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Who should the USMNT start vs. Panama?

USMNTvsBelize (JaneGPhotography)


Decisions, decisions.

Jurgen Klinsmann has several of them to make and many of them are difficult ones. That may sound like a problem, but in the case of Klinsmann and his wealth of U.S. Men’s National Team lineup options, it really isn’t.

Klinsmann has multiple options to choose from at several key positions when he settles on his lineup for the CONCACAF Gold Cup Final against Panama.

Does he deploy Joe Corona on the right wing, or give Alejandro Bedoya another run? Does he stick with Eddie Johnson as Landon Donovan’s strike partner, or does he bring back Chris Wondolowski? Does he stick with Stuart Holden as Kyle Beckerman’s central midfield partner, or does he go with Mix Diskerud?

Then there is arguably the toughest decision Klinsmann has to make. Does he stick with Clarence Goodson at centerback, who has been having a very strong Gold Cup, or does he go with Omar Gonzalez, who has been a regular starting centerback on the full U.S. team?

So who will Klinsmann turn to against a strong Panama side? Here is the projected starting lineup we see taking the field for the U.S. team on Sunday:


—————Eddie Johnson————Landon Donovan—————

Jose Torres—————–Stuart Holden——————Joe Corona

——————————-Kyle Beckerman—————————–

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

—————-Matt Besler——————-Clarence Goodson———

——————————–Nick Rimando——————————-

Some thoughts on the lineup:

The centerback question is a big one, but it won’t really be a big surprise if Klinsmann sticks with the Goodson-Besler combo. Goodson has enjoyed an outstanding Gold Cup, and really has boosted his stick in the full national team pecking order. What is interesting about Gonzalez’s inclusion in the squad is that it wasn’t the original plan for Klinsmann, who had planned to bring in Graham Zusi. If Klinsmann intended on giving Goodson the Gold Cup to prove himself as a top centerback option, then it would make sense that he keeps him in the lineup for the final.

Why Johnson over Wondolowski? Johnson’s speed offers a better threat against Panama’s centerbacks. Roman Torres is a physical beast who can dominate, but he and centerback partner Roberto Chen will have a hard time dealing with Johnson and Landon Donovan’s mobility.

Alejandro Bedoya had an outstanding match in the semifinal win vs. Honduras. So why isn’t he projected to start in the final? Joe Corona has had an excellent tournament and has played well enough to earn the nod in the final. Bedoya is an intriguing option for the pressure he could put on Panama left back Carlos Rodriguez, but Corona’s inclusion can help the U.S. control the possession battle, which could be key to dominating the game.

Bedoya very well could still wind up starting in another role, with left wing a viable option. We have Jose Torres lifted because of his excellent left foot and ability to combine passes in the attack, but if Klinsmann decides he wants some speed on the wing and someone to pressure Panamanian right back Leonel Parris, Bedoya could be that man.

Stuart Holden had a steady game in the semifinal win vs. Honduras and should get the nod over Diskerud, who has shown a good ability to come off the bench and make an impact.

Michael Parkhurst should get the nod at right back again, and what we should consider is the very real possibility that Klinsmann is grooming him to start in the September qualifiers. With Cherundolo sidelined by surgery, and Tim Chandler’s national team future an on-going question mark, having Parkhurst get a good run of games can only help boost his confidence and familiarize him with the rest of the team.

So who would the fans start if given the chance? Here is the group I see making up the USMNT Fan XI:

—————Eddie Johnson————–Landon Donovan—————

Alejandro Bedoya—Stuart Holden—-Mix Diskerud——Joe Corona

DaMarcus Beasley—————————————–Michael Orozco

—————-Matt Besler——————-Clarence Goodson———-

——————————–Nick Rimando——————————-


What starting lineup would I go with? I would go with our projected XI, which makes the most sense, though I would be very intrigued to see the Fan XI in action.

What do you think of our projected starting lineup? Think it’s strong enough to beat Mexico? What changes would you make? Would you rather see the Fan XI? Who are you really hoping gets a start on Sunday?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Rather than guessing “who would the fans start if given the chance,” why not do an online poll for each position, similar to what you do for the Man of the Match?

    • P.S. Also, have seen software on another Web site that allows users to drag photos of players on the roster to a starting slot on a formation and keeps a tally of who gets most votes for each position.

  2. It’s become very challenging to predict JK’s thoughts on lineups, but I’m very confident his selections will be effective. But here goes…
    – I see JK continuing the trend of using rested players. Our depth will be an advantage against Panama, who had a tough match against Mexico.
    – He subbed Torres in addition to Beckerman and Donovan. I see all three starting the game. I’d think Bedoya can be the 2nd half sub on the wing.
    – EJ starts up top. He’s just more dangerous and harder for Panama to cover than Wondo.
    – I favor Mixx over Holden to start. He’s rested and works well with Beckerman.
    – No, Parkhurst is not an offensive threat, but has been solid on defense at RB. Hope he continues the good form in the WCQs.
    – For a final against your toughest opponent in the GC, go with your best CB pairing: Gonzales & Besler.

    With Mexico out, let’s hope we get a set of competent and capable officiating crew, hopefully from that country.

  3. ______________EJ_________________

    • With the players in camp (not named Gonzales) this is the best lineup we can put on the field. For some reason JK is playing the 4-4-2 though.

  4. —————Eddie Johnson————Landon Donovan—————

    Jose Torres—————–Mix Diskerud——————Joe Corona

    ——————————-Kyle Beckerman—————————–

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

    —————-Matt Besler——————-Clarence Goodson———

    ——————————–Nick Rimando——————————-

    • Quite likely what we’ll see, and an intimidating starting 11 that will get the job done.

      I think the only difference to Ives’ is Mix is in instead of Holden.

  5. Did they announce whether Klinsmann will be able to be on the bench for the US vs Panama final? Or does he have to miss the game?

  6. Very proud of Kyle Beckerman….he has persevered and shown why he belongs in the USMNT picture….am a big RSL fan and have met and talked to Kyle many times and he is an even better person….great with my daughter as far as treating like she matters to him and always gracious signing autographs and taking pictures….

