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Who should the USMNT start vs. South Korea?

USMNTTrainingBrazilJan2014 (AP)

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The first U.S. Men’s National Team match of the year will feature plenty of first-choice players for Jurgen Klinsmann, but the friendly against South Korea will be of much more importance to fringe options hoping to impress the German coach.

This January camp squad is more experienced than your usual January roster, but there are still some new faces who will be hoping to earn some minutes and play well enough to merit more looks in the future. Players such as Mike Magee, Luis Gil, DeAndre Yedlin and Michael Harrington will be hoping to get on the field and make a statement.

There aren’t likely to be too many true newcomers in the starting lineup on Saturday, but there should be plenty of opportunity to impress in the second half.

So what will the USMNT starting lineup look like on Saturday? Here is SBI’s projected starting lineup:


————-Chris Wondolowski——–Eddie Johnson—————

Landon Donovan————-Mix Diskerud————–Graham Zusi

———————————Kyle Beckerman————————–

Michael Parkhurst——————————————–Brad Evans

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

———————————-Nick Rimando——————————

Some thoughts:

Player most likely to break into this group? Brad Davis could slot in on the left wing, with Donovan playing at forward for Johnson.

Parkhurst isn’t normally a left back, but he has played there in the past and has more experience than Michael Harrington. Look for Harrington to get some substitute’s minutes if he doesn’t get the starting nod.

Luis Gil and DeAndre Yedlin make sense as second-half substitutes, as does Mike Magee.

What do you think of this lineup? Who would you like to see placed in this starting lineup that we left out? Which player are you most looking forward to seeing on Saturday?

Share your thoughts below.




  1. Jut watched ESPNFC from yesterday. Klinsmann saying Yedlin has been very good and surprising. I think he starts today. Klinsmann also seemed to suggest Gil got a rude awakening at the pace of the international level.

  2. I am partial to more of a 4-1-3-2 for tomorrow:

    Eddie Johnson——Landon Donovan
    Brad Davis—Mix Diskerud—Graham Zusi
    Kyle Beckerman
    Michael Parkhurst—Omar Gonzalez—Matt Besler—Brad Evans
    Nick Rimando

    Hopefully we will see Gil and Yedlin as second half subs..they both are promising young guys who could provide a real spark in the future.

  3. I only care that Mike Magee starts. If Magee does not start I will riot! In my own apartment by myself, but by God I will riot. The man has earned a cap for Christ’s sake.

  4. 4-4-2. This is about looking at players in a game situation and it does not make sense to have somebody not play. Let’s start with two forwards and finish with two different forwards at least. They put in the time for the reward. This is not a secret game plan for the world cup. This is as test of the player and coaching staff in my eyes.

  5. Sad to say that very little about this starting lineup excites me. EJ and Wondo just don’t interest me up top (because EJ won’t be a starter in Brazil and I don’t think Wondo will even make the squad). Evans is fine at RB, but we already know he is limited. Beckerman, Rimando, et al—love ’em, but they aren’t starters in the WC.

    I am really looking forward to seeing Zusi wear the jersey again after a long absence, and it will be nice to see what Mix will do. Interested to see if Parkhurst will make a statement.

    And like others, the real interest for me is how the subs will do, specifically Yedlin and Harrington, and to a lesser extent Gil.

  6. Who cares? It’s a throwaway date against a team that is nowhere close to the quality we will face in Brazil. The result doesn’t matter. The only thing the game is good for is a chance to study our own chemistry,so play whoever you want wherever you want and see what they do.

    Klinsi likes to throw people out of position to challenge them and see how instinctive they are. I say take the chance to embrace that approach against what should prove to be an inferior opponent. Try Yedlin as a wing forward in a 4-3-3, see if Mix can handle a defensive role with the freedom to join in attack, test Donovan as a fullback, and give Zusi the playmaker mantle and see what he does when the attack runs through him. These are all roles/positions we will need filled in Brazil. I don’t trust Bradley or Jones, and I’d rather not see Beckerman playing a meaningful international game, ever. Evans and Parkhurst are both huge bags of useless, and, if they play, I will probably end up watching something else on TV.

    • Why for you no trust Bradley? I (and most) find him eminently trustworthy. Also very skilled at his trade. I can understand being nervous about Jones, though I will begrudgingly admit that he is more capable than I once gave him credit for.

  7. Glad to see Wondo in Ives’ lineup–laugh at people who say he’s already proven that he’s not intl quality. Like Jozy when he didn’t score for two years? Wondo deserves the start, and i hope that Magic Mike comes in for him around the 55th minute. Amazing that people don’t recognize that being in the right place to score is a talent. Wondo isn’t big, he isn’t fast. He just scores goals.

