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Klinsmann optimistic about Altidore’s chances of playing vs. Belgium

Jozy Altidore

Photo by John Todd/


SAO PAULO — Jozy Altidore is getting closer to a full return, and U.S. Men’s National Team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is optimistic about the forward’s chances of playing in the Round of 16.

Altdiore was seen continuing his recovery from a strained left hamstring injury on Friday by jogging separately from his U.S. teammates but with a trainer. It was the third straight day in which Altidore ran. Klinsmann said after the U.S.’s light session at Sao Paulo FC’s training facility that he is feeling good about the chances of seeing Altidore back on the field in the upcoming elimination match against Belgium on Tuesday.

“We are very optimistic,” said Klinsmann, who has maintained that Altidore could return in this World Cup. “Every day is a big step forward with Jozy. It’s 11 days now (since the injury happened) and it’s looking better every day. We are optimistic to have him being part of the Belgium game.”

Altidore did not conduct any interviews with media following the Americans’ 1-0 loss to Germany in their Group G finale on Thursday, but he did say he was feeling better when asked about his health.

The 24-year-old striker has been forced to be a spectator for much of this World Cup after picking up the injury in the Americans’ World Cup opener, a 2-1 win over Ghana on June 16. He chased after a ball played over the top in the 21st minute and pulled up lame before being stretchered off and replaced two minutes later.


Think Jozy takes the pitch on Tuesday? Would you rather he starts or comes on as a substitute?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I would start Diskerud in the hole behind Dempsey. Zusi and JJ would be the outside Ms and Bradley could sit in front of Beckerman or along side him. I think he is better suited for this holding role than being in advanced position. Bradley has had to run an average of 12KM per match. He might be more effective coming from a deeper spot. It would also allow potentially longer possession. Bradley may statistically be good passer, but he’s been off IMO. His touch has been awful like where he failed to trap and shoot (maybe he should have hit it first time) on a wonderful pass from Jones. Jones is all-tournament so far. He’s been our best player in all three games (yes he still makes some bad passes, but the heart he has shown in Brazil is nothing short of spectacular. I’ve been very critical of him in the past, but what I have seen in Brazil has made me completely reassess my opinion of him. I did the same thing about Beckerman BTW. Davis was awful against Germany. Green should have been used as a sub otherwise why is occupying a roster spot. FJ is also an option on LM. You could either play Timmy Chandler at his natural position or Cameron at his natural position. You could also play Yedlin there although I think he has looked better as a RM because it emphasizes his strength and minimizes his weakness. For a RB he might be average to poor, but as a RM, he’s good to average defensively. Clearly, he’s a work in progress but IMO he has a tremendous upside. He could be the real Julian Green.

  2. Rest your fingers speculating about Jozy returning. If you ever pulled a hammy you know. And you also have experienced that 20 minutes of playing and doing just a little awkward stretch for a ball or hitting that shot not quite square and then WHAM. Lets say JK rolls the dice and plays him, you know Jozy will be holding back just a little because you can;t trust it after just 2 weeks.

    As nice as it would be, just won’t happen.

    JK should the same line-up as Germany – except Yedlin instead of Bedoya.

  3. I’m not a huge fan of Bradley. I think he is deeply mediocre. That said, I’d like to see how he does with Altidore in the line up. That said, we are no under moral obligation to play Bradley at all times. If he had another sub-par game, pull him at half time for Mix.

    I know ….sacrilidge!

    • Not sacrilegious. Just wrong, because Mixx can’t put in the defensive work that MB does. He’s too slight.

      If you’re going to play Mixx it’s on the right or from the left in one of the wing/midfield spots.

    • No religion required. You are just wrong. Like all professional players, there are things Bradley does well and things he does less well. He is absolutely outstanding in supporting his teammates, putting himself in positions to help them when they get in trouble, he is fantastic at delivering long passes with great accuracy, he is one of the 3 best passers in terms of completion on the US team, he is the player teammates look for first when they are in trouble or when they want to complete a pass, he is good at coming up with the ball. Things he does less well, he is not a great dribbler in tight spaces, he is not the fastest runner and is not particularly effective when running at defenders 1v1, he can score, but he is not a player who makes something out of nothing, he plays the game “in the moment” and does not pace himself over the match which can wear him out late in the game (of course without expending all that energy early-on, late game heroics might not be enough).

      • pass completion rate can be deceiving. Given Bradley’s “normal” role lying deeper in midfield, most of his passes are lateral 10 yard passes.

      • Exactly. His passes do not contribute to the offenses. He’s like the national team version of Billy Walsh (that’s for the old timers)

        Beckerman and Jones can handle the defenive duties in the center of the midfield. I’d rather have the offensive minded Mix in there.

        I remain unconvinced of the pro-Bradly arguments, but I hope he has a great game and proves me wrong.

    • It’s not sacrilege but as someone else said you have it wrong.

      Mikey is a mutli faceted player who carries a myriad number of responsibilities for this team.

      He came into this tournament in something of a mini slump that has been exacerbated by his increased responsibilities due to the loss of Jozy. He has been a little off but he has also been an integral part in holding this team together.

      Mixx has proven to be a talented late game offensive sub which is a long way off from what Mikey is tasked with performing.

  4. Salvador seems to love goals. I can’t imagine there’s any reason for it but 21 goals scored there in just 4 matches so far.

