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USMNT Daily Update: Who should Klinsmann start vs. Costa Rica?

USA Starting 11


In 11 days Jurgen Klinsmann will settle on 11 players to help deliver the U.S. Men’s National Team its first points of the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying. It will take much more than three points to qualify, but the three points on the line in Colorado next week  are as important as any the U.S. has played for in four years.

With a trip to Estadio Azteca looming on March 26th, the U.S. team knows that anything short of a victory against Costa Rica on March 22nd would put the Americans in serious trouble, and staring at the possibility of zero or one point from the first three matches in the HEX.

The recent rash of injuries will make the task of beating Costa Rica more daunting, but Jurgen Klinsmann’s encouraging news about some of the players who had been injured recently suddenly has U.S. fans feeling better about their prospects.

With Brad Guzan set to replace Tim Howard, and with Clint Dempsey and Fabian Johnson expected back in time for the match, the U.S. team should still be strong enough to take three to four points from the upcoming matches.

Just what will the starting lineup look like? Here is one projection of the lineup we could see take on Costa Rica on March 22nd.:




Some thoughts:

You will notice that Danny Williams is missing, and there is no Maurice Edu to replace  him. If Klinsmann decides to put a defensive midfielder behind Jones and Bradley, then we think Edu gets the call, but with the attack needing to generate more punch, I can see Klinsmann going away from his central midfield preference and going with Jones and Bradley together centrally. I can certainly see him returning to an Edu-Jones-Bradley triangle for the Mexico qualifier, but facing a Costa Rica side with a beatable defense, you have to think Klinsmann will to an attack-minded unit.

The same back four that started vs. Honduras starts again, and they should fare much better this time around. Fabian Johnson and Timmy Chandler struggled with the sultry heat in Honduras, but should find it much easier going in what could be chilly conditions in Colorado. They won’t exactly have a pushover in Costa Rica. The ‘Ticos’ boast some dangerous wing options, but with Chandler on good form lately in Germany, and Johnson being a very good defender when on his game, the U.S. defense could neutralize Costa Rica’s flank threat.

Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez make too much sense at this point given Carlos Bocanegra’s worsening situation at Racing Santander (he hasn’t played in quite some time). They will face a tough tandem in Alvaro Saborio and Bryan Ruiz, but it should help them both to be familiar with Saborio’s game.

Brek Shea gets the nod here, though Graham Zusi was considered. Shea isn’t getting 90 minutes for Stoke yet, but he is getting some minutes and his speed and left foot making him the perfect fit on the left. However, if fitness is a concern for Klinsmann, and if Shea doesn’t look capable of coping with the altitude as a starter, then Zusi can definitely get the nod.

Jozy Altidore gets the start up top, and while this formation looks like a 4-2-3-1 here, it can definitely play like a 4-3-3 with Shea and Gomez pressing forward. Whether Shea or Zusi, Altidore will need some service from the left flank to help stretch the Costa Rica defense.

Might Klinsmann actually not start Altidore? In theory he could go with a Shea-Dempsey-Gomez trio in front of an Edu-Jones-Bradley central combination, but it is just very difficult to envision Altidore being left on the bench considering the form he’s enjoying (and yes, I know, Klinsmann has done it before, but still).


What do you think of this projected starting lineup? What changes would you make to it? Think this squad can beat Costa Rica?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. The US team is a great way to test a coach’s ability. Average to above average players. The key is how to maximize their results, similiar to when Sir Alex coached Aberdeen.

    If Altidore scores almost a goal a game, is this due to weak defending in a weak Dutch league, or due to the service AZ’s midfield provides? Same goes for Wondo.

    Any thoughts?

  2. I love Ives’s lineup. And JK has made noises recently about no longer needing to have someone to back up Bradley and Jones (read: a third d-mid) as they improve their awareness of which one is going forward at any given time and which one needs to stay back. Gomez’s pace and work rate make him well suited for the wide attacker position.

    My only qualms have to do with the two newbies at CB. Let’s hope things have improved since the Honduras match. The “up-the-middle” defense of Guzan-Cameron-Gonzalez are relatively green, at least at the MNT level, and are just getting to know each other.

    • Since when is Corona proven? How does one achieve “proven” status? When has Corona contributed on the international level? I’m all for getting the guy blooded and, should he succeed, have him be an important player, but all this hyperbole about him is annoying. He’s not proven yet. What he has proven is that he’s worth a look, and I’d like to see that happen, but must-win qualifiers are NOT the time to throw in inexperienced, internationally unproven players.

  3. Shea isn’t 90 minutes player, I would start Beasley on the left, I would put Dempsey on the right, and Gomez or Boyd top with Altidore.

    • I agree totally Beasley needs to be called in especially for the MEX match. With the games being played at high altitude I don’t see how we can expect Shea to be more than a sub right now with his lack of playing time. IMO I think Shea is one of the few players we will possibly call in that has actually made a difference in a match for the USMNT coming on as a sub.

  4. Not sure Shea will even be called in.

    He should, he should bring anyone who can offer something different to the attack. But Klinnsy is obsessed with playing time- he recently said he’s pleased for Shea, now get field. I think he’s more likely to bring in the exact same guys, only this time, he’ll probably start Gomez.

    The sole virtue of the ineffectual is consistency.

  5. My roster is based on recent availability of players:







    If they weren’t in the greatest fitness and/or form, I’d happily substitute Parkhurst for Johnson or Gomez for Dempsey.

      • Edu has been tearing it up for Bursaspor, and he did fairly well in his last couple outings for us. The key is that you can’t think of him as an attacker. The US has a deep group of very good central midfielders Bradley, Jones, Edu, Klejstan, and good ones as well. The problems arise when you try to move these people into predominately attacking roles, or on the wing. It’s just not what they are best at. You should only play two of these people at a time at most. Maybe 1.

    • I think this is right on except that Beasley is a RW, and I don’t think he has the speed to run in the international game anymore. Also I do prefer Jones to Edu – he is healthy and in good form. more likely to produce the killer pass. Edu is fine though.

  6. After many years of watching the U.S. National Team and U.S. Soccer as a whole, we are just not as good as we think we are. As a team we are not that much better than teams from Costa Rica or Honduras. Winning games in this confederation is not a foregone conclusion. Fans, media, and players alike should not believe we will blow these teams out of the water with the skill level we have . We’re not a terrible team, but were just about the same level as everyone else in the region, but we are as good as Mexico on our best day. We need to continue to invest in better training at the youth levels and allow our soccer culture to grow. As nice as it was to see our U-20 squad qualify for the World cup in Turkey, the Concacaf final against Mexico showed very few players who had any actual distinguishable skill. Only Joya, Villareal, and Gil stood out to me as being creative/smart players with the ball.

    • Cuevas, Lopez, and Rodriguez would take issue with that. Gil didn’t play in the final so I assume you actually meant throughout the tourny. and if that is the case, then you really have to include the three i mentioned.

      • The think I noticed about the U-20 final against Mexico was Tab Ramos seemed to have a good plan going into the game and he had his players ready to play. Two things that were lacking in the Honduras.

    • IMO the influx of Germans and other foreign players are covering up deficiencies in domestic development. Put differently, imagine the team minus the Germans!

      One particular concern I have is all the high age group teams seem strong on offense but weak on defense. Which mirrors the division of talent on the senior team. Where is the CB future????? Who is the next can’t miss GK on the level of KellerFriedelHoward??? I think we’ve been spoiled for a decade and haven’t produced a new generation on the order of the early Bradenton bunch, Donovan Beasley Gooch et al. The new generation of Shea Agudelo Corona have come out early and gone pro similarly but have not made as immediate an impact. Maybe it will work out but where are our Messi/Donovan teenage can’t misses???