    • Didn’t Jozy score against Spain at the age of 19? Also lead the team with 5 goals in the 2009 Hex. I think Wondo should get a chance but lets not forget that Jozy had done a lot to prove himself before that dry spell. Jozy still has one of the highest goal to match ratios in US history even after not scoring for 2 years.

  8. Magee——-EJ——-LD10

    It’s just a friendly, and I expect some experimentation as well.

  9. —–C’mon,—–What——
    ——Time——–Is ———
    —The —Game —–On?—
    —-And ——– Which—-

  10. Rather than trying out a new LB that has very little chance of making the team, Klinsmann should play one of his “on the plane guys” in that position to see whether they could step in should Fabian or Demarcus both got hurt and / or suspended during the WC.

  11. I really like your starting eleven. I especially like the fact that Donovan is on the same side as Wondolowski. I would like to see Magee be subbed in for Eddie Johnson. It would be good to see how that group up front plays in that formation. At some point it would be nice to see Yedlin in back as a sub.

  12. benny v mix

    benny played in both bundesliga and EPL by the time he was 24
    mix still plays in norway (and turns 24 this year)

    WC 2010
    with BF on field – US 4 scored; 1 conceded
    with BF on bench – 1 scored; 4 conceded

    2013 season
    feilhaber – 3 goals, 6 assists; MLS Cup winner
    diskerud – 3 goals, 1 assist

    mix has 3 starts with the US big kids:
    @ bosnia – started at a CAM – yanked at HT with US down 0-2
    jamaica – US scoreless until sub pushed mix out of CM to CAM
    @ panama – started at CAM; US losing 0-1 when subbed in 2nd half

    but sure, lets continue to pretend that mix has done ANYTHING to be considered a legitimate CM option

    gold freaking cup? your kidding, right?

      • i dont think it was garbage…

        but what is your point? beckerman and jones were playing CM. diskerud replaced EJ and was playing an advanced position (CAM)

        a nice play against mexico from a CAM position means mix is an option to start at CM?

        im confused

      • I think you’re overestimating the difference between the two positions. From the way you formulate your argument, it sounds like CM and CAM have nothing in common.

        To counter your arguments, Feilhaber barely played in either the Bundesliga or EPL. He then moved to a Danish team that was relegated before returning to MLS. His last meaningful action with the national team was four years ago. Mix has been involved regularly for over a year now and has done quite well.

      • I’m not sure if your reply was to me or the first commenter, but I was actually being sarcastic. I do think that coming into a crucial rivalry game and serving up the clinching goal does make a case for mixx’s inclusion on the brazil roster. He brings an element that few players offer.

      • so you think diskerud resume – playing in norway, gold cup and being part of USMNT since gold cup is a good enough resume to qualify him for consideration to start at WC at CM (part of the 2 in the 4-2-3-1)? he has 1 start there so far with full team…

        i make the distinction because there is no way in hell that mix starts in that advanced position

    • yeah he got bounced around like a ball in that Bosnia match. I guess they were too physical for him. not sure about S Korea though. my opinion, I think BF will start over Mix but I could be wrong because BF hasnt started for the US team in awhile whereas Mix has

      • This Benny vs Mix debate is pointless.

        Both players have a very high upside. Mix has looked promising lately and Benny played well in the 2010 WC.

        Both have yet to show that they can consistenly produce against the best.

        Both have serious flaws.

        My guess is their performance in this camp, which none of us has seen, will determine if, where and for how long they play in this game.

      • It’s unfortunate that we can’t have a player with Mix’s hair and Benny’s eyes. Our opponents would have no chance but to be ravished by us.

  13. id like to see lots of subs and some new faces. there are 22 players here; about 12 USMNT regulars and 10 new comers. start the regulars and sub them off at half.

    everyone here is in preseason form don’t risk any injuries just get them back into game mode.

    most of all, get a win! don’t grind out another boring January camp game like the last few years.

  14. The clock is ticking, sand running out, blah, blah, blah with Brazil just around the corner. I have a feeling that Klinsmann is gonna start people in potential problem areas who he has not seen in game situations and who he thinks have a chance to be able to contribute in Brazil. Klinsmann already knows what Parkhurst, Brad Evans, Wondow, Brad Davis and Eddie bring to the table. This is the once chance for Klinsmann to see what guys like Harrington, Yedlin and Magee can do, all three of whom play in positions that are still unsettled. He might want to start them if they have shown well in camp. You can say Harrington and Yedlin don’t stand any chance to make the final WC 23, and Magee only a slight chance, but we all know JK is good for a surprise. In fact, he loves to spring ‘em.