  5. I still wish Donovan and EJ were on this team regardless of Altidore going down. We would be a lot more dynamic and had more hold up against Germany.
    P/S Green and Davis, Wondo,Johansson aren’t playing. Big mistake. I’d feel we’d have a chance at a deeper run with them here. makes me mad. Help me with my rage by winning the damn thing!
    just say’n

    • The only ones who haven’t played are Green and Chandler. These are the subs, Ghana, Johannson, Brooks, Zusi; Portugal, Yedlin, Wondo, Omar G; Germany, Bedoya, Yedlin, I don’t think they brought a third one on. Ironically, that was the match where Green would have been best deployed but Klinsi went conservative. We were trying to tie but I honestly think that the way the team was gassed in the second half after playing in Manaus four days earlier, he figured the extra days rest outweighed the on paper inferior opponent. I think Algeria at this WC is a completely different team than in 2010. That was a game that we should have won by three or four goals. This Algeria team looks dangerous. Sure they dominated a pretty weak Korea team, but they gave Belgium fits for 80 minutes. They are one of those teams peaking at the right time, like Turkey in 2002.

      • Dirk,

        Like you I wanted that extra rest day and Belgium not Algeria.

        Belgium are tough but our guys should know their guys very well. Algeria are one of those dark horse, dangerous, talented, unpredictable teams that everyone hates to meet in this kind of tournament.

        Sort of like the US.

  6. And ya’ll thought I was crazy because I wanted Yedlin at RM, pfft eat crow! Also, Davis should never ever start. He was awful and not mention extremely slow. Fab J is magic. Move Chandler to LB and Start Beasley at LM.

  7. The good news is, at this point, we’re just playing with house money.

    We shouldn’t have gotten through. We lost our starting target man – who ended up being the one player on the roster without an actual backup – 15 minutes into our first game, and the game-plan we’d planned on using pretty much went right out the window.

    Since then, we’ve gone to Plan B, and Plan C…which involved starting Brad Davis, playing Clint Dempsey alone up top, pushing DeAndre Yedlin in as a right wing to run at people, using John Anthony Brooks…you name it.

    How we’re still alive – and how on Earth we managed to keep the Germany game to 0-1 and were pressing for an equalizer at the end (much to Jochi Low’s frustration!), is something I’ll never know.

    Belgium, on paper, should crush us. If we somehow get through Belgium, on paper we’ll be playing Argentina…who should similarly crush us.

    Of course, if we somehow pull not one but two more bunnies out of our hats, after that there’s a strong chance we could find ourselves in the interesting position of playing either Mexico or Costa Rica in the semis, if one of them can somehow pick off the Dutch.

    That would be hilarity, actually.

    In some ways, though, I’d rather have the bracket we have than the one the Germans are facing. They get Algeria in the Round of 16 and should roll ’em, but after that they’ll meet France, more than likely, and then whoever survives out of that Brazil/Chile/Colombia scrum that’s going to drive the South Americans to the brink of war with one another. Belgium and Argentina haven’t looked as convincing as certain others yet, and the possibility of seeing Mexico or Costa Rica in the semis is nothing short of exciting. It’s just – barely – within the realm of possibility that we actually go through.

    • +1. We’ll make the Belgians waffle on defense, and go on to take the Swiss cheese. Argentina will flop and Switzerland will make two boring goals to better Argentina’s one amazing goal.

      • The last two times the US played Argentina, the result was 1-1 ties. Messi played and it was basically Argentina’s first choice team. I think both teams are better now and Messi has matured, but two ties is the recent history.

    • I expect CRC to beat GRE. If MEX upsets NED, CRC’s path to the semis looks absolutely gilded. I have a harder time seeing MEX beat NED than I do seeing CRC beat GRE, but MEX is playing with a ton of confidence right now. As long as Ochoa is an octopus and they avoid the Big Mistake, they’re dangerous.

      • If that were to happen, then I’m sure Mexico would beat Costa Rica and then (ohhh noo!!!!) Mexico would be in the Semifinals and I would hate my life.

      • Greece are one of those awful to watch teams that can smother a team like Costa Rica and win on a last second cheap goal, a bad penalty call or an own goal.

        I love watching intelligent, solid team defense like Italy or DeMatteo’s Chelsea for example but Greece are as tough to beat as they are to watch. I’m rooting for Costa Rica but I can’t bear to watch Greece play.

      • But even you can admit that their game vs IC was much more Italy- like than Greece-like…
        Defended well, chose some well timed counters, created more chances than their first two games, hit the woodwork three times, scored twice…

    • quozzel,

      “we could find ourselves in the interesting position of playing either Mexico or Costa Rica in the semis, if one of them can somehow pick off the Dutch”

      I hate to look too far ahead and jinx our chances but…..

      While that possible match up would set in motion the mother of all media frenzys in CONCACAF World, I’d prefer to meet the Dutch.

      CONCACAF already respect us. This tournament is about winning respect for the US from the rest of the world and I’m tired of qualifiers being put on praise for the USMNT.
      If we can beat Belgium , Argentina and Holland, that ought to do it.

  8. Next game I’d sub Chandler in for Beasley and Diskerud in for Bradley. That leaves julian green as the only field player who has yet to play but I doubt he’ll see any minutes this world cup.

    • Let me make it clear sub in during the course of the game. I’m not saying these two should replace them in the starting line up.

