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Who should the USMNT start vs. Honduras?



MIAMI– Now that we know who has been called into U.S. Men’s National Team camp, it is time to start thinking about which 11 players Jurgen Klinsmann will call on to take the field in San Pedro Sula to face Honduras on Wednesday.

The Hexagonal World Cup Qualifying opener will be a stiff test, and Klinsmann is sure to turn to his veterans to try and grab a result in Central America. There isn’t much of a mystery about most of the starting spots, though there are one or two that could raise some question marks.

Right back could be up in the air, with Steve Cherundolo injured. Timmy Chandler is expected to start, but Michael Parkhurst has experience in qualifying matches.

Defensive midfield could be a battle between Danny Williams and Maurice Edu. With Edu getting regular minutes at Bursaspor, and Williams struggling for playing time at Hoffenheim, the position is up in the air.

So who will Klinsmann turn to? Here is our projected starting lineup for Wednesday’s qualifier:



What do you think of the lineup? Who would you include in the lineup that didn’t make our projection? Do you see this lineup getting a result in Honduras?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Jones, Edu, and Bradley aren’t a good mix in the middle. There will be too much space between our forwards and midfielders. We will be forced to throw our fullbacks into the attack and will probably get burned at the back. Jones would be the odd man out for me, replaced by either Zusi or Torres.

  2. I find it interesting that so far there is only one comment about the personnel of the opponent. I would think that this would play a role in the coach’s thinking about who to play where.

  3. I agree with this lineup. It would be great if we could jump out to an early lead and get some other players on the field (Kljestan, Gringo Torres, Omar), but that backline is looking awfully new and shiny as it is, so I agree that Boca needs to start and probably wear the armband.

    I also wish Jones would play as a more traditional stay at home defensive mid (Edu’s role), which would allow for another more creative player to take the field (Zusi).

  4. This looks about right for Klinsi.

    One big note – I really miss the out and out speed we used to have on the flanks. While I get he’s picking players he thinks will deliver a more incisive ball, I still miss the blinding speed we used to have on the wings. I hope Lando comes back rested and Gatt and Shea grow into their games and become contributors.

  5. i don’t like the lineup for future games, but based on the circumstances i am ok with it, maybe slotting in eddie johnson for gomez to add some width. i think he would link up with altidore a little better and draw defenders out of the middle. i havent been in love with that trio of defensive-minded midfielders when used in the past, but coming away with at least a point from this opening match is important to get started on the right foot. as others have suggested, maybe its a good strategy to start defensive to frustrate the hondurans and keep the crowd (slightly more) quiet. Then early in the second half bring on some attacking reinforcements if the score is 0-0 and we have had solid possession. also, i wish gatt was in the team because there are know other natural wide men with pace; he would be a nice change-up if needed.

  6. i like that JK bringing in possession players like torres it shows that he wants to keep the ball in hondorus reall excited and i hope torres starts

  7. —————Jozy————–

  8. Interesting discussion about USMNT on the Locker Room show on BEIN Sport last night. Worth a watch if you can catch it on replay. They spoke with Jurgen as well. It was great seeing the extended coverage that the other networks don’t normally provide. One of the panel members went as far as to call this our best team ever while another insisted that Honduras should be an easy win. Can’t say they were most informed opinions but the arguments were interesting…

  9. want to congratulate Ives that his prediction on USMNT roster was 95% correct. this is very good. i wish our “economists” have better record. except for Sasha and Torres both Ives deemed as “Long Shot”, his prediction was all correct. not bad. let’s give credit where credit is due.

  10. I have a feeling we might get to see Klinsman whip out the Cameron – Edu center back duo again. They are the only two center backs in shape right now and their performance in Mexico City last year was epic plus they were just teammates for four months. I think it’s 50/50 but has to be running through Klinsman’s mind.

    • good call out on pairing Edu with Cameron. Cameron is a concern to me. saw his weekend play at Stoke, he nearly scored an “own goal”! Cameron had this problem last year with USMNT too.

  11. i like you set up except
    1. replace Bocanegra with Gonzales
    2. replace Edu with Zusi
    3. replace Gomez with EJ… pairing Altidore with EJ upfront would be lethal with high ball from Zusi/Bradley from the flanks.

  12. My starting 11: Howard – Timmy Chandler, Cameron, Gonzalez, Fabian Johnson – Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley – Brad Davis, Clint Dempsey, Graham Zusi – Altidore

  13. I think we need to have better protection for the CBs…4-2-3-1. MB and Jones as deep Dmids…I’m a little worried about our flank mid speed and defending, but I think most of the trouble will be up the middle with only one Dmid in front of the back four.

  14. There is nobody on this roster to take the “Coby Jones” role of coming in late and making very fast runs on the wing late in a game when we may need a goal. The closest person on this roster to fill that role is Eddie Johnson, but he really should be kept in reserve to back up Altidore. Besides, Eddie Johnson is much better in the air (getting headers) and would be better at getting closer to the goal rather than running deep into the corners.

