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Who should the USMNT start vs. Slovenia?

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The U.S. men's national team faces its first World Cup 2010 rematch on Tuesday against the same Slovenia side the Americans earned a dramatic 2-2 draw against in World Cup group play.

Jurgen Klinsmann will look to find the right combination of players to help a sagging offense that has managed just two goals in six matches since he took over as head coach. Whether Klinsmann's focus is on sparking the U.S. attack, or on looking at some new faces against a Slovenia side that will offer less resistence than France did on Friday, it's safe to say we aren't going to see the same lineup two games in a row.

Among the new faces we could see tested in Slovenia is Fabian Johnson, the Hoffenheim playmaker who made his first U.S. national team appearance late in the France friendly.

So who will get the start against Slovenia? Here is the lineup I could see Klinsmann going with on Tuesday:







Now remember, this is the lineup I can see Klinsmann going with, which you'll notice does not include Michael Bradley, who just doesn't seem to be part of Klinsmann's immediate plans.

If we're talking about the lineup I would trot out against Slovenia, here's the group I would take a look at:






The difference is in central midfield, where I'd go with Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu. I'm sure many would question playing Edu again considering his recent performances, but I think we need to see the Edu-Bradley combination play together. It would be pretty ironic if Edu and Bradley got their chance to work together for the first time under Klinsmann against the same Slovenia side they played key roles against in the 2010 World Cup.

This pairing isn't an indictment of Kyle Beckerman as much as wanting to see Bradley play in the role Klinsmann has handed Beckerman. Klinsmann seems to be under the impressive Bradley can't play as the defensive midfielder in front of the back-line, but Bradley is showing in Italy he can maintain a defensive-minded midfield role.

Seeing Jones and Bradley play together again wouldn't be a bad idea either, particularly given both are starting and playing well in top leagues. As for a Beckerman-Bradley pairing? I wouldn't mind seeing that one either.

And what about a more attack-minded lineup?  Here's one:






I know some folks won't like the idea of Shea moving to the right, but he can still do the things he does best on the right side, which is running at people with pace. Beasley has been on good form and merits a start in my opinion, and this lineup would give the United States some speed to work alongside Altidore and Dempsey.


What do you think of Klinsmann's projected lineup? Which lineup would you like to see against Slovenia?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. Actually want to see Beasley get the nod over Shea for this one. Shea was pretty non-existant the last match. Let’s see what Beasley can do with a start.

  2. The glaring weakness other than the ability to play in tight space in the middle of the field is the lack of speed to get behind the defense. This is especially true when looking for a partner with Altidore or a right side winger to play in some type of 4-1-4-1 or 4-1-3-1-1 formation. Teams can compress space because they do not worry about us getting in behind them. Hope we find some capable options over the next few months.

  3. His gift goal? that play? not that I ever wish US Soccer to lose, but if I’m trying to view this long term, best thing in the world for US Soccer would have been if Robbee Rogeers would have flubbed that walk in.

  4. The none inclusions – Klicjstan, Bedoya, (Adu,Feilhaber), I find to be head scratchers.

    Does Klinsman believe them incapable of upgrading their defense?

    I was never a big fan of Kliestan or Bedoya before, but their contributions in the Gold Cup were pleasant surprises.

    If the argument is that Klinsmann is building a base fine, but watching cement dry is phucall boring.

  5. Its time to let Robbie Rogers out of the box. If he can channel his play from the Mexico game good things will happen as dangerous players can spring leaks all over a defense.He has the capability. Now he needs to put it to use.

  6. He keeps going, but part of that “going” leaves him out of position with others having to compensate. Klinsmann doesn’t want a box-to-box player.

    Another theory for why he isn’t playing is because he’s a straight up punk. He still has the attitude of a 13 year old, and needs to get his temper tantrums under check.

  7. I am surprised to hear that sort of rant from you, Dennis. I am not an MB hater. I am a fan of the USMNT and you can be certain that if MB would contribute to the team’s success under Klinsmann I would be as happy and supportive about his play as you. I do believe a small, but highly vocal, segment of the UMSNT fan base tend to greatly exaggerate his talent. And I am hardly alone in this belief. Many other USMTN fans also have the same opinion about MB. Of course, most keep their mouths firmly shut to avoid being attacked as a Bradley hater.

    My opinion right now is that Beckerman, Jones and Edu are all better solutions than MB to play the lone holding midfielder position. Klinsmann has said Beckerman has played exactly as he wants. Despite all the posts to the contrary, Beckerman is an excellent player, a winner. He was chosen by one of the best young coaches in MLS to be captain of one of the best teams in MLS. He is a hard-nosed, gritty, fearless competitor who gives 100% every second he is on the field. If he had been playing 90 minutes every USMNT game during the past five years I have no doubt that he would now be playing in Europe. I feel the lone very demanding Number Six position is in good hands and feet with Beckerman on the field and that he currently is the best option in that position.

    My next choices for the lone DM position are Jones followed by Edu, with MB in fourth place for the lone DM position. (I don’t think any of those four are good solutions for an offensive midfielder position and I wish Klinsmann would finally end the Edu offensive experiment.) At some point, it is likely that Danny Williams will surpass all four of those guys as a lone DM. Am I not allowed to express my opinion without being labeled an MB hater?

    Others are giving far more negative, even malicious, assessments of Beckerman and Edu and no one is accusing them of being Beckerman-Edu haters. Why can’t you accept that not everyone thinks MB is as good as you without taking it personally and striking out against the person with a different opinion? We all love the wonderful game of soccer and we all want the USMNT to be successful. Can’t we accept that we all don’t have the same opinions of various players (or coaches) and allow people to constructively voice those varying opinions without attacking them personally.