  9. Bradley can’t juke no one, beckerman and Bradley are super alike and that’s not good at all.
    Fuk, altidore is out simple as that unless USA beats Belgium and Argentina.
    I think putting Omar with Besler together is a right move and we need fu-king speed on the wings.
    Honestly, chandler, Fabian and even brooks need to play no matter what.
    Dempsey needs to connect with green up there, and Bradley with diskerud.
    How about
    Diskerud/ johansson/ wondo
    Beasley Jones chandler
    Chnadler Gonzalez Besler. Fabian
    This is a magical line up, Dempsey up there with a wondo switching places .
    Then bring in green as a secret weapon, no beckerman, Cameron in for defense if needed.

    • We are 4 games in. Survived the Group of Death. Yeah, nows the time to make wholesale changes. You probably think we should have actually beaten the #2 Ranked Germany yesterday. C’mon, they had 1 day more rest than us. They didn’t play in Manaus. They didn’t score from the run of play. They scored a great goal basically off of a corner kick. Making wholesale changes is the most certain way to see them on a plane on Wednesday heading back to the U.S. You guy’s that think you know more that JK are a Joke. Go play fantasy football.

      We will pretty much see the same line up and that is the right thing to do. The boys just need to trust themselves a little more and go for it. Play with the same caution but don’t be too afraid to attack. They will play their best game to date on Tuesday and they will win.

  10. Atletico Man is pretty much spot on. This game with Belgium will most closely mirror the game against Portugal. We were solid throught out the whole game and actually took it to the Portugese. The first goal was kind of a fluke. That field was crap and I have to think that ball took a slightly bad hop. It doesn’t look like Cameron took his eye off the ball. Their second goal was F’d up. We were stretched at a point in the game where there is no way in hell we should have been stretched. Naivete. I don’t think, given the chance, we will make the same mistake. Bedoya has been solid defensively so I think we see him again with Yedlin coming on for him if needed for offense only. I for one still go with Cameron unless he is injured and can’t gp the full 90. Otherwise we see Gonzalez again. I am hoping Cameron is healthy… Those calling for major changes in the line up don’t get it. As much as I would like to see Jozy out there. The only way he gets on the pitch is late in the 2nd half if a goal is needed. If we get through Belgium then maybe Argentina is a more realistic pssibility to see him. I for one believe we get past Belgium and we will get to see Jozy then.

    C’mon you YANKS! Continue to make us proud!

    • Yeah, except that Portugal looked like they had holes everywhere in the run up to the WCup, and during the WCup too.
      Belgium looks like a team that would and did win their group.

      We can beat Belgium, but it won’t be as easy of a game as Portugal.

      Go Yanks !

      • Portugal is a better team than Belgium. Yes, they have a very shaky defense and questionable goalkeeping, but the have Moutinho and Ronaldo. They have a lethal counter. Ask Sweden. We did a fantastic job limiting their chances. Mentally we were exhausted in injury time and there were several boneheaded passes besides Bradley’s turnover. In fairness he didn’t have that long to react and lost the ball quickly, but instinctually he should have either kicked it away, or cynically fouled the second he lost the ball. Despite this, we really played well against them. If we are fresh, we can do the same against Belgium. We may technically be the underdog, but we are much more experienced in these situations as Belgium. For all their talent, this is their first WC in 12 years. Beasley played in that WC. We have four players (Howard, Dempsey, Altidore, and Bradley) that played in all four matches in South Africa. They know what a knockout stage game is like, especially the bad taste of defeat to a beatable Ghanian team. Klinsmann has been in this position many times as a player and also as coach of Germany. This is uncharted territory for Belgium. They have a lot of pressure on them to win. At this point, losing (a close game that is) would allow us to surpass what we did in South Africa. We were in a group tougher than in 2006 or 2002. In 2010, we had a dream draw and we barely made it out of the group, needing an injury time goal. Belgium is beatable. Forget about the two friendlies, especially since Benteke is injured and not playing in the WC.

      • “but instinctually he should have either kicked it away, or cynically fouled the second he lost the ball.”

        It seems to me that once Mikey lost that ball he was instantly completely out of the picture and could not have done any of the things you suggested. Now, maybe someone else could have……

    • Portugal, sure, but with a dash of Germany and Ghana. Belgium will try to have shape, may want to win, and they have athletes.

  11. I wouldn’t mind seeing Diskerud come in–if USA behind–around 65 minutes, and the same for Altidore or Wondo. I wouldn’t want to risk Altidore as a starter, if he hasn’t at least played as a sub once.

    Bradley is asked to do what he isn’t most comfortable with. He doesn’t need to be benched–he needs to be repositioned.

    Zusi needs to prove he can hit those corners in practice. If not, who gets it? Bedoya? Johnson? Beasley?

    • Don’t make anyone say it…..|

      It is just a joke that we are trying to decide whether to put in Mix, Davis or Bedoya in the midfield, none of which would ever be traded for HIM….maybe traded for all of them together ?
      I love all three, but come on…..

      ….although I was reading that HE can’t go 90 right now, so maybe JK was just a genius many steps ahead of us critics.

  12. I can’t believe every comment isn’t some variation of “oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!”

    Bringing Jozy back will make the whole team better. We can lob balls up to him which he can bring down and hold for the attack to build up. We can move Dempsey to the withdrawn role that he excels at. It allows for a more measured and consistent attack, and allows Bradley to spray balls with more confidence. This is a huge boost for our chances, if he can start and play.

