World Cup Qualifying

Cherundolo, Bocanegra set to return to lineup for crucial qualifier vs. Jamaica

CarlosBocanegraStripes (ISIPhotos.com)

Photo by ISIPhotos.com


COLUMBUS, Ohio — There figure to be several changes made to the U.S. men's natinonal team's starting lineup for Tuesday's crucial World Cup qualifying showdown vs. Jamaica, and U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has already revealed some of them.

Veteran defenders Steve Cherundolo and Carlos Bocanegra will be back in the starting lineup after missing the first match between the two nations, Klinsmann revealed during his pre-game press conference on Monday. Cherundolo was sidelined with a calf strain while Bocanegra was benched in favor of Geoff Cameron and Clarence Goodson (who is suspended for the upcoming match due to yellow card accumulation).

"(Bocanegra) will be our captain (on Tuesday) and he totally understood our decisions that had to do with his last couple of weeks as well a little bit with the Mexico game where we tried out new things and we were very pleased with what we've seen in Mexico," said Klinsmann. "But he's back in the team, Stevie's back in the team, fortunately, so they are ready and very, very hungry for that game."

Klinsmann said some changes could be made in the midfield and up top to help change that for Tuesday's Group A encounter against the Reggae Boyz (a match expected to be a sellout at Crew Stadium), but he was tight-lipped as to who he could insert and replace.

You wouldn't know the U.S. team was facing a mountain of pressure heading into Tuesday's qualifier by looking at Klinsmann, who was the picture of cool as he spoke to reporters during his press conference on Monday afternoon. He touched on how the team has responded after its lethargic showing in the 2-1 defeat to Jamaica in Kingston, saying the team is not feeling any added pressure after losing to the Reggae Boyz for the first time in their history and that they know that a win will help put them right back on track in their road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

"Pressure is always there in professional sports," said Klinsmann. "Obviously we want to get points already in Jamaica and be in a better position than we are right now but winning tomorrow night, which is our goal and which we're focused on very strongly, puts us back in (top) position in the group, so the pressure and expectations are just part of the professional environment. That's no problem."

What was admittedly a problem for the Americans in their loss to Jamaica in Kingston last week was their lack of width and possession. The U.S. struggled to keep the ball for large stretches, with passes going astray or over the top more often than not. That allowed Jamaica to settle into a rhythm that wound up earning them two free kicks that were sent past Tim Howard and into the back of the net.

"That's what we addressed already at halftime in Jamaica," said Klinsmann about the need for width and possession. "We talked about that and I think when the players also watch the images a little bit after the game, whether it's the highlights or just a bit more, you see those things. That's an area certainly we can do much better. I think what we discussed in Jamaica after the game also became clear when you watch it again on tape is that our passing game was not clean enough, was not good enough."

The game is not a must-win for the United States, but anything less than three points in its fourth Group A match would put them in a tough spot heading into their final two games of the third round of qualifying in October.

"Obviously we're looking forward to the game tomorrow night because obviously there's a sense within the group that we need to fix a couple of points," said Klinsmann. "We didn't get the result we wanted to in Jamaica, which puts us in a position that we have to get those points back and we want to desperately, desperately do that tomorrow night against the Jamaican side."

  • James

    The more important thing for the long term future of American Soccer is to stay the course with Klinsmann.


  • Chris

    Thankfully. Parkhurst and Goodson were perfectly fine. The defense wasn’t actually that bad, the free kicks were mainly the fault of our midfield. But Parkhurst has no business playing right back in a system where the right back is expected to contribute to the attack. He couldn’t do anything. And Boca is still better than Goodson, so of course you want him in there, especially since Cameron and Goodson have a similar game.


  • Vic

    Good news, both are skilled players out of the back. The only worry is that Danny Williams may be put at right mid to provide cover. I prefer Danny Williams as a defensive midfielder.


  • Lost in Space

    The Absence of any real leadership in the defense and the midfile really hampered the US in Jamaca. Defensivly having Cherundolo (Lichaj or Chandler) making runs from deep would have been much better than Parkhurst who seemed happy to sit back and boom the ball.
    Having Boca help coordinate the defense and direct traffic would have been helpful as well.
    In the Midfield none of the 3 starters stamped themselves on the game. Jones & Edu were not effective distributing the ball…and without the outside wing defenders making runs, ended up being to narrow. Beckerman was just too slow to deal with the Jamacans. He was constently making ill advised challanges which lead to fouls and the 2 free kicks that they scored on. He may be a good CDM in MLS but at the international level he’s just not fast enough.


