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Who should the USMNT start vs. Venezuela?


The U.S. men's national team will play its first match of 2012, and an MLS-heavy squad will take the field against Venezuela on Saturday night in Arizona with many players looking to impress Jurgen Klinsmann and work their way into the full senior team mix.

Some familiar faces are back in the mix as Benny Feilhaber and Ricardo Clark are in camp, while Heath Pearce joins them as the only players on the camp roster with more than 30 caps.

Some intriguing newcomers are in the mix as well, with Geoff Cameron, Graham Zusi and C.J. Sapong aomong the fresh faces who could see action against Venezuela.

So what will the USMNT lineup look like against Venezuela? Here are some possibilities:







Some thoughts:

Kyle Beckerman has been nursing an injury and looks unlikely to play. Otherwise, he'd be in the starting lineup.

Klinsmann could go with Jeff Larentowicz in place of Clark, but this is a good chance for Klinsmann to see Clark in action.

The Shea, Wondolowski, Zusi trio looked good in scrimmage action, and while Zusi isn't really a natural wide player, he has done well in a role that allows him to pinch in from the right.

The back four could also see Zach Loyd in the lineup in place of De La Garza, but we'll give De La Garza the nod here.

Juan Agudelo looks unlikely to play as he recovers from an ankle injury.

Brek Shea has looked very sharp in camp and looks primed for a big game on Saturday.


What do you think of this projected lineup? What players are you looking forward to seeing play on Saturday?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Are you freaking serious TROLL ? Venezuela is bringing a B/C team like we are. We will win, or at least tie. I believe we will not lose to them. And what source do you have saying they are the favorite ? Please, take your trolling somewhere else.

  2. LOL…pure and simple ignorance and naive in this comment. Are you freaking serious guy? Venezuela is favorite tomorrow and the way the US is playing we’ll be lucky to get a tie if we undermine this team with the mentality like yours

  3. Your kidding about Wondolusy, right? Every player you name above can play at a high level with the best, I’ve seen it first hand. And in regards to scoring, well, we don’t have a Xavi or Iniesta to create sadly.

    Gomez plays in a better league and has shown he can ball, no doubt there. Bunbury in limited time in a U.S jersey showed he can read the game without complications. Altidore is the best we have, seriously? And Agudelo is by far superior to Wondo in every aspect of the game. You either are new to the game, or just delusional about Wondo. The man is wack just like EJ,Finley,Sasha,Casey,Rogers,etc…

  4. I hope we can trade Wondolousy to Venezuela for Pares who plays for Caracas! :).. Wondo is weak. Another guy who is not USMNT caliber.

    1-1 a decent draw tomorrow night.

  5. The scrimmage with the Under-23’s featured Parkhurst and Cameron together. So regardless of what you think, it seems those two have worked out some kind of understanding which is no surprise since they used to play together back in Rhode Island.

    Rico/Cameron would be interesting because it would be a very quick and fast pairing. I bet you will see some iteration of it in the next two games.

  6. I think Lost in Space’s line up might be closer to what we’ll actually see, especially considering Klinsmann played a diamond against Slovenia anyways. That said, if Zusi is playing the aforementioned role in practice, then there is that chance we see him there in the game tomorrow.

    However, I don’t really care to see Wondolowski in the lone striker role, or at all honestly. He’s a great chance finisher ( Gold Cup-Panama miss aside), but he’s not nearly as useful in terms of creating them, which is a huge part of the battle of being up top alone. If he’s gonna be out there, he should be off of the main striker in a withdrawn role with Feilhaber moving next to Jones. Something like this :


  7. If you play with 3 forwards, then you better have guys in the midfield that defend.

    You couldnt have both Benny and Zusi in the midfield behind 3 strikers. Neither covers enough ground.

    Now when JK plays with 1 striker and 5 dms, its idiotic.

  8. Wondo has scored more goals than anyone else in MLS over the last 2 years. Sure he is not an international star, but there are a lot of forwards people seem to think are better (Gomez, Bunbury, Aguedelo, Altidore, etc.) who have not been able to score as consistently as Wondo while playing in the same league.

    I think that past performance in similar circumstances does matter and none of the others have consistently done as well, but, of course, a few have had little glimpses of brilliance for the USMNT and Wondo not so much.

  9. I don’t think Klinsmann will go with 2 defensive mids against Venezuela, so either Jones or Clark, depending on which Klins thinks looked sharper in camp (Probably Jones) then maybe Feilhaber as an attacking mid.

    Forwards, Wondo has seemed to be pretty solid and he will work hard to get open, no matter whether you call Shea a forward or a wide mid, if he can advance the ball up the side, I expect that pair to cause Venezuela problems all night.

  10. good call on this one, been wanting to see agudelo bunbury back up top ogether. hope agudelo can play, if not now at least before the panama game.

