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Who should the USMNT start vs. Germany?

Jermaine Jones

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RECIFE, Brazil — The U.S. Men’s National Team takes on Germany on Thursday with a place in the Round of 16 on the line and Jurgen Klinsmann will have to decide whether to stick with the same lineup that outplayed Portugal, or make changes to account for the different challenges presented by mighty Germany.

Klinsmann’s decision to go with a 4-5-1 with Clint Dempsey as his lone forward worked well in neutralizing Portugal’s midfield and limiting service to Cristiano Ronaldo, but Germany has many more weapons and beating them could require Klinsmann to make some changes to his lineup.

One change we can see is Klinsmann going back to a two-forward setup, with Chris Wondolowski edging out Aron Johannsson for the duties. Dempsey’s presence in midfield will be needed against the Germans, while Wondolowski can do the dirty work as the lead striker.

So who will Klinsmann turn to against Germany? Here is the lineup we could see take the field against Germany on Thursday:







Some quick thoughts:

Wondolowski gets the nod for Graham Zusi, who didn’t have his best game against Portugal. Wondolowski can do the dirty work pressing high up the field to try and disrupt Germany’s attempt to start their attacks from deep.

DaMarcus Beasley was solid vs. Portugal, but you wonder about fatigue and whether Klinsmann will consider inserting Tim Chandler’s fresh legs to face an opponent he knows well. It’s something to think about.

Geoff Cameron had a shocker against Portugal, but do you pull him for Omar Gonzalez? I’m not sure I can see Klinsmann doing that.


What do you think of the lineup? Who would you start that we didn’t include? Would you start the same lineup that tied Portugal?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Would go with:


    Could see Zusi for Mix but think that Mix would help more with possession. Also, I think he would be better cutting in and with Jones ability to slide out to the left to cover, we would be a little more dynamic. If Besler is not fit, Brooks should replace him.

  2. ———–Johansson–Dempsey———–

  3. ——————–Dempsey——————–

  4. ——————–Dempsey——————-

  5. Same 4-5-1 (4-2-3-1, same thing), players from left to right on the field:
    Howard; Chandler, Besler, Cameron, Johnson; Beckerman, Jones; Bedoya, Dempsey, Bradley; Johannsson

  6. The reason Ghana gave Germany a difficult time was because they out paced Germanys back line. If we start Dempsey and Wondo up top it would be a molasses front line. Yes, we have pace on the wing, but most likely we will be countering all game. Putting Ajo up top gives us more creativity and speed. I like Wondo and he is a good player but I take a better skilled player over a hard worker any day. Besides, i highly doubt Germany is going to be spent on passing the ball around in the back.

    • The issue I have with AJ is that he could not lose Ghana’s defenders to get open for passes. I think Germany’s defense will be no easier to get free of. Therefore if AJ gets on, he will either have to work a lot harder and smarter to get open or he will not see much of the ball.

      • We could have had Usain Bolt up top against Ghana and he still would of had a hard time getting open the way our midfield distributed the ball that game. Plus, AJ was put into a difficult situation being put in with out a strategy that supports his type of play.

      • He was not open. No passes would reach him, you can’t fault the midfielders for having no one to pass to.

  7. Someone should post the mano-a-mano matchups vs. Germany, along with the starting lineup. For example, it will be Bradley-Ozil, Jones-Lahm, Cameron-Klose, Dempsey-Mertesacker, etc. I’m drunk already and the game is still 12 hours away. Giddy punch drunk with anticipation that is.

  8. —–DEMPSEY—–

    Okay now for the reasons:

    The reason I’m not staring Chandler is because I expect Sherlure to play and he scored twice on Stoke last year with Cameron in the lineup. Plus we may need another central midfielder to come in late, as we dont know how the legs of Jones, Bradley, and Beckerman are going to hold up.

    We Can hopefully defend or score with the height from our back line. Mueller is not that fadt somwe don’t have to worry so much about speed.

    Substitutes would be Green for Zusi and Yedlin for Johnson or Chandler depending on how we are playing. And if we are down by two I would put Wondolowski in soon after.

  9. 1) Maybe Brooks at one of the CBs because of Besler’s hammy or Cameron’s problems against Portugal. Also, Brooks knows the German players.

    2) Maybe Chandler for Beasley, with or without swapping positions with FJ. Chandler also knows the Germans.

    3) If inserting another striker, probably Johannson instead of Wondo. ArJo is quick and nifty around big lumbering German backline; Wondo won’t get any headers against them. Replace Bedoya or Zusi? Not sure.

    No more than that.