  • Dan

    I’ve never understood why they don’t use Fabian Johnson as the creative, attacking midfielder. He has the skills and vision.


  • Vic

    When he plays attacking mid he’s our best attacking mid. When he plays left back he’s our best left back. We have much more depth in central midfield.


  • louis z

    changes at forward position? is it Boyd over Jozy or is Dempsey moving up front. those are the only logical changes I can think of.


  • Brain Guy

    Best news I’ve heard all day. Look for the team to come out flying tomorrow night. It may be a must-win game in mathematical terms, but it is in every other sense.


  • Dimidri








    I don’t get the Spector hate-he was incredible as a sub against Italy, saved Sacha’s butt a few times, and played with the heart the US sorely lacked against Jamaica the first time. By all accounts having a great season with Birmingham so far too.

    Cameron @ Defensive midfielder is needed to maintain possession and actually string together passes, our D was fine besides the fouling last time so Parkhurst @ CB (where his lack of speed and overlapping doesn’t matter) would work.

    Johnson then could play LW where he could have his special talents utilized in both attack and defense, and Zusi playmaking not because I think he’s the greatest player ever like some but you have to have a guy who can playmake and create. He’s the only one.


  • Tony in Quakeland

    Based on what? Our worst qualifying start ever? Tactics even more conservative than Bob Bradley ever dreamed of? His track record at Bayren Munich and the fact that the German team has not missed a beat without him? What evidence is there for your assertion? Seriously, at this point how can you say he is irreplacable or that our future depends on him?


  • SuperChivo

    Hopefully, James is just joking.

    Does anyone else ever get the impression that Klinsi is one missed Xanax dosis away from a meltdown? I guess if things aren’t interesting on the pitch he at least keeps them interesting off it.


  • Azilis

    I’m not going to defend Klinsmann as I am not yet convinced by him, to counter your “worst qualification start ever” comment, our qualification campaign in 2000 started very similarly. 4 points after 3 games with our two most difficult road games out of the way. A tie in Guatemala and a loss @ the strongest opponent in the group.


  • NC Jeff

    The USMNT is in reasonable position. The 2nd half of the semifinal double round-robin is the FAR easier half for the USMNT … BOTH games against the other 2 decent teams are in the US. Put simply, if they don’t advance with this schedule, then they don’t deserve to.


  • Tony in Quaklenad

    Azllis: Points do not tell the whole story. The first qualifying loss in the Carribiean since 1969 makes this the worst start ever as far as I am concerned. Add to it the failure to clsoe our the second game and the decidedly unimpressive perfromance against a minno among minnows round out my argument nicely.

    SuperChico: Man, I hope he was joking, in which case I apologize. But I have been wigging out since Friday…there are somethings you just don’t joke about.


  • Angel of Los Angeles

    I hope he goes with one Defensive midfield and one and one creative and two Attacking midfield. leave Dempsey run freely behind Gomez.

    Johnson–Boca—Cameron—Steve C.


  • steveo

    the problem is twofold right now: 1) top players are injured/uncommitted and 2) Klinsmann is exacerbating the issue by not calling in logical next in line guys at the spot and instead is fitting square pegs into round holes

    in an ideal world (my 2 cents) the squad would look like:

    with depth on wings: Shea, Beasley, Lichaj
    at forward: Gomez, Boyd
    In mid: Jones, Edu, Torres, Klesjan, Beckerman
    In D: Goodson, Gooch, Ream, Spector

    once you subtract Chandler and then: Dolo, Donovan, Holden-you just lost 3 of 4 top wide players+holden who plays there or in midfield…then Klinsmann does not bring in Beasley or Lichaj for the wide play, nor anyone besides Torres for any attacking bite in Midfield….

    so all of the sudden the team is REALLY weak on the wings and at the top of the midfield-good luck generating possession or any offense

    I do not get why Lichaj is given no look, same for Ream, when both would logically fit in with a more passing, attacking style…

    who thought Bunker Bob was a more aggressive offensive thinker after all-he never played FOUR defensive mids, three at most…


  • AH

    “That’s what we addressed already at halftime in Jamaica,” said Klinsmann about the need for width and possession.