  11. You are seriously comparing a guy (Buddle_ who was leading his team in scoring, with a guy (Clark) who has not made the bench in his last five games. I could probably go even further, but I’m not wasting my time. Much like it would be a waste of JK’s time to watch Clark play in a match, considering he has little talent, has a dozen players better than him in front of him, and he can’t rate a seat at the end of his team’s bench.

  12. Okay but that still leaves the other half of the roster…. usually it’s 6 from Jan Camp who make the World Cup, this is no different, there are always “filler” guys.

  13. Do we really need to see Ricardo freaking Clark? Not me.

    My picks:






  14. Good sign that the USMNT has most of its talent overseas…but this lineup is completely useless without them. It does not even evaluate depth, as 1/2 this projected lineup have 0 chance of ever making the World Cup 18. It’s a shame they can’t use Diskerud, Danny Williams, Fabian Johnson, Boyd, etc. because Wondo, Pearce, Clark, Jones, DeLaGarza and Larentowitz are simply not international players for 2014, at all.

  15. point taken. i have nothing against the guy and i hope he proves me wrong. im just ready to crush a few beers and watch the game it’s been far too long!

  16. Cameron played his first two years in Houston barely even playing centre back and playing in the midfield. He not only played there but played quite well showing good ability all around. He is much better with the ball at his feet. The only thing I’d say Parkhurst has over Cameron is his ability to read the game maybe. Parkhurst is a very bright guy & very intelligent player. I’m just saying I already fancy Cameron over Parkhurst now & in the future & no matter how savvy Parkhurst is I dont see him being at the international level of competing anywhere near the 1st team. Also I disagree with the Cameron/Parkhurst statement with them being different “roles”. Usually you want your centerback with good skills & mental side, then your real strong tackler, best in the air, athleticism so on.. On a different team they would probably be competing for one of those spots since they are both the type to stop, think, & play out of the back with composure. Just because Cameron is a bigger guy, dont misconstrued him for being a a defender with all brawn, he is actually much better with the ball at times than he is defensively, much like Tim Ream. Parkhurst/Cameron should be able to handle Venezuela & Panama, but all I really started out by saying was that I’d rather see Rico/Cameron.

  17. Wondo doesn’t have the wheels or the crossing ability to play on the wing so i’d switch him and Benny who has had some success out wide internationally, but I like to see Jones paired w a more technical playmaker in Zusi.

  18. doubtful, but what the heck…


  19. Yeah I agree, keep Clark off the field.

    The lineup might be a little strange if we run a 4-3-3 as opposed to say a 4-4-2 (regular or diamond shaped midfield) or a 4-3-1-2.

    I like this:

    Loyd—Cameron—Parkhust—De La Garza

    A 4-4-2 with diamond midfield or you can bring Jones up a level so it’s more of a 4-3-1-2. I just don’t know if our skill set is made for playing up the middle and tight quarters passing. We tend to have decent speed and athleticism on the wings. This coupled with a play maker in the middle of the park and 2 strikers bodes well for us in my opinion. If Klinsmann goes with a variation of the 4-3-3 that Ive’s posted, I like the starting lineup minus Clark as David said. Larentowicz should take his place.

  20. I’ve always enjoyed the January camps for this reason as well. This one in particular seems to have a little more bearing on who we will see with the A team going forward. That’s just the feeling I get…

  21. I breath of fresh air…. somebody that knows what he’s talking about. Im really hoping that now that we have somebody that knows something about soccer coaching, that Parkhurst is brought back into the fold. He is a very smart player

  22. There’s a difference between falling off the face of the earth in an int’l match and choking on an easy goal.

    Not much, mind you, but Wondo put himself in the position to score 2 easy goals in the GC. He whiffed them both, but he had the looks.

    Not to mention the raised pressure of your first significant time with the Nats (disregarding the SA match) in a losing situation the US never expected to be in (down 2 to Panama in group stage).

  23. “why on earth would we need to D-Mids. we aren’t playing brazil.”

    Venezuela placed fourth in the 2011 Copa America. Along the way they drew 0-0 with Brazil and beat Chile. They are probably tougher than anyone in CONCACAF save Mexico and,hopefully,the US.

    It is a friendly and this may not be the same squad as the Copa team but I wouldn’t take them too lightly.

  24. “Sure, Parkhurst is smart & composed but I would pick Cameron over Parkhurst any day.”

    They play different roles when it comes to centerback so any manager having those two on a roster probably won’t be choosing between the two. He would probably do exactly what has been suggested here, play them together.

    Also I doubt Cameron is more composed on the ball than Parkhurst. Being composed on the ball is Parkhurst’s main strength along with his reading of the game. Which is why you play the two together. It makes for a great pairing.

  25. ————–Hamid————-







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