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Olympic Qualifying: The USA lineup vs. Canada


                                                                   Photo by ISI Photos

Okay folks, I know you’ve been wondering what the U.S. Under-23 national team lineup for tonight’s match against Canada will be.

Wonder no more.

According to multiple sources, this will be the U.S. team’s starting lineup for tonight’s Olympic Qualifying semifinal (and yes, there are some slight surprises):

USA Starting XI







Very interesting lineup. I think it’s fair to say Adu will play withdrawn forward. You will also have more of a box than traditional flat four midfield. Lots of opportunity for interchanging with this group. Wynne isn’t that much of a surprise, though I felt like he looked shaky in moments. His speed is pretty scary though.

Surprises? Gaven is benched after his good performance against Honduras while Kljestan starts despite coming off a bad game. In truth, this starting XI is probably the lineup most would have expected before the tournament began (with Orozco the lone real surprise, most would have penciled Patrick Ianni into that spot).

What do you think of this US lineup? Share your thoughts below?


  1. Matt I am not saying that Gaven is a great player. I think he lacks the speed and the technical ability. But that is my same problem with Kljestan. And I agree with Paul that Kljestan is inept in the other aspects of the game.

    As far as someone talking about the CB switch on the MNT, I think Spector has to be a serious contender. Goochi needs to go to a better team, and well Bocanegra needs to play. He has fallen out of favor at Fulham. And well Spector has a brighter future and should be starting in 2010.

  2. Can someone tell me what Jozy has done? Not that we have too many other options that have shown anything close to actual striker type abilities, but I am sorry Jozy was a rock star at the U20’s but so far in this tournament,he has been a total non factor.

  3. I tend to agree with the Gaven assessment that he hasnt done much. But he has the experience. Kljestan, although good at 1-2s is basically inept in most other aspects. I’d rather see Zizzo or Gaven instead.

    The defense IS the best 4 that Nowak can put out there:

    Freeman and Ianni are simply horrible defenders and shouldnt even be on the squad period. Frankly why there are people here who think otherwise is perplexing. I like Hill’s speed and ball control, but as a defender he is a liability.

    If we qualify for the Olympics, I think I’d get a left back overage player for sure.

  4. Eddie Gaven does not need to start. He made one good pass in the Panama game, and was playing against a Honduras team that had no intention of playing defense. Anybody can look good dribbling for 40 yards unmarked in the midfield. Besides Kljestan has not played as bad as most think. If the media had not hyped him as one of the keys to qualifying and a future national team star we would not have expected too much.

    Also, I was not surprised to see Wynne starting. Playing for TFC he is probably more familiar with some of the Canadian players. Also, while I hope I do not see any forward runs after seeing him crap his pants every time he went forward last game, he is still the fastest and strongest player on the team.

    Good luck to the USA and lets hope we move on to Beijing!

  5. To inkedAg and others complaining about only having one striker in the lineup… Guess what? we only have 1 striker on this team! Findley, Davies and Barret don’t count. They have all been terrible in this tournament. Adu is the closest thing to a second striker we have, and will probably be pushed further up today-as Ives has alluded to. Bringing in one of the other “strikers” would be removing a better player from the pitch to bring on a player who either sucks, can’t finish, dives, or all of the above.

  6. I guess May will come in off the sidelines, and take more of a roving position? Even at the side of the pitch, that’s a threat to the composure of the Canadians and there are a lot of people who won’t expect it.

  7. Only thing that really bothers me is the inclusion of Wayne over Hill. I have never thought Wanye was anything to write home about and was more then presently surprised to find that Hill can really add a dimension to this team that has been lacking. Regardless it is what it is and there is nothing by complaining will do to change it.

  8. Brett — exactly, I would much rather have parkhurst in there, young inexperienced and small, but to take the role he has with the revs at such a young age and to flourish. He basically puts my mind at ease when he’s back there, unlike gooch

    And everyone is gonna jump all over me but I would like to see how burch does this year against mexican, central american teams, and if he does well give him a couple looks.

    Bradley seems willing to toy with things in the midfield and up front, but seems hesitant with things in the back… you never know until you try it (obv steve c. stays)

  9. reid- gooch’s size is a downfall, not his positive…. he can play defense with any of our back line but i find his size typically gives away too many fouls, whether they are or arent fouls, refs tend to call it against him…

  10. I’d rather see Zizzo on the right, but maybe the thinking is that Wynne’s speed allows for the slower but more creative Kljestan. Zizzo will be first or second off the bench – which will be deadly when Canada gets tired.

  11. Gaven will get significant 2nd half minutes. Special K has been more consistent the last year vs Gaven so I think Nowak went with that. Although I don’t think the decision was easy based on Gaven’s form.

  12. Mike – – IT CAN’T COME SOON ENOUGH. I’ve never been a big fan of gooch, I hope people see size doesnt always matter on the back line (orozco, cherundolo, parkhurst), sometimes it just takes being the better player

  13. mike- “Now the question is- how long until Spector/Orozco replaces Boca/The Gooch?”

    dunno, but both Boca and Gooch have ALOT of experience back there… Spector may do it assuming he continue to get exp from West Ham… Orozco has been solid this tourny, but the same could be said about zizzo and Szetela in the U20’s…. lets see how he pans out in the mexican league and on the national side before asking that question

  14. I think this is a better line up.







  15. I’m with Rocco Zizzo in for Sacha and I’m OK with the lineup. Although, I would use Spector at LB and slide Sturgis over…

    USA, USA, USA…

  16. All I am going to say is I only see the US scoring 1 goal tonight. I hope it is from Altidore atleast. I hate how Nowak has his team so deffensivly when he has such a good offensive team.

