U.S. Men's National Team

Who should the USMNT start vs. Ecuador?

USAvsHondurasLineup (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com

The U.S. men's national team's 1-0 victory against Honduras had its share of bright spots, but also some question marks, making Tuesday's friendly against Ecuador a good chance for some players to redeem themselves, and for some to show their stuff after seeing only limited time on Saturday.

As I noted in my Fox Soccer column on the U.S. team's win against Honduras, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Bradley and DaMarcus Beasley all impressed off the bench against Honduras and all should earn starts on Tuesday night. Just how many established veterans Klinsmann hands starts to, and how many gives rests to, is tough to tell and will ultimately determine what the U.S. lineup will look like at Red Bull Arena.

So which starting lineup will we see face Ecuador? Here is one potential squad we could see get the nod:








Here are some thoughts:

This lineup only has three new starters from Saturday. That might be too few changes considering the short turnaround, but I think we're more likely to see some of these players go just 45 minutes rather than wholesale changes to start the match.

Klinsmann was very happy with Danny Williams on Saturday, and this would give Williams a chance to show what he can do playing in a more natural central midfield role.

If Klinsmann doesn't turn to Williams again, then look for Maurice Edu to be partnered with Bradley. Klinsmann could go with Kyle Beckerman as well, but since we got to see the Bradley-Beckerman combo work some on Saturday, the Bradley-Edu tandem seems a more likely pick on Tuesday.

Beasley should get a start on the left, which will give Klinsmann another chance to watch Brek Shea playing on the right flank, where he can cut inside and still deliver some good right-footed service even though he's more naturally left footed.

Here's another potential lineup we could see:






Juan Agudelo has mainly been a sub under Klinsmann, but you have to wonder if the U.S. coach wants to take a look at Altidore and Agudelo playing together. Klinsmann did say he was wary of rushing Agudelo, so we could see someone like Edson Buddle instead if Klinsmann wants to see a two-forward lineup.

Steve Cherundolo is rested in this projected lineup, which gives us a chance to see Chandler at his more natural right back position.

Another possibility here defensively is Danny Williams playing at either right back or left back, with Timmy Chandler playing opposite him.


What do you think of or projected lineup? What would you change? Who are you hoping to see get major minutes on Tuesday? Who are you not interested in seeing?

Share your thoughts below.

  • when healthy







    Orozco Fiscal


  • Patrick Bateman

    oh yes, brilliant stat, does it state how many passes are forward passes or how many were backpasses or passes to the keeper? Not saying that he was bad, just be careful with how you frame your stats, they can eeeaaaasily be misinterpreted.

    As for how he played, I don’t know, legitimately I didn’t even notice him. He didn’t do anything bad, he didn’t really do anything to impress, it’d be tough to form an opinion for me (not bringing in preconceived notions of the player).


  • hogatroge

    The only reason Shea would play on the right is to get Beasley on simultaneously. Shea can effectively play right winger, but most right wingers aren’t as solid on the left.


  • hogatroge

    Haha… the day all of those guys are health at the same time is the day Hell freezes over while pigs fly.

    BTW, Adu would never bump a healthy Holden out of a CAM position.


  • primoone

    The last 5 posts is why I spend time scrolling through the forums of SBI. Not for the clearly biased- over-hyped player ratings however, for insult slinging threads…Please…Dont EVER STOP.


  • GW

    That’s because Bradley came in with 20 minutes left in a 1-0 game with orders to shut it down. He played level with Beckerman or just a little ahead. Basically he went forward once but otherwise he just played it safe.

    That is what is called a “tactical” decision.

    Read JK’s comments on shutting it down.


  • gene_sf

    I agree that his finishing during the Gold Cup wasn’t what you’d want from an international striker. But he did a lot of little things OK – got into good positions, made a couple of good passes, won the ball, etc. I’d give him another shot before writing him off, especially since he is on form for his club team.


  • Welshbean

    lol; Beckerman passed the ball foward mmmm maybe two times in a 90 minute span. Edu, couldn’t complete a five yard pass unless you were on the other team. I will say it again; Beckerman is not international caliber and Edu is a great defensive option off the bench…..let move on.