    Very happy for DredBecks….could not happen to a better guy….:)

  7. To some extent, all these “Whoa, Beckerman/Donovan/Torres must be awesome because there was a big drop-off when they came off in the Honduras game” posts are overblown. All the subs were bad for the first 5-10 minutes after coming on because they had to adjust to the horrible field conditions. That certainly effected the team late in the game, but I felt like the US took back control of possession for the last 10 minutes or so.

    • Clearly the level of play is going to drop when you sub Donovan for Wondo. Yes, Donovan is a much better player and complements EJ better. Beckerman coming off had an effect, but you are right, it wasn’t insanely huge like some would lead you to believe. The Shea for Torres swap was neutral. Both had equally poor performances.

      • Yeah, maybe Donovan doesn’t count so much because he has been awesome, but you know what I’m trying to get at.

      • Torres did not have a bad game… thats laughable. Whenever the USA has any stretch of possession, Torres is part of it. He is one of the most talented players on the team. He has not had a bad game (maybe one, but who hasn’t other than Donovan) and rarely loses the ball. His p@sses are the most dangerous (consistently) out of anyone on the team. It just sucks he hasn’t scored. People just hate on him for no reason other than to hate on him in this Gold Cup (like many other players). I challenge you to go back through the game and watch him play. His first touch is better than most on the team. He dribbles thru players. His p@sses lead to more chances than most others. And Honduras recognized this which is why he was fouled so much. No other player was fouled as much as Torres because Torres looked most dangerous in the middle of the field. If he would only tone down the whining…

      • There is no question Torres has skill. The problem with him is he takes 3-5 touches nearly every time he gets the ball. That results in him being fouled and in his rather poor record of making good service from the run of play. It also results in slowing the US attack. Until he learns to play more quickly, he will struggle in games as the opponents apply heavy pressure to disposses him. Because he is slow to see teammates, he ends up trying to make connections that are being closed off. The result is he loses the ball or he turns around and goes backward.

      • Challenge accepted and your analysis is far off base. You clearly have not been watching USMNT soccer. He is pretty good in combination play but he has NOT executed on his through balls and crossing. He does not dribble through guys like ever. He most certainly is one of the most dangerous players on the field. Honduras fouled everyone that game. I don’t hate on him for no reason. He just hasn’t performed well this tournament or any other game that actually matters.

  8. I think Bedoya had a great game, but I have to go with Ives: Torres will start on the left wing. Not because he has been better, but Klinsmann seems to rate him highly.

  9. Just from my perception of the games to this point my starting lineup the same as Ives projected, just swap Torres for Bedoya. I can’t stand Beckerman when we play WC qualifiers or against strong oppoenents, but he has been the best player in the middle of the midfield throughout this entire tournament.

    —————Eddie Johnson————Landon Donovan—————

    Alejandro Bedoya———Stuart Holden——————Joe Corona

    ——————————-Kyle Beckerman—————————–

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

    —————-Matt Besler——————-Clarence Goodson———

    ——————————–Nick Rimando——————————-

  10. Anyone who thinks Holden has had a quiet tournament, or that Mixx has outplayed him, just hasn’t paid attention to the stats.

    He plays higher up the field than Mixx, combines all the way into the box, the only player who takes shots from 18-25 yards (though he needs serious work on his aim).

    As a link player he completes more p@sses, has a higher percentage completion, and puts the ball into more dangerous areas. When he is on the field he spends over half his time in the same general space LD checks back to, which takes some of the burden off LD to provide link play. LD then spends more time facing toward goal, or at the 18, executing quick combos going forward. When Holden is in, LD has a higher percent of p@sses in a positive direction rather than square. When Holden is in, LD also floats to other spaces where he can help, particularly left corner to make up for the lack of a true LM (Torres isn’t). That could be important in a game where the opponent might pin Beasley back deeper with defensive duties.

    Holden and LD complement each other extremely well. The important pairing to consider here isn’t the one with Beckerman, it is the one with LD.

    Mixx is an excellent player who has done well in his own right. But in an attack-minded role Holden is just more effective. If we needed two DMs I would feel differently and want Mixx with Beckerman.

    • Just a quick question: If you are going to use stats in your argument, shouldn’t you provide some of said stats instead of simply claiming that they are higher with Holden as opposed to Mix?

      Just saying.

      • Oh I think Holden has played better in the Attacking Midfielder role, and this is coming from a Mix Fanboy. I just had a problem with the “stats” portion of the argument.

    • Very Theshinguardian-esque analysis… MatthewFS, is that you? No offense Ives, your site is tops, as well!

    • I agree that Holden has probably had a stronger tournament, but to respond to one specific point, Mix (one x, please) is also a threat to shoot from distance.

      • You are correct, Mix (1.70) and Holden (1.37) are both head and shoulders above the rest in shots from distance per 90 minutes for the Guatemala friendly through the GC. My bad.

    • Some head-scratching observations here… Diskerud has very little bite to his game, but is creative going forward. He is not a D-mid, and is only trying to prove to JK that he can play box to box. Holden is a box to box player, and can be a destroyer or a creative attacking mid, which makes him potentially more valuable. That said, Diskerud has played just a bit better than Holden overall in this tournament.

      What I think we’re all hoping is that Holden has a great season for Bolton and becomes a guy who can replace the inconsistent Jones and play alongside bradley.

    • Just an observation. You claim that Holden plays further forward than Diskerud. I didn’t think that was accurate and after looking at some heat maps, it’s just not true.

      I agree however that their games are a bit different but I don’t necessarily see that Holden combines better with LD.

  11. YAH Boy! IT game tyme, 4-0 USA!

    ——-E Jonson———-toares———-

  12. The only certainty in predicting this game’s starting lineup is there is no more surprises based on field conditions or resting players or minor knocks/injuries… What we will see is JKs best 11 as our coach. So far, every move he’s made this tourney has looked strong.
    Based on what we’ve seen him do, I’m guessing no changes to the back line, EJ & LD up top, & Beckerman is 100%.
    The questions are Stu/Mix- and does Bedoya earn a start over either Corona or Jose.

