USMNT Daily Update: Projecting the Starting XI vs. Honduras

USMNT Daily Update: Projecting the Starting XI vs. Honduras

USMNT Daily Update

USMNT Daily Update: Projecting the Starting XI vs. Honduras

If you think the 2013 CONCACAF Hexagonal is too far away to start thinking about, consider this. The U.S. Men’s National Team’s opening qualifier is just 10 weeks away.

Nope, not that much time at all.

When the U.S. takes the field in Honduras in February, the team that faces the ‘Catrachos’ is likely to look a lot like the same team that tied Russia earlier this month. Major League Soccer will be in its off-season, meaning it will be that much tougher for MLS-based players to get starting nods ahead of European-based players who will be in the midst of their seasons (and even Mexican League-based players, who will be into their Clausura campaigns).

The Americans will be on the road, and likely playing in the hostile environment of San Pedro Sula, but they are also likely to face a Honduran side with some starters who aren’t in season. The Honduran squad that trounced Canada, 8-1, to clinch a place in the Hex included four MLS-based starters, which could give the U.S. an edge in the match-up.

So which U.S. lineup will take the field against the Hondurans? Here is what the lineup looks like with 10 weeks to go before the Hex opener:

PROJECTED USMNT LINEUP

Clint Dempsey———-Jozy Altidore————Herculez Gomez

————–Jermaine Jones—–Michael Bradley——————

—————————Danny Williams—————————–

Fabian Johnson———————————–Steve Cherundolo

——————Geoff Cameron—–Clarence Goodson————

—————————–Tim Howard——————————-

———

Some thoughts:

This lineup is obviously contingent on all these players being healthy and playing regularly. All are at the moment, but things can change in two and a half months.

Carlos Bocanegra is expected to be back in January from the torn hamstring suffered against Russia. If he can make a recovery early enough in January he could theoretically play his way into form in time for the Feb. 6th qualifier, but if he has trouble regaining a starting role at Racing Santander, and if Cameron and Goodson are playing regularly, then Klinsmann may have to leave Bocanegra out.

Dempsey hasn’t really played in a wide forward role much lately, which makes you wonder if Klinsmann would consider a more traditional 4-4-2, or potentially a 4-2-3-1 for the Honduras match. Graham Zusi and Eddie Johnson both played well for the national team in the late-year qualifiers, but both will be out of season when Honduras roles around so it could be tough for them to break into the starting lineup.

If Klinsmann decides he wants Dempsey in a more comfortable role, we could see this lineup:

————-Jozy Altidore————Herculez Gomez————–

—————————Clint Dempsey——————————-

——Jermaine Jones——————–Michael Bradley———–

—————————Danny Williams—————————–

Fabian Johnson———————————–Steve Cherundolo

——————Geoff Cameron—–Clarence Goodson————

—————————–Tim Howard——————————-

This formation puts Dempsey behind two strikers, but also means Jones and Bradley have to line up wider to help provide some support on the flanks.

You also have Timmy Chandler as a bit of a wild card. Klinsmann could be tempted to start him in a wide midfield role. It seems unlikely he would start ahead of a healthy Cherundolo at this point, but you also have to expect that Klinsmann will cap-tie Chandler if Chandler makes the trip to Honduras.

Danny Williams didn’t exactly instill a ton of confidence in his last USMNT outing, struggling badly against Russia. If Williams does indeed have a dip in form, or stops playing regularly for Hoffenheim, we could see a lineup like this one:

————-Jozy Altidore————Herculez Gomez————–

—-Michael Bradley—-Clint Dempsey——-Timmy Chandler—

—————————Jermaine Jones—————————–

Fabian Johnson———————————–Steve Cherundolo

——————Geoff Cameron—–Clarence Goodson————

—————————–Tim Howard——————————-

What do you think of our projected lineup? Do you like one of the other lineups we have listed a bit more? Who are you hoping to see in the starting lineup that didn’t make any of these projections?

Share your thoughts below.

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