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After the past two World Cup qualifiers against Jamaica, there are plenty of new ideas about just what is the best possible starting lineup for the U.S. Men's National Team when everybody is healthy. With two important qualifiers looming next month, it is time to think about what Jurgen Klinsmann's Best XI will be.
Whether you are talking the back four, the midfield or the forwards, each area of the field for the USA has some question marks regarding who to turn to. There are some players who are locks when healthy, like Tim Howard, Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson, Michael Bradley and Steve Cherundolo, but there are multiple options everywhere else on the field.
Who will make up Klinsmann's Best XI when the national team returns to action? Here is SBI's selected USMNT Best XI and Second XI:
USMNT BEST XI
————-Herculez Gomez——-Clint Dempsey—————-
–Jose Torres———-Michael Bradley——–Landon Donovan–
Fabian Johnson———————————-Steve Cherundolo
————–Carlos Bocanegra—-Geoff Cameron—————–
USMNT SECOND XI
—————Jozy Altidore———-Terrence Boyd—————-
–Brek Shea——————————————-Graham Zusi–
——————Maurice Edu—Danny Williams——————–
Edgar Castillo———————————–Michael Parkhurst
————–Clarence Goodson—Michael Orozco Fiscal———
These are based on players Klinsmann has tended to prefer, and players has actually called up, not necessarily the best 22 in the entire depth chart. For my money, Sacha Kljestan would merit a look in the Second XI as the attacking midfielder, with Eric Lichaj an option as well.
Danny Williams was outstanding against Jamaica on Tuesday, but I'm not sure Klinsmann is ready to hand him the job ahead of Jermaine Jones when Michael Bradley returns to the team. Jones is a workhorse who can handle the No. 6 role well. He hasn't been at his sharpest in recent matches, but he was solid on Tuesday and has shown in the past that he can work well alongside Bradley. All that said, Williams has served notice that he is ready to be a serious long-term option for the national team.
Same goes for Graham Zusi, who played well enough to be a solid Second XI pick, but not enough to be considered ahead of a healthy Landon Donovan in the starting lineup. Zusi was excellent against Jamaica, and clearly gives Klinsmann another dynamic option off the bench.
Zusi could be a starting option if Klinsmann wants a more direct attack. He could deploy Donovan on the left and Zusi on the right. That could wind up being the most dangerous attack the USMNT can deploy.
Carlos Bocanegra gets the nod ahead of Clarence Goodson because, for my money, his experience and threat on set pieces make him the better option. Geoff Cameron is a lock to start at this point. He has been outstanding in recent weeks and months and is only getting better.
No, Jose Torres isn't a natural left winger, but in this system he isn't really expected to play like one. He showed against Jamaica that he can keep possession and cover ground well on the left side of the field. He played well enough to remain a starting option heading into October's qualifiers.
You might notice a variation in formation in the Second XI. Fact is it's tough to see Maurice Edu playing in a more advanced role, but he is someone who would make the depth chart with the second XI. You could see that same Second XI line up in a 4-3-3, with Zusi playing at the tip of a triangle in front of Edu and Williams, with Shea at left forward.
UPDATE- Since some have asked, here the Starting lineup I would like to see take on Antigua & Barbuda on Oct. 12th:
What do you think of these selections? Who would you put on the first team that didn't make it? Who is missing from the 22 that you think should have made it?
Share your thoughts below.