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Who should the USMNT start vs. Nigeria?

USMNT Starting 11

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

————————Altidore—————————

Bedoya——Dempsey———-Bradley———–Zusi

————————Jones——————————

Beasley——Besler———–Cameron——Johnson

———————–Howard—————————-

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:

———————–Altidore—————————

Green——Dempsey———-Bradley———–Zusi

———————Beckerman————————–

Beasley——Besler————Brooks——–Johnson

———————–Howard—————————-

Some thoughts:

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:

—————Dempsey———Johannsson———–

Green—————-Bradley———————-Zusi

———————-Beckerman————————

Beasley——-Besler———Brooks———-Johnson

———————–Howard—————————-

———

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.

337 comments
  • Nandez

    Julian Green situation reminds me of when Sven Goran Eriksson called up Theo Walcott to 2006 WC despite walcott not playing a minute for arsenal.

    Like

  • Tim F.

    Boyd and Donovan up top

    Brek Shea and Joe Corona as wingers for pace and crossing; Torres as central midfielder supported by Edu as d-mid

    Backline of Ream and Goodson as CBs, Evans as RB and either Parkhurst or Castillo as LB

    Howard or Guzan in goal unless you want to avoid potential injury in which case start Rimando

    Like

    • Jack

      I think that team could give the first team a pretty good match, honestly.

      Like

  • Baptista

    Is there anybody in this team who DID NOT contribute one single minute to USMNT WC qualification campaign?

    Like

    • Jack

      Yedlin, Green, Brooks, can’t remember Wondo ever playing either at least in the Hex.

      Like

  • Steve

    What I would love to see and believe would give us best chance to get out of group

    ————————-johansen—————————altidore——————————————-

    ——————————————–Dempsey————————————————————

    ———-Bedoya/Davis——————–Bradley—————-Jones————————————-

    Bessler————————–Brooks——————Cameron———————————-Johnson

    ————————————————Howard———————————————————-

    Tuck Jones in and give him marking responsibilities and allow Johnson to get foward. Play Bessler at Left Back(don’t know why he hasn’t done it already)!!!!!!!! Let Dempsey play underneath the two fowards. Can use Davis as a wider player and use for set pieces(even though I’m not a fan). Thoughts?

    Like

  • Chu

    No matter whoever is employed to play in midfield betwaeen gh AND the USMNT, there is surely going to be running behinnd the defensive midfield and I feel that is where the battle would be won. Dempsey against Muntari essien or acquah/ bradleyand jones against dede, kevin and kwadwo asamoah. This could be a high scoring game given the fact that the 2 teams are defensively weak and attackingly strong

    Like

  • Alex H

    I don’t get all of the love for Brooks. He hasn’t played a meaningful minute for the team, he hasn’t done too well in the meaningless minutes (1/2 against Turkey isn’t enough) and we have people who have shown they can step up when it matters. I like Brooks but the WC is not where I want to see debut. That said Klinsi will probably start him at striker (or keeper) because that’s just how Klinsi rolls.

    Like

  • Ethan

    I’d like to see Green can do too, but the last warm-up before the World Cup isn’t the time to be experimenting with unknown commodities–it’s the time to play your best 11 and let them gel before the real games start. Which is the problem with how JK’s handled this whole thing. We essentially have zero idea of what we have in Green. Why? Because JK hasn’t played him in any actual game situations (minus maybe 60 total minutes, during which he’s not looked particularly impressive). Let’s face it, Green’s spot on the World Cup is a gift to tie him to the team for the future. You can argue whether that’s appropriate (I don’t agree with it), but let’s not argue that he’s going to contribute this year, or that he should be taking valuable minutes away from other players who actually can help us in 2014.

    Like

  • That_Guy

    Ghana:
    Altidore
    Donovan Dempsey
    Bradley-Diskerud
    Jones
    Johnson-Besler-Onyewu-Chandler

    Portugal:

    Altidore
    Beasley Dempsey
    Bradley-Bedoya
    Jones
    Johnson-Besler-Onyewu-Cameron

    Germany:
    Altidore
    Johnson-Bradley-Dempsey
    Beckermen-Jones
    Chandler-Besler-Onyewu-Cameron

    This is who i think should be starting. Just saying

    Like

    • That_Guy

      Let me add “-” to show more of my image

      Ghana:
      ———-Altidore
      Donovan——— Dempsey
      ——Bradley-Diskerud
      ————Jones
      Johnson-Besler-Onyewu-Chandler

      Portugal:

      ———–Altidore
      Beasley ———–Dempsey
      ——-Bradley-Bedoya
      ————Jones
      Johnson-Besler-Onyewu-Cameron

      Germany:
      ———-Altidore
      Johnson-Bradley-Dempsey
      ——Beckermen-Jones
      Chandler-Besler-Onyewu-Cameron

      Like

  • senor

    Black hole Shea, won’t you stay away from the TEEEAAAAAAm. Black hole Shea won’t you stay awaaaaaaay.

