The final match of the year for the U.S. Men’s National Team should help offer us a glimpse at some new young faces, but also give us a good look at a squad that will resemble the team that will take the field in Honduras in February for the start of World Cup qualifying.
Regular starters Clint Dempsey and Steve Cherundolo, and more recent starters Graham Zusi and Eddie Johnson, are not in Russia, but there remains a nucleus of the U.S. first team on hand. Jurgen Klinsmann will be able to field a strong back-line along with starting goalkeeper Tim Howard, as well as a potential midfield trio of Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones and Danny Williams.
Where Klinsmann will have some interesting decisions to make is in the attack. He has some new blood in the mix in Juan Agudelo, Josh Gatt and Joe Gyau, as well as the return of Jozy Altidore to the fold.
So who will Klinsmann turn to against a tough Russian squad?
Here is a look at the lineup we could see Klinsmann trotting out, as well as the lineup I would take a look at against the Russians:
PROJECTED USMNT LINEUP vs. RUSSIA
Juan Agudelo might seem like a surprise, but he is well-suited to play wide in a 4-3-3, and if Klinsmann decides he wants some pure speed on the flank he could turn to this lineup:
Gatt is very much an intriguing prospect, and I would definitely be interested to see what he can do working on the right in a 4-3-3, but with this being his first camp you wonder if Klinsmann would throw him into the starting lineup without much familiarity with his teammates.
If you are thinking that the triangle of Bradley, Williams and Jones is a bit too defensive-minded, consider that the USMNT will be playing a dangerous Russia attack that counterattacks well and has a potent midfield.
Some might wonder why no Terrence Boyd in the lineup. You could, in theory, play Altidore wide left and start Boyd up top like so, but that would mean serious defensive work for Altidore on the left flank.
Players like Mix Diskerud and Joe Gyau seem more like to come off the bench, assuming they actually dress for the match. A friendly appearance doesn’t cap-tie you so it would seem unlikely that Klinsmann would trot out Diskerud for a brief cameo.
What do you think of the projected lineup we have laid out? Do you like the second lineup with Gatt in the Starting XI? What player would you start that didn’t make either of our lineups?
Share your thoughts below.