    I’m good with whoever he picks…… period

    • Aside from Shea, to a lesser extent Torres, and maybe Onyewu, nearly every player has performed better than was expected before the tournament began. (Holden was expected to do so well, you can write those expectations off as simple wishful thinking, but he has performed well enough.) Often coaches are left with few choices when only a few players do well, that is not the case this time and whether you prefer EJ to Wondo, or Mix to Stu, or Goodson to Gonzales, or Corona to Bedoya, or Besler to Orozco, it is hard to say which would perform better on any given day. JK will have to make those decisions, as well as what to do about LM. It is great that he is choosing between players who have done well instead of being in the position of having to decide which player is the least bad.

  13. I don’t understand the need to put in a fan XI. Lots of fans have differing views of the team. Some follow the team or certain players more closely than others.To be honest, it feels more like a shot towards SBI posters who are more knowledgeable than the average fan, who has a knee-jerk reaction after every good or bad performance.

  14. id go mix over holden. holden has been completely pedestrian. mix has been slightly better than that.

    anyone who thinks either these guys are playing at a high level given the competition really need to take off their diskerolden goggles – neither has made a compelling case to crack A team lineup

    • Thank you for some perspective. Both have been serviceable, and I agree Mixx has had more of an impact, but neither are close (yet) to cracking the starting XI for the A team.

      There’s a reason LD is at another level – he belongs with the first team. Aside from him, only Goodson has made a case to start in qualifiers.

    • One step at a time. Agreed that neither Holden nor Diskerud are playing well enough to unseat Bradley. And since Bradley isn’t a 6 in Klinsmann’s mind, it’s really about replacing Jones. They aren’t there yet either. But, they deserve to be in the 23, replacing Kljestan & Williams.

      • Kljestan & Williams shouldn’t be even in the 23 either. Jones, Cameron, and Edu are better than all 4 of the previously mentioned. Best bet Holden and Mixx have is the back up to Bradley.

      • “But, they deserve to be in the 23, replacing Kljestan & Williams.”

        Mmm – that is an opinion that would be hard to objectively defend

        after bradley and jones could make cases for and against a bunch of guys:
        – kljestan
        – edu
        – cameron
        – diskerud
        – williams
        – holden
        – beckerman
        – torres

        personally, thats how i would rank them and id take the top 3 if i were making a 23-man roster today

        one piece of objective analysis:
        kljestan, who has played a deep-lying role in a superior league has far more offensive production (9 goals / 13 assists) than diskerud (virtually no production in norway – a few goals, few assists) over the last couple of years. kind of blows the roof off the idea that diskerud has the potential to offer something that we dont already have.

        and again, holden has, at best, only been equal to diskerud

        edu is best pure DM who actually plays that position

        cameron is a wild card (we’ll see where he plays this year)

    • Mix is a lot better. Over all I can say that I have enjoyed the Gold Cup games. They were much more fluid than the Hex games. There is something really pedestrian about the A team, and I presume that’s why Klinsmann is looking at all the players he has invited for the Gold Cup. The US team has a long way to go before the World Cup next year.

      I just watched the recent US/Panama play-off game, and I found that that game was without the necessary speed. That may be because Donovan was not in there–Eddie Johnson was there, and he did not impress me then–and nobody felt they had to prove anything. I don’t see this US B team playing as slow as that next Sunday.

      • No, the reason Klinsmann is using a B teamn is the same reason Bradley did 4 years ago, but Bradley had even more reason due to the Confed Cup. There is no way players can be away from their club teams for both qualifiers and GC when FIFA does not demand it for the GC. Even MLS teams have been reluctant to release players for both. That said, JK and Bradley before him has used this tournament to evaluate players in a format that is generally tougher than they see every week with their clubs.

  15. If Bedoya starts over Torres, which I favor, it might be better to put Corona at LM and Bedoya at RM. Corona likes to pinch in to the middle anyway, which would put the ball on his favored right foot when he does so. On the other hand, Bedoya likes to get chalk on his boots and take it to the end line. At RM, he would be in a better position to cross with his favored right foot. Also, putting the guy who pinches in on the left gives space for Bease to attack, and I like him coming forward more than Parkhurst.

  16. Putting in Holden and Diskerud together would be a huge mistake. I pretty much agree with your line-up for this game. I am not really sure about Eddie Johnson for the whole game. Panama has some pretty agile defenders who can outrun and outjump Johnson. If Johnson can’t score, Wondo should be put in at halftime, kind of as a stealth substitute. Even Landon Donovan’s speed is not any greater than the Panamanian opponents’. I for one might put in Alan Gordon to discombobulate the offense, not as a starter but as a halftime substitute if things don’t go well.

  17. @SBI: Rather guessing “who would the fans start if given the chance,” why not do an online poll for each position, similar to what you do for the Man of the Match? Because quite frankly, I do not believe a majority of fans want to see Alejandro Bedoya starting at left wing. Speaking for myself, I am hoping Brek Shea gets the nod 🙂

    Also, I have seen software on another Web site that has a a soccer field with blank boxes and users can drag photos any of the players on the roster to a starting slot and keeps a tally of who gets most votes for each position.

  18. I am a little of topic but…

    Does anyone else see in Sept. a combo of Altidore and Eddie Johnson up top to see if they can find some of the magic we had when Charlie Davies was healthy?

    • It’s a great thought, but who would make way for EJ up top? You also have LD, who will most likely be a starter by then. As Bradley and Jones are firmly entrenched in the middle, that means you have 4 spots for Altidore (lock), Dempsey (lock), Zusi, Donovan, EJ, and FJ. If you put EJ up top, you have to slide Dempsey further back, clogging the middle and stripping us of some wing play.

      Its not a bad thought for a late game sub, but I don’t see the starting happening.