    Like

  • QuakerOtis

    Germany looking much, much better on the ball this week. Armenia isn’t looking too bad either.

    Like

    • QuakerOtis

      Ouch! Reus with a nasty looking ankle roll. Does not look happy, down for a few minutes… crying as two trainers help him hobble off.

      Like

      • bryan

        he looks hurt. he couldn’t put any pressure on that left ankle. yikes.

        Like

      • KingGoogleyEye

        If there is one more of these then we’re going to be able to create an “injured eleven” lineup: Falcao, Ribery, Montolivo, Montes, Reus….

        Please let there be no more.

        Like

  • Remy

    Due to his versatility, speed and overall awesomeness, this is the lineup that will win us the world cup, according to his fans because there’s no US team without him,

    ———————–Donovan—————————

    Donovan——Donovan———-Donovan———–Donovan

    ———————Donovan————————–

    Donovan——Donovan————Donovan——–Donovan

    ———————–Donovan—————————-

    Like

    • That_Guy

      If there is a 23 better than that, then we have a shot at the world cup

      Like

  • Ryan

    Cameron is a clear starter in the back. Besler and Beasely have no secured spot. So mls fans need to shut up. Chandler, brooks, cameron, johnson should be our back line.

    Like

    • Tyrone

      Besler has been the only constant starter along the back line, so if you are talking about a secured spot, his is as close as it gets.

      Like

  • 1776croatswede

    WONDO [or Green] AND ALTIDORE WILL SCORE!!!

    Prediction: 3-0 OR 4-0 USA

    Like

  • Jack

    Ives reporting Davis appears to have a hamstring issue, not training with the rest of the team right now.

    Like

      • Remy

        Not happening. He has been a distraction to the team and a thorn on Klinsmann’s side. We don’t need any more circus. Plus even if he calls him, Donovan will not be dressing for any of the games. He will probably call Corona, Shea or Boyd.

        Like

    • Ethan

      Oh man. not wishing injury on anyone, but gotta say it would be fascinating to see what JK would do if Davis can’t go. If he didn’t bring in Donovan, i think there would be a full-blown fan and media meltdown…

      Like

      • Jack

        Imagine if he brought in Shea out of no where and not Donovan. I think he is training with Orlando at the moment for some reason.

        Like

  • MiamiAl

    After seeing Reus go down to injury today, I wouldn’t risk any of our starters

    Wondo, Iceman
    Davis, Mix, Beckerman, Green
    Beasley, Gonzalez, Besler, Chandler
    Rimando

    Like

  • Dennis

    Chandler made some mental mistakes mostly in the 2nd half. It is hard to tell if that was because he was tired (fatigue makes fools of us all and ruins concentration) or if his speed of thought and concentration are not up to international level defending. If it was tiredness, a couple weeks of training can make a big difference. If his brain is not wired for it, it will be a long time before he is ready.

    Physically, I think he is stronger than Beasley. I just hope JK can tell if it was tiredness or a lack of the right defensive mentality that was the problem for Chandler in the Turkey game.

    Like

    • Fredo

      Chandler has consistently made mistakes in games for the USMNT. I’d go with it’s his brain.

      Like

  • Josh

    I think we should have the lineup as follows

    Altidore————-wondolowski

    ——–Dempsey——
    Bradley—–Beckerman—–zusi
    Beasley—-besler—-Cameron—-Johnson

    Like

  • giedris klivecka

    JK is about as astute a tactician as Twellman ,so either one would get about the same results from this team. Speaking nonsense to eager believers is the right thing to do, and JK knows his strengths (tactics is not one of them) and he certainly knows his audience. It is absolute stupidity to take a talented but WAY underprepared player (Green) and expose this 18 year old, slight of build, teenager to the pressure -cooker and potential failure of being exposed in the WC. A GOOD coach would be patient, introduce him gradually to top-class soccer And have him ready for 2014. This kid is no Pele or Maradona and even they had much top level exposure before their WC debutes. Most of this other lineup nonsense is meaningless. We are talking about a bunch of modestly talented players (none of them top tier) that will probably show better than they should. Just a thought about Beasley. If the USMT is behind with 20 min to go, Put him at left back and let him attack with speed and play 3 in the back and take some risks. Try it against Nigeria. Its called tactics.

    Like

  • giedris klivecka

    Another observation . Saying the USA will not win the WC is bogus ,gutless and a red herring. To guarantee that we will advance, now THAT IS balsy and letting it all hang out. But we know That this coach is not like that at all. There is no “Follow me into the battle boys” in this coach

    Like

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