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Who should the USMNT start vs. Belgium?

Michael Bradley Omar Gonzalez Clint Dempsey

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Omar Gonzalez or Geoff Cameron? Graham Zusi or Brad Davis or Mix Diskerud? Play Clint Dempsey as the lone forward for a third straight match or start either Chris Wondolowski or Aron Johannsson in a 4-4-2?

These are just some of the questions Jurgen Klinsmann must answer before Tuesday’s World Cup Round of 16 match with Belgium in Salvador.

Chief among these questions is which system will Klinsmann deploy? Does he stick with what was essentially a 4-1-4-1 against Germany, or does he start a second forward against a Belgium side with some serious injury concerns on defense?

So who will Klinsmann turn to? Here is one projected lineup we could see taking the field on Tuesday:







Some thoughts on this lineup:

Gonzalez gets the call over Cameron to deal with the physical play of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku.

Belgium is very dangerous on the wings and starting Zusi and Bedoya gives the U.S. the necessary work rate on the flanks to keep Belgium honest.

What do you think of this starting lineup?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. This game demands wingbacks. 5-3-2. The Belgians can be exploited on the wings with speed. Also, it can easily shift to a 4-4-2 with Cameron at right back and Johnson on the wing. I don’t think Klinnsmann will do this but I think it could give us the speed and combinations we need to excel in attack.


  2. With Belgium out scoring opponents 4-0 in the second halves of their matches, I think it will be key to not only get a lead but not go into a shell. We also need to be very aware of Origi off the bench for Lukaku as he has seemed in better form this tournament.

  3. Not sure Yedlin was being used as much as an offensive spark per say as he was being used just to stretch the defense while still having the speed to get back. He came on against Portugal with the score 1-1 in a game we could afford to draw but could not afford to lose.

    Against Germany, he came in after Portugal were up 2-1 and we only had to make sure we did not surrender any more goals. Think JK used him at the right times in both matches.

  4. After some serious thought….I would suggest the following. FJ continues his success at RB. Zusi continues to pair with him on the right with his phenomenal crosses. DMB (as foretold) continues to be strong on the left. Here’s the kicker – since we know the AJ is NOT a target striker but rather a runner (much in the same mold as Eddie Johnson), we put him on the left with DMB. This not only gives width with AJ’s speed (ala Brek Shea), but also a tinge of danger since he likes to run at defenders and can cut inside when need be when either FJ or Zusi pound one into the middle. This would clear up Dempsey to regain his wandering ability to create magic from everyone in the final third and Wondo to just bug the living crap out of a decimated Belgium back line. It would look something like this:

    ————————Timmy H.————————
    ——————–J. Jones—————————–

  5. anybody else find it weird and frightening that the only offensive play that the “deepest USMNT in history” can come up with is playing a kid RB at RM? I’m not trying to name drop but isn’t there someone who could give us spark in that situation and play more direct than Zusi or Bedoya? EJ perhaps? Arriola? I’d even take Shea right about now. But seriously, you’re telling me we really don’t have a better microwave sub than Yedlin? He hasn’t played bad but still… just seems to be a huge hole in the squad right now.

  6. I’m just really disappointed not to get to see LD play high-stakes international soccer again. There’s no shortage of grit on this team — there never is. But at his best this cat raised our national game, seeing five chess moves ahead and helping place actual beauty within reach. It seems to me there’s reason to think he’s officially battling fatigue again, which doesn’t paint a hopeful picture of what he might have been able to accomplish anyway. But it didn’t become official until JK threw up his hands and effectively said sorry gents — grit’s all you got this time.

  7. Wondo interview he talks about different gameplans for each game, and that we’ll see something different tomorrow(paraphrasing)
    I don’t know what it means, but I’m ready for this thing to get going

  8. Actually, if Mix were going to get any time, the 2nd half of the Germany game for Davis would have been the best shot. Mix is not the most physical player and by the second half, Germany had reduced the hard pressure, that is the kind of situation that would let him shine. (Against Ghana with their fast, hard pressure, he would have struggled.)
    If Belgium pressure hard, Mix will not (or at least, I think, should not) see the field simply because that is not a situation that allows his talents to shine. Yedlin is a better choice then due to his speed and to his ability to win tackles.

  9. I really like all the comments calling for Mix in the #10 spot. I think it solves several problems for the US and creates problems for Belgium:

    1) Bradley can hang further back. This gives him more time to collect his passes and distribute. It also allows him to join in the attack “late” like he likes, instead of being stuck in the thick of it the whole time.

    2) Mix has a good first touch. He’s a great option to do what Bradley has been struggling to do up high in the field: receive a pass and settle it.