    The only caveat- JK is optimistic about EVERYTHING.

  13. Let’s go for it and throw out this lineup:

    Cameron Gonzalez Besler Beasley
    Yedlin Bradley Jones Johnson
    Altidore Dempsey

    • a traditional 4-4-2, nice. interestingly, i dont think this is a completely bad idea. i like when yedlin and johnson play on the same side tho

  14. I’m glad we have so many team doctors here to educate us on Jozys hamstring…
    I’m also glad we have so many coaches who believe that the 3 subs per game rule doesn’t apply to the usmnt…sweet!!

  15. He needs to stick with a 4-3-2-1 formation. F.Johnson, Gonzalez, Bessler, Beasley in the back. Cameron, Beckerman, Jones defensive mids, Bradley and Dempsey amids and Jozy up top. Can swap johannsen as amid and Dempsey up top if Jozy don’t play. Have Johnson and Beasley attack wide, jones and Cameron provide cover for them and Beckerman hold. Bradley and Dempsey get free reign. I don’t think Bradley knows his responsibility, jones is running all over the place and Bradley is asking do I attack or so I have to hold. Define his role and we get the special player he is!!! Go USA!!!!!

      • Steven Defour, a defensive midfielder
        Most thought he was playing just to give other rest and wouldn’t have played against the US anyway. However if they have to move Dembele back, that makes things more interesting.

  16. We will see the same line up we have been seeing the last two games.


    1) Jozy can’t start, probably can’t go at all.
    2) Against Portugal, the line up worked; we could have won that one 2 – 0 but for two missed plays in the back line.
    3) Although he is still uncomfortable in the role, with Bradley in the hole the team has had a much better passing and distribution game than they did, even in qualifying. One of the reasons he looks bad is that the level of the whole team has been elevated in terms of passing and coordinated play.
    4) The fullbacks have to provide the width in this formation, so FJ stays in the back line. If we have six more months, I think you could push FJ and put Yedlin back there, but not in four days.
    6) Gonzo was great, he still scares me because I have seen not great too many times, but Klinsman will make that call in the center. Gonzo plays and Cameron sits, or visa versa.
    7) You will never see Mix over Bradley unless Bradley is hurt and cannot go. Not this World Cup.
    8) Bedoya may be hurt. He certainly has not been impressive. the only personel change I could see here besides Gonzo for Cameron would be Yedlin for Bedoya. Klinsi may try Davis again but I wouldn’t.

    The most important fact is that we got this far playing this way. The players are feeling good about themselves and their team, and no coach is going to throw a wholesale change into a team that sees itself as winning. You may not agree (I am sure del Bosque wishes he had made some more changes before the cup) but I don’t think Klinsman will toss things up much.

    Belgium’s defense is the best we have faced, but their front can have issues holding the ball. It will not be easy, but they are beatable.

    I like our chances.

    • This is absolutely true, This team is playing well together, and I wouldn’t make many changes. Against Germany we played it safe, but I think we can be more aggressive with the same players against Belgium. I might bring Yedlin in around the 70th minute if we need a goal. Also I wouldn’t mind seeing mix in the first half (not sure if he could replace bedoya, or zusi, but those are the only two I would think about switching.)

    • Absolutely right. Probably no coach, not JK, maybe not even Rafael Benitez who shuffled Liverpool’s lineup nearly every game, is likely to mess with what has been a successful approach in which his team did better than expected.

    • Atletico Man,

      Good post. At the risk of being redundant, I agree that JK should not make any major changes.

      They are finally playing the solid team defense that has been slow developing all year and managing to get some possession and some scoring in the bargain.

      So now everyone wants to break it up. Fabian is contending for a spot as one of the best attacking right backs in this Cup and everyone wants to move him. Then they want to move Beckerman and Jones out so their fave players can get some time in. You’d think this was one of those kiddy leagues where everyone is supposed to play , not the World Cup.

      One reason Mikey looks bad is that everyone’s role on the team has changed a bit with Jozy out so there are a lot of new responsibilities for everyone. And of course, these three games are the three toughest ones this edition has had to play. Mikey is killing himself making up for the changes. ..

      Basically, the USMNT seems to be emulating Chelsea’s recent Champion’s League run. Hopefully their run will end as well as Chelsea’s did.

      Belgium have superior talent but I suspect the US are more cohesive and are the better TEAM. So it should be a close, tough contest.

      I’m glad we’re playing Belgium for one simple reason. If we had beaten Germany and won the Group we’d be playing Algeria one day earlier on Monday. And this team REALLY needs that extra day of rest. Even more than they need to play a supposedly “weaker” team than Belgium.

  17. Jozy aint seeing the field this wc, its all conjecture.

    There bigger question/issue is JK roster selection. We have no backup for Jozy or CDMs for that matter. Suddenly our deep team seems very thin at spots. One injury to Jones, Becks or MB and we would rally be screwed. Of all the omissions EJ seems to be the most glaring, he could slot in well for Jozy and we could keep our normal shape and playing style.

    • Geoff Cameron can slot in as a CDM if needed. Arguably that’s his best position. Then JK would just backfill his spot with Gonzo or Brooks. Both have played and have had surprisingly good performances.

      • “Arguably that’s his best position”

        Based on one game against world beaters Panama?

        That is a pretty mega statement based on a mini sample size..

