U.S. Men's National Team

Who should Klinsmann start vs. Jamaica?

JermaineJonesJamaica (ISIPhotos.com)

The U.S. Men's National Team takes on Jamaica in World Cup qualifying on Friday and with stars Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley set to miss out, Jurgen Klinsmann will have some important decisions to make on how he shapes his lineup without those two stars.

Without Donovan and Bradley, and potentially without Clint Dempsey, the U.S. will face a tough challenge in Kingston against a Jamaica side they have never beaten in Jamaica.

The last time these teams met, the Americans pulled off a 2-0 victory in the 2011 CONCACAF Gold Cup quarterfinals, but this will mark the first meeting in Jamaica between these teams since Brian Ching's late equalizer helped the U.S. score a draw in a 2004 World Cup qualifier.

What lineup will Klinsmann turn to now that he could be without three of his best field players? Here is one possible lineup we could see:







Some thoughts:

Why Brek Shea? He's the best option for that position if Klinsmann decides to go with a 4-3-3. Shea's showing off the bench against Mexico had to make Klinsmann feel better about his young winger's form and confidence. Not to mention the fact Shea delivered on the road in Mexico.

Shea starting is obviously contingent on Clint Dempsey not being available to start. Dempsey is working hard to get fit, but it seems more likely he starts against Jamaica in the second match, on Tuesday in Columbus.

If Dempsey can get fit enough to start on Friday, then we could either see him in that same left forward role, or potentially in a playmaking role in a 4-4-2.

Terrence Boyd is going to make Klinsmann's decision very tough. His form with Rapid Vienna in recent weeks has been outstanding, but it is tough to picture Klinsmann playing Altidore, Boyd and Gomez together (though it could certainly be fun to watch). Could that trio work together? It should be noted that Altidore has played on the left side of a 4-3-3 in the past and wouldn't be totally unfamiliar to that position. If Klinsmann were to go with that trio, it would be up to Altidore and Gomez to help generate chances and pass the ball well from the flanks.

In midfield, it's tough to envision Klinsmann using anything but the triangle shown above. Jose Torres is obviously an option, but his performance against Mexico didn't exactly instill confidence. If this were a home game you could make a stronger case for Torres and wanting to attack more, but this midfield makes the most sense heading into Kingston. Yes, it is a defensive-minded group, and yes Edu struggled against Brazil in a more advanced role, but this is a road qualifier and this isn't Brazil.

The defense should be pretty much set, though a case can be made for Clarence Goodson getting the nod ahead of Cameron. That said, Cameron's form has been pretty solid in recent national team appearances, especially his showing against Mexico.


What do you think of the lineup? What changes would you make to it? Think the U.S. still has the team to register the national team's first win in Kingston?

Share your thoughts below.

  • hogatroge

    This is just an untrue statement. While Jones has ups and downs with the Nats, you can’t ignore his standout performances. Coincidentally, one of his most notable was against Jamaica.

    He also starts (and scores goals) for a Champions League team. Yes, his last outing for the US, AT 6000′ ALTITUDE, DURING CLUB PRESEASON, was mediocre, but that would be ignoring his performances against Scotland, Venezuela, and Honduras, where he was superb.


  • GW

    “Lastly, I think you always have to reward/utilize form: Boyd is incredibly hot right now. I feel like it’s a managers responsibility to find a spot.”
    Boyd has 4 goals in six games.

    Jozy has 4 goals in six games.

    A few months in age separate them yet Jozy has significantly more experience and plays in a higher ranked and tougher league.

    Now if you are the manager and you can’t play both who do you find a spot for?
    Remember this is a WC qualifier and not a time to screw around.


