By IVES GALARCEP
The final official U.S. Men’s National Team match before the World Cup takes place on Saturday against Nigeria and Jurgen Klinsmann will have some difficult decisions to make regarding just what lineup to trot out in Jacksonville for that Send-Off Series finale.
Klinsmann could choose to deploy the starting lineup he sees taking the field against Ghana on June 16, or he could take one more look at some players who are on the verge of grabbing a starting spot, making the Nigeria match one final audition rather than a dress rehearsal for his best XI.
In my latest Goal.com column I laid out an argument for Klinsmann to start Julian Green vs. Nigeria. Not because Green was dazzling against Turkey, but rather because Klinsmann has steadily sung Green’s praises and the Nigeria friendly could offer a perfect opportunity for Green to show that Klinsmann’s praise is not misguided.
Realistically though, we probably won’t see Green start vs. Nigeria. So who will we see? Here is a lineup I could see Klinsmann calling on to take the field in Jacksonville on Saturday:
PROJECTED USMNT LINEUP vs. NIGERIA
This is the lineup I see Klinsmann using against Ghana, and can definitely see him wanting to see this group against Nigeria. Yes, the U.S. has a closed-door scrimmage with Belgium next week to test things out in, but I think Klinsmann will want to trot this group out against Nigeria to see how it stacks up.
Now, if Klinsmann really does experiment on Saturday, here’s a lineup we could see:
John Brooks impressed against Turkey, and giving him a start could help him show that he should be considered for a start at the World Cup.
Kyle Beckerman has looked sharp when he’s been given the chance to play, but Nigeria would offer a significantly tougher test than he has faced in recent matches.
And finally, here is an experimental lineup I think some fans wouldn’t mind seeing:
What do you think of the projected starting lineup I listed to face Nigeria? Like the idea of Klinsmann going with his first-choice options, or think he should experiment?
Share your thoughts below.