    The fact that he doesn’t see that the problems of both width and possession came directly from HIS decision to start 3 CDMs who don’t play wide and aren’t good in possession is concerning.


  • Wendell Gee

    Well, you might have clarified that you had to invent your own criteria to make the current situation worse than 2000. Points is generally understood to be the criteria.

    Also, saying “losing in the Carribean” rather than “losing in Jamaica” seems a rather disingenous way of equating a loss in Jamaica with, for example, a loss to St. Kitts. This Jamaica side is good and has a very good chance, in my opinion, of qualifying for the World Cup. A loss there was always a possibility, even if we had played a lot better.

    The situation is better than 2000. This team needed, and got, a wake up call. As warranted as much of the criticism aimed at Klinsmann is, I fully expect the US to get 9 points from these last 3 games.

    In 2000, getting out of the semi-final group was going to be very difficult from the beginning. There was a lot of pressure from game one. Back then we had a less talented team playing their asses off under a lot of pressure through the first 3 games. This time, we’ve had a more talented team sleep walking through the first three games under no pressure.

    NOW there is some pressure. As a result, I expect we’ll see a different team for games 4-6.


  • jon

    Because until Fabian, our rotation of uninspiring left backs repeatedly made stupid mistakes or got beat one on one. Since he’s started for us, that hasn’t happened. Let’s not get greedy and be happy we have a left back.


  • Juan

    Did you see the game? You couldn’t have seen it and make that statement about Parkhurst. .He got forward numerous times and delivered the ball. Dempsey almost scored on one of them had he hit the ball better… he would have

    I am not happy about the announced changes in the back. OK Goodson is suspended so Boca has to start but his lack of speed and often questionable positioning have me worried

    Dolo is getting old and I dont think he’s as good as Parkhurst. Even if theyre about the same… it’s time to start phasing him out and looking for a replacement. Not terribly upset about tomorrow though I dont know what Parkhurst did wrong to justify to getting the hook? For sure I would not start Dolo in upcoming games against minnows

    If Klinsmann makes these changes and still starts Beckerman.. I will have no more faith in him. Beckerman was so in over his head and too slow.

    Possession = Torres


  • nick

    Need Freddy/Mix to add creativity and possession to attack.. also, real wingers are needed on wings


  • RLW2020

    because we have been searching for a half decent LB FOREVER!!! We finally have one and its great.. I agree he could benefit from him playing RM in Donovan’s absence but until Castillo or someone else is a lock down intn’t LB Johnson isn’t moving.


  • Spank

    I agree. After the loss to Jamaica i was expecting to see an interview from Klinsmann stating that his tactics and choice of 3 Dmids is what inevitably doomed the US and that he would take this next game to make the necessary adjustments. Instead all I’ve seen is him saying that it was the teams fault and that they have to do a better job. Very concerning!


  • Redneck

    “Dolo is getting old and I dont think he’s as good as Parkhurst”. Old yes, but the second half of your sentence isn’t right. Dolo is one of the better players on the squad. Cool and professional all the time. The only knock is that he’s getting older and has lost a step.


  • Dan

    I understand that he fills a big hole at left back, but I’m just saying given his pedigree, his skill on the ball, his vision, he has the skill to make the midfield work, especially in the absence of MB90 or Donovan. Yes, there isn’t really anybody else, maybe Castillo, to play left back. But it still seems to me that you could drop one of our three defensive midfielders and play him, instead of Dempsey or Torres, as the number 10 and really the attack going.


  • CPS

    Lichaj would have been a perfect selection for LB vs Jamaica. Would have freed up Johnson to play LM. Would have had great speed on the left side. But I guess we’ll never know for sure.


  • Michael Stypulkoski

    It will never cease to amaze me how much Dolo is underrated by US fans. It honestly boggles the mind. Suffice it to say, with all respect to Parkhurst (who I quite like), Cherundolo is the better player.


  • Shark

    You nailed it Tony…I have been saying the exact same thing since his hiring….

    Oh and I disagree with the article…it is a must win…you do not want to put yourself into the situation you would be in if we lose or draw…


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