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Who should the USMNT start vs. Guatemala?

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With three points in the bag following Friday’s last-minute World Cup Qualifying win against Antigua & Barbuda on Friday, the U.S. Men’s National Team heads into Tuesday’s match needing just a draw to guarantee a place in the final round of CONCACAF qualifying.

Friday’s win was far from pretty though, and Jurgen Klinsmann is going to have some tough decisions to make on what starting lineup he will trot out to take on a desperate Guatemala team that also needs just a draw to secure a place in the Hexagonal.

While Eddie Johnson made a very strong case to remain in the starting lineup, some other starters weren’t as convincing on Friday. Throw in an impressive substitute’s appearance by Sacha Kljestan (and Alan Gordon) and you wonder just what changes Klinsmann will make against Guatemala.

Here is a look at lineup we see Klinsmann calling on for Tuesday night’s match vs. Guatemala:


———–E. Johnson———-Dempsey————-





Some thoughts:

The toughest call for me in projecting this lineup is choosing between Sacha Kljestan and Herculez Gomez. It’s tough to replace the hustle Gomez gives, and defensive work he brings from the forward position, but he struggled badly against Antigua & Barbuda and Kljestan provided a great spark to the midfield and should work well with Michael Bradley and Graham Zusi.

So why the midfielder over the forward? We all know both teams can advance with a draw, and Guatemala figures to sit back and let the USA possess the ball. Kljestan can take advantage of that possession to set up Johnson and Dempsey.

Danny Williams didn’t have the best game against Antigua & Barbuda, but in fairness the conditions didn’t help him at all in the middle of the park in Antigua. Jurgen Klinsmann could turn to a Maurice Edu or a Kyle Beckerman, but I think he keeps Williams in the lineup for this one.

In the back, it’s tough not to see Klinsmann giving Parkhurst the nod at left back. Bocanegra was expected at left back against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala’s wingers are more dangerous so Klinsmann needs some more pace at left back. Bocanegra may have struggled at left back, but Goodson also struggled at centerback and it’s tough not to think that Bocanegra is the better centerback option.

And in case you are wondering, this is both the lineup I think Klinsmann calls on as well as the lineup I would trot out in KC if I were the coach.

What do you think of the projected lineup? Who didn’t make the lineup that you would like to see start vs. Guatemala? Do you like that back four’s chances of stopping Carlos Ruiz and the ‘Chapines’?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Can I just put this out there?
    Deuce is not a CAM/creative mid.
    Deuce is not a true winger.
    Playing him in these positions wastes his considerable talent and goal scoring threat.
    He is a withdrawn striker.
    He needs to be played here.

  2. USA needs to watch defense and yet still carry a punch. Both Dempsey and Gomez cover defenisve duties fine. Johnson is a handful and is playing well. They should go 4-2-3-1.

    Dempsey Gomez
    Jones Bradley
    Parkhurst Cameron Edu Dolo

  3. Think Ives’ lineup looks about right. The only difference would maybe be a similar lineup to A&B with EJ shading more left in a 4-3-3ish lineup (with Parkhurst likely not much of a threat going forward on the left) and Kljestan swapped for Edu/Beckerman to crowd the middle, and Herc for Zusi. I like this lineup, but JK is always one for a curveball

    • Yeah IMO wingback is not a position where we suffer from lack of options. Even without Johnson and Castillo there’s Dolo, Boca, Chandler, Lichaj, Dunivant, Pearce, etc. Staffed up well enough where we’ve seemingly forgotten about the days of Wynne and Bornstein. I am thus at a loss for how it’s a potential Parkhurst situation.

      Now, the Fs could be better, we could use some more no-doubter attacking mids besides Landon, and CB is becoming a wasteland, but RB and LB should just be a matter of who gets the call. It’s not quite DM or GK but we shouldn’t be able to put a foot wrong on the selection and yet here we are.


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