      • EJ is what, number 7 all time in US goals? and somehow AJ is MORE of a threat? Based on what? Your assessment of their skill set? Ok…

  18. Remember me guys, I said kilnsi can make history with this squad or actually fail.
    USA is partial lucky that they are in the second round. Did anyone watch the Ghana vs Portugal, ghana could of demolish Portugal but it was obvious Ghana has some issues within the team.
    But now is time for kilnsi to show his motivational and tactics skills.
    For example, the back line is a mess and kilnsi needs to fix that ASAP for Belgians game. You got Fabian, Omar who wanna play but is Cameron ready for belgiums super attack.
    Then you got beckerman who is another Bradley, and jones who is basically a Ray Lewis
    (linebacker) .
    At the end of the day, USA needs creativity and I believe diskerud and green have it.
    I would love to see Dempsey,altidore with green and Bradley with diskerud together and of course jones behind.
    I also think Howard needs speed on the sidelines so he can dictate his wings, go now, not now, on the next one.
    USA reminds me of the Italian team who won their recent World Cup and how Chelsea won the if recent champions.
    Don’t park the bus, show me some creativity because the backline can’t take everything.

    • Green is a passenger on this ride. He has never played at this level and only a desperate coach would throw him in there.

      I like Mix but he has not been consistent enough at this level to disrupt this team.

    • Green was an awful roster decision, he looked way over his head in one of the friendlies I saw before the cup. Other than the rumor he was offered a spot to be wooed into the American side, I don’t know what he could possibly do. Maybe someone could tell me?? I can’t say I’ve seen too much of him.

  19. Solutions to less than current stellar attack (absence of Jozy) and to Belgium IMO
    1. Insert Mixx as ACM behind Dempsey.
    2. Put Bradley and Jones back into a defensive holding central midfield role. (Beckerman sub)
    3. Reposition F. Johnson into an attacking wing position.
    4. Roll Cameron back out to outside back.
    5. Insert Gonzo or Brooks into Central Defense with Besler.
    – Subs, insert Bedoya, Zusi, Green into attacking midfield wings

    • Beckerman will be in the starting lineup; he has played his role consistently well, and at least part of the reason Jones has played like a beast is because Beckerman picks up a lot of the defensive slack Jones would have normally been responsible for.

      • Jones +/- ….Beckerman +/- …..Jones…..Beckerman

        Jones (with a solid back up w/ Becks to either Jones, or Bradley)

        Cameron can also serve in CDM role….

    • 6. Lose all the chemistry that has been built in the last month.

      I’m not saying that any individual move you’re suggesting is wrong. In fact, there is a good argument to be made for each and every one of them. Where you go awry is suggesting that all of those moves be made. You’d basically change half XI’s position or personnel, and while it may work, it likely would end with Bradley, Cameron, and Gonzo/Brooks standing around asking questions of one another while Belgium celebrates.

  20. I like Jozy in the line up even for just a half against Belgium. If you think the German defenders were big, watch these Belgian dudes. Smaller guys like Bacon and even Dempsey will need skill and luck because they won’t be outmuscling anybody in the box or while holding up play. If anything, based on match ups, I think this is the most important game for Jozy to be in.

    • If Jozy can go, it is the lineup we trotted out against Ghana. If he can’t, then I think it is the lineup we trotted out against Ghana -Jozy +Wondo.

      We got the win against Ghana which allowed Klinsmann to put out the 4-5-1 with Clint by himself to try and get a result against Portugal. Despite going up 2-1 for that game, that formation, IMO, was designed to get a tie.

      Being in the driver’s seat on qualification, Klinsmann was then able to play a different formation for Germany that was more conservative and defensive. We saw JJJ get forward while Bradley stayed back, and Davis (despite his maligning by USA fans) played his role after switching sides of the field with Zusi getting a few clearances and supporting his pairing with FJ. Davis was brought off, not because he was playing badly, but because we went down 1-0 and had to move out of the defense minded formation/personnel. Klinsmann didn’t want to play with fire, he pushed to get the equalizer just in case.

      Klinsmann knows whether Jozy can go or not, he has to have a more attack minded formation capable of getting the result against Belgium. If we go down in the first half, I forsee Mix and Johannson being brought on as subs. If we get up early, expect to see the US park the bus.

      • Torn hamstrings take 2 months (using professional physio’s to come back all the way. (Matt Kemp, Juan Uribe etc) To cheat the healing time and try to play now, will put Jozy into a re-injury situation and he’d only be able to play at lots less than full strength. This would cost us a valuable substitution option later in the game. I think Jozy, playing at 3/4 or 2/3 speed weaken our team strength both physically and tactically!

      • If we take JK at his word, it’s probably a grade 1 strain. A grade 2 would have ruled JA out for the whole tournament, whereas a grade 1 might recover quickly enough to be back during the tournament.

        Or JK is blowing smoke…

      • the root cause of most hamstring pulls like the one Jozy had with no contact are an imbalance between the quads and hamstring strength. The stronger quads simply put are able to pull the hamstrings. That makes the hamstrings even weaker, making re-injury likely until they are not only fully healed, but strengthened as well.

        Only if Jozy can first pass the usual strength tests and then can sprint full-speed and then sprint in a practice-game situation should he see the field in a real game. Any earlier and he will almost certainly re-injure the hamstring.

