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Who should the USMNT start vs. Costa Rica?

USMNT starting eleven

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SAN JOSE, Costa Rica — The U.S. Men’s National Team has beaten Costa Rica three times in 2013, and if they are going to do it for a fourth time on Friday, they will need to make history in order to make it happen.

Unlike those previous three victories, the next clash with the ‘Ticos’ will come in Costa Rica, a place the Americans have never won a match before.

The U.S. aren’t dwelling on their winless history in Costa Rica. Not with a 12-match winning streak giving the team a boatload of confidence heading into Friday’s crucial qualifier.

Just who will take the field for that all-important match? There are a variety of options, and Jozy Altidore’s availability is still a major question mark. The right back spot seems Geoff Cameron’s to take, while Jurgen Klinsmann has a lot of decisions to make when it comes to who will man the wings.

Here is a look at the U.S. team we see taking the field against Costa Rica on Friday night.


—————————Eddie Johnson——————————

Fabian Johnson———Clint Dempsey———Landon Donovan

—————Jermaine Jones——Michael Bradley—————

DaMarcus Beasley———————————-Geoff Cameron

———————-Matt Besler—–Omar Gonzalez—————

——————————Tim Howard—————————–

Some thoughts:

Jozy Altidore did not participate in full training with the team on Wednesday in Costa Rica, and it is a safe bet that Jurgen Klinsmann will look to save him for the qualifier against Mexico in Columbus. He has a variety of options to turn to in Altidore’s place and our projection goes with Eddie Johnson, who filled the same target role at the Gold Cup. Deploying Johnson would help his established partnership with Clint Dempsey shine through, while allowing for the wing tandem of Fabian Johnson and Landon Donovan.

The defense seems a safe bet to be the same back four that started in the March qualifiers against Costa Rica and Mexico. Geoff Cameron should be a lock at right back, with the rest of the back four making sense. John Brooks impressed against Bosnia, but it would be tough to imagine Klinsmann starting him in a road qualifier in just his second USMNT appearance. Besler and Gonzalez have the experience and should get the nod in the middle.

What do you think of the starting lineup? What changes would you make to our projected squad? Think the USMNT can post their first win in Costa Rica this Friday?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. It’s game day guys, and after reading all the reports and watching all the interviews, I can honestly say I have no idea what lineup JK will choose to start this game.

    I feel confident the back line will be Beasley Besler Omar Cameron….
    I feel confident the central midfield will be Bradley and Jones ….
    with Fabian on the left….

    And I have no idea what the rest of the lineup will look like to start
    Jozys health? Who knows
    Dempseys spot? He’ll start, but in what position?
    Will Donovan start? If so where? I just don’t know…..

    All I do know is I CAN’T WAIT UNTIL TONIGHT!!!!!!!

  2. Hey Y’all – does anyone know if ESPN 3 or anyone else will have the game available to watch online AFTER the live broadcast? I know they sometimes make it available 24 hours later… Can’t watch tonight but don’t wanna miss it!

  3. I was just sitting here wondering why in the hell everyone is calling for AJ to start an away WCQ in Costa Rica when he’s only played like 20 minutes for the US, but then I remembered that I was reading the comments on SBI.

    • It could be worse. You could be reading ESPN comments. Or better still, ESPN comments under an article about Alabama football.

      Actually, when rated against the average internet commentor (which isn’t saying much, I know) the SBI community passes with flying colors. There’s always a few nut jobs out there. And while I agree that AJ shouldn’t start– if Jozy’s out, we don’t have a ton of depth up top, so it isn’t that crazy to want to see how the fresh blood can do.


  4. Why do all of you put LD on the wings, he should in the Gold Cup to be significantly more effective up top, in fact i would rather LD play the CAM over Deuce, Deuce has not had steller standout performances for the US team in a very long time. FYI scoring goals doesnt make a game a standout performance, Deuces recent goals were a matter of getting the right bounce or being in the right place, not about his individual brilliance. I would rather see a 4-4-2 with LD and Johannson up top and Deuce on the bench

    • “Why do all of you put LD on the wings?”

      Because he is very good on the wing. Yes, he is very good in the center too. Fact is, he’s very good almost anywhere on the field. But if you put him in the center, then you have to push Deuce out to where Deuce is less effective, or bench Deuce.

      So this isn’t about pushing LD to the wing. It is about playing a formation that keeps LD and Deuce on the field at the same time playing position they are both good at.