      • I don’t see Bradley firmly entrenched. There is no such thing as “If he’s always been there, he must always be there.” He may be a political must. But I prefer Beckerman because he is a better team player. Bradley may be good in attack; but he leaves the door open to an as yet somewhat so-so defense. We’ll see how he plays against the all-star team. They are going to play against one another.

      • If you truly would play Beckerman ahead of Bradley — well, I just don’t know what to say. Against quality competition, Bradley is arguably the team’s most important player, while Beckerman invariably struggles.

      • Against quality competition, Bradley is a lock.

        Most important? Well that is a game to game thing imho. More often than not it’s Dempsey carrying the A team through qualifying, though Jozy got on a good run.

        With Donovan back in the A team mix,. Bradley is still an A team lock but most important? Like I said, maybe some games, and not others.

      • dude…Beckerman over Bradley? come on man…

        and how is he a better team player? Bradley is the perfect example of a team player.

    • Based on recent comments, the true fan XI:

      Gomez —— Wondo —— Altidore —— Johnson

      Donovan —– Dempsey —— Zusi —— Corona




  19. Maybe this isn’t the proper thread, but here you go….

    I’m not trying to be Debbie Downer here, but let’s slow our roll with our excitement over the US’ dominance in this tournament. Yes, we have played well, and yes, we have a deeper team, BUT, we are not exactly playing world powers.

    Believe me, I’m enjoying the fluidity of our attack as much as the next guy, but can we do that against teams in the World Cup. THAT is the question. We are on our way, but we are playing against the likes of Roy Miller and I saw some chubby Salvadoreans on the pitch.

    That said, Go USA!!!

    • Agreed, but I don’t think too many people are drinking the kool-aid. We will know more when the US schedule gets tougher.

      • Hope not. Expectations are like buzzes. When they’re too high… the crash is ugly.

        The Bosnia game will be interesting…

      • so should this Panama game with Blas back in the lineup. this certainly should be the best team we’ve played in this GC, and remember it took a counter attack and perfect ball to set up the winner vs. Costa Rica right after Johnson had to save the game from the Costa Rican potential game winner.

        funny call on buzzes…good call

      • The Bosnia game is still just a friendly though. Many of our players will basically be in preseason. You can draw about as much from that game as you can from any of these Gold Cup games. They are just experiments to see how individuals play and how they play within our system. We can lose 3-0 and learn a great deal more about our team than a 1-1 draw sometimes. The Costa Rica/Mexico qualifiers coming up are the real measuring stick.

      • But, the quality will still be there.

        Look, the game against Belgium was practically after the season was done but the quality of the opponent was still there and and in some cases the lack of quality was there for us (mostly our backline)

        I didn’t say the game would be telling, it will be interesting.

    • We can’t choose our opponents. Unfortunately there aren’t exactly any world powers in CONCACAF. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but for now I think the rest of us are happy to dismantle the traditional CONCACAF opponents. There’s always at least one comment like this.

      • I agree it’s nice to see us dismantle these teams, but, again, these are B teams (for the most part). And, the USMNT is fortunate to be deeper than most.

        Again, I’m not “that guy” when it comes to these comments.

        Just trying to keep things in perspective.

      • “We can’t choose our opponents. Unfortunately there aren’t exactly any world powers in CONCACAF. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it, but for now I think the rest of us are happy to dismantle the traditional CONCACAF opponents.”

        Always at least one comment like THIS!

    • I think the big difference, though, is that previous editions of this tournament had us barely getting by the competition. We’d handily beat the Cubas and Belizes and then struggle against hex-level opponents. We were considered a power, because we managed to win most of the time despite those struggles.

      What’s different this year is that most of our “struggles” this year have been minor blips in a game we completely dominated and eventually won handily, despite a short (2 to 15 minutes) period of uncertainty. The only game that bore any resemblance to previous editions was the Costa Rica game. That’s an improvement.

      Does it mean we’ll walk over Germany, Spain, Brazil, or any of those other big boys? Of course not. But, for us to make it to being one of those guys, we need to walk all over the little guys, the way they do. I, for one, am glad to see a little of that swagger that goes with just flat being the better team, rather than the complacency we’ve had in previous matches (that ugly Canada game).

      • it depends on the competition Gold Cup to Gold Cup I think, and also who we send to represent…LD has been the cla$$ of the tournament for example against a B squad laden field (not Panama in the final though). But this team looks great! This team has been fun to watch develop, now they’re shifting formations and tactics in game and not confusing themselves but instead the opponent. They’re fun to watch

        Big Final Test Sunday

        GO USA!!!

    • I can enjoy the sh-t out of this tournament without thinking it guarantees a semifinal spot in brazil.

      It’s usmnt boys dismantling whoever takes the field opposite. What’s not to love?

    • The fans who think this tournament means we are looking like a world power are a small fringe uninformed group.
      For most rational fans, I think the reason for all the excitement is how well nearly every player has shown. A few guys have really stepped up and are pushing for starting places in the A team (Donovan, Corona, Goodson) while EJ, Mixx, Holden, Beckerman and others have shown that they are very capable players and can step in if need be. We have never seen anywhere near this kind of depth for the US.
      In past Gold Cups, we have never shown this well despite the inferior competition. In combination with our 3 straight qualifier wins, it is an exciting time. Granted, we need to close out this tournament and carry on our momentum in to qualifying, but fans have many many reasons to be excited.

  20. Any “Fan XI” that isn’t including Beckerman at this point clearly isn’t paying attention. We completely lost the plot after he was taken off last match. Any XI without him is asking for disorganization and a potential hole to climb out of early.

    Think it’s a toss up between Bedoya and Corona – I’d be happy with either.

    • Been interesting watching USMNT supporters’ opinions shift on certain players during this Gold Cup, and probably no single player’s value has risen as much as Beckerman’s in that regard. Good to see – he’s always had real quality for RSL, but it’s great to see him finally really performing well for the national team. Still not sure he’s got a shot at the WC2014 squad due to age, but it’s possible he’s played himself into good position as a substitute – hard to predict what Klinsmann will decide, but he clearly loves the guy, and Beckerman, though not nearly as talented perhaps as Jermaine Jones, is much more consistent and reliable.