      • There are plenty of good non german players out there. The problem is people assume the germans are better because they play in europe. There are very few germans out there to drool over most are incredibly overrated. Zach Steffen and Jake McGuire will be great goalkeepers. Jordan Allen, Trevor Haberkorn, Amick, Acosta, Greenburg will be good defenders. Defenders will always emerge out of college. Andrew Farrell??? Gyau is improving. Gatt is improving. Corona is improving. People always underestimate the playerpool. We just need a good coach to put it all together

  7. I don’t care sbout AZ Alkmaar, and after watching Jozy with the Nats s bout a million times, I vote for Herc up top and Zusi (or whoever else) on the right. What in the US set up has changed that will make Jozy mo re successful up top? Nothing. Herc’s workrate and aggressive attitude in the box is ais more likely to result in a goal.

  8. IMO, we should not be playing a 4-3-3 or 4-2-3-1. Play a 4-4-2 with the following:






    If Zusi seems to be in better form than Shea, start Zusi on the right and have Demsey switch sides. I would prefer Shea providing width on the left with his speed, while Dempsey pinches and allows Chandler to get up the wing.

  9. Just on a side note:

    Since Jjuurrggeenn Kklliinnssmaann took over we have played way better in the Hoops than with those blue away jerseys. We play away, look bad, everyones nervous. Come home, play well wearing the Hoops, everyone unchecks the panic box and checks in on patience.

    • Don’t we have a win in the blue jerseys in Italy, and one in Azteca as well?? While I don’t care for the softball jersey myself, I don’t really think it affects team play.

  10. How about a little Bob Bradley-esque 4-4-2? Really requires Johnson and Chandler to provide the width since Dempsey and Zusi are more inclined to pinch in (and better suited for that anyway). I would hate to see EJ start and I am not totally sure Brek is in the plans. Perhaps if he shows something with Stoke this weekend, klinsmann gives him the call, but I can see him being left overseas. Pontius can be called in to be that extra attacking wide player, and it is about time for him to get a shot anyway.


    Dempsey Zusi

    Bradley — Jones

    Johnson — Gonzalez — Cameron — Chandler


    • and my formatting didn’t really translate above … Demps and Zusi aren’t supposed to be right next to each other, while MB and JJ should be central …. sorry!

    • I like the 442 but would go

      Dempsey Gomez

      Beasley Jones Bradley Gatt

      Johnson Cameron Gonzo Chandler


      I think Klinsi misses that one of the American strengths is athleticism and speed, much less so technique. I don’t think we have superior finesse and in fact think that if we play slower guys like Davis or Zusi to execute it we are setting ourselves up to get run off the park.

  11. Why keep projecting offensive midfield line-ups when Klinsmann chooses time and again to with defensive?

    it’ll be Bradley, Jones, Edu/Williams/Beckerman

    then 3 forwards up top-Altidore, Dempsey, Johnson/Gomez

    another frustratingly disjointed effort

  12. a few possible starting line-ups:
























    Or who knows maybe Brooks gets called up and starts instead of Gonzo.

    All I know is that the USMNT offense needs to produce because the defense will be shaky regardless.

    • I really think Pontius should get a call up as well. He is playing well as opposed to EJ who hasn’t looked very good to start the season.

  13. 4-4-2 with Wynne, Whitbread, Cameron and Johnson in defense. Edu, Bradley, Dempsey and Shea in midfeild. Gomez and Altidore up top. Bring on EJ at 70 min.

  14. I just hope that klinsy doesn’t spend too much time on fitness and tire out the guys….he needs to spend time on building on field chemistry not getting these guys into shape…they are in shape…..

  15. I like the back four with MB and Jones in front of it, but we need to get away from Deuce in the middle and Jozy up top. I’d rather see Herc up top with either Corona underneath…or maybe Zusi underneath with Corona at right mid. We need work rate and ball movement in the attacking third.

  16. Personally, I really would like to see Boyd and Herculez Gomez start up top. Then you can sub in Jozy with fresh legs for Boyd in the second half to finish off the game.

    • Jozy plays the full 90 for AZ, and has scored in the first 10 minutes, in added time after 90 minutes, and all points in between. The only time he hasn’t been in an AZ game were when they got waxed by Anzhi during the homeleg in Europa(he was subbed off ~ the 60th minute with AZ down by 4), when he was red-carded after his first yellow for his continuing dissent of a call on Adam Maher, and his subsequent suspension for that red. I honestly wonder why people keep pushing for Boyd when he plays less often, for a team in a lesser league, has less goals over-all, and has 7 caps and 0 goals, compared to a man who plays more, in a better league, has more overall goals, and has 53 caps and 13 goals. Other than it being an A(nybody)B(ut)J(ozy) kind of thing, it really mystifies me.

      Now, Boyd as a pair of fresh legs for either Jozy or Herc, that I can agree with, although I think Juan Agudelo might be a better player in that situation. Let TB play in the Gold Cup, and we’ll see what he has to offer.

      • Thank you Dubya Gee, I find it interesting that all the Jozy haters can’t come up with a response to this post. Probably because there is very little logic involved in the bashing of Jozy when you look at our other options.

      • Firstly the Dutch league is known for having very poor defense. But really, you want the real reason I prefer Boyd and Herc over Altidore?

        Ok, here it is…

        It never seems like Jozy plays with true heart and conviction when playing for the Nats. It’s like he’s afraid to fight for 50/50 balls and get injured. He’s timid when jumping for headers when crosses come into the box. He doesn’t exert tons of energy to gain possession if the service is not absolutely perfect. Worst of all for me personally, he’s flops a lot. Granted, he does secure a lot of free kicks this way, but I don’t want that to be part of our American style of soccer. Donovan never flops.

        I would prefer a kid who plays his heart out like Herculez Gomez or Michael Bradley than a prima donna superstar in one of the lesser European leagues to represent my country. Jozy has never scored any significant amount of goals in leagues in England, Spain, Germany or Italy.

        I’m not hating, I’m just voicing my opinion on who I would prefer to represent us.

  17. ————Altidore———-




    I know that Boca hasn’t been playing much, but I like his experience here.

    • Your mistaken, he hasn’t been playing at all. He can provide experience from the bench but I don’t see how Klinsmann can start Boca when he has been putting an emphasis on club form from the very beginning.

  18. Here is Costa Rica’s Line up guys:

    Goalkeepers: Keilor Navas (Levante), Patrick Pemberton (Alajuelense)

    Defenders: Juan Diego Madrigal (Santos de Guápiles), Christian Gamboa (Rosenborg), Michael Umaña (Saprissa), Johnny Acosta (Dorados de Sinaloa), Giancarlo González (Valerenga), Roy Miller (New York Red Bulls), Bryan Oviedo (Everton), Christopher Meneses (Alajuelense)

    Midfielders: Celso Borges (AIK), Osvaldo Rodríguez (Santos de Guápiles), Cristian Bolaños (Copenhagen), Ariel Rodríguez (Pérez Zeledón), Keylor Soto (Pérez Zeledón), Yeltsin Tejeda (Saprissa), Michael Barrantes (Aalesund), Diego Calvo (Alajuelense), Bryan Ruiz (Fulham), Mauricio Castillo (Cartagines)

    Forwards: Alvaro Saborio (Real Salt Lake), Joel Campbell (Real Betis), Jairo Arrieta (Columbus Crew)

  19. We need some continuity in the back. I don’t know why everyone wants Cameron at CB? Stoke knows it and I know it that he is not a great CB. I think Klinsman should bring in AJ to play w/ Omar. Those guys are battle tested together. I guess you could start Edu and Cameron – it worked in Mexico, though Howard saved a lot of their mistakes. I am not sure of Chandler’s dedication and would probably start Cameron at RB if Churundalo not healthy.

    I would also like to see Corona get a shot.

  20. I think Ives has it right. Shea is probably the biggest wild card to start. I can see Klinsmann starting EJ on the left wing, as he did against Antigua. The GAM is a threat on headers at the far post. Zusi & Shea should see the field, though, probably for EJ & Herc.

    To those coming to Denver for the game in 11 days, welcome! I will be midfield, row 3!

    • Because that is when you get a new coach–when the current cycle ends. So that the new coach has more time to operate and implement whatever it is they want to implement.

      • actually, trend is to give the new coach two years to prepare the player pool for the world cup. its actually rare (on a global scale) to give a coach the full four years.