  10. Great analysis on ESPN tonite from Roberto Martinez and Marco VB on Germany’s false 9 with Mueller and the problems it presents the center backs…
    Beckermans communication with Besler and Cam will be key…

    After the first two games whatever JK throws out there is good wit me…

    Let’s get this thing going….

  11. I really like your projection. I hope Klinsmann agrees. I hope Dempsey is fit. He was limping coming off the field in Manaus. I think the US will be very well equipped to deal with the heat because of their grueling schedule during the regular season. Germans tend to be much more affected by the temperature. So I hope that they tie because I also would like to see Germany go on.

  12. Ideally you would want NO CHANGES. Especially in the backline and the D-Mids as communication and chemistry will be key to dealing with Germany’s fluid attack. Crappy part is these guys must be gassed after the Amazon. This is where he hope KIinnsman’s reportedly brutal training regimen pays off.

    If we have to here maybe we put Jones on the left like the Ghana game and Zusi on the right (and hope that he has a better game). Throw in a bunch of midfielders to try and choke the German midfield. Give Bedoya a break. Chandler too could come in for Beasley as he played 180 minutes and was the focus of Ghana’s attack… his 30+ old body might catch up with him. Bradley would slide further back and Mixx takes the role behind Dempsey to threaten their backline.

    We have to be very physical with them. Give them doubt in their minds. As the game wears on we throw in our speedy guys (Aron and Yedlin mb) and/or the poacher (Wondo) to try and steal a goal.

    For the love of God NO GONZALEZ PLEASE GOD

    • If you look at game stats Ghana attacked the left of Germany. I think wed be better attacking the Right. 70 % of our attacks came on the Left. Johnson and Yedlin were really fast. I think Cameron was the worst player if he clears the damn ball we win. Ohh and the stats back me up on that assessment.

  13. Anyone else think it’s weird how Germany keeps playing Lahm as CDM with Schweinsteiger on the bench while the outside backs have been struggling? Am I missing something, or is he really sooo good in midfield that it’s worth the drop off in defending to have him there instead of Bastian?

    • No, I’m with you, I don’t think you’re missing something. It’s an odd line up. I wish I could speak and read German because I’m sure they’re talking about it.

    • He said in an interview yesterday he’s sticking with Lahm in the midfield…
      Despite all kinds of questions from the media and former players….
      Who knows….

      • better for us I suppose. I could see FJ owning Howedes much moreso than Lahm.

    • schweinsteiger hasn’t been 100%. neither has khedira. i do think loew likes playing lahm in midfield anyway, but his hand has also been a little forced in that situation.

  14. As I was saying after the Portugal game, Bradley has been awful the past two games, arguably the worst player on the team. JK should have the guts to bench him against Germany. Bradley will never be captain under Klinsmann. Julian Green will be wearing the armband at WC 2018.

    • Overstated. Bradley was very decent against Portugal minus the last 10 minutes. He was totally gassed. The problem is he’s kind of schizophrenic. He’s supposed the be the tip of the diamond and spearhead the attack and create dangerous possession, but he can’t stop tracking back deep, so he’s trying to be everywhere, and is always a bit behind where he wants to be. Against Portugal he had some good contributions, but can’t keep it up. I would’ve subbed him right after he let that pass from JJ coast by him…I think it was around the 85 min mark. Problem is, who comes in for him? Mix? to sit on a lead? yeah right. There’s no like for like on Bradley.

    • See my earlier post regarding Bradley. He is the only US player who routinely shows for teammates passes to get them out of bad spots and takes the onus of dealing with a bad situation on himself. If he does not do that, the US looks woeful. Even when he is having a bad game, he performs that task far better than anyone else in a US jersey and without it all the back 4, and Jones and Beckermann would look a lot worse than they did.

      • Despite what some people thought of Bradley in the Ghana game he completed more passes than any US player and had a higher completion rate than any of the other starters except Beckermann. For example, Bradley completed 75% of his passes (low by his standards, it was 88% vs Portugal) while Jermaine Jones completed 49%. Sometimes it is really hard to understand what people actually see (or fail to see or recall) when they give their “expert” opinions on who had a bad game.

      • I also do not understand all of the hating on Bradley. Ghana wa poor but Portugal was better, barring a few very obvious miscues.

        But I think some of the completion stats are misleading. As I watched the game I was struck by how many of his passes while technically completed put his team mates in very bad positions…like having to hustle to the sideline and make a sliding kick just to keep it in play or giving them 50-50 balls with an onrushing defender. He wasn’t exactly that calming presence or the pressure relief value he needs to be.