  • Welshbean

    It’s funny when people rate players who play in the Prem or the Bundasliga as guys that are not good enough for the USMNT…put down the pipe. It makes me wonder why the likes of Shalke or any other Euro team is not pursuing the likes of Jeff L or Kyle Beckerman or any other MLS midfielder. JJ is good enough to start for the USMNT…Period. Ask any Blackburn supporter of his quality. The only reason he is not playing for Rovers this year is because Shalke value him at 8million Euro. Shat players do not get rated at 8mil euro (but some of you armchair players will beg to differ). JJ will be our starting defensive mid come qualifying and our next glorious campaign in Brazil…you will see. He has less then 10 caps (I believe); give him some time to get into the side properly before going to the likes of Benny or some other upstart in the MLS. RAWR!!!


  • MJC-DC

    I think your a little harsh on what constitutes a forward pass. I count 7 of the 22 as forward and your original argument was that “all” of his passes were backwards or lateral.

    Furthermore, I am not saying Bradley was good or great in the game. I merely presented statistics which you could combine with your own thoughts in order to develop a more fair opinion of all players performances.

    I personally think that as a holding player he did great controlling the tempo and playing the very under-rated simple pass to get the offense moving forward and keep possession. I enjoyed the variety in his distribution. However, when Bradley got forward I felt he was not sharp enough and did not “pick the lock” as you said. Defensivley he had shaky moments, but all in all okay. In total I think if we a grading MB as a 2 way middy, not the holding role I think he had a okay cameo.

    Lastly, I am okay with players that make mistakes like Bradley’s failed one-two with Dempsey so long as they make them going a million miles an hour and he did. After the failed pass he ran all the way downfield to stop the counter. Sometimes I think we overlook just how important this trait can be in a player.


  • MicahK

    If you going to talk smack about our dept then why don’t you go some where else and support a team with tons of depth. Like Brazil, Argentina, Holland Spain, etc.


  • jlm

    What makes you think that Holden is the ideal AM? Adu brings things to that position that Holden does not. I think that in our best attacking lineup Holden needs to be a deeper midfielder.

    Of course not all of these guys are going to be healthy at the same time, but I am trying to get a sense of our best lineup IF everyone can GET healthy. Also, that is why I listed bench/reserves to try to get a feel for the entire pool. It looks pretty deep and promising. Let’s hope everyone will be healthy soon (and that some young defenders will step up big).


  • DC Josh


    I wanna see an offensive formation. Let’s take it to our opponent instead of allowing them to control the tempo.


  • supergrandefilms

    Spector doesn’t have the chops to play internationally as a defender so why keep trotting him out there? He’s a liability in the Bornstein tradition.

    I also would like to see Dempsey up top. He has a penchant for scoring goals out of “nothing” situations. Really happy to see Chandler, Shea and Williams in our lineup. It would be great to see Bradley in a “libero” position.


  • Dawsaw


    Beasley and Chandler track back well and this packs the midfield a little more to hold possession. Onyewu will win most everything in the air and if Orozco-Fiscal gets dropped for John or Gonzalez then suddenly we have three CBs that are very good at clearing danger. It’s less necessary to play from the back in this formation because you will outnumber the other team in the midfield.

    Edu and Bradley make for good protection and have little creative responsibility and Altidore still gets that strike partner at the first whistle to press from the start. If we get ahead, we can always drop back Chandler to defense (or sub him out for Cherundolo) and play with 4 in the back. When Donovan returns he can either replace Beasley or push Chandler into the back and get rid of Orozco. I think this puts the most talent on the field and hides the fact that there is no capable left back in the pool at the moment.

    Our strengths are really in fitness and speed. I think this formation forces the players to use that rather than trying to make them play tiki-taka when they aren’t really in that mentality in any of their league play scenarios.


  • Dennis

    Second city, open your eyes. Bradley did not make even one errant pass. He certainly did not lose several balls. That is just plain wrong!

    The only times he lost the ball was once when he tackled the ball away too far to keep possession and once on a give and go when the return pass was behind him (probably mot his fault) and in both cases, he recovered to help defend immediately.


  • Dennis

    Another untruth being said about Bradley’s game. At least 3 of those passes were forward as he played a give and go with teammates and another 2 or 3 were passes made out to the wing to find space for the attack.


  • Excellency

    Bradley was the only player for USA who did not lose a single ball. It is an official stat.


  • Dennis

    I think that it is true the wealth of strong midfielders will make for some interesting choices that Klinsmann must make.

