U.S. Men's National Team

Who should the USMNT start vs. France?

  USAEcuadorFlagTeam (ISIPhotos.com)

The U.S. men's national team returns to action on Friday with a match-up against France, a match that should tell us plenty about the current state of Jurgen Klinsmann's team.

Klinsmann will have a strong group to choose from for Friday's match. Both Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey will be available, and German-born Fabian Johnson is set to make his national team debut.

Here is the team Klinsmann will have to choose from against France:

GOALKEEPERS Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton)

DEFENDERS- Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Timmy Chandler (N├╝rnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon) 

MIDFIELDERS– Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)

FORWARDS– Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Edson Buddle (Ingolstadt), Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)

So what lineup could we see on Friday? Here is a squad we could see Klinsmann turn to, as well as the lineup I think would be the best one to go with against France:







The above lineup is the squad I can see Klinsmann giving a look to. As much as I think we will see Fabian Johnson get a look, I don't see him breaking into the starting lineup for this one.

(UPDATE- with Landon Donovan skipping the match, the lineup has been adjusted to move Danny Williams to the right flank, and sliding Michael Bradley into the starting lineup. If the USA was playing a weaker opponent, I could see Fabian Johnson starting and just one defensive midfielder in the lineup, but with all the problems France can pose, you can expected to see a lineup similar to this one.)

The back four seems to be all but set, though you would wonder if Klinsmann would try out newcomer Alfredo Morales at right back. It seems more likely we would see changes to the back-line in the friendly against Slovenia on Tuesday.

The biggest question mark is in defensive midfield, where Klinsmann's affinity for Beckerman is well documented. With Danny Williams playing in his more natural central midfield role, this squad will have the tenacious bulldog who can do the dirty work while Beckerman distributes from deep in midfield. It isn't the tandem I would start, but it seems to be a good bet for Klinsmann, who could also go with Jermaine Jones in place of Williams.

So what lineup would I go with against France? It's not much different, save for the two defensive midfield slots:






(UPDATE- Landon Donovan's absence leads to a shifting of Clint Dempsey to the right wing and Fabian Johnson in the starting lineup. Why? Johnson is a natural playmaker so seeing him work the midfield is an intriguing proposition.)

Klinsmann has stayed away from the Edu-Bradley pairing since taking over as head coach, and there seems to be a belief from him that these two are too similar, and that Bradley can't handle a heavily defensive role. This is far from accurate. While Bradley has certainly always taken on a more attack-minded role in his time with the national team, he can certainly handle being a deeper-lying option. In fact, with Serie A side Chievo that is exactly what he is doing. I'm aware that Edu hasn't exactly stood out during his appearances under Klinsmann, but we also haven't seen him paired with Bradley.

I also wouldn't mind seeing another run of the Bradley-Jermaine Jones tandem. Before you go with the "We saw Bradley and Jones in Gold Cup and it didn't work" argument, I would argue that both players can work well in this set-up when they are on form and both are now playing regular and playing well in some of the top leagues in the world.


What lineup would you like to see the USA play against France? Which of the above lineups do you see having the best chance of beating the French?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Joamiq

    It would be great if Beckerman could actually do any of this, but he can’t. He doesn’t win many tackles in midfield and his idea of distribution is to look around and make the first easy pass that he sees.


  • Joamiq

    He’s not even that great of a destroyer internationally, actually. He had a grand total of 3 tackles in the last two games combined.


  • Louis Z

    Jones is stronger but as you said he is so prone to getting cards. I thought BOCA plays mostly as a LB. My lineup main purpose was to get us more chances to score which we haven’t done in a while, Chandler can make a cross out of nothing, that was point. Agreed, this lineup has no chance until the second game.


  • Louis Z

    Sapong just got rookie of the year award, I expect him to be well involved with the senior team sometime in the next year. He missed the Olys by 4 days. He has alot of upside.


  • Thomas

    I like the idea of Fabian getting a look in the ‘playmaker’ spot Dempsey has occupied. But if you do that and put Dempsey out right he doesn’t just have a tendency, he has a determination to pinch in meaning the second ‘defensive’ midfielder on the right should be able to run up and take Dempsey’s spot on the right flank. That’s why I think a Danny Williams would be good in defensive mid alongside Bradley/Jones/Edu, but I think Bradley would be best.








    Side Note: Ideally, once Holden is healthy I like him as the second ‘defensive’ midfielder since he’s been great at tracking back with Bolton and can push up to take up a wide left position when Dempsey pinches in.

    But then again I’m an idiot.


  • bryan

    I like this too. I wouldn’t care who starts; Jones, Bradley or Williams. What I would change is your back line. Edu hasn’t played CB since…a long time. I’d put Gooch in.


  • Murph






  • kelso

    yes. there is no one to replace him with. Also, Jozy has suddenly started playing his best soccer for the USMNT in my opinion. That is JK’s biggest sucess so far in my opinion


  • peaton

    Actually, this team seems strong. I know that Torres has struggled, but we miss a player of his qualities, and what about Bedoya? Is he not rated over Rodgers? Is he out injured? And what about Rolf?


  • GW

    Dolo and Chandler are significantly better than Lichaj, who is still about “potential” not actual “production”.

    So he shut down Bale.

    In the 2007 Copa America Jonathan Bornstein shut down some guy named Leo Messi so bad they moved him to the other side of the pitch in the second half.

    Anyone can have one great game.

    The best players can do it consistently. Dolo and Chandler have proven over time they can do it.

    We’re still waiting on Lichaj.


  • GW

    I’m not arguing semantics.

    You wrote “the French will prevent our offensive attack up the middle,”.

    Nothing like that ever happened. The French prevented nothing. Rommel just avoided them.

    That’s not semantics; it’s just accurate history. You are taking liberties with history to make a joke. Fine. Literary license, historical license is perfectly valid. But don’t call it semantics.


  • Joamiq

    Far from it. He won a grand total of three tackles in the last two games combined. He might be something of a destroyer in MLS, but he’s always two steps behind internationally.


  • jorge

    As im watching the game i am dissapointed with the preformance goodson needs out edu out beckerman out we need donovan and torres and u canr deny adu is better than williams he is easily better way better rhough he dont play much


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