    And as for you comments about my posting such statements after the Argentina game or during the Gold Cup, are you sure about that? I don’t think so. There were some comments recently, maybe October, about the difficulty of judging individual player performances solely on statistics, which, in my mind, is a legitimate discussion and one aspect that makes soccer the great game it is.

  8. This. Comment. Thread. Wins.

    I appreciate highly the shoutout to Rawls. I’d personally take Foucault as my center left back, push Schopenhauer out to LB… Foucault knows a thing or two about the discipline necessary for a good defense, and probably will land some punishing blows.

    I’d also like Hobbes instead of Kant. Kant is a bit too peaceful for a right back.

  9. Maurice Edu is the most overrated player in the National Team pool, he flat out doesn’t deserve to be in the center of the midfield in any capacity. He turns the ball over on 50% of his touches or more, fouls constantly, and his skills are severely lacking. He’s a decent player in the Scottish league, and was a decent player in MLS, I think we (myself included) made more out of him than he deserved b/c he was young and very athletic. He just hasn’t progressed mentally or skillwise in any meaningful way. If there is hope for his Nats career, he needs to run from the SPL, and I hope the rest of the US players there leave too, it’s an awful, awful league.

    Play Bradley finally, and try either Williams or Johnson next to him. It’s time to start getting serious here. Klinnsmann has been trying new things, and that’s fine, but at a certain point losing becomes a culture, and he can’t allow that. Michael Bradley isn’t a classic #10, sometimes he doesn’t play quick enough, but he has the requisite skills and mind to play effectively offensively at most any level, and is a workhorse defensively. He needs someone inclined to play 1-2 touch fast attacking soccer with him, and I think it’s time to see if any of these new guys are that…

  10. If you look at the “glaring” weaknesses in the matches under Jk, I see 3. The obvious 2 are lack of scoring opportunities and who is gonna pair with Boca in central D… But the most “common” weakness is that there is ZERO linkage throughout the midfield, and thats what Bradley brought to the team. I never understood the MB naysayers, when he was on the field he stayed calm, linked passes, and was always in good position off the ball. The other 3 (Beck, Edu, Jones) all have individual unique defensive/holding things they can do, but to me that group of players resembles 11 guys playing together when MB plays quarterback.. and hes only had one appearence under JK for various reason, he need to be on the field at the bottom of the triangle in a 4-1-4-1, or 4-4-2, or 4-5-1, or whatever freakin lineup someone comes up with.. Im not saying it will produce more goals, but I WILL say the middies will build better..somethin to thinkn about

  11. Uh, so yeah we’re just going to judge the quality of the players based on the club they play for. Because things like their specific attributes, and how they can/have contributed in a Nats uniform don’t really matter, nor how they have actually performed for said teams (granted they are both starting, but that only says so much).

  12. The problem is that defenders must have a different level of concentration that attackers. An attacker who falls asleep or is in and out of the game might be tolerable, but a defender who gets caught napping for just a second is destined to be the goat. Ask Tim Ream, Bornstein, or even Alexi Lalas. The way Shea can disappear at times, I would not want him at any spot on the backline.

  13. Not quite single-handedly, he had quite bit of help from others including Beckerman (until the final) and Goodson who scored a crucial goal off a Holden cross against Honduras.

  14. Klinsmann is the coach and he will pick which players start. It was what he was hired to do. I certainly do not agree with his selections, nor the way he has the players arranged on the field. He is fortunate in that he found a LB who was not a major liability. Had Chandler played in the Gold Cup, Bradley might still be the US coach. I am not sure Klinsmann has fully grasped just how thin the US depth chart is. Other than in midfield, there is not much room for discussion, the alternatives have all been found lacking (of course young players deserve 2nd and 3rd chances and any player can raise his game compared to past performances so there is a continual reevaluation process that must take place).

    It will be interesting to see what Klinsmann is trying to learn tomorrow.

    GO U.S.A.

  15. –Shea – Altidore – Dempsey–
    –Chandler – Fiscal – Dolo—

    Without Donovan we have no option on the right. With him on the outside right we are a totally different squad. The only way we create offense consistently is with speed on the outside and crossing the ball in. It is not often the US scores by working it up the middle. I don’t think Dempsey is the best option on the outside, but he is the only real option at this point. He is also good at finding the ball when it slips through from the other side in the box. With full side, I think he is best suited up top with Altidore in a 4-4-2. IMO Altidore was one of the only positives from the France game. With more support near the goal he will have more statistical success.

  16. biff is a bradley hater from way back. If MB were to start, score 3 goals and make 20 or 30 tackles winning the ball cleanly each time, biff would persist in saying what a horrible game he had.

    Do not expect him to change his tune just because he is wrong.

    Examples are too numerous, the most egregious was biff’s assessment of MB in the Argentina game. Then there was his mistaken facts in the Gold Cup game (I’ve forgotten which game) in which MB had zero stray passes, yet biff claimed he could not complete a pass or some other such trash.

  17. Klinsman drives me up a wall sometimes (I do like him though). He’s willing to give people like Beckerman, Orzco Fiscal, and Williams a look, but he wont give players like Michael Bradley a look.

  18. @Justin. No, USA prefers slow, tall forwards who lack mobility. A new style to counter attacking football. Heard Spain wants Jozy.

  19. I’ve agree with Altidore & Buddle starting up top.

    Dempsey really needed creative some attack in middle, no defensive-middlers playing on rightside of midfield. That was lacking in the France’s game.

  20. Shea works better coming off the bench, because Shea easily get baited into mindgames like Costa Rica or Honduras games. I could Shea starting some games, but not this one.

    William is more defensive players, not creative player. William did well defensive vs France, but Williams lack creative spark.

  21. Bedoya is very capable at playing central mid. He played that position, alot, and quite well at Orebro. He just has never been given the chance to play in the center for USMNT.


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