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With three points in the bag following Friday’s last-minute World Cup Qualifying win against Antigua & Barbuda on Friday, the U.S. Men’s National Team heads into Tuesday’s match needing just a draw to guarantee a place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.
Friday’s win was far from pretty though, and Jurgen Klinsmann is going to have some tough decisions to make on what starting lineup he will trot out to take on a desperate Guatemala team that also needs just a draw to secure a place in the Hexagonal.
While Eddie Johnson made a very strong case to remain in the starting lineup, some other starters weren’t as convincing on Friday. Throw in an impressive substitute’s appearance by Sacha Kljestan (and Alan Gordon) and you wonder just what changes Klinsmann will make against Guatemala.
Here is a look at lineup we see Klinsmann calling on for Tuesday night’s match vs. Guatemala:
PROJECTED USMNT LINEUP vs. GUATEMALA
The toughest call for me in projecting this lineup is choosing between Sacha Kljestan and Herculez Gomez. It’s tough to replace the hustle Gomez gives, and defensive work he brings from the forward position, but he struggled badly against Antigua & Barbuda and Kljestan provided a great spark to the midfield and should work well with Michael Bradley and Graham Zusi.
So why the midfielder over the forward? We all know both teams can advance with a draw, and Guatemala figures to sit back and let the USA possess the ball. Kljestan can take advantage of that possession to set up Johnson and Dempsey.
Danny Williams didn’t have the best game against Antigua & Barbuda, but in fairness the conditions didn’t help him at all in the middle of the park in Antigua. Jurgen Klinsmann could turn to a Maurice Edu or a Kyle Beckerman, but I think he keeps Williams in the lineup for this one.
In the back, it’s tough not to see Klinsmann giving Parkhurst the nod at left back. Bocanegra was expected at left back against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala’s wingers are more dangerous so Klinsmann needs some more pace at left back. Bocanegra may have struggled at left back, but Goodson also struggled at centerback and it’s tough not to think that Bocanegra is the better centerback option.
And in case you are wondering, this is both the lineup I think Klinsmann calls on as well as the lineup I would trot out in KC if I were the coach.
What do you think of the projected lineup? Who didn’t make the lineup that you would like to see start vs. Guatemala? Do you like that back four’s chances of stopping Carlos Ruiz and the ‘Chapines’?
Share your thoughts below.