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Who should the USMNT start vs. Belize?

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After a 6-0 victory against Guatemala, you would think U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann would have easy decisions to make about what lineup to use in his team’s Gold Cup opener on Tuesday, but the way that match went raised plenty of questions about what players will start vs. Belize.

The second-half performances against Guatemala by Stuart Holden and Mix Diskerud turned plenty of heads, especially considering the first half wasn’t nearly as impressive.

Should we expect wholesale changes vs. Belize? Probably not. Klinsmann has his preferences and it’s tough to see him shaking things up a bunch. He will have to at least consider Holden and Diskerud, and now having Brek Shea for the Gold Cup group stage could lead him to make consider a few adjustments to the midfield.

So what lineup should we expect to see take on Belize in Portland? Here is our projected USMNT lineup:


——–Herculez Gomez————Landon Donovan——-

Edgar Castillo———-Stuart Holden———-Joe Corona

————————–Kyle Beckerman———————-

DaMarcus Beasley————————Michael Parkhurst

———-Clarence Goodson——Oguchi Onyewu———–

—————————Nick Rimando———————–

Some thoughts:

Stuart Holden gets the nod over Jose Torres. Would I be shocked if Klinsmann trotted out the same exact lineup that started vs. Guatemala? Not really, but the one change that makes too much sense is Holden for Torres. Now, if Klinsmann doesn’t feel Holden is ready to play 90 minutes then he could choose to start Torres or Mix Diskerud, or even Alejandro Bedoya, with Joe Corona sliding in centrally, but we’ll give Holden the nod here.

I know plenty of fans want Diskerud to start, and plenty of U.S. fans don’t rate Beckerman as a starter. That may be, but Klinsmann rates Beckerman and wants him to play that No. 6 role. Do you actually need a true No. 6 to beat Belize? Not really, but as a coach you can understand why he’d want his squad to gain a rhythm heading toward the group finale vs. Costa Rica and Gold Cup knockout rounds.

Brek Shea is on the Gold Cup squad now, and showed some good flashes late in the Guatemala match. I see him eventually taking over the starting role on the left wing during the Gold Cup, but I’m not sure he starts the opener.

It’s tough to see any changes to the back-line, so expect the same back four.

What lineup would I start vs. Belize? Here’s the XI I would go with:

——–Herculez Gomez————Landon Donovan——-

Brek Shea————–Stuart Holden———-Joe Corona

————————–Kyle Beckerman———————-

DaMarcus Beasley————————Michael Parkhurst

———-Clarence Goodson——Oguchi Onyewu———–

—————————Nick Rimando———————–


What do you think of the projected lineup? What changes would you make to the lineup vs. Guatemala?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. the only change i would make to Ives’ PERSONAL lineup, not JK’s predicted lineup, is swap Torres for Beckerman. again, we all know JK will start him. but i thought Ives would maybe select someone else as a personal projection.

    i personally like the idea of a Holden/Torres midfield pairing against Belize. even though i would consider them both a #8, i would like to see it. JK could just about pick any combo you could come up with and i would be happy to see it.

    • yeah, i want Holden/Torres:

      PLAYER P@ss Att./P@ss Com | Avg. p@ss dist | Total dist | P@ss % | 2nd p@ss %
      Torres 71/68 17.54 m 1245.02 m 95.8% 91.7%
      Beckerman 54/48 16.24 m 876.73 m 88.9% 89.8%
      Holden 50/47 21.55 m 1077.28 m 94% 83.3%
      Diskerud 39/35 20.19 m 787.52 m 89.7 84.4%

  2. ————- Gomez ————-
    Shea — Holden — Donovan
    —– Beckerman — Diskerud —–
    Beasley — — Parkhurst
    Goodson — Gooch
    ———— Rimando ————

  3. I can do without Wondo and Beckerman! Beckerman at times does a decent job of D’ing up, but Mix and Holden can do a better job and more.

      • Except that time he set up the goal in the historic win in Mexico…

        Check the footage – it’s his pass to Shea that gets the play going. The amount of selective memory on these boards with regard to Beckerman’s contributions to the Nats is just getting absurd.

  4. Before the Guatemala game it was reported that Wondo and Gomez were paired up top in scrimmages and scored a bunch. If JK does not trust Shea or Castillo, he could put Donavon at left mid to see if those two could combine well in a real game. That also puts Donavon close to DMB, a guy he combines well with.
    Wondo haters flame away!