  21. A little statistical musing for the off day.

    Belgium scratched out three wins against teams with the following SPI rankings (offense/defense): Algeria 2.04/1.23, Russia 1.46/0.63, Korea 1.66/1.55.

    Belgium’s rankings are 2.14/0.65.

    US 2.16/1.00.

    The US scored 4 goals against Group H teams Ghana 1.99/0.87, Portugal 2.11/0.94, Germany 3.17(!)/0.79.

    We should be able to score on Belgium, with or without Jozy. The question is, will our defense keep a clean sheet?

      • Wow, a friendly game with 6 subs allowed to each team? The game will be totally different. In this friendly both teams were experimenting with different tactics and getting looks at different players. We’ll see a different game on tuesday.

    • I would not automatically assume that we would score against Belgium. They only gave up 1 goal in 3 games at this WC and that goal was from a penalty kick. They have arguably best keeper in the WC (and their back up keeper would start for most of the other nations), their defenders play for clubs like Bayern, ManCity and Tottenham, and offensively they have a lot more talent than we do so we are likely to defend quite a bit. We have a chance against them, but they are a very talented squad and we will be underdogs.

      • Oh snap! That back up keeper really stands up your cautionary tale of the Belgian defense 😉

        On a more serious note, I think we’ll get a goal. I’m more worried about letting in 3 or 4.

      • Our back-up goalie is world class. Put Guzan on a team with some quality defenders instead of Villa and he will have a great season. Belgium’s defenders are decent but not great. It’s their offensive players, led by Hazzard and Lukaku, that should worry you. Kompany is injured and might not play or will play at less than 100%.

      • All good points but to put it in context, their opponents have been underwhelming.

        Belgium deserves to be favored but to paraphrase the Joker “” Wait until they get a load of us”.

  22. Great mind games by Klinsmann here.

    No chance Jozy plays, but telling the media that it’s looking real good could screw with Belgium’s preparations…

    • I’m sure they are game planning for Jozy, especially all the EPL players that have played against his team Sunderland (He was on the bench so they didn’t really see him play). Sarcasm aside, I do hope it throws them off a little but I don’t think they are too worried. Hopefully they underestimate us like many teams do!

      • The best kind of sarcasm is mistaken sarcasm.

        30 appearances for Sunderland last season. Most were starts.

      • Mason,

        Jozy had 38 appearances across all competitions for Sunderland.

        To put that in context, when Dempsey was a regular at Fulham, another EPL club that did not often go too far in competitions. in his best years he averaged 42 appearances across all competitions.

        Regulars at big time EPL clubs, where they get to play more games, can get between 50-60 appearances across all competitions in a season.

        So yeah, given that Sunderland was crap, Jozy played a lot.

  23. I don’t think Altidore is back from injury and he won’t play. I believe that coach is keeping Belgium guessing about our line up. They may prepare differently if they think Altidore is playing.

  24. Bradley is simply trying too hard. He has been put in a more attacking position with the deployment of Jones AND Beckerman behind him protecting the back line. Ignoring the fact that he is trapping passes to him like any other MLSer, he is also overcommitting to certain balls and defensive positions leaving a gap behind him.

  25. If Altidore can’t go, we need to figure out something. Clint by himself has been hit or miss and is asking a lot of him. Whether its Aron or Wondo, he needs more support. I don’t know if that means taking off a CM or one of the outside guys (likely Bedoya off before Zusi), but getting more support up front is going to be necessary so we don’t have the same pounding v Belgium.

    Agree with starting Jozy being a huge risk, would rather see him come as a sub if possible, although still puts you in a bad situation if he goes down late after only coming on.

    • I think Klinsman should go with a 1-2-1-2-4. Dempsey up top, supported by Johansson and Mix, Bradley behind Mix, with Jones and Beckerman on the wings, and then have the back 4 with Beasley, Gonzalez, Besler, and F. Johnson.

      • you cannot be serious….

        I think it’s pretty obvious plays off a center forward (essentially) Dempsey’s best position (he’s Dempsey’s sub). Ideally Jozy’s sub would have been EJ or Boyd. You need A LOT of defensive cover from your wings and neither Mix or Aron provide that.

      • Mix is one of the most creative players that we have available, I would feel better somehow shifting the lineup a bit to get Mix in rather than putting in a jozy Altidore who has had one good game in the last 6 months and is probably not physically ready to play. I would be afraid that putting jozy in at this point would somehow make us worse.

      • Has Mix ever played against a team of Belgium’s caliber, in a game that means so much? Also, “one good game in the last 6 months” is a ridiculous statement. Let’s be clear, at this stage, Jozy Altidore is 5 times the player Mix is (Mix is 23 and Jozy is 24) and has the accomplishments to show for it.

  26. Bradley needs to get his stuff together this is rediculous his 2010 WC form is 1000 times better than this time

      • Flacco,

        And what do you call his normal position?

        Mikey is a midfielder. On this team he is Claudio Reyna 2014 version. The team looks to get him the ball first so that he can get it to where it needs to go.
        But in a tournament, sometimes things change a little.
        Jozy going down changed everyone’s role slightly. Jozy played a lot of defense and Mikey is making up for that. Mikey is being a Fireman going wherever he is needed, usually to help out Beckerman. Together they have allowed Jones to do his Beast mode all action box to box thing which he is the best suited of the three to play.

