by IVES GALARCEP
With two matches standing between the U.S. Men’s National Team and recapturing the Gold Cup title they haven’t lifted since 2007, Wednesday night’s semifinal vs. Honduras should offer the Americans their toughest test to date in this tournament, and Jurgen Klinsmann will need to pick the right squad to ensure the U.S. avoids an upset.
Klinsmann has some very tough decisions to make, particularly in central midfield, where he will have to choose between Kyle Beckerman, Stuart Holden and Mix Diskerud for two spots in the middle.
Klinsmann will also need to think about the forward position, and whether to stick with Chris Wondolowski or go with Eddie Johnson.
Who will Klinsmann choose? Here is SBI’s projected Starting USMNT lineup vs. Honduras:
PROJECTED USMNT STARTING LINEUP vs. HONDURAS
———–Chris Wondolowski————-Landon Donovan——————
Eddie Johnson—————–Stuart Holden———————–Joe Corona
DaMarcus Beasley——————————————-Michael Parkhurst
——————-Matt Besler—————Omar Gonzalez———————
I know Wondolowski didn’t have his best game against El Salvador, but he did a lot of the dirty work that Klinsmann likes and feels he needs at that position. Wondolowski can provide a good target option for Johnson and Donovan to run off of, and he can look to physically wear down the Honduran defense before being replaced in the second half by a speedier option like Brek Shea.
Eddie Johnson should start, whether it’s at forward or on the left wing. Truth is, if he is deployed on the left, we can expect this formation to play like a 4-3-3 at times, with Johnson and Donovan on either side of Wondolowski, and with Holden and Corona working as the front of an inverted diamond.
The central midfield is a tough one, with Mix Diskerud playing well vs. El Salvador, and with Kyle Beckerman being so key for the team’s ability to keep the ball. It should be noted that Honduras has a much better midfield than El Salvador, and the Catrachos’ high work rate in the middle leads me to see Holden getting the nod over Diskerud, who is coming along well, but who still lacks a little in the box-to-box coverage department.
Defensively, Klinsmann isn’t bringing in Omar Gonzalez to sit on the bench, so unless Besler is injured (which seems to be what some think might be the case), we should see Gonzalez and Besler. Now, if Besler is, in fact, injured, I think we’d more likely see a Gonzalez-Orozco pairing than Gonzalez-Goodson, just from a style-pairing standpoint.
And who would USMNT fans put on the field vs. Honduras if given the chance? Here’s who I get the sense fans want to see:
—————–Eddie Johnson————-Landon Donovan——————
Brek Shea———-Stuart Holden——-Mix Diskerud———–Joe Corona
DaMarcus Beasley———————————————–Michael Orozco
———————-Matt Besler————Omar Gonzalez———————
And who would I start? I would go with the projected XI listed above. Wondolowski provides a good tone-setter, and could be very effective playing with Donovan and Johnson together. Either way, I’d find a way to get Eddie Johnson on the field.
What do you think of the projected Starting XI? Who would you change on it? Would you prefer the Projected Fan XI over the lineup I projected Klinsmann to go with?
Share your thoughts below.