  5. I’d like to see a lineup more like the second one. Holden and Beckerman starting together against a team that is not as use to world speed of play is a good start to test it out. It would help the US build rhythm in the upper third of play and doing so build confidence. And finally Klinsman will get his overlapping wings, with Shea and Corona. I’d rather see Castillo start and if he if things are looking shaky bring in Shea for the second half. I’m more concerned with central defense. Gooch is looking old, and I hate to say that.
    As for Holden and Beckerman. Sometimes players are better when paired up with with other styles of play. Not sure if that makes sense but It’s kind of like they are good players when surrounded by other good players and become great players when surrounded by great players.

  6. I applaud the logic around building a cohesive unit of a team with a true #6 as we will require it during the latter stages of this cup. We will need it then. Mixx doesn’t have the tackle and I’m not convinced Holden is going to get stuck in when necessary down the line. THAT is why you need Beckerman. He has bite. That being said, I think Holden might be an option instead of Torres, but not convinced he’s 90 minutes fit. As for back passing, I think we all forget one of JK’ tenets. Play Simply. That often means playing the direction you are facing. In Beckerman’s case, he is often facing his own defense to receive the ball and transition the ball forward, if and only if you do not have heavy pressure on your back. Possess possess possess.

    • I have seen Holden make quite a few tackles in international games. I haven’t seen Beckerman do the same, at least not effectively. He’s a fine MLS player, but he isn’t quick enough.

    • Ah, so I suppose JK was just kidding from the sidelines the other day, yelling at the team throughout the first half to move the ball north not south. “Simple” does not mean “negative”. It was painful to watch Torres consistently receive a pass that split the two forwards, no one north of him for 15 yards, and STILL play the ball backward rather than turn. In Beckerman’s case, he adopted positions (behind the forwards, too close to his defenders) and angles that did not even give him the option to turn north. Holden and Mixx both did what a CM is supposed to do – found places and angles where they had multiple options, and consistently chose to turn north when the opportunities were there. I actually like both Beckerman and Torres, but let’s be honest, neither is a player who will link the back line to the front with movement and simple balls. i.e., what JK preaches.

  7. “but as a coach you can understand why he’d want his squad to gain a rhythm heading toward the group finale vs. Costa Rica and Gold Cup knockout rounds”

    – Beckerman had no rhythm vs Guatemala

  8. ———————-Donovan————————-Gomez————————–




    Please no Beckerman in the place of Diskerud. Mix is a much better player, with more experience and exposure, and things flow for our team when he’s playing along side Holden…….Beckerman is a good substite after we’ve put in 2-3 goals. Donovan and the Midfield didnt connect in the 4-2-3-1 formation until he was moved up top playing in a 4-4-2 slightly behind the striker, then of course it was goals galore. It’s perfectly understandable that Klinsman wants every player to learn the 4-2-3-1 formation so the transitioning to the A-Team for a lot of these players will be smooth but……..

    • Did you really just say a 22-year-old has more experience than a 31-year-old? I agree with a lot of the criticisms of Beckerman (though they’re definitely blown out of proportion, especially by commenters on this site), but this is the silliest one I’ve ever seen.

  9. Il take SBI’s second lineup with a quick adjustment of switching LD and Corona.

    Or just go back to the 433:

    Hopefully we are looking at 60-75% possesion we will need to spread the attack out in order to create any space in which to shoot from.

  10. No doubt Holden and mix dominated the 2nd half but one thing going unnoticed is how Guatemala pressed higher and with more urgency for most of the 1st half. After the 30th minute the us began to establish a foothold and rhythm after Guatemala visibly tired and the goal from Gomez followed soon after. In the 2nd half Guatemala completely lost their shape being down a goal and not defending as a unit as they were unable to continue to press after exerting so much energy in the 1st 30.

    I don’t remember Beckerman making too many key tackles or interceptions and would argue that he is superfluous in a game against concacaf minnows when we dominate possession. I would like to see Torres and Holden play JKs “Bradley and jones” roles against belize and cuba. Torres excels in breaking pressure in order to maintain possession and giving a more offensive/two way mid time on the ball. Beckerman playing the 6 role is only necessary against the more dangerous teams like Mexico and Costa Rica when we are less likely to dominate the possession

    • So do you wait until the qf to bring out the ” defensive specialists”? Why not rest Rimando and let Hamid have a shot since the GK might only get 2 or 3 saves? As SBI said everyone, as a collective unit, needs to build familiarity.

  11. I am a little bothered that JK is using a 4-4-2 in the Gold Cup. Here is a chance to see which players may be coming up either as depth for the World Cup or even starters [especially if certain starters now get injured]. So, shouldn’t he use the same 4-2-3-1 formation he has been using? If he were to do so, then I think I totally see LD in the same spot as Dempsey. LD is great with the ball at his feet, playing the ball on the ground. And he has proven time and again that in the run of play he would rather not send in the kind of crosses that players like Zusi [and even Shea] do.