  • Kojo





    Dempsey comes on at the 70th minute mark. Gomez comes in at the 78th minute
    This gets the two most in form forwards on the field. Closes down the Jamaican flank play with Shea/Johnson and Williams/Cherundolo. This pushes Jamaica into the middle where we keep a high defensive line enabling us to contain Jamaica in the middle third of the field taking away their space. In order for this to work we have to win the 50/50 balls in midfield created by this defensive structure. Once we have the ball we then use our own flank speed to go at Jamaica offensively. It will be a lot to ask of Shea and Johnson who will most likely move up to join Altidore and Boyd b/c Shea and Johnson will still have to track back to keep the defensive structure.


  • sandtrout

    His absence is huge. It makes me a pessimist instead of an optimist going into this game. I just don’t know how we’ll manage the ball in midfield without him. I foresee lots of turnovers…..


  • sandtrout

    That’s a good lineup with these options. A very Tottehnam- (formerly Fulham-) esque lineup I’d say. Reminds me of my days in West Lond — scratch that, North London.


  • Louis Z

    is not like BOCA is already in a wheelchair, he doesn’t move up that much in the attack so for him to get beat with a through ball or over the top is minimal. My main ojbective is to get Johnson in the midfield, the guy is so silky smooth with the ball.


  • louis z

    if you want more possessions then either Cameron or Johnson would what to move out from defense. which is very iffy for JK to do in a away game.


  • Two Cents

    Altidore is getting considerably better each week. Shea seems to found some of his old self recently, although I would not start him. I think I’d do something like this:


    If Dempsey isn’t starting, then things will change to something like this:


    Our lack of wingers is depressing, but I suppose if you wanted to change things up a bit, use Shea on the right. Definitely keep Beckerman out. I like Torres, but not really sure where he’d fit unless u go with a 4-1-3-2 and have Edu/Jones sitting in front of the back 4, leaving Torres with Zusi and Johnson.

    Also, Johnson can certainly be moved to LB, but that will certainly change our formation quite a bit. Spector plays consistently for Birmingham City, so I’m sure he’ll manage. That will open the left up for Johnson’s offensive prowess.


  • bizzy





    Brazil here we come!!!!


  • biff

    I think Clint Dempsey starts. I would be very surprised to see Edu, Jones and Beckerman all start in the midfield. It’s possible Edu will start at left centerback and Bocanegra will begin the game on the bench.

    Someone mentioned a few days ago he would like to see Jozy, Boyd and Gomez all start the game, and I found that intriguing and came with the following 4-3-3, which would pack an explosive offensive punch, but would be a defensive risk. I would love to see it, or something similar, just one time.


    ————J. Jones————–


    But something like this is more what I would expect from Klinsmann.






  • crew96

    only time I saw Torres really make plays and distribute the ball well for USA was as a sub in the last world cup qualifier against costa rica. USA was down 2-0 and threw him on and he did a really good job moving the ball and helping the US keep possession in the attacking third. Again, that is the only time i’ve seen him really play well for USA. Not sure if I remember lineup when he came on but I think he mightve come on for edu or clark and partnered with bradley in the middle


  • Bobeto

    I actually agree with your line up….I like all four lines….What if Duece is ready? Where would you slot him in….Has to be Johnson’s spot! Or move Jones to mid and replace Cameron?


  • Lost in Space

    Wondo is “OLD” and has never shown well at the international level. He’s a Very Good MLS player, but should only be on the National Team for Non-FIFA dates.


  • Matt


    Just an idea, if Dempsey is ready have him sit behind Jozy and Herc. Really worried about the back line and Jamaica’s speed


  • volpone

    Nice point. It seems suddenly obvious to me is that Arteta is the best analogue for Torres as a player; tidy and controlled, but not dazzlingly incisive in the final third. I’ve always hoped we could see what he looks like moved deeper in the midfield.


  • Old School

    Your reference to Jozy’s current stats implies you would be unwilling or incapable of playing both?


  • Brett

    4-3-3: Shea – Boyd – Altidore / Torres – Dempsey – Jones / Johnson – Goodson – Cameron – Cherundolo / Howard


  • SBI Troll

    Jozy – Gomez
    – Dempsey –
    Johnson – Torres – Jones – Cherundolo
    Bocanegra – Cameron – Edu


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