    3) For months all of us on this site argued back and forth over who to start alongside Bradley: Jones, Beckerman, or Mix, because each of them frees Bradley to operate in different ways. Well, how about all three?! That gives Bradley the maximum amount of freedom and should bring out the best in him.

      • GW, thanks for the link. The article said a lot of things better than I could. I especially liked:

        “there may yet be a big performance coming up from Michael Bradley. And if there isn’t, one of his team-mates will owe a significant debt for theirs to him.” (Albeit, a somewhat tortured sentence.)


        “Central to that success was the ability and willingness of Jones to play both sides of the ball.”

        But the article didn’t mention Mix. It only wondered about the benefit of Jozy back on the field. If Jozy is back, then that’s one thing, but assuming he can’t play—or can’t play the full 90/120. Would you play Mix? I might:


        Which, when attacking, actually looks like:


        I’m bringing Mix in instead of playing both Zusi and Bedoya, thus Zusi can sub in in the 65th and get more assists.

  10. USA is on a roll
    Brazil World Cup title is our goal
    Belgium stars are in our way
    But time to rock and roll, this is our day
    Who will rule up top in Salvador
    Give me Wondo or Altidore
    Klinsman lineup better be right
    To inflict on Belgium’s back 4 sufficient fright
    Defense strategy of bunching the mid
    Gives them free reign of the corners like Germany did
    Don’t concede corners or crosses to the box
    Beasley and Johnson take charge, back line rocks
    Beckerman’s distribution and hair are our weapons
    Schooling the world with USA style lessons
    Mix gets in the mix as only he can do
    Feeding to Deuce and Wondo too
    Group of Death we have laid waste
    Onto Salvador and Brasilia with haste
    This is our chance, this is our time
    Just win baby, fulfill my rhyme

  11. ——————Dempsey

  12. —————Howard——————-




    Been asking for it all tournament – this line-up gets us to the semi-final

  13. I dont want to jump on the gonzalez bandwagon only after one game specially since he’s errored in far too many games. I hope its cameron over gonzalez.

  14. Starting XI
    Klinsmann- Dempsey

    Green- Jones – Bradley – Zusi

    Chandler- Besler – Brooks – Fabian

    Go German or go home?

    • Heard that Klinsmann petitioned FIFA that anyone over 45 should be allowed to file a one-time switch. I’m guessing he won’t hear back before the game on suiting up for USMNT. So instead, maybe he runs this out.

      Starting XI
      Altidore – Dempsey

      Fabian– Jones – Bradley – Zusi

      Beasley – Besler – Gonzo – Cameron

  15. If Jozy can start,


    • ——————Jozy
      ————–Jones Bradley Zusi
      DMB Besler Cameron Johnson

  16. You suggest using Gonzales to handle the physical play of Lukaku but forget that Cameron already deals with him at Stoke at least twice a season. Further, Cameron also has dealt with all the rest of the Belgian EPL players and is faster and has better athleticism at this point than Omar. If the USA was just going to bunker in and try to lose by a narrow margin or tie then okay maybe Omar should start but this is the knockout phase so he sits.

  17. I would like to see what Mix could do over 90 minutes, and I think he could bring more creativity than either Zusi or Bedoya. Putting JJJ out on the left would be a waste.

  18. Time to take off the security blanket aka Beckerman, and bring on another striker.

    Reason being, the U.S. ranks 31st in chances created and ranks 28th in both shots and shot on goal.

    During the KO stages we can’t play for a result. We’ll end up losing 0-1.

    Ideal lineup against Belgium:


  19. Zusi should be on the right, but until Bedoya decides to start playing defense we’ll have to live with Zusi on the left. Sad but true. Would love to move Bedoya out and put in Mix, but doubt that will ever happen.

  20. Am I the only one who thinks Lukaku isn’t going to start. He has been downright awful this tourney. I think they’re going to start that Origi kid

    • He’s somewhat injured I think Kinda like the Ronaldo thing – playable, but not 100%. I hope thats where the Ronaldo analogy ends.

  21. Why am I more nervous about Belgium than Argentina? If we could advance tomorrow, I think Argentina is a manageable win in regular time. Those hungry Belgian youngsters have me worried. I wish it were a hair contest between Beckerman and Fellaini.

    • But Belgium is hurting at the back. As with the missed opportunity v. Portugal, this could be our chance to strike.