      • I don’t think it’s rare. I think it’s done equally both ways. Some teams in Europe work on a 2 year calendar because of the European Championships, but more often than not, you do see guys stick around for 4 year cycles.

      • That’s mostly because Euro teams run a 2 year cycle (Euro Championships) instead of a 4 year cycle for other areas like CONCACAF.

    • Not firing Bradley right after the World Cup deprived JK of maybe 10 games and nearly a year which he could have used to get this team right

      If you don’t think that missed time mattered you haven’t been paying attention.

      • Let’s be real, Bradley got re-hired because Klinsi is not a solve-all — I think it’s abudantly clear now — and Bradley had done well enough at the Confed Cup and World Cup (even while getting wildly inconsistent results from match to match) to earn another cycle.

        Bradley then got fired because the team went on an awful run his first new cycle year, culminating in a poor Gold Cup where his selections were questionable, his favoritism (eg Bornstein) in some ways killed us, and the team just didn’t look good. The team looked bad enough Gulati could indulge his Klinsi obsession. As with Germany, where he managed just the semis at home, I think we are seeing Klinsi is no god.

        I don’t see an added year of Klinsi as any gain. I don’t see some personnel or system plan steadily clicking into place where a year more would have us a year down the road. I see him just now dealing with some older player succession issues he didn’t bother to address when he got here. In fact, he is stubborn in selection issues for games after educated fans bail on some players. I see a team not flourishing in the system, but rather getting by on the same late-game fight that has characterized the team for a decade. How do you see one year as improving this?

  21. Stop asking for Bocanegra. Stop.

    He isn’t even starting for Santander, who are about to be relegated to the SPANISH THIRD DIVISION. Stop asking for a player who is no longer good enough to start for a soon-to-be Spanish 3rd division squad to be anchoring our defense in international football.

    • I want to see John Anthony Brooks. He is 6’7, only 20 years old, willing to play for the USA, and goes the full 90 for Hertha Berlin in every game. That is a 2. Bundesliga team that is about to get promoted.

      I’m tired of seeing all this “too young, has to wait his turn” nonsense. If you’re good enough, you’re good enough. It just doesn’t make any sense. We’re arguing about our CB options between Stoke’s RB, a 30+ year old guy that can’t start for a team that will be in Spain’s 3rd Division next year, and two MLS CBs, when we have a 20 year old that will be starting in the Bundesliga next year???

      • Thing is, you don’t know if he’s good enough yet. First of all, the 2 Bundesliga is not the Bundesliga. Second of all, no one’s ever seen the guy against international competition.

        Would I like to see him in camp? Yeah! He sounds like an exciting prospect. Could just butt his way into the World Cup picture. No reason why he shouldn’t, if he’s good enough. But would I play him in must win qualifying games? No thanks, I’ll take the known quantities over unknown players with little experience. And yes, experience counts for a lot.

        Also, I don’t know why people freak out about Cameron being an RB. I mean, yes, it’s important to get minutes in the position you want to play, but the guy has always played multiple positions. He’s fully capable of playing centerback.

      • I’m with you, Alex. Of the many things said about JK, I haven’t seen many people question his knowledge about players in Germany. If he hasn’t given Brooks a look, there’s is probably a good reason. He hasn’t been shy about calling in players from Germany, despite some people’s howls of outrage.

      • In addition to others’ comments I will note Brooks has been in German youth camps too and his allegiance is therefore tangibly less reliable than even players like Chandler who have been made symbolic whipping boys on the issue.

        I’d say call him in along with a lot of the other young talent for Gold Cup, and see if performance matches hype in a situation where they can’t cost us qualifying. Him, Morales, Gatt, Gyau, Boyd, Corona, all the other people we’d like to see who are short on track record. Give them one this summer.

        I mean, I agree with the sentiment that the team is not so well staffed or deep or effective that anyone should be taken for granted. It should be a results bid-ness. But in terms of a qualifier, particularly the ones coming up, you can really only play around the edges because we can’t afford to hand away a bunch of Hex points playing around. For at least two more games the usual suspects plus some well chosen plugins need to step up.

      • agreed. the Gold Cup will be the time for those players to prove themselves. although Corona is ahead of the rest.

      • I agree 100%…look at Raf Varane with RM…he made a name for himself at Barca’s expense nontheless

      • I wouldn’t classify Brooks as “willing to play for USA” when he has recently been in youth German training camps. That being said I also wouldn’t classify him as “unwilling to play” either. I read an article where he said it would be an honor to play for the USA but that logistically it is hard because his club doesn’t have to release him for youth level tournaments(he said he wanted to play for us in the u20 WC) He also mentioned that the travel was something that was a deterrent because he was just beginning to get starting minutes with his club and he didn’t want to jeopardize that by missing training days with travel across the globe. In the article there was no mention of a full national team call up and he only talked of his desire to play with the u20s in the WC(that would not cap tie him, so he might want to play in that instead of a full team non friendly match to keep his options open for Germany…**speculation). REGARDLESS, I would call him in for the qualifiers and see if he even accepts the call up. They don’t have to play him if they don’t feel like it is a good decision but it would be good to see if he accepts the call and for JK to see him train with the team. JK definitely has had scouts at his matches the last couple weeks so he is probably closer to their radar and a call up than it appears. I’m not saying he should play in the WCQ but it would be great to bring him on as a sub if we can get up a couple goals to cap tie him to end this mess. But if they don’t call him in next week, we will find out if he’s with us or against us come GOLD CUP time. I am really hoping Klinsman goes young for the Gold Cup and not worry about everyone calling for his job if they don’t perform well. Agudelo, Boyd, Mix, Brooks, Pontius, GATT, Corona, Stu Holden, Gyau, Aron Johansson?? If we get a chance to see a good number of these guys I will be really excited to watch that completely meaningless tourney. Oh and don’t forget to call in Freddy Adu cause it the Gold Cup and he played well in it once…strictly joking about Adu…

  22. man some are you guys are delusional.

    gulati doesnt have the balls to fire klinsman no matter how badly he f*ck up. it took almost a year to fire Bradey he shouldve been gone after the world cup. The US as a whole is not that trigger happy when it come to replacing coaches at all levels just look at Rongen with the u 20 team and look how long the revs kept nicol.

    Adu seriously the guy will never wear the national team shirt again. Just because he had a good gold cup 2 years ago come on man. The guy has had so many chances. He fell for his own hype.

    Shea over corona or JFT WTF? I know shea just went to stoke but he’s barely getting minutes. Just like people who say Boca should start when he hasnt played a game in about a month.

    • I agree with most of your player analysis, if not your Klinsmann-Gulati hyperbole. Except for Shea over Corona or JFT. Shea and JFT don’t play the same position, A, and B, I would take Shea over Corona right now. Do I want Corona to get a look? Yes, please! But Shea has at least played impressive games at the international level, and I’d rather trust him than a guy with 0 WCQ experience. I could see Corona doing big things down the road, maybe even as soon as this summer, but right now, you take the guy with more experience, even if it’s not significantly more.

  23. I think we see a similar line-up to what Ives posted. Those of you who are calling for new attacking talent (Corona, Agudelo, Gatt, Boyd, etc.) will probably have to wait until after the Gold Cup when they will have a chance to be tested on the international level. I just don’t see Klinnsy infusing a lot of new blood into the team yet.

  24. Does Timmy Chandler know everyone on the team’s first name by now? He sure looked like he had no idea who he was playing with against Honduras

    • Chandler makes me nervous.

      I know this game s not the time for experimentation of new right backs, but it feels like we have some strong defenders in MLS that it would make more sense to play in terms of long term development of the National team and our domestic league.

      • a 22 year old, starting full back in the Bundesliga isn’t good enough for you? not good enough for our future? what?!?!