  12. I will never understand why Beckerman ever plays. He’s maybe the 10th best option in the middle of the park. He’s very slow, his positional play is suspect, he doesn’t contribute anything to the attack, his distribution is average at best, and he isn’t mobile enough to cover enough ground to really help the defense. It just doesn’t compute.

  13. It may be just me, but I’ve never been sold on Torres – I don’t know what people see in him. Mostly every game he’s been in, he’s been sub-par at best. Pretty overrated.

  14. Donovan’s second half was a much better performance…and didn’t he drop in behind the striker playing the “Dempsey” role?

    I’d like to see Herc up top with one of the other forward options and have Donovan and Holden in the middle. Holden can play the 6 if Klinsi insists on putting one out there… and he has much more to offer in the attack as well.

  15. Klinsmann is very stubborn and will support Beckerman no matter how bad he is. This is my main complaint about JK. Mix and Holden turned the last game around. Why wouldnt they get the start this time out? It has to be frustrating for the players too. Even though they outplayed the starters, not to earn the start next time out

    • I think it’s time we moved beyond the Klinsmann is stubborn narrative. He’s taken numerous chances with players and – for the most part – has let those players sink or swim. Look at this team. You’ve got Gooch who will either be revived like DMB or dropped after this tournament. You’ve got young guys like Mix, Bruin and Mac. And, you see another example of the Coach being willing to take a chance playing hardball with a veteran for the good of the team. Sure, I can disagree with some of his choices. We all can. But Klinsmann has shown plenty of flexibility in his 2 years, and frankly, most of his chances have paid off.

      As for the midfield, I think Torres and Beckermann showed they could be solid defensively, but clearly Holden and Mix brought more upfront. The question is can they (particularly Mix) do it on the defensive end. I’m fine with Klinsmann taking it slowly with him. That said, Cap him tomorrow regardless. 🙂

  16. ————-Gomez—Donovan————–

    -a rusty Shea is still miles better than Castillo (an anybody saying Castillo is a good defender should re-evalute themselves, Castillo himself said he was not a very good defender)
    -Bedoya starts because hes better than Corona that simple. Corona is coming off a bad year and Bedoya has been playing very well against better competetion and contributing goals and @ssists
    -Beasley is good versatile option but against elite teams he shouldnt be playing LB. This would have been a great opportunity to look at some other LB options but none were called up so Beasley gets the nod and is good enough to get us through the Gold Cup

  17. ————-Gomez—Donovan————–

    -a rusty Shea is still miles better than Castillo (an anybody saying Castillo is a good defender should re-evalute themselves, Castillo himself said he was not a very good defender)
    -Bedoya starts because hes better than Corona that simple. Corona is coming off a bad year and Bedoya has been playing very well against better competetion and contributing goals and assists
    -Beasley is good versatile option but against elite teams he shouldnt be playing LB. This would have been a great opportunity to look at some other LB options but none were called up so Beasley gets the nod and is good enough to get us through the Gold Cup

  18. I would like to see:





    —–a goalkeeper who doesnt want to play sweeper—

    • Switch out Bedoya for Donovan (bring him on at the half for Gomez) and you get my vote.

      I can’t recall every seeing Torres get to play at the position he makes his living at, and while I hardly think we’ll see it now, nor do I think he fits the prototype of #6 that JK has in mind, I still think he would work very well against CONCACAF competition.

      BTW, I just can’t accept we’re going back to the clip-art crest. US Soccer, the anniversary badge is simply first rate, please keep it!

    • I would say that he would be a good sub. But, let’s not disrespect Belize by assuming we can trot out our rooks. Once we put them on the back heel, we can give our young guns a shot.

    • As a 20 year old striker who has skill but inconsistent intensity to say the least the point is to show him what he’s up against. He’s not beating out Donovan or Gomez but maybe bruin. Klinsi gets to see Macs skills up close and see if he belongs with the national program. Jack gets a look at what he could do and even if he doesn’t get a minute it’s both better training than he gets in Philly and a reason that might actually inspire him to actually play at his top level. He’s been lazy the last few games, doesn’t finish plays doesn’t get back to defend. If Mac wants to keep getting called up he’ll have to do those things. This camp could show him that.

      • Bruin hasn’t been a pro for any longer and he played against Guatemala. I just don’t see the harm in putting him up against inferior opposition.

  19. Love the depth. I think this is where the US program has grown. Not as much at the super star level. In the last cycle we did not have the depth to cover key injuries.

  20. I agree with ives for the most part, just twp changes, i would start orozco over gooch so we can distribute out of the back and then i would switch castillo and beasley, play them more naturally. Also holden will play a bit deeper than the formation shows. If we see no need for beckerman at 60-65 min bring in torres or mix

  21. Why even give Beckerman minutes ?

    The 2 objectives for the GC should be to win it and identify players who can stake claims on the WC roster.