      • That’s a great point. It wasn’t too long ago that everyone was moaning about Beckerman. I think he’s found his role as the key cog in this basically B squad. Does he make the A squad? Depending on his form going forward with RSL and injuries (hopefully none!), he’s probably fringe at best. But at least for the GC, this team needs him.

      • I thought Beckerman was one of the main guys Bradley used in the GC 4 years ago. Until the final he performed pretty well. Also in that GC, Goodson got his first major minutes for the USMNT when Conrad went down injured. Of the two, I think Goodson has improved the most since then. Beckerman, despite not being the most athletic choice, is good at defusing the other team’s attack and if he can get a little time he can serve a decent ball.

      • Beckerman was one of the main guys in that GC 2009 and played effectively until the final when Torrado got the best of him. Big chance to change all of that for himself and the team on Sunday

      • Agree with Chef. Beckerman’s a wonderful defensive mid. Great positioning to break up, directly or indirectly, opponents’ plays. Great tackling. Good short p@sses to more creative players.

        Imagine what a terror he’d be if he was just a step f@ster. But he isn’t; he’s too slow for the highest level of international play (and slower than other American options). That’s why he’ll start against Panama but will have trouble getting a ticket to Brazil.

      • +1 on the Beckerman consistency. He also had some pretty decent games in friendlies earlier in the Klinsi reign. That being said, maybe a bench player at best. My ideal A-team lineup:




    • I think things did not go so badly for the US until Donavon was subbed out. The US was using him to play through for almost all attacking play and the US mids were clearly looking for him. When he wasn’t there, they had to recognize another US player and the time it took them to adapt and do that allowed Honduras to tackle (or foul) for the ball. In another 5-10 minutes, the US players probably would have figured it out and started passing more quickly. (That said, Shea didn’t look for anyone, he just tried to run at people and mostly lost the ball, that was a big reason for the drop-off, Torres can keep the ball.)

    • %$# Moderation
      I think things did not go so badly for the US until Donavon was subbed out. The US was using him to play through for almost all attacking play and the US mids were clearly looking for him. When he wasn’t there, they had to recognize another US player and the time it took them to adapt and do that allowed Honduras to tackle (or foul) for the ball. In another 5-10 minutes, the US players probably would have figured it out and started p@ssing more quickly. (That said, Shea didn’t look for anyone, he just tried to run at people and mostly lost the ball, that was a big reason for the drop-off, Torres can keep the ball.)

      • Just statistically speaking Torres can’t keep the ball. He has the highest turnover per touch rating of all the US players in this tournament. It is really frustrating to watch him give the ball away without threatening goal.

    • Agreed. Some of that was Beckerman out and Mix just not being a “6”. I found it odd that Holden did not move back into the “6” role. Never a big Beckerman fan for the USMNT (never was a “hater” either); however, he has had an excellent tournament. I think most rational fans know that he needs to be there. He has always done a good job with cleaning up on the defensive end; however, in this tournament, he has done a real good job on the offensive side of things as well – particularly with long p@sses to the wings. He has raised his stock, although we have to be realistic and understand his limitations against better competition. That doesn’t diminish his good run here and that a good performance from him will be needed if we are to win the final.

      • Most rational fans don’t have an issue with Beckerman as a “B” Team player. The issue is raised when considered for the “A” Team. It’s basically that we have a number of players who can play CDM as well or better than Beckerman. So fans want to see other options…either a more attack minded CM or a younger player who will be around beyond 2014.
        With Jones, Bradley, Cameron, Edu & Williams all equal or better than Beckerman and in consideration for the “A” Team, most were calling for Mixx, Holden, Corona, Bedoya, etc….to be given a chance.

      • Can’t disagree too much with that. Overall, we see it the same. Beckerman is a fringe, at best , “A” team player. The tourney gave a lot of guys opportunities . . . Beckerman included. He made the most of his opportunity. I think JK did a good job of getting guys time as he needs to see who deserves to be on that plane to Brazil. I believe that Beckerman is on the outside looking in; however, lots can happen between now and then. Two of the guys ahead of him (Cameron and Edu) play on the same club and both are CDMs. While Stoke may play two CDMs, it is highly doubtful it will be both of those guys, so at least one will not be getting good club time at that position. Williams may not be above Beckerman in the pecking order as Williams has been very inconsistent as of late. He also is joining a new club. Any one or more of those guys get injured or warm the bench on a consistent basis, and there would be a need for Beckerman on the WC squad. Overall, it is probably good that he got time in this tourney and showed well. It gives us a respectable backup option – if needed.

    • I agree. Count me as one fan who wants to see Beckerman starting in the GC final. I’m okay with either Mix or Holden as the other CM. I’m also okay with either Bedoya or Corona on the right, but I’d like to see Torres on the left. It’s important for the USMNT to maintain possession in this game.

      • Why do you think Torres would be good at keeping possession? When his stats say he is the worst on the team at it?

  21. Is Beasley 100% after all the times he had his ankles clipped against Honduras? If not, does Klinsmann basically have to deploy Bedoya on the left over Torres and have him chase all Panamanian attacks on that flank to the middle so that Beckerman and Holden could clean up?

  22. “…and Tim Chandler’s national team future an on-going question mark…”

    Chandler was cap-tied back in February when he started in a WCQ in Honduras.

    • …but cap-tied does not necessarily mean he has a future with the national team. I think that’s the point that was being made: Is he good enough to have a future?

    • Cap-tied yes, but he’s turned down call-ups numerous times even since committing his international future to the USMNT. Apparently he “hates flying” or something…anyway, it’s not a question anymore of whether or not he’ll choose USA or Germany, but rather whether he’s really dedicated and committed to being a USMNT player or if his club career and personal comfort are more important to him than representing the US.

      • Fair enough, I wasn’t aware of his fears of flying. I was under the assumption that he hasn’t been with the NT recently because of injury or fitness concerns. Certainly changes things if he’s still backing out of camps for other reasons, or isn’t been called in due to form.