      • +1


        Ya let’s find a younger RB in MLS to develop for our Nat’l team and MLS… Mark, can you please explain this logic to me? Last I checked it’s MLS’s job to develop the National Team, not the National Team’s job to develop MLS…lord knows MLS has done a solid job of developing other National Teams…

  25. ———————Altidore————-Gomez———————–





    • I agree this is the line-up I would favor. I hate to admit it, but 4-4-2 is the best formation for this team. Simplicity is a factor. Maybe it is because the players come from so many different leagues, but they struggle to find a fluidity in other formations. Jones and Bradley are good enough two way players to get involved in the attack and clean things up in the back. The US attack is much better with two strikers. And in my opinion, Dempsey is best as a striker or attacking from the wing, I don’t think he plays as well in an advanced central midfield role.

  26. I’d like to see Torres get a nod eventually, lord knows we need creative mids. And Gomez as a right sided player O_o???

    Adu would be nice to try as well, I know he hasn’t played at all but he was quite the revelation for us in the Gold Cup and this might help spring his career again. Perhaps in the Gold Cup this summer?

      • I’d like to see Freddy spend a season with AZ’s Verbeek. If Verbeek couldn’t salvage Freddy, then, much as it pains me to write it, Freddy’s done.

      • Verbeek is a real hard man.

        He’ll tear Freddy up public. He called Jozy stupid in print once for gettting a red card.And I don’t see Freddy getting himself fit enough for Verbeek.

        I’m not sure Adu is up to that.

      • Look at the players who have grown under Verbeek, and you’ll see why he’s someone who could help get Freddy straightened out, if that’s possible. Verbeek may be “hard”, but he is also considered to be honest with, and supportive, of his players. I’m basing this on what MB, Jozy, and Huntelaar have all said about him. Verbeek may not have won many trophies, but he’s a proven teacher, which is why he keeps getting hired.

      • Hector Cuper was Adu’s manager in Turkey for a while. Good manager. Look him up. Freddy did ok with him for a while then it went to hell as it always seems to.

        It would be nice if all our younger newbies could spend time under Verbeek, assuming AZ don’t get relegated.

    • Get a nod eventually? Klinsmann has “given him the nod” so many times and he has just never, ever impressed. I don’t know where people get this idea of Torres being a creative mid. He’s a deep lying midfielder, and he does have good feet, but he’s the kind of guy who will just keep possession well, not carve open a defense with some splitting pass.

      • you can be creative and deep lying, that is the exact definition of “regista” (think Pirlo, Xabi, etc.). i’m not convinced Torres would change much, i think Corona is who we need (a trequartista), but i wanted to respond to the idea that you can’t be creative and deep lying.

      • I didn’t mean that at all. You’re absolutely correct, deep lying players can be very creative. I was just pointing out that Torres isn’t that type of player. Sorry for the confusion.

    • Yeah bring Freddy in when the Union are literally paying him to not play. Stop buying into the hype of 8 years ago. It’s obvious that Adu doesn’t take his fitness seriously and should not be considered for this team until he shows a completely different attitude towards being a professional.(that’s something that would take months if not years to display) I too once thought he could help this team, but the more research I did the more disappointed I became in him. He is probably the greatest waste of soccer talent America has ever seen.

      • Clint Mathis. Unlike Freddy he showed he really could do it when it mattered but could have been so much more.

        He had much more potential than Freddy who is basically a mirage, always promising but never delivering.

  27. I like it. Gomez may not be the fastest, most creative wide player (he’s more of a striker) but he’s been in good form for Santos Laguna, so it would be a shame not to see him and Altidore at the same time. Corona is also an option, he’s been playing well for Xolos in their remarkable Copa Libertadores campaign.

    • +1 I really think Corona deserves a shot. He’s playing in big games against very tough opposition and is exactly the type of player we have been clamoring for to jump start the offense

  28. My sense is that Klinsmann would keep Edu on the bench to replace Jones at the appropriate time.

    Similarly, I would expect Gomez on the bench to come in when Altidore tires and is pulled off, if scoring is needed, or more defensive work is needed in the middle.j I think he starts Zusi on right wing. With 2 dmids behind 4 fwd players, the forwards must be better in possession since the dmids will play further back to compensate for the lack of a 6 at the back shielding the cb’s. Gomez is not the best possession forward.

    Eddie Johnson and Shea share the left.

    It is not what I would do but it fits Klinsmann’s mentality.

  29. I am tired of using people who want to be strikers (Gomez, EJ) out wide, we need to use outside mids on the outside. When you use inside players outside they naturally suck in and we lose all of our width. Would rather see Zusi in place of Gomez, I am a huge Gomez fan though, maybe actually start him in place of Altidore.

      • Yes, and reports have him playing quite well there. We missed him during the Honduras game. Surely Klinsmann won’t make that mistake again. He puts in as much work as any player we have on the field and is in good form. We need him.

      • Yeah, and that comment is ironic because Zusi isn’t really a natural wide player either. He’ll tuck in as much, if not more, than Gomez.

      • I really think starting Shea would be a mistake. He has played 89 total minutes since October? I just don’t see how the guy can be fit enough to go 90, at altitude, in a World Cup Qualifier of this importance. We got screwed in Honduras when we were forced into early subs by players who were not able to go the distance. It robbed Klinsmann of the needed tactical flexibility late in the game. Why would we put ourselves in a similar situation? Start Zusi or Beasley there. They are both very hard working players who can do the job for us without the risk of Shea. Can always give him 30 mins off the bench if we need a spark.

      • Agree 100%

        Shea has shown multiple times how well he can play off the bench. Basically created the goal in the azteca himself. Another one I personally would like to see off the bench is Boyd. For both the Nats and Rapid he has shown he has quite the nose for goal. Throwing both Shea and Boyd out for 20-30 mins could raise the energy level late in the game.

      • i also agree. i think Shea is someone to bring off the bench for a spark. i’d rather see Zusi or Beasley start there.

    • Travis,

      It’s fairly common to see strikers do that. I’ve seen guys like Herc, Jozy, Drogba and Torres out on the wing.

      It is a dynamic game. You do what you have to.

  30. Im so sick of tired of the lack of quality depth on the wings game after game. either play a straight up 4-4-2 or bring in beasley,corona and bedoya so there are actual winger options other then shea competing for a place

      • corona and bedoya are more capable of playing out wide then kljestan, danny williams or torres is the point though.

    • We don’t need wingers. Our strength is in our central midfield and they can be supported by our fullbacks who are more than capable going forward to provide width.

      • Then our full backs get caught up field and the other team counters and scores. Having your fullbacks provide the only width is a tactical mistake. So what we have a lot of cms? Doesn’t mean we should start plugging them in all over the lineup because they play cm well. It means we have a deep central midfield and that’s it. We desperately need wingers

      • what? handing over the sole responsibility of the wings to the likes of johnson and chandler is just beging for disaster. especially with all the incohession in our midfield and CBs.

      • +1,000,000,000 @casey

        So tired of the “jozy needs service” arguement. What Jozy needs is wingers and Midfielders who are a threat to score. There is no use in pinging a ball into the crowded spaces Jozy is being left to deal with right now for the MNT. We need our midfielders and wingers to draw defenses out with shots from distance, runs down the flank, quick passing etc…

        IF we do those things and there is still no service into the big forward then we have real problems.

      • FCA,

        Jozy has 13 USMNT goals, all before JK.

        Donovan has two or three appearances for JK. I don’t know if Jozy played in those games.

        6 of Jozy’s 13 goals came from assists by Donovan.

        Do you suppose Jozy would benefit if LD came back?

  31. I am in the camp that thinks experience in defense is important. Right now without Cherundolo, or even Howard, I think that means Boca is in. I suspect (and hope) that as the HEX progresses, Boca’s services will be less and less required.

    • Gonzalez and Cameron appear to be the future though, and they need experience together if they are going to partner in the World Cup.

      • That, and Boca isn’t playing now. He’s not in game shape and he’s probably not playing for a good reason. The guy has fallen off. I mean, I loved him as a player and captain for us. But his time’s pretty close to being done.

      • Bocanegra needs to move back to MLS. Maybe he can get some PT at Rangers next year but I seriously doubt it. Either way that will probably be too late for him.