      • so why not Deuce on the wing then? not like he can’t play there or hasn’t played there. Neither are currently playing that role on their clubs. LD has been absolutely tearing it up as a striker for club and country all summer.

        it’s fun to talk about. we’ll see what coach does.

        the other fun one imo is JJ or Beckerman is this one. I know this is the biggest game this year so far for the team, but with all those yellows out there, and Rodriguez calling the game on the road, it just may affect Klinnsman’s tactics and choices with Mexico on Tuesday. Talk about a big game

      • Start LD on the wing, but he and Dempsey will be free to interchange. Only potential problem is covering back, as right back has been weak for us, and if LD goes inside, Dempsey will have to adjust wide, and also be alert to tracking back.

  5. I don’t think of eddie as a real 9
    so I would put johannsson in there before id go to eddie, and with no shea as a super sub
    late, eddie will play that role tremendously especially the last 30 minutes in a zero to zero tie
    that’s going to be exciting, wish I could afford beinsports LOL LOL but I feel they don’t want
    americans watching the deal due to the obvious cheating that will go on, at least 3 americans
    will get yellows to axe them from the mexico bout, Dempsey Bradley and the most valuable
    of our players, therefore look for jozy to sit out this one. but hell start with mexico,
    klinsy has to do something special here to mix this up.
    he can go with Beckerman and brooks and dixerud late to seal the deal or Castillo
    but getting that goal on a team with everyone back, on the road where you have never
    won before, I think the USA players will get so jacked up that there is no way stopping
    johannsson dempsey
    Fabian Bradley Donovan bedoya
    Beasley gonzo besler Cameron
    not my starting 11 right now today id be
    jozy and johannsson
    kljestan Bradley Donovan bedoya
    goodson gonzo brooks besler
    and I can explain it all by saying only clint has not really looked in form yet
    so he cant be a starter, and Fabian and jurmaine have sucked and are not in form
    zusi still recovering in my opinion from injury somewhat bedoya high work rate and
    better each time out, brooks is ready, and goodson has to be out there, we need
    our best players on the field at all times, its just difficult to get clint in there for aaron
    until he scores a freakin goal in a game etc.

  6. Here’s the problem. As long as we play 4-2-3-1, you’re completely eliminating the best player on the team (perhaps one of the best with one of two others) from contributing on offense. Bradley as a holding midfielder is a waste of his time and talent. I think we all know what he can do when allowed to go forward in a 4-4-2. If you want to try Johannsson at forward, how about Altidore and Johannsson up front. L to R Donovan, Jones, Bradley, Dempsey in the midfield. Beasley, Besler, Gonzalez and Cameron in the back. If you want to try Donovan or Dempsey at forward, fine. Evans can’t defend anyone 1v1 hence Cameron getting the nod.

  7. If Jozy can’t go, I think AJ will start. He showed enough against B-H to walk into a starting role, and I think Jurgen will play the best 11, and I think AJ is part of that 11 over EJ.

    For my taste, EJ is just too lax out there. Sure he’s dangerous at times, but when he doesn’t close down space and just jogs around or walks, well, I just can’t take that crap. Thankfully, Jozy kicked a similar habit over the past few years.

  8. Fellow Turds-

    Playing Eddie Johnson as the lone striker would be an absolute mistake in this case. He simply is not that good. Do we need our striker to score goals on his own this game. Our midfield will create chances on its own by quick passing combinations or drawing fouls. What we need our striker to do is be able to hold up the ball and let the midfield run in the time is right. The choice is so obvious to me that Johansson IMO. Such a more honest player. Makes better runs in the box, more clever in his pass and gets in better defense spots. Who cares he is brand new. If jurgi has a brain.

    4–2-3-1 formation or 4-3-3 if your asking USSF
    GK: Howard (not so sure there is that big of gap between him and Guzan, By next June Guzan may be the better gk)

    LB: DMB
    LCB: Besler
    RCB: Gonzo
    RB: Evans

    HM: Jones and Bradley

    CAM: Deuce
    RW: Landy
    LW: F. Johnson

    SK: Johansson

    Subs: Cameron into HM if result is in hand late
    Eddie: Uptop if we need a goal
    Bedoya or Zusi: if we still need a goal


    • I agree with your assessment of EJ, he may score a goal here and there but between his horrible first touch and negative play back which many times results in losing the ball and the other team scoring as it was the case in Bosnia.

    • I think the US is fully aware that they cannot rely on Eddie the way they can on Jozy, and that the weight of the team has shifted to Donovan and Demspey to either score or create excellent chances. That said, I agree that AJ would be the better choice.