        All this criticism of individual players is mostly wide of the mark. Look at what they are being asked to do for the team. And they are not all being asked to score spectacular goals , provide pretty assists or perform game saving tackles.

        And so far everyone’s collective efforts seem to be working.

    • Based on what? Certainly not his stats which are better this WC. More passes recieved, more passes completed, more miles covered, etc. He hasn’t scored a goal this WC, yet, but that is about it.

      Tactically, he is the guy his teammates look to first when they need to relieve pressure, that was not the case in 2010 and it pretty much looks like the plan is for the attack to move through him.

      • And I’m only being slightly snarky. Really. I can’t fight the feeling that we would be so much better/rested/sharper/everything if we had Jozy. 99% certain Jozy is not coming back, but… a man can dream.

    • haha. me too. I mean, i know in my BRAIN, that there is no way Jozy sees the field even if we advance a bit. But, my HEART says keep hope alive that he’ll see the field!

      • I think Altidore will start Tuesday. Why save him? It’s now or never and if the hammie twangs again, you regroup. And leave Bradley where he is. I know there have been problems (how he let that pass just roll under his foot outside the German box just bewildered me, but it’s football…) I offer the theory that the German game was played in crap weather on a soaked field and the Portugal game was played in a sauna. I know. The conditions were the same for everyone. But if we can get a game with decent conditions, maybe we will see the sharp-passing MB we all hope for when he’s on the field.

    • It’s like when you call and order Chinese food, and it’s delivered to your door within 10 minutes.

      There’s no way they were able to prepare that properly.

      (Thanks Oliver)

      • I don’t think JK will bench Bradley, but it would be nice to see Diskerud come in for a tad to give Bradley a rest.. I know that would have been a likley sub if we had gotten 6 points in two games. Any chance Diskerud sees some time on Tuesday?

      • If we see Mix, it’ll probably mean we’re chasing the game, in which case he’d probably come on for Bedoya, Zusi, or (if we’re getting really desperate) Beckerman.

      • Oh, so snarky. So if Altodore plays, then who misses out? My initial thought is a tactical change and eliminate one of our outside attackers and have Jones play on the left side of midfield with Bedoya on the right. Beckerman and Bradley in the diamond. Basically revert back to the diamond.

      • I like the idea of F. Johnson at RMF, Becker, Jones and Bradley with Altidore and Dempsey up front.

        Bradley is only second to Demps in talent on this team. Don’t be ridiculous and say something about him coming out. Dumb.

      • so to answer the question, you’ve said you would bench Bedoya and Zusi. I think I’m on board with that.
        Then again, now that teams have seen this new formation, I wouldn’t mind switching up again and giving them wrinkles they aren’t prepped for.
        Even pulling Beckerman to add more attacking presence should be on the table.

      • “Even pulling Beckerman to add more attacking presence should be on the table”

        The USMNT qualified because it has been playing solid defense; finally.

        Now you guys want to break that all up.

      • Do you think we can beat Belgium playing the way we did against Germany? That was perhaps the ugliest game I’ve seen the US play since Croatia 2006.

      • Jesse
        “Do you think we can beat Belgium playing the way we did against Germany?”

        No, but the US won’t give the same performance. They should be better rested for this game. Every US player who played in Manaus was clearly drained and heavy legged.

        They were lucky ( and good enough) to be able to get it together enough to give Germany a tough game and not blow their goal differential.

        They don’t need to play different, they need to play better.

        There will be some changes. Certainly if Jozy is fit, a big if, that changes things. And none of us know what kind of shape everyone else is in and how they are looking in practice. Gonzo’s freshness and energy was clearly a vital lift.

        Still, the US is finally playing good cohesive team defense and there is little reason to make massive changes. Especially, when you consider that cohesion and team play is what might give the US one of its few advantages over Belgium.

        “That was perhaps the ugliest game I’ve seen the US play since Croatia 2006.”

        That is an exaggeration. The Honduras qualifying loss was as bad if not worse. And Honduras , even at home in the heat and humidity, were not as challenging as facing World Cup contenders Germany with their tails up, blood in the water and advancement out of the Group on the table.

      • If Altidore plays, it would almost certainly be off the bench as a sub if the US were trailing. Not sure you can risk starting him given the fitness questions.

      • Is it a lower risk coming off the bench? I think it is a higher risk. If you start him on the field and he gets hurt, fine you’ve wasted a sub. If you bring him on in the 60th minute and he gets hurt. You’ve wasted 2 subs.
        Either start him, or don’t play him at all.

      • I mean, seriously, if only we had just one game this World Cup where Jozy started, we might possibly have at least somewhat of an idea what the lineup would look like.

        But since we clearly don’t, we’ll just assume we’ll bench our team’s best player because he’s only been roughly on par with the rest of the team instead of 10 times better than them the last couple games.

      • If Altidore plays it will be 4231.

        Howard; DMB, Besler, Cameron, FJ; Beckerman, Jones; Dempsey, Bradley, Bedoya; Altidore

        You could convince me that Jones and Bradley should switch spots.

      • It’s not that hard to figure out. That’s just the starting lineup from GHA in a slightly different formation than they were listed (442 Narrow Diamond).

      • I disagree. Bradley will have to be benched before he retires. Bradley’s career has a max of what 10 more years? So for sure then, relegation will be in MLS in the next 10 years? I doubt it. As a casual fan (LA Galaxy season ticket holder who rarely ever goes), I’d like to see that. It would add some more intrigue to the league.