  32. ” If Klinsmann decides to put a defensive midfielder behind Jones and Bradley…”

    …I will throw a brick through my television?

    …I will fly to Colorado to personally shake my fist at him?

    …I will give up the game until the 2018 cycle begins?

    If he goes defensive and drops points, he should be fired.

    • Please post the picture of your broken TV on the 22nd. I don’t have much faith in JK putting out an attacking line-up… and please don’t give up the game, you have a new stadium to look forward to.

  33. Ives,

    Hopefully you or another member of the American soccer media will ask Gulati this on the record: Is Klinsmann coaching for his job vs. Costa Rica? If the US loses at home, is it time for a new coach?

    • If the USA loses or ties against C.R., but ties or wins vs Mexico, probably not. Two more losses and Klinsmann’s job security will be shaky, but there is no one out there who Gulati loves more. So I would say while Klinsmann will catch some criticism, Gulati will make nice with him.

      • I think JK is probably sufficiently expensive a coach where he will get plenty of slack, fair or unfair. The audacity and expense associated with his makeover renders the train difficult to derail. But if he loses all 3, the softer June games against Panama and Jamaica would be the time for transition, and I think any reasonable team would be considering their options.

        One interesting thing about it being Klinsi after the long obsessive pursuit is I could see them waiting a beat late and even risking qualification, because this was so personal. If this was almost any other coach, including Bradley, it would be strictly bid-ness and we’d never consider them ahead of the collective. Bradley had a poor Gold Cup after being re-hired and was gone in a second. But with Klinsi it’s almost like they have to be de-brainwashed.

      • While it would be expensive to fire Klinnsman, it would be more costly to not qualify for the World Cup. If you end up with 1 or fewer points after three games, you have to make the change while there is still time to qualify (Unless of course you could make the argument that team has been playing great, but had some unlucky breaks, couldn’t finish, etc… but anyone who has watched this team over the last year and a half knows that it has been horrible, with the exeption of the Landon Donovan show in Jacksonville last May).

    • I know I’m in the minority on this site in that I’m a fan of JK but this statement is ridiculous. Coaching for his job?!? We just came off a year tied for our best winning percentage ever. A home loss would be embarrassing and put us in a tough spot for 2014 qualifying but you can’t abandon a coach/system in the middle of a huge year for the USMNT.

      • Who the f*ck cares if we had a good year playing meaningless friendlies? The team has looked BAD and I mean bad. Defense is awful. Possesion is nothing more than backpasses. There’s no width. Offense is a stagnant mess where without dempseys scrappyness we wouldn’t have even qualified for the hex. All jk has been is talk. There is no attacking system. He has changed nothing in the youth system. JK is not a good coach and if he looses again I’d rather the right move be made early in the hex before its too late to make the world cup and set us soccer back another 20 years

      • chris,

        The fact remains that there are 27 out of 30 points still out there for the USMNT. If they lose the next two games they aren’t eliminated and still have 21 points left to chase. Chances are somewhere between 17 and 20 points should guarantee qualification. Tight but not impossible


        The team has looked uneven but that is irrelevant.

        This is a team being assembled, in transition. All that matters is results. Get those and JK can continue to assemble the team.

        Fail and it is back to square one.

      • winning percentage is awesome if you’re winning the games that count. the team hasn’t impressed in official games, and ‘jacknut’ is proposing a question if the team continues to under-perform.

      • The team had to win “offical games” to get to the Hex

        They have shown the ability to do at least one very important thing, get enough points to advance in “official” competition.

    • No respectable journalist would ever ask if a coach would fired mid-qualifying cycle without knowing the outcome of the cycle.

      It’s so dumb it’s not even worth asking. Your comment would have been better if you just said “I have an irrational hatred of Klinsmann.”

      • i don’t know, i think that’s the only time you ask it. if you wait until you know the outcome of the cycle, do you really need to ask?

        the time to take corrective action is when you still have a chance to progress, not when it’s too late. obviously, if we don’t make the cup, klinsmann’s getting fired; now THAT would be a dumb question.

      • No, the time for action is not mid cycle. You don’t fire a coach mid qualifying. You let the coach finish. If he qualifies, good. If he doesn’t qualify, he’s gone.

        You don’t fire a coach when the team isn’t eliminated. Seriously, listen to yourselves.

      • Seriously? Dude, you both have points. It’s probably a good idea to have stability during qualifying, but if Klinsmann puts up, say, 4 losses in his first 4 games, is it really a good idea to stay the course? And is it really such a dumb question to ask, whether or not they’ll be sticking with him? I don’t think so. There would still be time to correct what is going wrong.

      • If the team lost its first 4 games then frankly that’s not on the coach and secondly, they still wouldn’t be disqualified.

        You think brining in a new coach is going to make a team magically transform and win the remainder of their games if they couldn’t even win the first 4?

        Coaches in soccer have so much less control over results than coaches in other sports like basketball or football. They can dictate a style of play and player selection, but that’s about it. And with Klinsmann our best players have always been on the pitch. It is their job to execute.

        Players have so much freedom to make their own choices on the pitch.

        Bradley got too much shtick for losses that weren’t his fault and Klinsmann does as well. Until American soccer fans start putting the blame on players over coaches we won’t progress as a fan group.

      • That’s just not true. I agree with your statement that in the end, it’s on the players, but Klinsmann’s personnel selection has very often been questionable. The coach doesn’t decide the game, but he has a huge effect on it.

        I do think a new coach can do wonders for a team. There are examples of this all the time. A new coach comes in after a bad run of form, instills discipline (rather than lofty playing ideals,) and the team plays ugly soccer for a while but gets results. It’s not unimaginable.

        We’re not talking about absolutes here, man. It’s not a hard and fast rule that you can’t replace a coach in qualifying. Mexico did it last time around and did just fine. I don’t know what your hostility toward that idea is. I do think we have to start holding our players accountable, too, but coaches earn big money for a reason. You think you could put any schmuck in charge of Manchester United and they have the same exact success they’re having this season? Probably not.

      • Head coaches?

        1. Sven. And he was forced out because of the nonsense that he was actively in talks with Portsmouth while in the middle of qualifying for Mexico. That’ definitely a special situation given Klinsmann isn’t abandoning the team and barely being in country.

        Jesus Ramirez was an interim coach after Volpe while Mexico searched for a full time HC. And then Flores was an interim coach while they searched for de la Torre.

        So they only had one head coach last cycle who was forced out for basically abandoning the squad and not being dedicated.

      • “A” you may not realize this, but you often come across as you are the final authority on all things soccer. Hopefully this is not your intention. But can I remind you that this is a discussion board. Thus discussion occurs here. Many minds sharing opinions, questions, ideas, and even hair brained schemes. But that is the purpose!! Can you please tone down the I know this, you guys are wrong attitude? Thanks.

      • 1. Many wanted Sven out for bad results in the qualifying for the Hex (they were at real risk of not making it to the Hex) and for bad early results in the Hex. Granted there were many who never liked the idea of hiring Sven, but to say that he was forced out only because of talks with Portsmouth is ridiculous — he was talking to Portsmouth because he knew he was likely to be fired from Mexico.

        2. Mexico was indisputably a better team after de la Torre was in charge. There is really no arguing that the coaching change was good for Mexico last cycle. That ship didn’t just right itself.

        3. Continuing to suggest that coaching changes are never made and should never be made until after the complete failure of an enterprise is silly. It is done all the time; sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. But, it is the most effective way to change the direction of a team. Part of a coach’s job is to get the right players out there all playing to their potential with organization and high spirits. So, I don’t quite see what your point is constantly insisting that Klinnsman should be given a free pass on putting an organized and motivated team out on the field.

        I don’t at all think we have reached the point of firing the coach. But, I also don’t think it is unreasonable to start asking what that point is.

      • Dennis,

        That’s not good example. At that point Mexico basically had all the pieces in place, they had a style, an identity and the players to fit it.

        All that ship needed was someone to steer it and not get in the way.