  15. ——————Dempsey—————-

    Pack the middle, stop the passing game.
    Julian Green will be cap tied in this game. Bank on it.
    Diskerud & Brooks round out the subs

      • I don’t think so Jack. The FIFA rules say the player must play in an offical FIFA sanctioned game.

      • Wow, I knew you were kinda slow but dude if you’re gonna act like a U.S. fan at least try to keep up. Green filed a ONE TIME switch.

      • Green played for Germany in an official FIFA tournament at the youth level(UEFA U19). So in order to play for the US he had to file a one time switch with FIFA. Once that switch is made there is no going back. So he isn’t officially cap tied but he can no longer play for Germany.

      • However Brooks was actually still eligible to play for Germany until he stepped on the field against Ghana.

      • There is a difference, but the difference is irrelevant. Green was only eligible to play for 2 national teams: Germany and the U.S. He filed a 1-time switch from Germany to us, which means even though he’s not cap-tied, he can’t go back to playing for Germany. 1-time switches have the same practical effect as cap-ties.

      • Actually no. He appeared in the 2-2 friendly against Mexico. He did not appear in any qualifiers.

  16. ——–Johanson————

    Before all the Bradley fanboys jump on my case, let me explain. Obviously something is going on and he is not playing at his top level. Plus assuming we get out of the group, we are going to want fresh legs for our next game. By not starting him, it gives Bradley a chance to rest and re-organize himself. Bring him in later in the game to try and give himself to build confidence. But as stated by many sources, this is not a game where we need to force Bradley to play offense and win. Why not rest him so he can come in fresh if we get out of the group. If we go down, then sub him in or just sub him in around 70 min so another CDM can have a rest too.

    Germany is slow in the back, so I think we want our fastest players on the attack. Johansson brings speed that Wondo doesn’t have.

    Put Chandler and Beasly together so that they can interchange. I feel like that would help generate offense without forgetting about defense on the left side. Would require Beasly and Chandler to have a good understanding of each other (so if they dont, push Beasley back and put on Zusi or even Yedlin if Zusi is tired).

    Bradley (70 min) for Jones/Beckermen
    Mix (76) min for Dempsey
    Chandler (84) for RM/LM to put a defensive presence on the field and rest for next round (assuming we are tied/winning)

    • No. If anything, give up on the Bradley-as-no. 10 experiment and move him into Beckerman’s spot with instructions to stay deep. Jones needs to stay in his box-to-box role, but Bradley, Ghana performance notwithstanding (I’ll defend his Portugal effort all day), needs to stay on the field.

    • @That guy You are just wrong.

      Your hate on Bradley is just wrong. Without him, the US would not be in nearly as good a position as it is. Even what some say was a bad game against Ghana was a much better game than I’ve ever seen any potential replacement do against good physical opposition. Mix does not handle hard pressure well and loses way too many 50-50 balls. Beckerman is smart and steady, but he cannot do the things Bradley can. Jones is a bull terrier, but way too often he tries to pull off plays that are beyond his capability. Dempsey is just a different player. None of Green, Zusi, Bedoya, can handle duties in the middle of the field. Even when he has a bd day, Bradley is ever-present as an easy option for teammates to relieve pressure and get themselves out of trouble. (Often in the Ghana game, it was a teammate using Bradley as a way out that but Bradley in a difficult situation which on that day he could have done better with.)

      No other US player makes himself so available for teammates passes and routinely bails them out of bad situations then takes the responsibility of dealing with tough situations on himself.

    • Klinsmann apparently moved Bradley into the attacking mid role to fill the void created when he cut Donovan from the roster. Bradley doesn’t seem entirely comfortable in that (for him) unnatural position and should be moved back where he belongs and thrives. Perhaps Bradley and Jones should just switch. Another alternative would be to start Mix as attacking mid, supplying some needed creativity and giving Beckerman a well-deserved rest.

      • Donovan is an attacking central midfielder now?

        Do like the idea of maybe starting Mix, letting baby Bradley start as a holding mid, and either 1) starting Mix, or 2) starting a second forward, like Wondo.

        Doubt VERY strongly we see two guys up top, though, especially since Germany is essentially going to be throwing six midfielders at us.

  17. The fact of the matter is too many changes can disrupt chemistry. I don’t anticipate a big change other than the possible Wondo given more playing time and even possibly starting. No, he isn’t world-class by any means but he is a “pest” on the field which can be a good thing against Germany.

    • Yeah, I like Wondo over Johnannson because, while Aron has the pretty game, Germany won’t allow him to play it. We need pests, like you say. Wondo has some Dempsey in him.

  18. I think we should use the same formation and starting line up we used against Portugal. Some people are saying Zusi and Bedoya were invisible but I think their job was too pinch in and help with Ronaldo while our outside backs get forward.