      • I will say that if he has a deathly fear of flying (think John Madden or Dennis Bergkamp), maybe it isn’t so much personal comfort and club career as being unable to get to most games in the time frame games are played in. Bergkamp took a boat it get to the States in 1994. Couldn’t get on a plane. Scored one of best goals in World Cup history (actually the goal that got me interested in professional soccer) while he was here, but couldn’t fly to do it. If the Dutch had played qualifiers outside of Europe, he wouldn’t have gone to them. Would that have kept him off his national team? Maybe, maybe not.

      • yeah, he has a legit concern about flying. there is an interview where he explains his fear. either way, it’s something he is going to have to get over.

  23. Ives, I think you’re right with your prediction, with the sole exception of Mixx for Holden. I agree with some of the posters above that JK has been alternating these guys to keep them fresh and Mixx will start.

    For me, Parkhurst is not the answer at RB. And, as much as I’d like to see Orozco in that spot, there’s no way JK will throw him in there for the final when there is some cohesion in the back four.

    As for Goodson v. Gonzo, I actually feel more comfortable with Goodson in the lineup, to be honest. I can just see a bonehead mental lapse by Gonzo in the final that winds up costing the US the trophy. (And, this is coming from a Galaxy fan).

    Go USA!

  24. From the Seattle match, the only threat from Panama was their speedy winger on the left (Quintero). The US was able to frustrate him, but it looks like Parkhurst will need some help from Bedoya or Corona if Quintero is in the lineup. I’d bet on Bedoya starting because he’s got the pace and stamina to get up and down the flank to support Parkhurst. Then have Corona coming in around the 70′ when legs are tired.

    I’m really liking our players in the 4-1-3-2 formation. We’re getting lots of players forward and created 8-15 quality chances a match. I wouldn’t be surprised in Panana came out in a 3-5-2 to counter our forward numbers and try to isolate our centerbacks in the counterattack.

  25. I think they need to put forth a physical lineup to match Panama — so take out Torres for sure (who is probably still recovering from the beating Honduras gave him), and probably Bedoya instead of Corona on the right. I would put Wondo up top with Donovan and EJ on the left wing. Otherwise I like Ives’ prediction.

    • There’s a reason Wondo went 11 games without scoring and then scored 5 against Belize and Cuba.

      Last time he started against Panama, he missed an open goal from 3 yards away. I’ll pass.

    • There’s a reason Wondo went 11 games without scoring and then scored 5 against Belize and Cuba.

      Last time he started against Panama, he missed an open goal from 3 yards away. I’ll p@ss.

  26. Sorry, I completely disagree that Bedoya had a good game. Bedoya had two excellent, game changing touches – and that may warrant saying he got the job done. But the rest of the time? I thought he looked behind the speed of game, slow to catch on to what was happening around him, and turned the ball over repeatedly, needlessly. He even game them the ball, in the box, on the end line, in a terrible place that should have led to a chance for them. Except for those two touches, not good at all.

    That said, what a glorious pair of touches they were. There are people worth having on the field no matter how bad the rest of their game is, because they can create the one little moment of magic that changes the game. Bedoya isn’t one of those people, but he had one of those games.

    • “Glorious”??…I think you forgot to add words like”cheeky”, “delicious”, “bloke” or “lad” into your post…lol

      • and lets not forget “rate.” what other sport in this country uses the term “i don’t rate this player”? none

      • That never made sense to me. To me, if you “rate” someone you judge their skill/performance. It doesn’t specify how you rate them.

    • What about his cross to donovan at the six in the first half that donovan mishit? Or his neat little ball to eddie toward the end that eddie put just wide? Or his volley from an eddie flick on that forced a smart save?

      So except for those contributions and his two a-ssists, yeah I guess a poor 90 minutes. Soccer with it’s lack of stats lends itself very well to selective memory.

    • What about his cross to donovan at the six in the first half that donovan mis-hit? Or his neat little ball to eddie toward the end that eddie put just wide? Or his volley from an eddie flick on that forced a smart save?

      So except for those contributions and his two a-ssists, yeah I guess a poor 90 minutes. Soccer with it’s lack of stats lends itself very well to selective memory.

      I am dominating this site in double posts (mis-hit).

      • Bedoya was on fire the whole game. I don’t understand where Barrett is coming from. Bedoya was much more dangerous on the wing than Corona. Corona was really only effective when in the middle of the pitch.

  27. I’m sure I missed it because the decision was supposed to be out yesterday, but is JK going to be allowed on the sideline?

  28. I would bet we’ll see Mixx get the start. Seems like JK is alternating he and Holden pretty consistently. My guess is he doesn’t want to go too hard on Holden. That said, I’d rather see Mixx get the start, anyway. He just looks a little more on his game. Both have looked pretty darn impressive at times, though. Otherwise the projected XI looks good to me. Beckerman has had a great tourney, EJ has been super dangerous, and both Corona and Bedoya have been impressive on the wing. What a fun tournament this has been to watch!

    • I agree with most of your thoughts. One thing Ives has not considered is freshness/fatigue. I think Klinsmann has been shuffling his midfielders so as to keep them fresh; hence he will probably start Corona and Diskerud instead of Bedoya and Holden. The good news is they have all done well most of the time so he has a lot of options.

      • these were my thoughts on this too. we’ll see. If all were fresh, I’d pick Holden-Beckerman and Goodson-Besler; can’t see how it’s best nor fair to Gonzo to throw him to the wolves in the final after not playing with this team for all these weeks. But Klinnsman started him at Honduras to start the Hex too so he just might here; Gonzo knows Perez very well

      • Funny thing about Klinsi is that part of me thinks he’ll do something like start Orozco and Gonzo to send a message to Panama like “We can switch up our defenders at will and we’ll still win because we’ll score at least three goals.” JK’s affable and all that but he loves mind games. Which all seem to work lately. Another part of me thinks he might start Gonzo precisely to see if he makes a crucial mental mistake. Better here than the World Cup.

        All the same, my best guess is Besler-Gonzo.