  22. I get why JK wants a true no.6 on the field and to get some chemistry with the squad that will be playing CR and the knockout rounds, but I don’t see why he keeps calling Beckerman, who has no business playing internationally. On his best day, he’s the fifth in line for the CDM role (and I think ricardo clark may still be better). JK should be on the lookout for the next crop of CDM who will take over when JJ, MB, ME, and others are out of the picture. MLS must have something better to offer at this point.

    Also, if Holden isn’t fit to play 90, I can see not starting him. As a 60th-minute super-sub, he could bring a lot to the offense when others are tiring. I’d actually like to see if Mixx could run the show with a CDM behind him. Then bring on Holden in the second half for either Mixx or Beckerman, depending on team need and game score.

    • Then please go ahead and propose someone who is better. Or you don’t watch MLS? Absolutely no idea why so much hate for Beckerman. I guess he needs to score like Wondo did to quiet everyone down

      • Because he’s one player who is a known quantity. You get what you get, and what you get isn’t an international player. He isn’t young and he isn’t improving so I see no reason to give him minutes.

      • A known quantity. You can say that about just any other player older than 25. The guy has been Top 3 in his position in MLS over the last 5-6 years. That has to count for something.

      • Exactly.. In MLS. He’s mediocre and doesn’t deserve a spot on the team. I would honestly prefer a bag of rocks just sitting on the field in the no. 6 position as opposed to him

      • I agree. Beckerman is a monster for RSL, and it’s frustrating not to see his club form entirely translate to the USMNT.

        That being said, I do think people turn a blind eye to some of the quality work he does for the Nats. He played multiple balls up over the top during the first half against Belize to our wingers or forwards. Were most of his passes back passes or lateral passes? Yes. That’s his game. He plays for a team that plays possession-oriented soccer and waits for the right opportunity to break down the defense. So he can play balls that will unlock the defense, he’s just patient in his passing.

        People need to chill. Is he the best player at CDM for the US? No. But he is a quality option, and he’s a stay-at-home CM who does a ton of defensive work. This is valuable because it will allow another CM, like Bradley, or I’m hoping for the rest of the Gold Cup, Holden, to roam a bit more in the center of the park. This makes him a valuable player in the set-up JK wants to play. That’s why he’s on the pitch.

  23. why is Corona in every starting 11, from Ives as well as in the comments? Wouldn’t Bedoya make at least as much sense there (on the right), especially considering the form the latter’s form at the moment?

  24. You have the right 11, but the wrong formation:
    [Same back 4 and GK]

      • I like the idea of pairing Donovan with a hold up forward who checks back into the midfield. The problem is we have so few wide players and Donovan is the only one that’s a danger from both sides.

      • You mean the 2002 when he played almost exclusively forward? As opposed to 2006-present when he has mostly played right midfield? I kinda like the idea of him up top but saying he can’t play wide right anymore is asinine.

    • Gross. Can someone explain to me why Castillo belongs ahead of Beasley? If Castillo has to be on the field, why not put him in defense so his bumbling runs and touches don’t ruin our attacks.

      Beckerman is a great plug in there to break up attacks, but he does it for both teams and while that helps when we are on defense, it hurts us in the long run. When he is on the field we will have no fluidity in attack. He, Torres, and Castillo all have a habit of running into the same spaces and giving the ball away. It was a total mess and he was the biggest culprit.

      • “…bumbling runs and touches don’t ruin our attacks.”

        Brett, come on. Castillo was involved in the run up to the first goal, looked good on the ball and handed off to Torres for the pass to Herc. If Michael Bradley would have done that everyone would have been ooohin and aaaahing and saying how great he was in the build-up to the goal.

  25. Beasley is a bandaid not a long term solution… Beasley deserves games, but I don’t understand why JK isn’t looking at other left backs. Would prefer Beasley over Castillo at left mid and a new face at left back. I just dont see Beasley being the starting left back in Brazil. However, he has done a commendable job.

    • Beasley is there because we still do not have a solution there. As many have here have said, Castillo and F. Johnson are probably better deployed at midfield, furthermore Beasley did a arguably did a better job at LB than Castillo in any games you want to compare and in many of FB’s games at LB.
      The other candidates all have issues, Chandler, Johnson probably better suited to other positions and Bocanegra is slow.
      I do worry that DMB is small and can be muscled off the ball. With some support from the central defense that weakness can be minimized, but doing so can cause other problems.

