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Projecting the USMNT World Cup starting lineup

USMNT Starting 11


We are less than 12 weeks away from the 2014 World Cup, with the U.S. Men’s National Team’s opening match vs. Ghana fast approaching and plenty of questions still unanswered about the likely starters Jurgen Klinsmann will call on for that all-important match.

The team has some clear-cut choices, such as Michael Bradley and Tim Howard, and some others that are safer bets than some might  think, like Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore and Jermaine Jones, but there are a handful of positions that are clearly still up for grabs.

In my latest column, I projected the starting lineup Klinsmann will trot out against Ghana, and there aren’t many major surprises, though there are a handful of players left out who could easily wind up playing their way into the lineup in the coming months.

Chief among them is Aron Johannsson, who is scoring goals like no other American player at the moment. It isn’t a new development that he doesn’t project as a World Cup starter, but with him scoring goals and Altidore not scoring goals, many fans are clamoring for the current AZ striker to get the nod over the former AZ striker.

Give my column on the projected USMNT World Cup starting lineup a read and let us know what you think of the selections. You can also make your own lineup selections on the top positions up for grabs after the jump.

Cast your votes after the jump:

  • Jozy Altidore
  • Aron Johannson
  • Terrence Boyd
  • Eddie Johnson
  • Juan Agudelo

  • Fabian Johnson
  • DaMarcus Beasley

  • F. Johnson-Dempsey-Donovan
  • Donovan-Dempsey-Johannsson
  • Zusi-Donovan-Johannsson
  • Johannsson-Dempsey-Donovan
  • Donovan-Dempsey-Bedoya
  • F. Johnson-Donovan-Johannsson
  • Zusi-Dempsey-Bedoya
  • Zusi-Donovan-Bedoya
  • F. Johnson-Donovan-Zusi
  • F.Johnson-Dempsey-Johannsson
  • Zusi-Dempsey-Johannsson
  • Donovan-Dempsey-Zusi

  • Fabian Johnson-Geoff Cameron
  • Fabian Johnson-Brad Evans
  • DaMarcus Beasley-Geoff Cameron
  • DaMarcus Beasley-Brad Evans
  • DaMarcus Beasley-Fabian Johnson


  1. ——————-Altidore———————

    • this is among our best formations… seems the toss-up and debate is over benching Zusi, moving Fabian up and Beasley in as LB… Zusi gives us versatility as a great option to replace donovan or dempsey or even altidore (if we move clint up)

  2. I’m basically in agreement with Ives’ line-up. Fabian Johnson is probably our best LB, but he’s also our most dynamic player out on the left wing (as much as I like Zusi and Bedoya, Fabian is faster than both of them and I don’t see a category in which either one has an advantage over him). Given that in the last couple of friendlies, we’ve run out of ideas in our opponents’ half, I would rather have Fabian’s speed and crossing ability in a more advanced role, particularly against Ghana — it will be a struggle for us to beat them, but they represent our best chance at generating some offense and getting a win. Beasley may not be a natural LB, but he has good recovery speed and big-game experience, so I’m not as worried as others on here about him getting completely overrun (and in any case, Fabian is a capable 2-way player and will probably be able to help out some).

    Up front, the only change I would consider making is starting Johannson at RW in place of Donovan, and bringing on Donovan at some point in the second half to replace whoever of the front 4 is the weakest. We know that Donovan has a tendency to drift in and out of games a little bit, so it may be worth bringing him in for a shorter, more intense burst of playing time. I’m not married to the idea, though — Johannson could just as easily play that “2nd half offensive sub” roll, and benching Donovan (even with the understanding that he will still appear in every game) could just mess up his rhythm. It is something to consider, however, in order to start the Ghana match with our hottest goal-scorer on the field without benching either Altidore (our best pure forward) or Dempsey (who is still probably the most likely player on our roster to create something out of nothing offensively).

    • Although I am in total disagreement with your support for playing Fabian Johnson at left wing instead of left back, I nonetheless like this comment. You might be right about Donovan being more valuable as a Super Sub for the second half. That is definitely food for thought.

      As for Johannson, I simply don’t get it. In my eyes, he has had only a few good moments in a US shirt, but otherwise has been mediocre, albeit generally with a good first touch. Against Ukraine I thought he was bad. Zusi is much better think, and I think also an in-form, as in Gold Cup, Joe Corona is better.

    • I agree about the Fabian/Beasley LW/LB setup. they can both overlap/attack/cover for the other…if Beasley is winded or getting beaten badly… then we can add some midfield/attacking help and Fabian drops back to LB…Beasley has the speed and experience…you cant coach or replace either of those…

  3. On the midfield trio I would have considered a Donovan-Johannsson-Zusi combo. Sometimes I think Dempsey, while a great player, plays rather slowly. I was thinking Johannsson might play a bit faster.

  4. What is looking bright is that in 2018, this team will have only about 4 players age out. Jones, Donavon, Dempsey, Howard and Beasley (maybe one of the 5 will still be on the USMNT). That implies there will be an experienced core returning and with Green, AJ, Agudelo, Corona, and Yedlin all very promising young prospects things will be looking up for the USMNT.


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