 4-4-2 doesn’t generally have wingers like a 4-2-3-1, but I would rather see any of those three over Jeff.


  • bryan

    i doubt we see JK use a 4-4-2 with wingers. he’ll likely use four central mids. also, Sasha plays in a deeper position for Anderlect, so I’d be surprised if he was in an attacking position.


  • bryan

    traditionally, a 4-4-2 doesn’t have wingers, but rather, four center mids. having said that, torres didn’t look very good in the 4-4-2 last game. so it’ll be interesting to see the adjustments.


  • bryan

    only issue i see is Torres playing in that advanced role. but given the bench, there aren’t many options. sasha does not play in an advanced role either.


  • bryan

    because a 4-4-2 doens’t typically have pure wingers. having said that, we all saw last game that torres didn’t fit well at that position within a 4-4-2.


  • bryan

    but look at his lineup last game. not really much width in the first half. so i don’t think it’s crazy to think he may do something like that again.


  • Lilurbanachievr

    I’m exhausted from years of a failing 4-5-1. STOP insisting on this formation or any variation of it, it’s proven as a failure for the Nats and that fact isn’t going to change. Just because we have better MF than we do strikers doesn’t mean we should put them all out there. When we do play a 4-5-1 our lone striker is useless because the midfield plays around him and not to him which makes the game more of an 10 v 11. It’s ridiculous and doesn’t deserve any more looks. Why do you think we’re a second half team? Is it because at halftime we switch away from the 4-5-1…Hell yeah it is.
    This is the Klinsmann era so prepare for LD to be up top as a true number 10 (even though USSF has him listed as a Forward), Boca will no longer be asked to play LB when he brings much more to the team in the center and expect Klinsmann to start devoting a lot of time molding a few strikers. Right now I think he’s looking at his options with Jozy, Juan, Teal or a long shot with Davies. We will just have to wait and see. The good news is that Klinsmann will tell us in one of his many interviews.

    Hamid (why else is he called up again? Howard will start in Belgium)

    Expect Teal to be a second half sub most likely at halftime. Castillo and Shea will be overlapping allowing Castillos true talent to show as a wingback (remember Shea was a defender until recently) If Larentowicz is slacking Edu will be in at half.


  • Darwin

    I am hoping that the Klinsmann era will be more about forcing players to adjust to different teammates and putting out the best 11 than worrying about who will play the best together and leaving the game changers out in the cold.

    I hope you, Ives, and myself will not ever be completely able to predict his lineups for FRIENDLIES.


  • francois

    That line-up is something we might see in the future. I was thinking something like this or a 4-3-3 with Torres-MB/Fabian-Holden


  • GW

    “Michael Bradley, who hogged 90 minutes every frickin’ game whether he was in form or not or getting club play or not. ”

    You say that as if it was MB’s “fault”.

    The man was asked to play and,as I assume any player would do, he kept on playing. In some places, a player who always answers when called is considered a good thing.

    If you have an issue with his playing time it’s not with him but with his manager.

    What did you expect, he should say “Uh dad how about giving Mo a run at my job, or maybe JFT should get a shot, I’m a little tired” If you think Donovan, Dempsey or any of those guys would say that you are sadly delusional.


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