  26. -Gomez-

    Corona goes in for Donovan
    Mix for Holden (bc of his knee, no need to rush it)
    McInerney for Gomez (give the kid a chance!)

    my starting 11 and subs against Belize

  27. Shea? Really? Perhaps I’m in the minority here, but I thought Shea was AWFUL against Guatemala. Bedoya’s goal, from his “cross” was actually a misplayed ball… watch it again.

    In my opinion, he makes horrible decisions with the ball and his execution is far from adequate. Rust may be a factor with regards to his technical ability, but decision-making is not necessarily something that goes hand in hand with fitness.

    I thought Castillo was bad too. Maybe I’m just a debbie downer. I would like to see Bedoya on the left and Corona on the right. Here’s my preferred starting XI:

    ————– Gomez ——— LD ————-
    Bedoya ———– Holden—————- Corona
    DMB —— Goodson —– Gooch ——– Parkhurst
    —————— Rimando —————————–

    • Shea’s cross on that goal was definitely not the exact ball he intended to play, but he also hasn’t played in a game in what, like 6 months? There’s only one way to knock off the rust… But I more or less agree about Bedoya and I’d like to see him get a shot to prove something this GC.

      • Shea’s form was pretty bad even before he got injured. Shea had one good year. Bedoya is in great form right now, 10 goals in 30 games for a midfielder is great in addition to many a**ists. Given a choice for playing time between Bedoya, Castill and Shea, I think Bedoya has earned a chance the most.

    • It may be the minority, but I agree with you, yes he’s fast and everything, but he has the touch of a brick…. Brick Shea.. till he proves otherwise

    • The ball ended up in the back of the net so it was still a dangerous ball, no? His one shot was also about a foot off of going upper 90. Yes his touch isn’t perfect but outside of Fabian Johnson and probably Beasley, there hasn’t been anyone on the left wing create so many problems for the opposing team. Need you be reminded of the two games against Mexico where they couldn’t deal with him?

      • I didn’t think Shea looked good at all against Guat, but when he’s playing well (and even when he’s not) he gives everyone problems by simply being able to take on a man and get to the corner down the left side of the field.

        In some of our bad friendlies last year and in 2011 he was killing big teams’ RBs, getting to the box and sending in dangerous balls when nothing else was going for us.

    • No Shea was not awful, but he was in a game were what he can do (run up the left and cross the ball) was working. The problem I have with Shea is that if he cannot beat his man, he is a turnover machine. I think this is mostly because I have yet to see him in a game, in which when he cannot beat his defender or faces two good defenders, that he has an idea of what else to try, so he just keeps doing what isn’t working .
      It is about making intelligent soccer decisions, and while I don’t know what the Stoke brain trust thought of Shea’s decision-making, I can guess.

      • maybe this means nothing, but Shea was given the #11 shirt by Stoke this season. I know it’s just a number, but going from #22 to #11 has to mean something, right? Ha, maybe I’m reading too much into it but I have a feeling Mark Hughes is going to give Brek every chance to prove himself.

  28. I think the 4-4-2 is what worked better for us…we had Bruin and Wondo up top in the 2nd half…I think Joe Corona is better in the middle, but so was Donovan when he was pushed higher… a Castillo—-Holden—-Corona—Bedoya with Donovan and Herc up top might be better….I don’t think Shea, Holden are 90 mins players just yet….but then again like you said this is only Belize. but with no true no. 6, you’re also right JK might just insert Beckerman and let them get use to playing together, for the later games.

  29. No need for Beckerman against a Belize side that won’t have much possesion. I know we won’t see this lineup but I’m interested in seeing Torres and Holden work together.

    If the field seems too narrow and Klinsmann wants Donovan to play up top, this lineup could be an alternative:

  30. Would like to see Bedoya start over Castillo. I get the reason for starting Beckerman but Holden and Diskerkud looked really good together against Guatemala. I would prefered Mixx over Beckerman.

  31. There’s absolutely noooo need for beckerman against the likes of Belize or Cuba. In fact beckerman shouldn’t play period unless our midfield is getting over run and we need him to I guess add stability? I dunno what else we’d use him for. He’s not International quality and shouldn’t be in the picture going for.

    • forward* also if we do start him and it ends up like the first half of the Guatemala game and we have to put mix in that’s totally a waste of a sub. He should be on the field to begin with.

    • What is “international quality”?!?! Would he be a plyer that France or Portugal would think about? Ansolutely not!! Can he hold his own against any CONCACAF nation? Yes! Would he start for any CONCACAF nation except Mexico? Yes!

      • You know, a player with one of pace, technical ability, positional understanding, strength in the tackle, distributive acumen, or creativity. None of which Beckerman possesses.