  15. Would like to see a 4-2-3-1 with some fun insertion so I can see how the new guys play with the team:

    ————-——–Eddie Johnson———————————-———

    Landon Donovan———————-Gil—-————–Graham Zusi

    ——————Kyle Beckerman————————Mix—————–


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

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

    I could swap Mix and Gil or put Magee in Gil’s spot. I think he could play there since Deuce has played that role many times and Magee and Deuce have some similar hybrid qualities.

  16. What’s funny about almost all of these lineup projections is that Beckerman is in every one of them. Four months ago, everyone on these boards thought he was shite.

  17. Lineup I’d like to see:


    Lineup I think Klinsi will employ:


    Side Notes for my lineup:

    – I wouldn’t mind Donovan sliding up top into lone forward role w/ Magee hitting bench and Mixx taking Donovan’s spot behind the forward.

    – I also wouldn’t complain if Feilhaber was given a chance to start, possibly in Beckerman’s spot.

    -Lastly, I could (very reluctantly) see Harrington given a shot at LB because of his status as the lone natural LB.

    • “Lastly, I could (very reluctantly) see Harrington given a shot at LB because of his status as the lone natural LB”

      Why are you reluctant?

      I don’t know much about him but if Harrington has survived this far it is because he has performed well in the camp not JUST because he is a “natural” (whatever that means) left back.
      JK has made it clear that he is more interested in what kind of soccer player you are and how you play not so much what exact position you play.

      JK has made it clear that if you are an average, albeit “natural” left back he will replace you with a better player who happens to be a left sided midfielder or winger or even central defender.

      He does this because he believes that the duties for the positions are not so specific that a good player could not quickly adapt, even in the middle of a game. Go over the rosters of any number of national teams and club teams over the years and you will find this practice is quite common. It is so common I wonder why so many people on SBI whine and moan about it so much.

      If I had an average player at left back and I had an above average left sided midfielder willing and available, I’d give the midfielder a shot at it and if he did well I’d keep him there.

      If he does the job it is irrelevant where he plays for his club.

      • I understand what you’re saying about playing people out of position, seeing as it worked with Beasley and Evans. But with the WC only months away, and only two or three friendlies between then it would be pretty hard to try someone new at a position they never play with their club teams. I know Parkhurst has a little prior experience at LB and I believe Klinsmann mentioned playing him there possibly tomorrow, so that could be another option.

        And by “natural” I just mean the position he plays with his club.

      • If any of the newbies from this camp makes it to Brazil and actually gets to play my guess is playing a different position is going to be way down the list in terms of concerns. I doubt the USMNT staff would play anyone if they thought he could not handle it.

        The two other things about this positional situation:

        For what its worth, the left back for a given MLS team may not be asked to do the same thing as the left back for the USMNT anyway.

        The position you play for your club may not be your best or even your “natural” position. Some players are just naturally more versatile either by temperament or by physique. I would not expect Gooch to play left wing in a 4-3-3 for example.

        Posters on SBI are oriented towards extremist viewpoints. The positional issue is all about compromise. I’m sure JK would love to have his 22 top players all play the same position at their clubs that they will play for the USMNT.

        But that is an unrealistic expectation for the US and even for some of the top 10 national teams.

  18. 4-2-3-1:
    ——————-E. Johnson————

    ——–E. Johnson–Donovan—-

  19. Just posted this elsewhere.

    The roster i’d like to see for this game:


    Subs: Donovan (probably at half) for EJ, Wondo for Magee, Feilhaber for Mixx.

    -I fully realize that Donovan is not starting in this line up. I know he’s probably still the best player we have in camp, but we’re already know what he can do.
    -I’m of the opinion that EJ should only be used in the last 20 minutes of games, but this gives him (yet another) chance to prove me wrong.
    -I only have Magee over Wondo, because I think he deserves the shot.
    -Parkhurst could be replaced by Evans, and it wouldn’t much bother me.
    -I realize Yedlin’s not too likely but he’s a natural leftback, a great prospect and could use the experience.
    -I expect somebody will trash my inclusion of Beckerman.

  20. The two forward options are so cringeworthy.. Uhh shudders… But the rest of the team looks solid. Hope some fringe guys get a look in second half just for fun

    • I know. We have already established that Johnson and Wondo are not fit for int’l competition. Let’s see some fresh faces since our top guys are not here.