      • I have watched EJ play with the Sounders a lot recently, and the aspect of his game that impresses me most these days is his hold-up play. He’s very strong, and if you send a ball his way, more often than not, he’s going to win it and shield it. This is against some very physical MLS CB’s.

        Seattle has a pretty dynamic midfield, so EJ is used to playing off of the creativity of a talented bunch behind him. I don’t think he’s such a bad choice for a lone striker.

        Obviously, we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to find out if I’m mistaken.

      • I agree–not as a sounders fan, but as someone who has really started paying attention to their game since Obafemi Martins arrived and Eddie started his resurgence there. Couple that with the absolute dynamite supporting Seattle enjoys, then Dempsey arriving and I find myself watching Seattle quite a bit actually. and Eddie has really improved in all of these aspects as Chris has pointed out. To put it quite plainly, I would say these are his strengths these days along with his aerial game.

        So crazy reading some of you guys sometimes–when it comes to a players newfound strengths you lot seem blinded by a player’s past shortcomings in that area; as if you haven’t watched a single minute of his recent form and are unaware of his improvements. But when it comes time to point out a player’s weakness, it’s “what he’s he done for me lately” and a general amnesia sets in when it comes time to keep in mind all that he was (and likely still is capable of.

  9. I don’t disagree with your lineup, but someone moves up top.
    There is no way the US goes with lone striker. So much better with two forward.

    And Josh below. I agree 100%, love Cameron and Bradley together in mid. I think this is a figure out the RB position. Evans is pretty good, can we have better…..and another thing to consider. Evans is injured a LOT.

    • if this is the formation, it won’t play like a lone striker; dempsey will play as a supporting striker, with either bradley or jones pushing up.

      • For my money, yes. Jones is a terrible passer and a hot head. I’ve never understood the hype.

        I thought it was interesting to watch Cameron when he had the room to operate.

      • Jones is twice the cm Geoff is, your just pining for something new. One good game doesnt put him ahead of JJ who has been consistent for club and country at that position.

  10. Anyone else worried about these yellows? I feel Bradley is smart enough to not do anything stupid in CR, but I wouldnt mind seeing Jones on the bench or subbed early for Beckerman/Cameron. We can beat CR without Jones-Bradley combo, dont know if we can beat Mexico without it though.

    • Yes worried! Still I would not hold back against CR. Of course disaster can strike wherein we lose to CR and Jones, Bradley, Dempsey, and FJ get yellow cards so can’t play vs Mexico.
      But I think you must have faith that the players can maintain discipline and that the 7 players with a yellow card will let their teammates do more of the dirty work this time.

      Still with most of the projected midfield on YCs, you wonder just how hard CR will come at them in an attempt to get a reaction.

  11. 4-2-2-2

    If Altidore…

    Altidore Johannsson
    Dempsey Donavan
    Bradley Beckerman
    F. Johnson Besler Brooks Cameron

    Beckerman because he was awseome in the Gold Cup and with so many players moving forward, we’d need someone who knows his role and hangs back – a true defensive midfielder.

    Brooks and Johannsson because they need their trial by fire. Gonzales and E. Johnson if you want to be conservative. Or Jones or Diskerud for Beckerman if you find Beckerman and his dreadlocks just too unpalatable…

    Altidore seems to be MUCH more comfortable and effective when he has company up top. We’ve got 4 class forwards and world-class offensive power for the first time that I can remember… put it to use.

    If No Altidore…


    F. Johnson Dempsey Donavan
    Bradley Beckerman
    Beasly Besler Brooks Cameron

    I really like the 4-2-2-2 against Costa Rica with basically 4 forwards since Costa Rica is a very defense minded team who sit back and wait for the counter attack.

    • there are just too many to ponder here.
      klinsy has shown his hand
      Beasley gonzo besler Cameron
      Fabian Bradley Donovan bedoya
      altidore Dempsey
      I would go with sacha kljestan instead of Fabian myself.
      im not sure jozy is available and if not then we may have to go
      with eddie, because no way Donovan plays that far forward today,
      but Donovan has good chemistry with eddie johnsons forehead
      and that can pay off as we can beat costa rica up and with
      power blasts from top of the box, but running it in behind them is
      about impossible with 8 guys back at all times

  12. Is anybody else worried that we will lose these next 2 games? I mean, I’m not trying to somber the mood … but it’s a good possibility. One is against a team we’ve never beaten away. The second versus what could be a desperate (or, if they win against Honduras, a confident) Mexico.

    Plus we’re due to lose and snap the streak.

    I don’t have a good feeling about this.


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