  19. I hope Klinsy doesn’t use this line-up:

    Beasley——Jones———Beckerman—-F. Johnson

    In otherwords, I hope we don’t come out too defensive.

  20. I’d probably shake it up a little to give some guys a rest since they will need to recover for the next round. My line up would be:






      • Hard for me to see Green on the pitch. He’s just a boy among men. (I’ve seen him play, if that remotely lends some credibility.)

        Re latino support, are we talking Bedoya, Gonzalez… or Rimando (is he Hispanic?)

      • Agreed. He’s using my name too, when I actually have some thoughtful things to say and am looking for other thoughtful responses. Breaks my heart a little. Just a little.

      • That would be just plain nuts! And based on absolutely nothing except an apparent hate of Bradley!

      • Oh, I don’t know, I think I disagree… just because a guy’s got an Hispanic background doesn’t mean he’s got game. I think the squad we’ve got is about as good as it gets for the U.S. Though, I would have kept Donovan for so many reasons.

        I feel a little disappointed about the Germanic influx, but… winning is winning and it’s hard for me see better native players in their positions than Jones and Johnson. Green is the only player, hands down, that feels so political and in a way such a ham-handed decision, almost insulting to so many other players in the pool.

  21. i also wonder how fatigue is gonna affect the selection of the first XI. If Besler isn’t 100% I wouldn’t mind seeing Brooks play. Also, I’m with Ives on perhaps giving Beasley a rest and starting Chandler, although if Chandler plays, I REALLY want him to close down on crosses. Last time he started was in the pre world cup friendlies and all I remember was him letting crosses in all game long.

  22. —————–———Dempsey————–———————-

    —-Bedoya—————Bradley—————–F. Johnson–




  23. Zusi has had a couple key assists.

    Bradley’s play has been extremely disappointing (had high expectations for him); USMNT needs to make sure that Jones does not pick up second yellow.

    Just deliver a tie and prepare for Belgium.

  24. I have to think Klinsmann will make a few changes coming the match in the Amazon on three days rest. Chandler for Beasley? Slide Johnson to the left and start Yedlin at right back? Brooks in the back line? The main thing I am worried about is that all three center mids have played two 90 minute games, and there are no true backups for them if they tire out during this match. Mix would be the only guy you could sub in for that position, I suppose.

    • I’d put Bradley and Jones back, bring in Mix as a starting CAM. If Mix is overwhelmed, you can move Bradley forward again and bring on Beckerman. Plus I’d have Dempsey on wing, so if Mix wasn’t getting it done in the center, you could always flip them.

      Cameron can play DM. He isn’t great, but he can. If one of the DMs wears out and you don’t feel like you can go with Beckerman again (he’s not young), you can move Cameron to midfield and bring on Brooks.

      • I’d agree with this. I’d love to see either Mix or Davis this game. It’s not just resting players, but you’re likely to get a better performance from a fresh guy.

        In 2010 we made very few changes and by game 4 our key players had dead legs.

      • Yes, I’d consider putting in fresh attacking players such as Mix, Wondo or Johansson tomorrow. As attackers, they probably won’t cost you a goal, and, once they get their feet under them, they could well produce something unexpected.

  25. I think we’ll see similar formation as vs. Portugal. However, i would not be surprised if Klinsi doesn’t toss in some real wrinkles.. Like Chandler at wing mid on the left. Speed kills. I’m not sure i trust Chandler at the back with this team yet.

  26. Zusi with a bad game? Not sure what you were watching. Wondo will not start and Zusi will. You may see Johansson instead of bedoya.

    Also, anyone in Wilmington, NC with a good place to watch the game tomorrow?

    • Bedoya is a tireless defender on the wing. I think that is why you will probably see him in this match, either as a starter or a sub. He will play.

    • Besides the assist Zusi was awful, consistently losing the ball and making bad decisions. His set pieces were terrible too

      • Agree. Almost every one of his corners was bad. Zusi is a decent defender but not as good as Bedoya.

    • Was just down in Wilmington, NC for Sunday’s game during a wedding weekend. We went to Wild Wings Cafe. Great spot with awesome food and projector screens along with tons of other TVs. Lots of cheering and some chanting going on. However if you want more…the AO down there meets at Sports & Courts.

  27. Bedoya has been the weakest player in both games for the US. Zusi was far better in the Portugal game.

    Either Ives’ lineup above with Zusi for Bedoya. Like this:

    Or I like giving Beckerman, Besler, and Beasley a rest:


    This lineup keeps Jones and Bradley near Germany’s most dangerous players.