  29. I think JK might choose Gonzo over Goodson,. Gonzo has player well with Besler and has also played with Orozco and Beasley at the corners, so there is little learning curve for the backline.

    What Gonzo brings to the table is his aerial skills and ability to control the box. This is a needed attribute as Panama outplayed Mexico in the air. Given that one of the few weak spots for the Americans is with set pieces, going with Gonzo can be a big Plus.

    Corona on the wing. I think JK was resting him for the final.

    It really doesn’t matter who JK puts up front with Donovan, LD will make sure they score. I prefer Johnson as he can muscle with any backline.

    Holden did not look real sharp @ Honduras, I think fatigue is starting to move in, although JK has tried to rest him. Look for Mix and Beckerman with Corona and Torres to start in the midfield.

    • Gonzo is doubted by fans right now because of the mental mistakes he’s made, particularly when playing with Besler, so you can’t say they’ve played “well” together.

  30. Does Zusi’s exclusion hurt his chances to remain in the starting 11 in the Hex (assuming it was SKC’s decision to not release him for Gold Cup)?

    • Only that its allowed other players like Corona and Bedoya to show they aren’t far behind. However Zusi starts the next qualifier still.

  31. Things that help boost Clarence Goodson’s stick:

    – Pron
    – WAG
    – Outstanding Gold Cup
    – Sildenafil
    – MOTM might also give him a big head

  32. —————-Bruin

  33. Disagree strongly about Holden over Mix, as I have every prediction. Mix has had a fantastic tournament as a starter, whereas Holden has proven the better off-the-bench-difference-maker. Klinsi obviously trusts Mix and only benched him, like Corona, to rest him for the final.

    Otherwise, I completely agree with the XI. Though I feel bad for Fiscal. Maybe moreso than Goodson, he should play.

    • I agree on Mix. I don’t have a problem with either Stu or Mix starting, but I think Mix has had the better tournament and I think JK rates him a little higher than Stu right now…which really shouldn’t be a surprise. Mix is younger, bigger, stronger, and most importantly, has been playing soccer for the past two years while Stu has been going through his nightmare. Mix seems a little more dangerous right now both with his passing and his runs into the box. I’ve been pleasantly surprised with Mix’s work rate on defense too. It looks to me like these two guys are going to be battling for the last CM spot in WC2014. The competition should do them both good.

      • Holden disagrees. he specifically said Mix has been practices 30 yard shots during the entire Gold Cup. Holden said his legs couldn’t do it.

        of course, Holden has a great foot too. but according to Holden himself, Mix has the biggest foot.

        with that said, i would like Holden to start.

    • I think that’s very likely too. I doubt JK’s planning on starting Holden on short rest. If he were, I’d think he would have subbed Mix in for Holden instead of Beckerman with the Honduras game already pretty much iced. We’ll see though.

      Also, I don’t think Ives has projected Mix starting a single Gold Cup match. And listening to the podcasts (the last one he said something like, “there’s Holden and then there really isn’t anyone in midfield even close to him [so he starts]”), I think he rates current-form Mix and Stu a bit differently than I do.

      (If I’m misrepresenting that bit of the podcast, I’ll gladly apologize. I definitely remember hearing something like that and thinking, “what?!”)

  34. ” What is interesting about Gonzalez’s inclusion in the squad is that it wasn’t the original plan for Klinsmann, who had planned to bring in Graham Zusi…”

    …who didn’t come in because…?

    • Because SKC asked him not to and the team was playing good enough without him.

      Gonzo was probably brought in to continue training with Besler. Even if he doesn’t play, that time spent alongside Besler is good for their pairing.

      • Well sorry but that just begs the question, why did SKC ask him not to?

        I mean keeping in mind that LA would surely like to have kept Gonzalez and Seattle would surely like to have kept Johnson and RSL would definitely like to have Rimando and Beckerman all this time and so on…

      • Klinsi has a vested interest in not ticking off any of the MLS coaches, and I wouldn’t be surprised if Peter Vermes privately raised a stink with him over the possibility of losing his two best players for both World Cup and Gold Cup duty.

        Just goes to show why the Gold Cup really needs to be only every four years instead of every two.

      • If that’s the case — if Vermes raised a stink — then I’d say it instead goes to show that club coaches should not go around thinking their own clubs are more important then country or other clubs’ concerns of precisely the same type.

        And for that matter, if Klinsi needs to maintain good relationships with the coaches of MLS sides that include his players, how does it help to tell Arena and Schmidt and Kreis and others they must give up their players but tell Vermes he can keep his? Better to piss off Vermes and keep the others happy, no?

      • Vermes is looking out for his own team and his own job. His, and SKC’s, interests are not the same as the national team’s. I don’t think any club coach likes losing their players to international play. Nothing wrong with that at all/

      • Of course no club coaches like losing any players for any reason in any situation. It was the comparison of situations that interested me here, especially for example Bruce Arena losing Gonzalez (even though he may not even play) vs Peter Vermes not losing Zusi.

        Well and interested in how that might in the contrary get rather than help relations between Klinsmann and MLS coaches.

      • Difference is LA only lost Omar for most of June and late May……RSL didn’t even lose Rimando for that long… Klinsmann was rotating the keepers from MLS to be the keeper… Beckerman only played in the 3rd and final game of the June qualifiers because it was at home….now in Gold Cup that took place in July…..LA lost Landon for about a month and was going to lose Omar for about 2 weeks but since they agreed he’d join after the quarter finals, only for 1 week…SKC lost Besler like LA lost Omar…but they did go without Besler AND Zusi for a while when LA only went without Omar…it is pretty even if you ask me

      • I’m looking forward to the Rapids scoring the winning goal v. L.A. on a set piece Saturday, and Arena losing his s**t when Gonzalez doesn’t even play on Sunday. 😀

    • Could also be that JK was banking on Gooch being available and had to switch up his plans to bring in Zusi when the CB depth didn’t pan out. Pair that with the way the Midfield has been playing (very well) Vs. how the defense has been giving up soft goals and I can understand leaving Zusi with his club and brining in a CB reenforcement.