        In comparison the USMNT is a team in transition. Yes, you could bring in someone to go to Bradley 2.0 but you all hated Bradley 1.0. And without Donovan it wouldn’t work as well.

      • One of the reasons Sven was hired was to add a more European element to the Mexican style, to make them better equipped to play against European teams. He was hired for a lot of the same reasons that Klinsmann was hired (bring European know-how to help transition to team to a new level and style); he was certainly not originally hired just to stay out of the way and let business go on as usual in Mexico.

        The equivalent for the USA would be bringing Arena in to let the US return to the style of the 2002-2010 world cup cycles (i.e. that is our “style, identity, and the players to fit it”). We would abandon (this cycle) the attempt to transition to something more sophisticated and simply get down to pragmatism — this is essentially what Mexico did last cycle. And not everyone would hate that any more than they all hated it the first time around.

      • i know what i’m saying; are you sure your priorities are straight?

        if we wait until we don’t qualify, it’s too late. obviously, it wouldn’t be an easy decision, because ussf would take the chance on a new coach who also could be horrible. (and this is why i don’t see it happening: no balls.)

        the goal (at this stage) is to get to the cup, however we can; not to avoid rocking the boat. doesn’t matter if you have to go through five coaches to get there.

      • “You think brining in a new coach is going to make a team magically transform and win the remainder of their games if they couldn’t even win the first 4?”

        Yep, happens quite often in soccer. Maybe less on the international level but I think that’s because too many countries get married to their coach and think they should wait until they haven’t qualified then fire them… while they are watching the big tournament from home.

        If we lose in Colorado and in Mexico, we are seriously on the fence for the next world cup. The other teams in the hex aren’t sure-fire victories any more and we could go into the last couple rounds with Mexico knowing they are clear and through and knowing that if they drop points to Panama and Costa Rica they will only be hurting the US.

      • The only reason to fire any coach and put him in the kind of situation he would find himself in if the US loses to CR and Mexico is if you are reasonably certain he will do better.

        And he will do better for one reason, the reason JK is not doing so well.


      • Rory,

        If you fire JK after losses to Costa Rica and Mexico the new guy will do better for one reason.

        The same reason JK’s team isn’t playing well.

        Donovan will likely be back.

      • Outside of some isolated exhibition showpieces like Mexico and Italy, JK’s actual competitive record is mediocre, if not a backslide from Bradley’s efforts. The way in which we qualified out of the semifinal group was a joke in light of the draw.

        In which case, since I don’t see an improved soccer team, and the results are the same if not worse, I treat him like anyone else. Mexico tossed Sven overboard last cycle, and while not advocating Mexican levels of personnel turnover, the primary purpose of the exercise is qualifying for the World Cup, and if his blah results start to threaten qualification, he should go, because the team is not inculcating any style so well that I see indulgence of rebuilding as a tradeoff for Brazil.

    • Unfortunately Soccer is not like Corperate American:

      1. Usually if people are doing a better job than you at a similar evolution with less equip and support your job will be in jeopardy……

      2. If, as a manager at your job, you don’t have the ability to train and bring subordinates together to work towards a common goal, your job will be in Jeopardy……..

      Teams from other countries are improving at a faster rate, with a far less player pool, with far less quality players than the US (suddenly our stick doesn’t seem that big anymore!!!!!)…..if that doesn’t show we have issues with our coaching staff I don’t know what does……

      • “Teams from other countries are improving at a faster rate, with a far less player pool, with far less quality players than the US (suddenly our stick doesn’t seem that big anymore!!!!!)…..if that doesn’t show we have issues with our coaching staff I don’t know what does……”


        “far less quality than the US”? That is very debatable.I’d take Bryan Ruiz.

        The incumbent USMNT coaching staff usually can’t do much about improving a current player pool. They aren’t going to teach Mo Edu how to use his left foot better.

        That Mexican team that massacred the US in the Gold Cup? They were assembled over a number of years by the Mexican FA. They were developed mostly by the much better developed Mexican club system. All the El Tri coaching staff did was take advantage of all that talent. They did not improve or develop them at least not to the extent you seem to think a national team should. They did not teach Chicharito how to finish or Gio how to dribble the ball.

        A better example would be Spain. In 2006 Luis Aragones got tired of losing to bigger tougher teams decided to play tiki-taka. That style had been developing at Barca , and other La Liga clubs since 1988. So all Aragones had to do was cap most of Barca and fill in with players from Real Madrid and a few other clubs. And Del Bosque, no dummy he, does much the same thing.

        National teams don’t have time to develop and improve players. Do the math. They just take what is there and try to make something out of it.

        In fact, with the aggressive pursuit of dual nationals and JK’s personal high profile, this USMNT staff has expanded on the effort probably begun by Rongen and Bradley and increased the depth and quality of the player pool fairly quickly. They deserve credit for that even if you don’t want to give it to them.

      • GW, I hear you man but its not the talent that is lacking its the selection. Simple example Gio Dos Santos….with his playing record if he was a US player he will be a Freddy Adu and never see the field ….all that talent but moving from club to club and not having playing time……

        MLS and Liga MX teams play in League championship and you see the level of play not that far away……you see other teams select players from our league and sometimes defeat us yet if that same player was available to us we wouldn’t select him…….we have players playing in Mexico in key positions we need, on teams that are higher on the league table than players selected for the MX national team, a team that is in the top 15 in the world, but they are not even considered for subs…..if players like Beasley, Torres, Corona, can go full 90 and cause problems for players that are on the Mexican national team why are they not at least selecting for subs…..why are players excelling at a club level but can’t seem to find their footing with the national team??

        GW, I hear what you are saying about the talent difference and the points you brought up but we have more players on our national team playing in better leagues, on better teams (playing key roles too) than Mexico or any other team in CONCACAF. The USMNT should be doing a lot better than they are at this point, so you can’t just blame talent anymore its the coaching as well

      • bizzy,

        You seemed bound and determined to absolve the USMNT players of all responsibility for their mistakes.

        The coaching staff does not miss shots or tackles nor do they make saves or put the ball in the net. Once the game starts, other than subs, there is little the coaching staff can do.

        So I don’t blame the talent levels or the “scheme”. I hold the players responsible for how they execute the scheme. I hold them responsible for how they play.

        Every team in the HEX has the talent to beat every other team in the HEX. The coaching staffs will do the best job of positioning their guys to win that they can do but once the game starts, other than by using subs, there is little left for the coaching staff to do.

        The second goal in Honduras? The winning goal? Watch the replay on You Tube.

        The Honduran forward breaks into the penalty area but Cameron has the angle to the ball and a step on him. If he just pushes through he most likely clears that ball. Instead he glances at the onrushing Howard who has come off of his line. This seems to slow Cameron down.

        If Howard continues his charge off his line he too should get to the ball and maybe the Honduran and Cameron in the process. But he also appears to hesitate and slow down.

        The end result is the Honduran forward manages to tap the ball to his left clear of the oncoming collision. Another Honduran has been trailing the play and has a tap in.

        That guy was released by Gonzo who had stopped running for some reason instead of staying with his man. Had he done so, there might not be a tap in and maybe Gonzo clears the ball.

        This was a screw up by three players who learned how to handle this situation before they became pros but seemed to forget their lessons.


        And don’t tell me it was because Cameron was unused to center back duties due to his playing at right back.

        If it was Dempsey, Donovan or Jozy in Cameron’s position, I would expect any of them to make that play. A player in Cameron’s situation whether he was a right back, center back or center forward goes ahead and clears that ball, keeper be dammed.

        A goalkeeper who comes of his line in that situation better come up with the ball or else he should have stayed on his line in the first place.

        A defender trailing a play like that, if he has a man, should stay goal side off him until the ball is cleared.

        All three of those guys f++ked up, bizzy. It had nothing to do with the coaching staff or JK. And don’t tell me they are to blame for having Cameron and Gonzo in there because I’ve seen Goodson and Boca do the same stupid s++t recently.

        You can make all the excuses you want but that goal was the fault of Cameron, Howard and Gonzo, no one else.

        If they had just done what they were very probably taught to do before they got out of high school then maybe the US has one point.