    I must admit I haven’ watched Adu or Feilhaber or Jones a lot lately, but of the 3 only Benny has seemed to play up to his potential for the nats on occassion. Jones has been bewildering, he is clearly a force, yet he seems to have been unable to mesh with the USMNT in any meaningful way. I hope that ends.

    Adu is clearly special. I think the issue is not so much that he is a weak defender (as others claim), but that his decision making too often puts his team in jeopardy when he takes risks that his teammates are not prepared for, so if/when the bad happens, no one is ready to defend. That special ability to destroy an attack by losing the ball when your teammates did not expect it is something no coach will tolerate for long. The things Adu can do with the ball is the reason coaches keep giving him chances they do and like them I hope he will finally develop the soccer brain to go with his amazing feet.


  • slowreno

    I think Spector would shine here! You could start dolo on the right and chandler on the left, then sub in williams for spector sometime in the 2nd half.


  • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo

    Ream is struggling this season,for sure.

    But he has been called in to all of these Klinsman camps and has yet to see the field.

    I’m of the opinion that it is Boca who is the weakest distributer from the back…and if you are looking at upgrading that distribution…then you have to start there. Maybe the replacement is not Ream…but if I’m betting a $ on it, I’d expect to see a Gooch + tandem in 6 months/year with Boca on the bench.


  • Dennis

    I have to agree that neither Boca of Gooch fits what Klinsmann has said he wants. Ream offers some distribution potential. Not so sure John or Gonzalez will either fill the bill, but maybe.

    Of course, CBs need to defend well first and foremost and even Klinsmann with his desire to attack will admit that. That is why Boca and Gooch will be in the back. When one of the others really shows that he can defend as well or better, then …


  • PanchoMiguelMoralesdeConejo

    +1 …count me in as a JJ in the ‘Beckerman” role…that is where I think we will end up.


  • Matt in Phila

    I understand that Klinnsman is trying players out, but I would like to see him pick a side and run with it. These guys need to start playing like a team and thats not going to happen if you keep changing the lineup. Hopefully after this start, he will start making some more final changes and start working with what he’s got. USA USA USA!


  • Dennis

    He did not perform well in the 2011 Gold Cup.

    Still, last year’s MLS golden boot winner and in a 3-way tie for it this year’s title cannot be discounted as “horrible”.

    I do wish he had more speed. The defending in MLS leaves a bit to be desired compared to international standards, but players who are more physically gifted have failed to achieve what he has in the MLS.

    I like the way he moves to get open and his ability to finish easy chances well. (Shea could learn from that.) It will be hard to ignore him again should he finish on top in the regular season scoring race. Given that Klinsmann seems to be more patient than Bradley with giving players repeated opportunities in games, when he calls Wondo up, it will likely be for more that a couple games.


  • Dennis

    Adu must (unfortunately still) learn when to try clever moves and when doing that will put his team in jeopardy. He has yet to develop the soccer brain required for good decision-making. If/when he does you are right, he has the skill of an attacking CM, but right now he does not have the tactical acumen required in an improtant position.


  • Dennis

    Beckerman is a very good MLS midfielder, and I like the grit he plays with, but he did not pressure enough of the passes from midfield that allowed the Honduran attackers to get behind the US defense. (Edu may share responsibility for some of that as well.) Edu is a very good Scottish league midfielder.

    Bradley was an outstanding Eredivisie midfielder, a decent midfielder in the Bundesliga and seems to be on his way to being a very good midfielder in Serie A.

    If you had to pick just one, which would it be?


  • Dennis

    Yes, until his concentration on defensive responsibilities improves he will be a liability. Too often he has made that killer pass to the other team’s forward.


  • bryan

    No, i meant Dolo since he would be playing wide in the above formation. yeah, he is still quick, but in a 3-5-2, he needs to be flat out fast.


  • Dennis

    Bogus! If defenders are in back, what is dolo doing in the front and Dempsey in the back?


  • bryan

    good one dude. if you can’t see that howard was the reason the US didn’t tie or lose the game, then you weren’t watching. and like i said, the same can be said for the honduran keeper. without him making some clutch saves, the USA would have won by multiple goals.

    howard prevented the USA for getting a tie or losing while the other keeper prevented honduras from getting blown out. not really a hard concept to wrap your head around…


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