      • But he will, so he must possess some of them, at least according to the coach (and to me) 🙂

      • It’s a good thing random posters aren’t in the habit of making blanket statements. Moronic blanket statements at that.

      • A very well thought out and pointed response. But yes, there is clearly a one to one relationship between frequency of posting and insightful commentary. However, it works exactly the opposite from what you think.

  32. Castillo absolutely does not belong in this lineup. He was by far the worst player on the field for the US and brings nothing to the midfield. Holden should definitely start over Torres and Beckerman can start but for me gets a quick hook for Mix if the offense sputters with Kyle in there.

    • He has been the worst player in almost every game he has ever played for the USMNT but that only seems to encourage Klinsmann to play him more. If he had only been great like Zach Loyd’s one game against Chile then we would never hear from him again.

      • I’m plugging for Zach because he can play both left back and left midfield, which behold Castillo plays. He also had a fantastic debut for the USMNT (do some research) where as Castillo had a horrific debut and has not gotten any better. Klinsmann is so determined to integrate Liga MX players that he could care less if they have not talent. But go on and explain your troll comment, please. That’s me being nice by the way.

  33. I’m hoping that Holden starts all 6 (hopefully) Gold Cup matches and plays well like he did the other night – to the point where JK has to give him serious consideration for a starting spot on the A team. I would love to see a Bradley/Holden central midfield in Brazil next summer…

    • Bradley Jones is the starting central midfielders for next summer

      i would like to see Holden on the right of dempsey in a 4-2-3-1

      • Bradley and jones are currently the most in form dms in the pool. Why doesn’t Holden have a chance there? Obviously were jumping the fun but with a strong gold cup and if his fitness is up to par he is no worse than jones and deserves a shot. I also still think Cameron and Bradley is a better combo than Bradley and jones. They fit together and don’t have any confusion over their roles. Its about finding the best partnership and Holden or Cameron might fit better with Bradley than jones does.

      • Yep. I also would like to see Klinsmann try a Jones-Cameron combo. that might even be better a better partnership.

      • Jones most likely will not see the USMNT team often after the 2014 World Cup. As for who starts then, it will likely be two of Bradley, Jones, Cameron, Torres, Holden, Beckerman or Edu. Which two? No one knows. Injury will be an issue, all these guys are unafraid to challenge for the ball and the role each plays for his team puts each of them in spots they can be injured. I would be very surprised if at least two weren’t recovering from injuries that compromised their effectiveness. (The last WC, Torres, while he was not disabled, was carrying an ankle injury that reduced his effectiveness, and Holden effectiveness was not at its best since it was only about 4 months after deJong broke his leg)

      • +100

        This is where my head is for Brazil right now, knowing full well the odds are someone here will be hurt, someone will establish themselves by next summer and that I don’t know crap.

        –Johnson —Besler—-Gonzalez—Cherundolo–

      • You kind of point out the problem with Jones in this lineup. When he comes into the USMNT, he wants to be the one going forward forcing Bradley to stay back. Much like a center back pair I think we need to look at whose skills compliment each other best rather then just putting in the best two players.

      • Holden isn’t a winger any longer. His knees will prevent him from running as fast as he could previously. Why move him out wide when he’s 75% useful, especially with Zusi owning that spot, when he crushes it in the center.

        Bradley and Jones are number one now, but there are injuries and lack of form to contend with.

        I’ve campaigned for Mix since the end of 2011. Still think he makes it to the World Cup.

      • Good point. Holden & Mix may end up being important subs or card-accumulation-replacement-starters in Brazil.

      • i just feels that when zusi doesnt have the ball in an advancing position or is backtracking, he seems uncomfortable and turns it over. I do credit him for how he also comes back to defend.

    • +1. My ideal starting 11 (10 – no idea about RB… Lichaj?) come Brasil:

      Shea. Stu. LD
      FJ. Cam – Besler. ??

  34. ANYBODY but Torres. He is so brutal. How does he not get sent off or even cautioned with all of those late, rash challenges? Ugh he makes me cringe when he is around the ball.

    • I don’t disagree entirely but his service is pretty damn good. Don’t forget he almost scored in a crucial world cup game from a free kick. His delicate chip to Corona was well-played against Guat. Not sure I understand the complete lack of faith.

      • I’ll give him credit that he does make nice plays from time to time and is generally solid on the ball; my complete lack of faith has more to do with his being such a liability (IMO). I feel like his challenges are worthy of cautions and even send-offs…. I counted at least 3 late, unneeded challenges in the Guatemala game (I guessed he would be called for at least 4, which I’m confident would have been true had he played the second half).

        I’m a big Holden fan so would much rather see him, but it doesn’t fuel my disdain for Torres.

