With the first friendly of 2012 producing a thrilling, though somewhat disappointing 1-0 victory against Venezuela on Saturday, the U.S. men's national team is now in Panama preparing for the first tough road match for this young group.
Jurgen Klinsmann scheduled this Panama match with the expressed purpose of testing inexperienced players in a hostile environment, and the opponent is one who should provide a tougher test than the one provided by Venezuela.
The short turnaround time means it seems unlikely that Klinsmann will go with the same starting lineup again, but it's safe to say that the players who he liked the most against Venezuela (like Jermaine Jones and Geoff Cameron) will be on the field again on Wednesday night in Panama City.
So what will the U.S. lineup look like that takes on Panama? Here is one potential squad we could see:
Loyd——-Cameron——Parkhurst—-De La Garza
Some thoughts on this lineup:
Could very well see Graham Zusi get the nod in place of Feilhaber in his preferred attacking midfielder role, but Feilhaber did look pretty sharp there vs. Venezuela.
We have Sapong listed at right forward, but he and Wondolowski could wind up paired together in a 4-4-2, which would mean Feilhaber would be out to the right in a bit of a box midfield. Could see Zusi in place of Sapong, but he wasn't particularly effective working the wing (which really isn't his posiiton). Can't see Teal Bunbury getting another start after a shaky effort against Venezuela, but stranger things have happened.
Zach Loyd was very good in his minutes at left back on Saturday and merits a start there. Whether he starts on the left or the right, it's tough to picture Loyd not getting a longer run at fullback.
Ricardo Clark was playing well even before scoring the game-winning goal against Venezuela and merits a start. Jeff Larentowicz didn't have a bad game, but it's tough not to include Clark in this group.
What do you think of this lineup? What squad would you like to see against Panama?
Share your thoughts below.