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Who should the USMNT start vs. Brazil?

USMNTvsScotland (JohnToddISI)

Photo by John Todd/

The U.S. Men's national team faces what could be its toughest test of the year tonight at Fed Ed Field when might Brazil comes calling, and Jurgen Klinsmann will have some tough decisions to make on what lineup, and what formation he should use to best combat the South American powerhouse.

The Christmas Tree formation (4-3-2-1) used against Scotland was effective and dangerous getting forward, but that had as much to do with Scotland's lack of quality as it did with the USA's ability. Brazil will present a much more difficult challenge, particularly to the USA defense, which was rarely tested by the Scots.

The dazzling attacking qualities of Neymar will be difficult to stop, as will the powerful forays of Hulk, and U.S. fullbacks Fabian Johnson and Steve Cherundolo will need to have outstanding games to keep those two in check.

Considering Brazil's quality on the flanks, it's tough to picture a formation as narrow as the 4-3-2-1 being deployed by Klinsmann tonight. A 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 seem more likely in order to defend the wings better, and also to force Brazil's wingers to take care of their own defensive responsibilities on the flanks.

Here is my Fox Soccer preview on tonight's match, which includes Tim Howard talking about how the USA can have success against Brazil, and also looks at keys to tonight's match.

So who should the USA start tonight vs. Brazil? With Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore looking very unlikely to start, here is a USA lineup we could see taking the field tonight:



As you can see, the USA formation here is a 4-2-3-1, though with Donovan and Gomez as the wide options, this lineup can very much play like a 4-3-3 and would probably be more 4-3-3 than 4-2-3-1.

Gomez and Oguchi Onyewu replace Maurice Edu and Geoff Cameron in the lineup. We could certainly see Edu staying in the lineup, but it is difficult for the USMNT to field a lineup with the necessary width that ALSO includes Edu, Jones, Bradley and Torres. In theory you could deploy Bradley on the right flank, as he did so well last year when tried there, but it seems more likely that Klinsmann will want Bradley working the middle of the field with Jones.


What do you think of this lineup? Who is included that you're hoping to see on the field? Who didn't make our projected USMNT Starting XI that you feel should play against Brazil?

Share your thoughts below. 


  1. one can only go by why the sample in the play. more than one person have made the comment that Camaron is the fasterst of the 3, heck he is probably faster than BOCA which doesn’t say much. the actual number are there, as well as who jumps the highest etc etc. but not for us to see 🙁

  2. castillo sucks at the international level, plain and simple. he is no better than bornstein most of the time. i don’t care how many games lichaj didn’t play, he looked a hell of a lot better than castillo ever has. castillo just doesn’t have the quality to deal with brazil. its gotta be fab at left back.

  3. israel has some decent players (yossi benayoun comes to mind) and the US rarely shuts teams out. i would guess 3-1 america.

  4. leaving my office near Union Station and heading to Eastern Market for drinks before the game! PEACE! USA USA USA!

  5. Howard
    C-Lo Gooch Boca Johnson
    Bradley Jones
    Gomez Donovan

    Wont be surprised or upset if Boyd starts even though I would like a more skillful & technical striker for this match as I think we need to counteract skill with skill. I just absolutely dont want Edu to start. He would be a liability against such a flair-oriented side. He loses the ball far too often within his own half & Brazil will punish him for it unlike the times he does it in the SPL & against usual USNT opponents..

  6. Yep, agree with that (assuming that Dempsey is yet fit enough to start). After the best offensive effort from a a USMNT team in four years against Scotland, I tend to think Klinsmann will adopt the if-it-ain’t-broke-then-don’t-fix-it-strategy. That line-up was poetry in motion. I still can hardly believe it happened. Why change it? Of the two players some see Klinsmann sitting, Boyd would be hungrier than ever to score tonight and could be a real pain in the butt for Brazil defense even if he does not score and Cameron, despite the own goal, I thought looked good against Scotland. His outlet passes were excellent, those kind of passes would come in handy against Brazil.

  7. does anyone have stats on our CBs speed? everyone talks about Cameron being fast, but I’ve never thought he was a fast player. he isn’t slow, and IS faster than Gooch, but how much faster are we talking? i would like actual numbers on this and not opinions. if that’s possible.

    i’d still go with Gooch in this game.

  8. i would also rather see Cameron start than Gooch. Gooch isn’t quick enough, is less effective in possesion, and seems better suited to the Bradley era.

  9. I like SBI’s Lineup…however, I think Gomez is a crunch time player and would be more effective in 25-30 minute spurts at the end of a game. If you switch out gomez on the right and bring in have a more possession/offensive option who can score goals. In addition, he can play all 90 if needed. The only issue is his youth and inexperience on the international stage. Do you start him against Brazil? I think there are more options other than Gomez on the wing however, they are not in camp. Chandler would be an absolute beast on the wing

  10. Gooch is still a better defender than Cameron, Goodson, or Parkhurst. And Hulk is a pretty large fella (hence the nickname).

  11. That’s just who we are, man! The American Style…is just that…adopt, punch, adopt, punch harder…

  12. I think this is the only way Klinsi rolls out a 4-4-2 against Brazil. I don’t think there’s any way he leaves off a pure CDM going up against such a potent Brazil attack.

  13. I expect some switching, if nothing else than to keep players fresh for the “5 game tournament”. You don’t want to run your starters into the ground, especially when the games that count come later.

  14. agreed, we need wingers for the future. right now besides Donovan and Beasley i wouldn’t say any of them are ready.

    That last series vs. Guatemala and Antigua should (hopefully) be full of fringe players like Adu, Castillo, Gatt, etc.


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