      • Disdain for Torres? He has the best touch on the squad. Who else can take 3-4 touches on the ball and not loose possession? We need people who are solid on the ball, and we don’t have too many of those.

      • 3-4 touches is his problem. Klinsi wants the balled knocked around with pace to break down defences that bunker. Torres may not lose posession (debatable) but the game slows to a crawl when he is in posession. The difference between the 2 halves vs Guatemala was that Mix and Holden demanded the ball, received it/played it quickly thus making the defenses work to maintain their shape (and causing more opportunities to break them down).

      • I’m not sure any team needs a guy who takes that many touches. It slows the attack and makes any attempt to play forward too late to find an open man so that any p@ss must be nearly perfect to connect.. That said, yes Torres does not give the ball up while he has it.
        The criticism I have is that he is often too slow to find teammates and that has led to the need for him to be able to hold possession and then make a nearly perfect p@ss. When it works it looks great, but I think more often it kills the attack.

      • Its quite amazing how tunes change so quickly. I recall 1-2 years ago, commenters on SBI were clammoring for Torres to play as much as possible. He was billed as the next central midfield messiah, more creative than Bradley, a better passer than Donovan, and bigger threat to defenses than Dempsey. Now however, people want him to go the way of Adu…lost in a pasture of has-been talent.

        Note: I’m not disagreeing with the current sentiment. I think he’s ‘ehh’ at best. But my how our board can be fickle.

      • 2-3 years ago the players he was contending with were Recardo Clark & Beckerman. That more than anything explains why there was so much love given to Torres. Now the conversation is between Beckerman, Holden, & Mixx.
        I’d take Torres over Beckerman….but Holden & Mixx over Torres.

      • Beckerman didn’t even make the 2010 World Cup team. Edu, Torres, Holden and Clark were all selected to that squad. It was between those four to partner with MB.

        Interesting that you would take Mix over Torres based on one game.

      • I for one am a fan of Torres. I’ll be the first to admit that he hasn’t had many “great” performances for the USMNT. However, most of his appearances have been out of position. He is not an attacking mid, left mid, or left back. He brings excellent vision and technical and tactical ability. He’s one of the few players on the team who is constantly looking to switch the point of attack. His calmness on the ball also makes him an excellent outlet.

        I’d like to see him paired with more of a two way midfielder like Holden. Torres likes to receive the ball deep and distribute. Pairing him with Beckerman where Torres’ role becomes creator does not play to his strengths.

        Maybe Torres is too much of a niche player to excel with the USMNT. I’d like to see him get a shot with Holden before he’s completely written off.

      • +1 And, pleez, let’s not forget a nice assist pass from Torres for Herc’s opening goal against Guatemala.

      • I agree with your thoughts on Torres playing with a two way CM. Playing him with a Beckerman type who constantly plays back or side passes leaves too much pressure on Torres to create. It didn’t work in the world cup game in Slovenia and it won’t work now.

        However the reality is, against teams outside CONCACAF that will outpossess us, more steel is needed in the midfield. This is where playing Torres in the lineup will hurt us.

    • This is an astute observation. Torres presses a bit trying to impress. He desperately wants to represent his country at the World Cup and he knows that chances are few and far between.

      He had some bad passes, but I think he’s a guy we really need to consider because he’s one of the few who shows up in the right places at the right times and has the quality to make the pass that breaks the defense.

      • Don’t disagree. The problem is that he is a deep lying midfielder who likes to be on the ball. The problem is that a player roaming in that part of the field generally has significant defensive responsibilities (ball winning, shielding the back 4, etc). These are things that Torres struggles greatly with. I don’t think he is a bad player…just think he is a bad fit for USMNT IMO.

  35. —–Gomez—Donovan—–

    • If he plays… which you really think he would vs. Belize. If game is in control, Mix hasn’t played and JK doesn’t bring him in late for this very reason, I’ll be getting grumpy at a random soccer bar in Boston.

  36. I really hope Mix will get the nod. He could be a big factor for the future MNT, so early experience is invaluable.

    • “I know plenty of fans want Diskerud to start, and plenty of U.S. fans don’t rate Beckerman as a starter” -Ives
      “I would like to see Mixx play over Beckerman” -first comment

      This one made me laugh…let’s see if we can’t raise the bar a little higher guys.

      • And sometimes he controls the midfield and doesn’t turn the ball over…. Which can’t be said by many usmnt members

      • and some times he makes 10 backwards passes for every 1 forward… nice he’s not giving it away I suppose.

      • Beckerman’s ceiling is so low…at his best, he’s mediocre. Better to start someone with some high-end potential and let them develop. In what world does Beckerman see the pitch in Brazil? At very least, there are 4 center midfielders firmly ahead of him (Bradley, Jones, Cameron, and Holden). I just don’t see a scenario when he would play. So why not give another guy a chance?