      • If you qualified the MLS regulation before Bradley is benched by JK with “in this decade” it would probably be right.

      • You know Bradley played the flipping ball into the box that Dempsey headed over the goal. OMG!!!

      • Bradley also fed Zusi for a decent shot in the first half and found Dempsey through 2 Germans that opened the break that led to the Bedoya chance which Lahm blocked.

        If you watch the replays, Bradley was in space for the (feasible, but magical) extra pass on both occasions (the Bedoya chance was a 75 yard sprint in the 93rd minute) that would have opened up an arguably better chance on goal at close range.

    • I think we’ll see Bradley play better with a two forward kind of system. I don’t think he has the vision to see a good passing lane with just one guy up front, then you can just see he doesn’t know what to do with himself after he gets rid of the ball to Dempsey.

  27. Hamstrings scare the hell out of me. We simply cannot afford to start him only to sub him off after 10 minutes, a la Diego Costa in the CL final.

    • If im not mistaken Diegos Hammy was injurred and then he played the CL with very little turn around time.

      Its all very hard to determine when your back from thilis type of injury.

      But if jozys already jogging and sprinting slowly then He may be back by tuesday.

      • He had originally hurt it much earlier. I believe it was the last Chelsea game.

        He was pulled from the final game of the season v. Barcelona too.

    • + 1, very much agreed, but I would imagine Klinsmann’s hyper aware of that. Another guy commented under another article about moving Johnson up to half, slotting Cameron in at right back, and keeping Gonzalez in the central mix. Bueno idea.

      • FJ is good where he is. From what I’ve seen from the friendlies and the WC games our wingers are suppose to pinch in, outside backs attack and DM’s cover for them while they attack.

      • i think that is the key here. Zusi and Bedoya like to pinch in from those positions with FJ and Beasley providing the width. with Cameron at RB and with FJ at RM, that changes the system. not saying they haven’t worked on it, but if JK isn’t comfortable with the number of reps the team has had in that system, it might not be worth doing.

      • I should point out that fabian played on the wing during qualification last summer. back when we had our record winning streak. and cameron is used to playing right back. i just think it’s a change that is low-risk. worth looking at to help our attack.

      • We need him back for one to one defense against Eden Hazard. Hazard has torched Cameron in the UK and in the friendly. FJ needs to be at right back for defense. Plus there will be plenty of room to overlap and attack when Hazard gets forward.

      • Fabian is completely able to pinch in… he is a threat and we need a threat… I am good with him playing LM with Zusi on the right crossing and taking corners. Davis should not see the field again… love the guy but offers nothing outside of a good free kick cross… SLOW as molasses.

      • yeah, with him on the left it makes sense for him to pinch in because Beasley will provide that width still. but on the right, with Cam at RB, i’d want FJ to play more wide. but i think you have a good idea with giving Zusi that RM role with FJ at LM.

      • Fabian is one of our most dangerous attackers in this WC. Getting him forward would do wonders for our chances to score against Belgium.

      • He joins attack from the fullback position because that’s what his position entails.

        Fullback isn’t a defensive position if you play in a system that uses fullbacks to provide width like Klinsmann does.

        I’m not saying Fabian wouldn’t be good in an advanced position, but if we play him there and put Cameron behind him, then we are playing a much more defensive structure because Cameron will rarely overlap effectively. If we want to boost our attack, we need to bring on better side attacking midfield options.

        Klinsmann likes the creativity of Zusi and Bedoya in receiving those passes from the midfield and distributing them to those wide fullbacks. He also likes Fabian to make in runs from deeper because he’s harder to track. I see no reason to change what has been one of our more effective tactics.

        If we change anything, it should be the front 6. Sit Beckerman, let Bradley and Jones sit in front of the back 4, and bring on another forward.

        JK is the one who sees the training, so I have to believe he is going to pick the best 11.

      • I thought this after the Germany match. I think it’ll boost our midfield attack, without sacrificing any defense.

      • Mos def. Wish there were some way too to get Yedlin on the pitch. I know he blew that cross when he came in against Germany. But I chalk that up to nerves, which I think he’d calm down in about 10 min. Very threatening player simply because of his athleticism.

      • Yeah, Bedoya and Davis have not been terribly effective. It is one of several areas where we need some depth.

      • I’d say that if you want to push Johnson forward into the attack, start Yedlin at right back. He is the one guy on the roster with the speed and quickness to face up top Hazard.

      • As much as I like what Yedlin has done and would love to see him get tons of minutes after the tournament, it’s Cameron Johnson or Chandler as starters. Anything beyond that shouldn’t even really be in consideration. They’re the only ones with anything close to this kind of experience

    • Scares me too.

      If you start him and he pulls up lame after 10 minutes you will have to use 1 or your 3 substitutions. If you don’t start him and put him in lets say in the 65th (1st substitution) minute and he pulls up lame you now have to use up your 2nd substitution. And if a sub was made at half or there is a tie at the end of regulation and extra time is needed we could really be screwed. I really don’t think I would play him unless he was absolutely healed. I would suspect an MRI on Sunday or Monday.

    • I got to say He was looking explosive again the other day. Every bad call he was firing off the bench with such burst and pace. I kept thinking, “He’s milking it for sympathy!” I got to admit it, I would do the same thing. Who doesn’t want to be rubbed down daily in Brazil. Hello!


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