    • Just looked it up. It’s on Yanks Abroad. It says he has been called into the team for the game. Doesn’t list sources on whether or not he’ll accept.

    • Brian Sciaretta on Twitter said a “source close to Brooks confirmed to me that he’ll accept.” Brian is pretty trustworthy.

      Count my fan boy meter high!

      • And why not accept? It’s just a friendly, so it’s a good time for him to come in and see if he likes the set up and gets on with the players and all that.

      • Playing in a friendly ties him to the US and he would need permission to move back to Germany, which would lock him into Germany. So while it’s a soft permanent move.

        I think..

      • While it wouldn’t officially cap tie him to the US, it would mean he has declared to play for the US. That would only allow him the 1 time switch to Germany if he chose to do so (which would make it official). basically if he plays in this game, it is a statement of intent and limits his options in the future if he was still questioning it. you cannot go back and forth playing friendlies for different senior level teams. Like he said a ‘soft permanent move’

      • I take it as a given that participation would naturally indicate some intent or consideration. But like I said, friendlies don’t cap-tie players.

      • Friendlies don’t cap-tie a player – has to be in a formal FIFA event. So while this wouldn’t tie him permanently to the USMNT, it would still be a very encouraging indicator that he might choose top lay for the USA.

      • Yikes… Let’s all pile on shall we?

        I think most here know that friendlies do not cap tie a player. However if a player represents a country at the senior level in a friendly they would then be in the same situation as Jermaine Jones and would be eligible to apply for a one-time switch.

        Josh’s point appears to be that after having represented USMNT in this friendly JAB could only ever return to DFB by submitting this one-time switch. So there is a VERY soft commitment to USMNT because he drastically limits his future options.

      • -Unless he doesn’t see the field. Participating in a camp, but not seeing time in the match does not require a 1 time switch

    • Besides, there is no way to claim he can’t score against better competition unless he gets more than 10-20 minutes in mop-up time against better teams.

      • He got 77 minutes against Costa Rica and 63 minutes against El Salvador. Both appearances were completely anonymous. Just sayin.

      • Wrong. He did what others didn’t do. He at times went back when needed, and he made intelligent passes when needed. There were others on the team who consistently missed the mark. In the coming game it is important to play better than Panama. That means using all the powers they have. Panama is a very skilled team. They can’t be beaten by a quick run and a header from a corner kick. Their defenders are, I think better than ours. I hope we win. But it won’t be with speed alone.

      • I agree Wondo did more than be anonymous. It’s hard to tell Birgit if you’re inferring that EJ’s only asset is speed? If so I’d have to disagree. EJ has played as an excellent target forward and held the ball far better than in years past. On the first goal against Honduras, his dummy run on the pass to Donovan drew his defender up and then he burnt him with speed. It took a high soccer IQ to recognize his responsibility to make that dummy run in the first place. EJ > Wondo. With that said I would like to see Wondo get at least 30min in the 2nd half.

      • Wrong! Just wanted to point out that people can stomp on your thoughts and be a jerk too! Oh and Wondo isn’t athletic enough to beat the very physical Panama Duo. EJ is the answer 🙂

    • I think Bedoya moved ahead of Shea as a bench option but not much else. I want to see Torres start. He has been on our left for almost the entire tournament and the offense has been clicking really well. Don’t think we should make too many changes up there.

      • The first 30 minutes of the Honduras game Torres played well in combination, but the rest of his game was pretty much terrible. His execution on crosses and through balls were really bad and as always he didn’t do anything special defensively. I’m not saying Shea was any better because he most certainly was not, but Bedoya had much more impact on the game.

      • Bedoya did have a more incisive game, but don’t underestimate JF Torres’ ability on the ball and set pieces. Also, he was hacked down a number of times in the offensive half & third, and was unlucky, based on awful refing, not to draw Honduras into card trouble.

      • Torres tied Beckerman for the most recoveries in that game. if anything, after his offense dropped off, he maintained his defensive ability. so i disagree entirely that Torres showed nothing defensively.

      • 1 game doesn’t make Bedoya a better player or a better fit on the left all the sudden though. Torres has been on the left basically all tournament long. While he hasn’t necessarily set the world alight there, he has been a consistent and solid contributor to our thriving offense. No need to make that change.

      • I always like Jillians by the metreon because of the screens, but the crowd is always weak. I like that irish place in union square called Johnny Foleys but its all tourists..

        Mad dog in the fog and Kezar Pub are the other 2 I go to. Danny Coyles is always my 4th option.

        One thing that bothers me about going to the city is nobody is a US fan. Everyone tries to rep something else even though they are american…. and its annoying on how many out there jock brazilians…

      • I live in SF and I’m a huge USMNT fan. That said, there are many Euro wannabe fans and Mexico fans around, and they greatly outnumber us.

      • I couldn’t agree with you more. It annoys the crap out of me. I usually go up to people wearing a Brazilian jersey and ask them if they are Brazilian. When they say no I ask them why aren’t they wearing a USA jersey.

      • Because the Where’s Waldo USA jersey is hideous, whereas Brazil’s jerseys are always good.

        Anyway, why not wear the jersey of the team you like to watch? Unless you are actually a member of the team/staff, I don’t think it matters who you choose to associate with.

        (I will change my mind when pro footballers start wearing KingGoogleyEye jerseys to show their loyalty to me.)

      • And people wonder why soccer fans have a reputation. You know, I have a lot of jerseys and assorted paraphanalia from places I’m not from, in many sports.

      • True, Danny Coyle’s has the best atmosphere for the qualifers I’ve gone to see. Kezar is also cool, but they usually have all kinds of other games on. I’m going to have to make some calls. San Francisco needs a true US Soccer bar.

      • It’s summer and a 1 pm ET game. The A’s and Giants don’t play until 4 pm ET. Any restaurant that opens for lunch and has a bar should allow you to see almost all the game. You can start with Univision Deportes and then head to your local cafe/restaurant/bar for lunch

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