        And what that should tell you is that if they just stop doing this kind of dumb s++t then they can qualify, probably rather easily. As far as I’m concerned it is the players that are letting the USMNT down.

      • I’m with Gee Dubya, JK played the guys in the back where everyone else would have played them and they let us down.

      • Great point, I don’t understand why people criticize dual nationals because they didn’t learn the game in America. I hope the people who bring up us needing to change the way we bring up our youth players are young because even if we found the perfect method to do so it will probably take 10-15 years before we see the benefits. Bottom line, the US is a country who should ALWAYS be looking for dual nationals to raise the overall level of our player pool because as we all know the path for the American soccer player has many more roadblocks than a path for a dual national.

  34. I’d replace Shea with Juan Agudelo, and Gonzalez with Mo Edu.

    Shea has looked good going forward, but has been slow and a liability going back to defend.

    • Really? Replace Gonzales with a guy who doesn’t play CB? And stick him next to a guy who doesn’t actually play CB on his club team?

      On the subject of Cameron it amazes me that Gonzales has gotten 100% of the blame from that debacle when clearly Cameroen blew it just as much. I would be tempted to play Bocanegra with one of them just to have some expereince back there.

      • If Klinsi wants someone who can start the attack from the back, yes. Mo is playing that role for Bursaspor, albeit as a DMF.

      • I should have written …from the backline. I’m thinking that Mo can fill the role at CB that it was hoped Tim Ream would fill. My apologies for creating confusion.

      • I think that’s fair. It’s an intriguing thought, and we’ve done it before. I’d like to see it again.

      • No gonzales lost concentration, but it was not all his falt where was his teammates telling him there was an attacker right behind him. I like gonzales but it comes down to that one lapse of concentration and that is it.

      • Watch Cameron on the replay of that goal. He needed to stay between the ball and the attack. He didn’t. Without his mistake, the Gonzales mistake is meaningless.

      • …except his mistake cost us 2 points so it’s the total opposite of meaningless. That sounds like an excuse a son tells his father to get his brother in trouble instead of him. All he had to do was his job, not ball watch, track back and clear it. But that’s all Cameron’s fault…?

  35. VS Costa Rica







    @ Azteca



    ———————J. F. Torres————————




    • *****@ Azteca



      ———————J. F. Torres————————





    • Was thinking along the same lines for the CR match…except switch sides for Dempsey/Gomez and Jones/Bradley. Bring Shea off the bench if a spark is needed in the 2nd half (moving Dempsey to the Right). Or Edu if we need to lock things down when Up (Drop him deeper behind Jones/Bradley).

      Against Mex @ Azteca….I think JK uses a # 6 (Edu/Williams) behind Jones/Bradley and plays to counter attack Mexico.

    • i like your CRC line up. Keep dempsey away from central mid and near the top of the box while giving zusi the creative responsibilities. Shea should be off the bench.

  36. Zusi has shown that his ceiling keeps getting higher and higher. He is great on set pieces and crosses. His strikes are improving to be even more accurate than before. I believe he will become Landon’s ultimate replacement

    • It’s comments like this that make it obvious you never excelled at any sport in your life. In Donovan’s prime (this is coming from someone who doesn’t particularly like him) he would often be the fastest man on the pitch. His game was centered purely on speed and he was excellent at it. When Donovan turns 40, Zusi still won’t be able to beat him in a foot race… smh

      • I guess I’m not sure what speed has to do with it. You’d rather have somebody fast than somebody skilled? Granted, Landon was plenty of both, but just cause Zusi isn’t a track star doesn’t mean he can’t be a suitable starter for USMNT.

      • He might have just been referring to the idea that Zusi might not be a like-for-like Donovan replacement. He overreacted, but I tend to agree with him that Zusi is not Donovan light; he does, however, bring plenty of other valuable skills to the table, and can definitely see him starting important games for us in the next couple of years.

      • If we had a like for like replacement for Donovan, he’d be starting.

        ..and since we don’t, yea.

      • “It’s comments like this that make it obvious you never excelled at any sport in your life”

        A) Your unprovoked condescension just makes you a giant douche.

        B) Speed is the determining factor to a players quality? That’s news to me.

        This isn’t FIFA on your 360/PS3. In real life, players can have massive ability, despite not being able to outrun Chris Johnson in the 40 yard dash.

        Speaking of which, why are you referencing a “40”? Football players are built for burst, soccer players are generally built for endurance. Not even remotely comparable.

      • Was it necessary to get all ad hominem with your reply, dude? Your reply tells me a lot more about your maturity (or lack thereof) than Alan’s original post tells me anything about him. And what the hell is “smh”?

      • Agreed. Shea will be better as a sub for Gomez or Altidore (moving Herc up when Brek comes on).

  37. I think Klinsmann needs to go back to Bocanegra. Gonzalez is not ready. We need Bocanegra’s experience back there to settle things down, especially now with no Tim Howard. 3 points at home against Costa Rica is most critical now.

    • For me, Matt Besler over Gonzalez.

      Gonzalez is great on set pieces but I don’t rate his distribution and feel his lack of quickness hurts the backline too often.

      • I’m with you on this one Old School. Despite this website and most others raving for Gonzalez when they were paired together in the friendly, I thought Besler was the better of the two. And while they both have huge potential, for right now, I’d be more comfortable with Besler.

      • Besler’s distribution is similar to Ream, which means like Ream, it gets him in trouble at the international level. Gonzo is safer.

      • Oh saying that because Besler can pass that he’ll turn into ream makes sense to you? Besler is miles better than ream and a much different player. I could say that Besler distributes like matt hummels does that mean he’ll play like him? No its a stupid compariosion to say passing the ball will get you in trouble

      • i didn’t say i agree with it. i said it makes sense. he’s saying that Besler is similar to Ream and against international competition his passing can get him in trouble. whether or not that is based in reality, i’m not sure. i don’t get to watch a ton of SKC game so I don’t see Besler all that much. but his point seems to be that, like Ream, he takes chances on distribution from the back which can get him in trouble against better competition. and because of that, Gonzo is safer because he is more likely to clear the ball first time instead of look for the pass out of the back.

      • I’m saying Besler is a cocky distributor, like Ream was. I have seen Besler make some awful passing plays. Until he gets used to the national level, which is twice as fast as MLS, he’s a liability distributing from the back.

      • Except unlike Ream, he can defend which isn’t even a debate.

        So, you’re complimenting Besler by comparing Ream’s best (and only) attribute.

        Again, why are you against him starting?

      • Besler has looked poor in his first two MLS starts for SKC. I don’t know if he’s the man to be starting for the Nats yet. Not ready for primetime.

        At least Gonzalez has looked for the Galaxy so far. Sooner or later we are going to have to stick with a back 4 and let them adjust to each other.

      • +1, saw Besler have a horrific pass intercepted leading straight to a goal for SKC last week. That is the absolute last thing we need anywhere need our backline at the moment. Not saying ‘No’ on Besler for good, but no way do I want him in the XI vs Costa Rica until he’s back on form.

  38. I like this lineup, Ives. I think it’ll be close to what we see. Maybe EJ for Shea though. I’d personally love to see Corona get a shot.

  39. I like it! Look out Ticos! The only change I see is the one you mentioned with Zusi in for Shea. With Zusi coming out of the Jan camp and getting more recent pt than Shea, I think Klinsmann goes with Zusi in the start and subs in Shea if we need a goal, or Edu to help hold a lead.

  40. Man, i would love to see this lineup work so well that they keep it for the Mexico match as well but things never seem to go “as planned” for our boys. Kinda wonder about Shea’s ability to go 60+ but I am really hoping they play him…and maybe replace him with Beasley for the Mexico match and bring Shea on as a sub

  41. I like both options….really looking forward to a USA team that is attacking not just for 3 points, but also to make a statement to the rest of CONCACAF qualifying. It is time to flex our muscles a bit.

    • +1, This is what JK has been promising and now its time to deliver. With the significant home field advantage in Denver there’s no reason we shouldn’t go for a statement victory.

