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By IVES GALARCEP
There are two things that are pretty to tough debate as we head toward Tuesday’s USMNT friendly vs. Austria, the final U.S. Men’s National Team match of 2013. First, last Friday’s draw against Scotland was forgettable. Second, Jurgen Klinsmann can and will make lineup changes to try and generate a better performance and give some new faces a look.
Just who will he turn to? Two names that stand out are Aron Johannsson and Mix Diskerud, who both have shown well in recent months and look very much like improving options as we head toward the 2014 World Cup.
Diskerud’s inclusion seems inevitable after Sacha Kljestan struggled in a playmaking role against Scotland. As I note in a column today for Goal USA, the USMNT is struggling for playmaker options without Dempsey and Donovan in the fold. Diskerud should get his chance to show he’s a viable option.
Here is a look at the starting lineup we see Klinsmann using against Austria (as well as the lineup I would use, and the lineup I think fans want to see):
PROJECTED USMNT vs. Austria
Klinsmann has to start Johannsson and Diskerud, right? He’s fooled us before though, so we can’t take anything for granted. Jermaine Jones gets the start here, but you can’t help but wonder if Klinsmann isn’t ready to start giving some other players a look in that slot. Brad Evans likely starts again, but Eric Lichaj has to get at least 45 minutes, whether at left back or right back (if it were me I would give him a half at each position).
Lineup I would start:
This formation would give Mix Diskerud the chance to flash his playmaking ability, give Johannsson the freedom to take people on, and would give Kljestan a chance to play in a more familiar role. I would seriously consider starting Boyd over Altidore, but you want to give Altidore a shot with this lineup to see what sort of chances it can create for him.
Second lineup I would consider:
I know the initial thought is that Altidore and Boyd are too similar, but I think starting them together is something worth trying. Having Boyd be the battering ram while Altidore makes runs of of him is something that could work. Altidore didn’t always play like a target striker and he could benefit from having another big body up top. Having Johannsson working the right flank wouldn’t hurt either.
Doubt Klinsmann benches Jones, but if he did, seeing Bradley-Diskerud work as two-way midfielders could be an interesting proposition. I really think Diskerud could wind up a starter by next summer if he keeps developing and this game could be a major step toward that becoming a reality.
Fans choice Starting XI
Do I actually think most fans want to see Brek Shea start? Maybe not, but there’s no denying he showed enough against Scotland to merit more minutes. Considering the lack of wingers on this roster, would it be the craziest idea in the world? Maybe not. A Boyd-Johannsson forward tandem is definitely intriguing, but would Klinsmann really bench Altidore after the Scotland match? I suppose you really can’t rule it out.
What do you think of the lineup we are projecting Klinsmann to use? Which of the above listed lineups do you like the most? Who are you hoping gets a start against Austria?
Share your thoughts below.