      • You’re kidding, right Francois? Beckerman’s passing breakdown, from simply viewing would be something like:
        70% backwards
        10% forwards
        20% to the other team

        That’s obviously not exact, but it can’t be that far off…

      • How soon we forget. Remember when the US beat Mexico in Mexico for the first time? He played flawlessly. Don’t be such a hater.

      • Fair enough. Given our midfield options, I don’t see him as a realistic roster option next summer, but I can agree with the Mexico comment.
        And, for the record, I’m generally far from an all-around ‘hater,’ I just find our team plays better w/o Beckerman (sans your example).

      • Beckerman played well in the hole against Mexico, but truthfully he didn’t create much.

        As well, if you watch min 35 onward vs Guatemala things opened up once Torres began to play furthest back and started receiving/distributing. That’s when the play became cohesive.

      • To R Benjamin’s comments: he certainly was involved in the goals. Your memory is wrong. He was the pass before the assist on the first goal. And was involved on the buildup of the second. Also, no one is arguing he should be going to Brazil.

      • To jrp if you were referring to beckerman being the pass before the assist on the first goal against Guatemala you would be wrong. It went Torres Beasley Castillo Torres Gomez goal.

      • But it was relevant to this game in that it related to breaking down a bunkering defense. That’s something which Mixx is better at than Beckerman. Against Costa Rica I’d rather see Beckerman, against Belize, Mixx is actually a better choice. I rate the two similarly in terms of their overall level but they are quite different players.

      • I agree with the general gist of this argument. It doesn’t have to always be “this guy” over “that one.” When we have multiple solid options with different strengths, it would be wise to consider the opponent and their tendencies.

        Belize would seem the perfect game to start two attacking centermids to see how well they work. For my part, you have to start Beckerman against the stronger teams, especially with two centerbacks that are lacking in speed. In fact, I worry a little about what may happen if Beckerman is injured or needs subbed against, say, Mexico or Panama. Is Holden fit enough to go 90? Can Torres protect the back four as a #6? Not so sure about either of those.

      • You had me going until you said we need beckerman because our other CM lack in speed. I didn’t know beckerman had any speed.

      • Wy would he mention the center backs lacking speed if he wasn’t implying that Beckerman has speed?

    • I am from Belize and I don’t think it really much matters who they start so I am sincerely hoping that they start their bench to give us a fighting chance. They may be in over their heads in this game. It’s not that Belize is a bad team because they held Costa Rica to one goal in qualifying rounds and they held teams to the lowest goals scored in that tournament so they earned the right to be there. However this is their first appearance and they are bound to be pretty nervous. That being said GO BELIZE.

      • I’ve been to Belize twice, great country. That said I hope they win the final two games.

      • I’ve never been to Belize, but would love to go but for a totally different sport, flyfishing!

    • Agreed. Mix and Holden together showed how to play defensively without tackles: it’s called possession and smart interceptions. Both also tackled when need-be. I hope Klinsi recognizes that together they unlocked teams and helped each other out. The effort wasn’t individual. Beckerman, as the defensive anchor just gets in the way. He doesn’t move, which is beneficial against some times, but when we’re going up against a bus parked team, he only exasperates the busy midfield.

      We need to go guns blazing. I’d also question Klinsi if Shea doesn’t start. Why keep him from camp with his club, one that he really needs, if he’s going to sit on the bench?

      My FIFA 13 Gold Cup team:


      The backline picks itself – for the moment.

      • I don’t like Gomez still playing for the US. I just don’t see why people think he’s a must start. Its time to try to find his replacement

      • Really? He works tirelessly and creates chances. Good set piece delivery. Can finish with his feet or his head. Smart, veteran presence. He could arguably start in our A team, let alone the B + team.

      • Altidore?? Rory criticising without give a solution is actually called whining. Who do you think should take his place from the call us? Wondo? Bruin? Maybe they should have brought in Boyd?

      • “I’d also question Klinsi if Shea doesn’t start. Why keep him from camp with his club, one that he really needs, if he’s going to sit on the bench?”

        I fully agree–get him lots of minutes or it was a simple waste of manager goodwill.

      • Josh D, La Garincha agrees completely with the starting six you picked.
        furthermore Mix is a good all around midfielder with quality attacking ability and decent pace.
        He does appear to work well with Holden and the forwards, also ditto for the D.

      • Remember, the Guatemalan defense was unlocked by Gomez’s goal at the end of the first half. They were not bunkering in the second half. Mix and Holden had the benefit of entering a much more wide open game. Let’s hold off on anointing players as starters based on one game (that includes Cameron).

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