    In the past, DaMarcus Beasley has filled that “Coby Jones” role at times. Having Donovan, even as a substitute, would have been helpful. The USMNT needs a guy with either very fast speed or very good height to fulfill that role for the late-game winger. I would have preferred to see either Josh Gatt or Brek Shea on the roster strictly for that role to create lots of energy and scoring chances near the end of the game. Create a mismatch using either speed or height. I know Gatt and Shea have problems controlling the ball at times, but their enthusiasm and youthful bursts of speed near the end of the game could open the field for other US players.

  15. This upcoming game has Brad Davis written all over it. He’s familiar with the latin style of playing, he speaks spanish, he’s creative on the ball, delivers great service, and is more consistent than Grahm Zusi. I see Brad Davis being the determining factor in the game vs. Honduras. Plus, the captain of Honduras is Brad’s teammate, Oscar Boniek Garcia, so with them two battling in the midfield should be fun to see. Garcia is crafty and would eat up Jones, Zusi, and even Bradley in the middle.

  16. __________________________________Howard____________________________________




    • You must be kidding with that configuration. There is no way Bocanegra should be playing anything but central defender–he just can’t run box to box and offers the team no offensive help if playing L/R back. I think Bocanegra will start because mentally he is tough, but physically he is getting to be a liability. I like him as a player and he can help the USMNT during the WC qualifiers, but there is very little chance he will go to Brasil.

      Who is the defensive/holding midfielder in that configuration? Disaster.

  17. Please, please, please, let this not be the actual lineup. Klinsmann has tried this attacking 6 of essentially three holding mids and three forwards before, and it has failed spectacularly. There’s not enough of a link between the forwards and the midfield. If this is really the lineup we see, we’re in for a long afternoon.

    • To be clear, I don’t mean that the US will lose with this lineup. And part of how effective the attacking 6 is will depend on how high or deep Klinsi plays the backline. If he does what he tends to do in CONCACAF, though, he’ll deploy a deep line, the d-mids will have to hang back so that there’s not too much space between them and the backline, and the middle of the field will be wide open for Honduras. Even Bradley can’t cover it all alone. Klinsmann has to put this team in the best possible position. That means deploying a midfield that has more defined roles and that can effectively link up with the forwards and provide them with service. That will be very difficult with the lineup that Ives expects to see.

  18. Why does Jones keep getting starts? He’s a walking red card waiting to happen. Are the commentators so resigned to Klinsman’s man crush on Jones that we have stopped complaining about his persistent spot in the starting lineup?

    If Jones never plays another minute for the USMNT, I’d be happy. As it is, I will continue to look forward to the games he misses with yellow card accumulation.

  19. Solid line up and probably smart on road, but I would like to see us take some risk and keep the ball in Honduras!

    E.Johnson – Altidore – Dempsey

  20. —————Altidore——————-
    ————-J. F. Torres—————-

    • Interesting. This would be a very positive attacking formation. I think I like Castillo, but I need to see more. Torres has been disappointing lately for the national team. I know some are hopeful that his form is improved. I need to see it to believe it. I don’t like his touch or vision from what I’ve seen.

  21. I long for the day when playing for one point against Honduras is not considered a valid strategy, regardless of venue. Why are we scared of everyone?

  22. My lineup:
    Jozy Herc/GAM
    Torres/ Kljistin Bradley
    Johnson Boca Cam Chandler

    Honduras’ best players are all defensive and Jozy plays best with a partner up top with CD in the hole. Would like to see the lineup reflect the one away to Slovenia. Bradley played on the right of a diamond in that game, similar to how he plays with Roma. He can bring Chandler into the offense that way and also drop back next to Jones when needed. I would like to see Torres play that role because its not DM or AM or on the wing but rather someone who circulates the ball. I do think people underestimate his tackling ability to. Could also maybe see Castillo brought on as a late sub in the left inside mid role. The only true width on the roster are Johnson and Chandler so let them get forward and have Jones cover. Don’t care what Klinsi says he is not a number 8.

  23. —————Josimer————————




    Jurgen talks about a creative formation, but when he needs results the teams’ shape doesn’t look a lot different than under Bunker Bob.

    • Nice, that’s an intriguing lineup. I like the overlapping potential of Johnson and Davis on the left hand side. The only thing I worry about is movement up front with both Deuce and Jozy up there. Jozy’s workrate has improved, but I think a Gomez, Altidore pairing up top might allow the US to play a higher line and put added pressure on Honduras. You can always move Deuce up in the 70th or so once Gomez has run his (and Honduras’ D’s) lungs out.

  24. I like Ives’ lineup . . . until we have to take a corner or a set piece. Who takes those, Bradley? He’s capable, but he’s better at trying to get on the end of one.

  25. I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw this lineup but with Torres in place of Jones, perhaps even with Jones playing the # 6 spot in place of Mo Edu. Torres is reportedly in very good form, while Edu has only played 4 games of late. Jones also is one (always realistic) yellow card away from suspension.