      • Johnson has been one of our top scorers over the past year and a number of those goals have been clutch. People have in their heads that he’s not international level, but he seems to prove them wrong most of the times he’s played for the national team. His bad performances have mostly been on the wing, but at striker, he’s done quite well.

      • Says who? He scored against Chelsea in the all-star game a couple of years ago. That US selection won.

      • Eddie Johnson is a horrible soccer player.

        Of course, “horrible” in this context refers to the horror I experience watching his selfish, whining style of play combined with the frustration that he keeps proving how valuable he is to the squad so I have no excuse to demand his ouster.

        Eddie Johnson *is* one of “our top guys.”

  21. ——————EJ—————

    • I’ve seen a couple line ups floating around with EJ as the lone striker. Frankly, I don’t think he has the hold up play to be alone up front.

      • I think that is fair. I would totally agree against a strong opponent. If the midfield can maintain possession and move the ball well on the other end, we should be able to mask those deficiencies. I would like to think that we will have big possession advantage against this South Korea side. If we don’t, I am sure that we will see some changes in personnel and/or formation.

    • that is what i think we will see.

      its the same roles as the full team when everyone is available.





      vs. this camp’s XI






      EJ isnt really ideal as a lone striker but with Landon behind him as a SS it should work. maybe Wondo or Magee is used to start the game and EJ is given another run at being the super-sub striker..
      If Feilhaber is having a better camp than Davis maybe he gets the start and LD goes wide left.
      FB’s anyones guess; i say Harrington & Evans but if Parkhurst or Yedlin look good why not.. wish Klute was still there…

  22. ———————–Johnson———————-

  23. Reports have been pretty quiet about who has impressed over camp. Anyone have news on that?
    Feilhaber and Parkhurst seemed like guys with the most to gain from a strong camp. Both are on the outside looking in currently but have a very realistic chance of making the roster.

    • I’d like to see Donovan up front with EJ, and Benny flank. I know it’s not normally his spot, but he’s done it before with the Nats and he can’t be any worse than EJ out there.

      • their abilities don’t seem so disparate to me with neither player obviously better than the other. good opportunity for both to show what they can do and add to the team. we’ll see

  24. Brad Evans will most likely start, but I really want to see Yedlin start. People may think he is too inexperienced, but I would like to see what he can do.

    • me too. i’d LOVE to see Yedlin get the start. we know what to expect from Evans. this game means nothing and everyone keep saying it isn’t about the result. if that is the case, throw Yedlin in and lets see what happens.

      • Yedlin and Gil are the two I want to see play tomorrow night. I think Yedlin has a better chance to get playing time tomorrow.

        Gil did great with RSL this year, and played well at the U-20 World Cup, so he seems to be the best midfield option for 2018.

    • I still don’t think Klinsi plays a 4-4-2, and I’m not convinced Klinsi values Wondo as much anymore. For that I want to see this:


      Thoughts: Magee out wide. He’s played on the wings before and if he’s going to play internationally, I just think his build doesn’t allow him to play up top.

      – Yedlin to the left because we need a LB and I think Yedlin has the technical skill to figure it out better than anyone else on the pitch. Parkhurst is a maybe there.

      – Donovan excelled in the hole during the Gold Cup. With Dempsey’s form deteriorating, we need a backup there. Donovan can earn that starting role. He’s more creative and faster.

      • Mike Magee, as a Galaxy player, has played up top as a forward with Donovan , has played left and right wing, and has played offensive central mid. He has also played in a pinch as a right back.

        And lets not forget his shutout/clean sheet as a goalkeeper.

        I hope (and think) JK can fit him in somewhere.

      • as long as LD doesn’t start in the hole he’s typically been better in the hole. That is, when he can be expected to be in there it’s too easy to stick some burly DM on him and knock him around, especially against well organized defenses–read, non CONCACAF defenses except for Costa Rica, who gave a good example of how LD can be effective underneath after first stretching the D to create the space.

        A guy like Benny in the hole would be nice to see imo, would love to see Magee on the left too as he was great for the Galaxy there, and then push LD up top and EJ to the sub role

        fun to talk about this stuff

      • “With Dempsey’s form deteriorating, we need a backup there”
        seems to be a bit of an overstatement Josh.

    • If it were up to me, I wouldn’t start anyone who has played regular minutes in qualifying. This friendly is about as meaningless as it gets, time to test fringe players see if any stand out.

      • I understand the sentiment, but part of evaluating a player is seeing how he meshes with the rest of the team— especially positions that work closely together (e.g., CBs).

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