    • I like this, Gets Bradley deeper where he is better and gets Dempsey on the ball more. Also if Germany has one weakness I’ve seen, its balls being played in over the top. Perhaps Bradley can play a few into Wondo and see what happens.

      • Great point! Ghana used the deep balls and their speedy forwards and outside mids and caused lots problems for Germany.

        I think Klinsmann might deploy more speed up top and on the outsides with fresh legs. Maybe Green, AJ, Chandler and more Yedlin?

    • Jones should play towards the right in either of these scenarios, ahead of Johnson, to cover his forward nature. In fact that is one reason Bedoya has appeared absent for stretches in the matches so far is he is tracking back after the overlap from FabJo.

      • No way. Give Jones the freer role and let Bedoya do the tracking back on the wing. We’ve got lightning in a bottle with Jermaine right now.

      • Hadn’t thought to think beyond Germany. It would suck to lose him but I think the chances we’ll advance are less than 50% in any case.

    • Beckerman and Besler need to be in the lineup, we haven’t advanced yet so we don’t have the luxury to sit them

    • Your comment re Bedoya shows no vision to the chess of it. Bedoya and Beckerman and Jones are what have locked upthemiddle. Zusi was pushed higher with more freedom but still looked out of his depth on many balls. I think a more dynamic player in his spot opens things up. yedlin?

      Btw what does it say about the sounders that they play Evans/Yedlin not Yedlin/Evans?

      Given old legs and familiarity I’d play Chandler.

  28. No Gonzalez, Please. Every time he steps on the field a goal is scored. More times then not, its because of his immobility.

    • +1. Zusi has an assist in each game. Bedoya has seemed pretty invisible to me. No way that Wondo starts but I think Chandler would be reasonable.

      • Bedoya’s job is to be a hard worker. The end product is usually lacking but he covers so many miles it’s hard to drop him. Let him run the first 60 and then sub an attacker/defender for him based on the situation.

      • Oh yeah calls to bench bradley are a special breed of nonsense.

        As though we’d even be in position to lose a lead in the 94th minute if bradley weren’t on the field.

        That’s been the beauty of jk’s last minute midfield epiphany: bradley, jones, bedoya all putting in superhuman shifts ahead of a very disciplined beckerman.

      • I can’t see Chandler as a starter. He didn’t look good as a substitute against Portugal.

      • That’s interesting, given he was not used during any game this World Cup. So who exactly are you referring to or is it a bias of some sorts against Chandler seeping through?

      • Hahaha. He did ALMOST come in for Beasley I believe it was. I guess Chandler didn’t look good warming up almost coming in.

    • Zusi was pretty bad against Portugal, while Bedoya hasn’t contributed offensively, defensively he has been pretty good and I would much rather have him out there than Zusi

      • Zusi seemed to have a very good defensive game and never had a poor giveaway to jumpstart a Portugal counter. I don’t know where this is coming from

      • Huh? Zusi had a couple of bad giveaways in the second half, Portugal just didn’t make us pay for them.

        But I’d still say he had a strong game. His corners are dangerous and he is mentally up for this level. His pass to Dempsey was clutch.

      • Zusi made a great pass on the Dempsey goal obviously but he consistently couldn’t pass cleanly whenever there was pressure on him in midfield. I was a bit surprised since he usually hasn’t been the type to struggle with that, but we can’t have players in midfield who can’t pass cleanly or else we’ll never get any possession and Germany will eat us up.

      • +1. Too many people blinded bc zusi had an assist. It’s not like I dislike zusi but he had a bad game.

    • Bedoya’s defense has been the key in allowing F Johnson to attack down the flank and has been our most consistently dangerous player. Again, you don’t get one without the other. I am concerned about fatigue in Bedoya in a third game, but I dont think we have anyone else that can play that position without neutralizing Fabian.

      • I think Zusi may get the nod at right wing, but I think you’re right Brad Davis probably starts at left wing. We need some fresher legs and Bedoya has put in two HARD shifts and looks beat up. The idea futbolisimo had of starting Yedlin at right wing is interesting too though.

        Only other potential change would be Chandler in for Run DMB…I hope not.

    • Agreed, agreed, I’d stick with the 4-5-1, no Wondo. I’d put Yedlin in for Bedoya, then sub Bedoya back in if/when Yedlin loses steam, if that’s possible.

      I fancy Zusi over Davis, so that Zusi can whip stuff into Johnson on the other side. Totally understand that’s a fairly subjective thought so go easy on me on that one.

      • I just don’t see that happening. I think he was put there purely for a speed, pressuring purpose in that specific late game situation. He did well, but I don’t think they would put him there for 60+ minutes given his lack of familiarity at the position.

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