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:
PROJECTED USMNT LINEUP vs. JAMAICA
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.