    Regarding formation, I don’t see a 4-3-3 without true wing MFs, but who knows. The Canada game may prompt JK to search for ways to open the midfielf against a presumably packed-in opponent. In that case, I think we need Zusi on the right and maybe Torres on the left cutting in at MF. Fowards would be EJ and Herc, both of whom are familiar with the wider role up front. Demps plays the middle. Either way, a 4-3-3 will have to find much of its width from Fabian and Chandler. I think these factors make a 4-3-3 a riskier proposition and less logical as a starting formation as opposed to the safer 4-4-2. Only way I see a 4-3-3 is at the half if we are struggling for goals because of a clogged midfield.

  26. Anyone else here worried that Cameron has been pretty shitty at CB ever since he joined Stoke and has been a Fullback?


    • Actually stoke has one of the best CB combo in the EPL. He gets a lot of credit for being part of the starting XI playing at fullback

  27. I really doubt that the formation ends up as Ives has projected. Much better odds that it’s a 4-3-3 with Dempsey on the left and Gomez on the right.

  28. That lineup is HIGHLY defensive. Only 3 attackers on the field. I would like to see Torres, Kjlestian, or Zusi in place of Edu, and move to a 4-4-2. The times of 3 dirty-work defensive midfielders is over.

  29. 1 Point on the road, and more fluid attacking football at home to get 3 points. I wouldn’t begrudge Klinsmann at all for going more defensive minded on the road. If you can get three points then so be it, but gettting 1 point is all good.

  30. Ok I’m about to get slammed here and I’m O.K. with that. Consistently on these comment boards people are complaining about the 3 d-mid system and how we have this plethora of D-mids on the team. I am of the belief that we actually lack #6’s. MB is no #6 and has shown lately with Roma that he can be an integral part of the attack. Even early in his career, MB was a more offensive minded midfielder with Heerenveen, scoring 16 goals in 57 appearnces. He possesses all of the offensive tools to be the #8 going forward and seems to be getting with each passing day. Jermaine Jones seems to get labeled a #6 but really doesn’t fit the mold either. He tends play as a box-to-box MF who can sometimes lay back, but never as a straight six. I believe he gets the label from his physical play and hard tackling. He is more than capable offensively and has the ability to play great balls forward. Jones is a regular starter for a good team in a top league and who is playing Champions league football. I feel he has more than earned his spot. Our #6 has to be able cover a ton of ground, break up passes, provide cover for the back four, and distribute the ball forward to the other MF’s or forwards( basically just providing outlet in order to maintain possession). For me, we only have 2 players that fit the mold, Edu and Williams. Beckerman also fits, but I do not believe he will make the cut. After those guys, I do not really see anyone coming up through the ranks, so it could become an issue moving forward. As for the lack of creative midfielder, I am not of the belief that we have a creative midfielder in the pool that merit any significant playing time. I agree that we have creative midfielders, but none are ready and some never will be. The last thing we need is to throw these in too soon. Give them time. Look to Freddy Adu for an example of that. That being said I do not feel a creative force is needed in our midfield to be successful. Creativity can be shown in other ways, like in our movement off the ball, not just with the ball at our feet. At this level the ability to move off the ball is just as, if not more, important as what a player can with the ball. Which, IMO, is why guys like Wondo are not making the cut, because they lack the natural ability to make incisive runs into the right spots, at the right time. Of course, it is much easier to blame the service, but good service cannot exist when players are not getting into dangerous positions. I feel sometimes we want to make our team into a team that we want to see as opposed to the team that, quite frankly, we have. We are what we are.

    • Disagree with a lot of your points but good argument and well stated.

      Agree on MB. I think Jones is a very good player and a lock starter but disagree with him being a significant offensive weapon. He plays very defensive at Schalke. Next to guys like La Focita (Farfan) you can really see that Jones is more of a defensive mid imo.

      I agree with the general statement that creativity isnt just found with th e ball at your feet but getting creative, or attack minded guys on the pitch is essential. Ill concede its a common problem most national teams (finding creative players to fuel your attack) so its easier said then done.

      • Noted at schalke he plays in a deeper lying role alongside Roman Neustadter, who is more of true dmid or #6,but still gets forward some and has IMO underrated passing ability and vision. Xabi Alonso plays the same deeper lying role but I’m not sure he would be considered a #6( However I’m not saying JJ is Xabi). I would argue that he is a well rounded midfielder and is not a #6, especially within the USMNT since he would not be playing alongside anyone. He just cannot cover the amount ground necessary by himself like Mo and Williams can.

      • BTW, I appreciate the props even though you disagree with my views. There tends to be a lot of yelling and screaming on these boards, so well done. These are all ideas I have been pondering the past month or so and I needed to get them out. Plus, it gives the board a different and fresh perspective to discuss.

  31. I like most of it. Replace Boca with Gonzo, Edu with Willams, and Jones with Kljestan, and I’m stoked. It’s hard to say what will happen, but I’m nervous.

  32. You know, if Bocanegra is really healthy and Gonazales/Besler are as good as we think, I would not be shocked to see Cameron played as a fullback (like he does at Stoke) and either Johnson or Chandler moved up to play wing. Most likely Johnson. Like this:

    Cameron Gonzales Bocanegra Chandler
    Klejstan Bradley Jones F. Johnson
    Altidore Gomez


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