  17. Special K has disappointed but I like him in the starting line up. The entire midfield is versatile so I think Peter has a lot of options on who to take out to bring in Gaven if the MFers are getting the ball up well enough.

    Now the question is- how long until Spector/Orozco replaces Boca/The Gooch?

  18. if it all works out, Holden’s work rate will make up for not having a 2nd forward… Kljestan (if on his game) should be able to distribute and control some pace…. Edu and McCarty have been solid, and they are a force in this tourny.. we’ve just had issues in the final 1/3..

    hopefully we take chances… try some 25 yard bombs… we’ve got the power and the ability to take distant shots, lets not try to get uber fancy

  19. once again…ZIZZO should be on the field!

    if the coach doesn’t put him in this game, he should be fired.

    at least bring the kid in the second half so he can spark the team

  20. Yep 1-0 off a PK since thats the only way we can really score. Because we play a defensive game, which I don’t know why since we should be able to be on the attack the whole time.

  21. Adu, Gaven and Orozco have been the best three in the previous games, IMO.

    That one of those three, Gaven, is being left out is a real surprise to me.

  22. Just can’t see Canada getting any kind of offense going against this lineup, especially with Wynne replacing Hill (who I like, actually, at RB as well) and Sturgis on the left. Gaven over Kljestan would give us a little more attacking prowess, but I think Adu and Altidore play like they did against Brazil in the U-20s.

    U.S. 2-0.

  23. Not a bad lineup, but with the sad face picture of Jozy and you saying there were surprises I thought he was benched or something. Luckily that isn’t the case.

  24. Hopefully Holden & Klejstan will be able to provide Jozy with good service. He needs to make those diagonal runs to generate good opportunities.

    Agree that Davies and Zizzo are good options off the bench.

    Hope the ESC is good and loud tonight in Nashville.

  25. I understand you don’t want to change your configuration in the middle of a tournament but I really think they should think about going to a 4-4-2 for the Olympics if they qualify. I think the addition of Davies speed up top would really help in breaking down teams defenses. Then you have Adu and Bradley or Adu and Edu in the middle. That to me is a stronger attacking team than this.

  26. I like it, with Zizzo coming off the bench for Sasha in the second half to add a spark. I’m really looking forward to seeing how Spector and Orozco work together in holding down the middle of the defense.

  27. The lineup is OK. These players should get it done the first 60 minutes before Gaven, Zizzo and Davies comes in.

    Tough to watch soccer today with the NCAAs on. Barca is on right now but I can’t help but TIVO it while I watch the tournament.

    Then US is on, which I will catch the first half, but I need to catch UCLA (I know they’re a lock to win) and Cal State Fullerton play at 6:30 p.m.

    (I’ll switch to the US game now and then in the second half, here’s hoping they score at least twice in the first 30 minutes to make my choices easier.)

  28. Gaven’s played well, but he is slow.

    The big surprise for me is Wynne in for Hill. Hill is much better going forward, but he’s also scarier if he has to defend – a conservative decision by Nowak. I think the inclusion of Kljestan offsets that by bringing much the same dynamic that Hill would.

  29. And the picture tells you exactly what Jozy is thinking. I wish I had another forward with me. Maybe we can sneak Angel in or something.

  30. Thankfully Patrick Ianni is gone. I believe, based on past experiences with Houston, that Ianni could have cost the U.S. the game.

  31. This is more or less the lineup I was expecting. I didn’t really expect Kljestan benched after one poor game – he’s already had a few good performances with the senior team and has proved that he can play. I am glad to see Orozco again – I love how he’s played. He’s a tough son of a gun.

    This lineup really ought to be able to get it done. Looking forward to the game…

  32. It is a good squad considering the formation, but Kljestan. I mean what is Nowak thinking, does this kid suck up to people or something? I mean he got BB to put him on the MNT but he can’t play at that level. I don’t think he has the pure ability. If he does bad like I expect then I’ll continue to pick on him. And if he has a great game then I’ll turn around and give him a benefit of the doubt next time.

  33. This Orozco business is really interesting.

    He has earned his spot, taking it from a longtime U.S. YNT mainstay, and will now play alongside an EPL player in a very important match.

    Let’s hope the rest of the many young Mexican-American talents in our country take notice.

    Too bad about Edgar Castillo though…

  34. Kljestan will be fine tonight, he’ll have a rebound game. With the exception of Holden, I don’t see much offense in midfield. Adu will definitely be tracking back for balls and support. I imagine Edu will also drift back to support defensively, even more towards the back for then normal. I am wary of McCarty, but imagine he’ll have the same type of game as the previous three. He’s pretty consistent. Lot’s of pressure on Altidore, Adu, and Holden to produce all of our offense. Our substitutes will be more important that usual.

  35. I like it.

    Zizzo over Kljetan that’s the only change I would make.

    To me, besides last game I thought Gaven hasn’t done much. I even think last game he was just OK and people thought he played well b/c of the PK.

    US wins 3-0.

  36. well i hate to sound like a broken record, but gaven should be starting and Kljestan should be out…. but as stated, it should be interesting

  37. no way i’d pick gaven over holden….but, him over sasha….based on the last match, sure…otherwise, solid lineup i think…i just hope altidore is on an island again, he plays better off someone up top w/ him (which it looks like he’ll be alone, can’t see adu staying up top enough)


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