    • I personally don’t like Dempsey anywhere near our midfield. He is the ONLY player we have who is scoring goals consistently. He needs to be as far forward as possible, and quite frankly, should be our striker. Jozy deserves to come off the bench, he doesn’t deserve to start.

      We’re going to keep for the 4-3-3, at least to start – that’s Klinsi’s way. So I’d say bench Jozy, bring in Williams and play our typical midfield three. We can do better, but that two-way midfielder to pair with Bradley hasn’t stepped up. Corona is the closest, but I don’t think he’s a box-to-box midfielder and that’s what we need. So Jones remains, and we hope he finds his Panama form.

      I think at this point, the backline is what it is. We’ll just deal with the growing pains of having Gonzo starting. It’ll help us in 2014.

      • I actually take my comment back (we need an edit feature).

        I’d rather we see a midfield three of Torres, Bradley, and Jones. I keep forgetting about Torres. Klinsi has come out to praise him so I think there’s a chance he gets the nod. So long as we keep him away from the flanks and don’t rely on him to be the creative midfielder, I think he’ll be very useful. He finds small spaces and makes quick passes. Take him off and put in Corona around the 70th if we need midfield pace and creativity and offense.

        We always have a darkhorse, surprise. I bet it’s Gyau.

      • I’m not a fan of Torres anywhere near our midfield. Yes, he has good ball skills, but his defensive effort is always inconsistent and he doesn’t pass nearly as incisively as his “legend” dictates. He’s a connecting midfielder, who looks at his best when the opposing side is sitting back (waiting to counter and not pressuring the ball) and is sitting between a defensive midfielder and wingers/#10s.

        But with our defensive problems, having someone who doesn’t put in the effort nor has the defensive ability to cover for our inexperienced/underwhelming backline is only asking for problems.

      • Dempsey is the only one scoring because of jk’s cluster f*ck formations and tactics. Dempsey thrives on scrappy play. He is able to put himself in positions to fight for goals just like Gomez. The problem isn’t the players its the coach. We have plenty of players doing well for their clubs yet jk can’t get them together. No one besides those two are going to score when we can’t pass the ball around and continue to have 4dms on the field. It won’t work no matter how many times you retry it

      • The sad thing is, you don’t need Guus Hiddink to improve the team. Bradley and Arena have done better, Kinnear, Kreis, Olsen, Schmid, Klopas, Vermes, Wynalda, Harkes, etc… could all do better. Heck, even Bora and Sampson (before he got to France) can do better.

      • Harkes was an assistant to Arena in NY and head of DC’s youth academies for a while. But no matter what you think of him, it would be near impossible to do worse than the current coach.

      • thank you thank you thank you Chris….we seriously lack a good coach. CONCACAF championships shows MLS and Liga MX teams are not far off in performance/completition yet José Manuel de la Torre can use mostly home base players (and Mexico is ranked 15th in the world) but we dare not use a mostly MLS line-up!!!! the difference? quality coaching/player selection…..if Sabo, Ruiz, Bengston or Johnson had US citizenship they wouldn’t even make the US roster….. yet these are the guys (used by other coaches with very limited player pools) that are currently a major threat to our defense

        Players are doing well for their club year after year yet Klinsmann can’t sync them to perform on the national team

        Just because our DM’s play for top clubs doesn’t mean we have to play them all… won’t work no matter how many times we try it

      • You are on crack! Mexico has a bevy of talented players, all of which have excellent ball skills comparatively to the US.

      • No but evidently you are…before we have talent too but just lacking the coaching talent to combine the right talent to put on the field……..Nobody from MLS ALL-stars that were US players that held off (chelsea !!!) made the national team….Put the pipe down and understand what people are trying to say before jumping in with both feet…..

    • Do we really know what our strengths are? I can certainly list a whole lot of weaknesses and that is what troubles me about where the organization (MNT and below) is currently. We have far too many open ended issues. I really can’t believe that the likes of Mexico get too concerned about coming up with tactics to defeat the US. It has been proven by the lesser team (Jamaica et al) that we do not have a very good defending or attacking team as a whole. Quite disappointing considering that there are a lot of Nationals doing well abroad and yes even some nice talent in MLS. It just seems no one can put a finger on what is wrong. Hopefully it will get turned around soon.

      • “It has been proven by the lesser team (Jamaica et al) that we do not have a very good defending or attacking team as a whole. Quite disappointing considering that there are a lot of Nationals doing well abroad and yes even some nice talent in MLS. It just seems no one can put a finger on what is wrong…”

        It’s The Coach.

      • We have a couple finishers in Dempsey and Gomez, several defensive midfielders, some decent wingbacks, and some GK talent albeit diluted without Howard.

        I think we could use one of the target Fs, Boyd and Jozy, to step up this cycle; we need one or two players who can two way on the wings (Donovan could easily be one); we need CBs to step up; and we probably should be pondering the GK succession with more seriousness after Howard’s injury, at his age. I also think we can use more quality, productive depth, ie, young and talented players like Gatt, Shea, Agudelo, Gyau, Boyd, Corona, et al., stepping into spots held by mediocrity like Kljestan, Zusi, and such.

      • Jamaica almost has more top flight European players than we do. They certainly are no longer lesser competition.

      • How does Jamaica have more top flight European players than we do? How are you defining top flight? Out of the players called up for Jamaica’s match against Panama this month, there are three players (all on Reading) listed playing in the top flight of England, Spain, Germany, France, or Italy: Adrian Mariappa, Jobi McAnuff, and Garath McCleary.

        Conversely, in the last US team called up, we had Howard, Guzan, Cameron, and Dempsey in the EPL; Chandler, Parkhurst, Johnson, Jones, and Willims in the Bundesliga. Then throw in Bradley in Seria A.

        This doesn’t evne consider player slike Cherundelo, Shea, etc.

      • Jamaica’s got players from Reading, Motherwell, syrianskska, Huddersfield Town and Watford.

        You really think those teams compare with Tottenham, Roma, Schalke, Everton, and Stoke?

      • Misconception. 3-5-2 is perhaps more defensive than any other formation. You’d have three center backs and likely use Timmy and Fabian as two of the five midfielders.

      • then wouldn’t we actually be using the same or even fewer mf’s if you move our outside backs to the mf?? Not trying to be argumentative just wondering if I’m missing something.

      • I grew up playing 352 and finished college playing it. if the wing mids play two ways it can be a fairly defensive formation. If the wings mids get greedy going forward you can get either stuck on an island 1 on 1 or numbers down situations easily. The backs need to be disciplined, mobile ballwinners who can function without help.

        I love the formation but you have to have some backline beasts to play it. The problem we’d have is figuring out 3 reliable backline players to use, who combine CB and wingback qualities.

      • ———-Altidore—Gomez———





        or Depending on all the injuries






      • While I don’t think the team plays together enough to pull off the 3-5-2, I think playing Edu as the central CB could work. Castillo would be a great wide midfielder for that formation, but I wouldn’t want Fabian to sit as a result.

    • Scott…IMHO…3 in back requires not only that you have 3 incredibly athletic backs, but also a near prescient understanding of each others movements. The speed that Costa Rica brings would be tough to defend against if we get stretched laterally.

      • i agree that, with a national team that doesn’t play together a whole lot, a 3-man backline would not be a good idea; however, having a midfield that has endless energy (i.e. bradley, jones) can cover up a multitude of sins.

    • I don’t think the USMNT play a 4-2-3-1 very often under Klinsmann. It’s usually a narrow 4-3-3, although they play a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield occasionally. As long as Klinsmann doesn’t start 3 defensive midfielders I’ll be happy.

    • +1….. The thing is JK leaves the media in suspense until the last minute. If those players are available then H–L yes that lineup will get the job done. Do you think the delay has a lot to do with security (players)?

      • im not confident we take 3 points with this line-up..back 4 still a concern, plus a new keeper..

        We also appear a bit weak in the wings…gomez and shea…

      • I think JK waits to the last minute because he does not totally know yet who is available based on injuries.

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