By IVES GALARCEP
Riding a wave of confidence and good form, the U.S. Men’s National Team rolls into their final World Cup qualifier of the month looking like clear-cut favorites to beat Honduras and finish their recent qualifying run with nine points from three matches.
Normally questions about lineup changes would seem odd considering the outstanding game the U.S. just played in beating Panama last Tuesday, but the suspension of DaMarcus Beasley, uncertain injury status of Jermaine Jones and return of Graham Zusi will leave Jurgen Klinsmann with some decisions to make as he selects his lineup to face Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday.
Don’t expect a ton of changes from the Panama lineup, but we could see at least two and possibly three changes to the squad.
What changes will those be? He is the lineup we see taking the field for the U.S. vs. Honduras:
Some thoughts on the lineup:
Graham Zusi steps back in to reprise his starting role on the right flank in a starting lineup that is actually the same lineup that finished the match against Jamaica (except for Fabian Johnson being in for DaMarcus Beasley.
Could Klinsmann stick with Eddie Johnson on the right? That’s a possibility, but with Honduras set to feature a second-choice centerback tandem, the goal will be to provide Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey with as much service as possible.
Fabian Johnson should stay on the left wing rather than sliding back to left back. He looks every bit like a viable left wing option long term, and Edgar Castillo is coming off an outstanding year with Club Tijuana and has earned the chance to start at left back.
Does Klinsmann take a chance on starting Jermaine Jones, or does he rest him and let him fully recover from the concussion suffered against Jamaica? Chances are Jones is going to want to play, and it sounds as though Klinsmann believes he is capable of playing. If that is the case, then pencil in Jones, but if there is any reason to think he isn’t fully recovered, you have to start Geoff Cameron.
It should be noted that Honduras will be coming into the match seriously short-handed, and their defense is ripe for the shredding. Klinsmann could be tempted to start the same front six that dominated Panama, which would mean keeping Eddie Johnson in for Zusi, but we’ll give Zusi the nod because of the service he can provide, and because of his defensive ability, which will be needed against a Honduras side that does still have good options on the flank (even though Oscar Boniek Garcia is still questionable for the match).
What do you think of the lineup? What changes would you make to it? Think the U.S. will handle Honduras easily, or see it being a dogfight?
Share your thoughts below.