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USA v. Canada: The Pre-Match Tailgate (and who should the USMNT start?)

USMNTvsBrazil (Reuters)

The U.S. Men's National Team moves a step closer to the start of World Cup qualifying tonight in Toronto with a match against Canada (7pm, NBC Sports)  that will serve as the final tune-up before qualifying kicks off on Friday in Tampa.

The Americans will be looking to recover from last Wednesday's 4-1 loss to Brazil by beating a team they haven't lost to since 1985. The United States is unbeaten in 14 matches against Canada, having shut the team out in 11 of those meetings.

Here is my Fox Soccer preview on tonight's match, a match that should help Jurgen Klinsmann make some final decisions on the starting lineup he goes with when the USA takes on Antigua & Barbuda in qualifying on Friday.

Another piece you should check out is my Fox Soccer feature on 33-year-old defenders Steve Cherundolo and Carlos Bocanegra, who remain top starting options despite their age.

Should we expect a full-strength side for the USA tonight? With Friday's qualifier a total of ten days after the Brazil match, it seems unlikely Klinsmann will rest any starters who are not carrying knocks. Steve Cherundolo left the Brazil match early and could be rested, but aside from that it would appear all hands are on deck tonight.

So what might tonight's USMNT lineup look like? Here is one possible lineup we could see:


If Jozy Altidore is fit enough to start he will start in Boyd's place. If Klinsmann has real doubts about Onyewu then look for Clarence Goodson to get the nod. What would be interesting to see is a Goodson-Onyewu tandem, or Goodson-Cameron tandem to see who really is ready to start alongside Carlos Bocanegra. I'm sure many fans don't want Onyewu anywhere near the lineup, but Klinsmann sounded like he was happy with Onyewu's second half against Brazil, so another start for him shouldn't come as a surprise.

What do you think of this starting lineup? Who is missing that you would like to see start? Who don't you want to see face Canada tonight?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Clarification: Hes been better and better for longer in MLS than Ream or Cameron at the CB position.

    Its only reasonable to assume he’ll be bettter on the international level too as the bar was set so low.

  2. don’t sleep on G.John.
    Hes been a good deal better than both Ream and Cameron(@CB) and FCD fans will tell you he is way better than Goodson before he (Goodson) left for Europe. He was an alternate this game so it looks like we’ll see him soon after Cameron and Gooch’s uninspired performances

  3. you know how many times people have said that about Gooch, number one…he has never had a strong ground game, ever, yet people think he did and he is just trying to get back in form. two, Gooch no longer has speed, not because he is injured but because he is slowing down, yet for some reason people think if we include him in the lineup we will start to win games again like back when we used to beat a bad mexico side. people need to step back from the cool-aid.

  4. And it will probably play more like this

    Donovan Dempsey

  5. I would expect the ‘A’ team to start and hopefully get their confidence back in the first half. I hope JK replaces most of the starters in the second half and everybody else avoids injury.

    I could speculate on who should start or come on in the second half, but I have to say my confidence in JK has grown and I will refrain. I think he has the team moving forward (literally and figuratively) and I am just going to cheer the team on.

  6. According to US Soccer twitter: Howard; Cherundolo, Goodson, Bocanegra (capt.), Johnson; Bradley, Jones, Donovan, Torres; Dempsey, Gomez

    I love it!!!

  7. Unfortunately we don’t have any youngsters at CB who are going to be upgrades. It could be back to back WC’s with no CB depth. Hopefully someone emerges by 2014

  8. Bar-hop…. you are a funny, funny man. Each time I think you have reached the upper limits of ridiculousness, you post again and prove me wrong.

  9. I would definitely like to see this. I’m also very interested in seeing Babajide Ogunbiyi as a possible new big CB. I hope Onyewu gets back to being his old self, but it’s been a long road. If outside backs are going to continue attacking more and more, we need skill at CB more than ever.

  10. Agreed…… unfortunately, I don’t think there is any question that he lacks the speed necessary to play the position providing what we need going forward and then covering the ground needed going back to defend.

  11. Anyone know where I can find the game online? I don’t mean illegally. I mean, does NBC have any sort of online broadcasting similar to ESPN3? I don’t have cable, and I really want to see it in decent quality.

  12. Was waiting for this CB notion to surface – to me the prototypical CB is more likely a strong DM type. Would love to see some DM talents develop CB skills, as I’m believing that first step acceleration, plus ball handling/distribution is key to JK’s system. I don’t have anything against the tall CB, its just that few seem gifted enough with acceleration and ball handling to be effective. If you look at some of our tall CB’s – Ream, Goodson – they don’t seem to play any stronger than someone like Edu or Jones.

  13. I think it would be crazy not to rest regulars. They’ve just played two tough games after a long European season, and play another meaningless friendly just five days before two WC qualifiers would be insane. I’m not worried about the Antigua game but Guatemala will be tough, and we’ll need some fresh legs. Besides, today would be a good opportunity to see what second stringers can do.

  14. I think that Jones is capable, if not always consistent. He is a hot head, although I think that he is becoming smarter with his punishing tactics and we need an enforcer. I am a Beckerman fan. Absolutely love the way he plays, yet can’t see him being fast enough at this level and wish that he would cut his hair. Bottom line is, Schalke wants Jones and Beckerman is not getting suitors outside of MLS. People smarter than you and I have spoken.

  15. Don’t think so.
    Also – that streamed the Mexico-Brazil game from Dallas earlier today is not streaming USA v Canada.
    It is only being televised on the more premium Univision Deportes cable channel, and not on either Telefutura, or Univision the basic cable stations that sometimes carry games, and carried the USA – Brazil game.
    NBC, Univision, Telefutura – they are all BUSINESSES and they are into making $$$$.
    For the Hispanic stations at least, USA-Canada doesn’t have 1/10 the audience of Mexico-Brazil. Sad but true.

  16. I LOVE this idea, just not all the time. I’d like to see an Edu/Gooch platoon depending on the strike force of the opponent. Fight big targets with Gooch, fight speedies with Edu.

  17. True. But I think it’s reasonable to question whether he’s fast enough to play RB at the international level.


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