    • Ya, thanks guys. I dunno, that BEL midfield, and the way BEL scores quick with Fellaini, has me a bit nervous. Kmac – you’re right, because BEL is next prolly. But Arg is (likely) the next opponent if we get past BEL. BEL are one of those “dark horse” teams that could make a deep deep run with their talent if everything starts to click for them.Seems like they have been playing in 3rd gear so far, and when elimination looms we might see them up it a couple notches. Let’s hope our team beats their collection of talented players. I need SBI therapy.

      • Oh, and also because they outclassed us recently 2-4. Granted, those were our Euro based players playing without our MLS players. And that was an age ago by now, I guess. Pit in my stomach thinking of the ways this could go horribly. Pass the (non belgian) beer.

  22. Any lineup without Zusi (and Davis, for that matter) renders us inept at set pieces where we need delivery (corners, and free kicks on wings).

  23. —————-Dempsey——————

    Fresh legs on the right. Johnson’s left-footed attacking touch and instinct on the right.

    As much talent (and defensive ability) on the field at the same time as we can manage.

    • I have to believe Zusi will get start over Bedoya, and I expect an earlier sub for Yedlin because the Belgian defense is hurting badly and we may need speed on the wings to counter Belgian threat. Could be a high scoring game as I see it. I would take the “over.”

    • Interesting. I like the idea of having Cam and Gonzo on the field for the fresh legs factor. Another place they could use cam is as a DM. Our CM’s have been running their backsides off and one of them could probably use the day off. I’ll leave it to Jurgen to decide which.

    • The Cameron problem is vexing. Had his hand in both goals conceded v. Portugal but is so darn solid most of the time and has the best credentials of the lot.

      What you are writing is not out of the realm of possibility, but from Klinsy’s perspective it will be all about containing Hazard. Will Stoke City tape show Cameron did well v. fleet footed wingers (I missed the Stoke v. Chelsea game this year)?

      • But with FJ on the wing, he has no problem tracking back and helping out Cameron. I’m becoming more and more in tune to this idea – we need some midfield help.

        Chelsea beat Stoke 3-0 and 1-0. Of the 3-0, two came through the middle and the third came on the RW. Hazard did not start the 3-0 game.

      • Great data, tx. Yeah, I don’t think Cameron is bad at balls delivered into the box, based on what I have seen. But he certainly had two bad moments v. Portugal. Gonzo has had his gaffes in the past too, but he rose to the challenge v. Germany. We’ll have to see what Klinsy makes of it all.

        I do know that Klinsy is in a much better position as far as surprising starters/formations, than the Belgian coach, who is running out of defenders.

        Even if we concede 1 to Hazard and 1 to Lukaku, we could still conceivable find 3 between flank attacks and set pieces. This is going to be an exciting match.

  24. C’mon soccer guys, this situation and opponent screams 4-3-3.


    —-Jones –Beckerman–Bradley


  25. Man, who would have predicted that most of the posts would be about who to play in place of Donovan at midfield ?

    We would be crushing this World Cup if we had the correct answser to that question available in the 23.

    • Spain would have played better without Xavi (and to a lesser extent Iniesta), but no lay Spaniard would have thunk that and so the coach would have been criticized too harshly if he made those gutsy calls. That is what killed Spain.

      I am glad Klinsmann was willing to make the right call on the aging Donovan. That is why he gets paid a lot and is an expert, not a lay person. Unlike Spain, USMNT has moved on, so can we move on?

      • I am glad Klinsmann was willing to make the right call on the aging Donovan.

        -and brought in an old, slow, ineffective Davis. You’re brilliant .

        I think you can all stop using that excuse.

      • Klinsy had Donovan pegged as a recessed striker, not a midfielder, so Davis in not his replacement – Dempsey and Mix are.

        Despite age, Davis has been statistically much more effective recently than Donovan. Don’t take my word for it, peruse MLS site (through May, especially).

        You Donovan lovers have to remember that, unlike video games, in real life a player’s performance can change from year to year. Some seem to age well, and other’s not so much. Donovan is GOAT, but he is not the greatest today.

      • +100

        Amazing how people use whatever argument they can to prove their point, regardless of how correct the argument is.

      • The pro-Donovan argument is pretty simple: Forget MLS. He’s been one of the best USMNT players up into this year — Tim Howard said it a month ago. AND he knows how to bring it during a World Cup. Could have been useful several times already.

      • “Forget MLS” – gotta love that one.

        If you forget MLS, I could start for USMNT.

        Howard will not say anything but praise for his old mate. How is that possibly you best argument?

      • I suspect that most members of the team think that leaving Donovan behind was nothing less than stupid. But none of them are going to say a thing until they are out from under Klinsmann’s thumb. We’ll find out when they write their memoirs.

      • Or, perhaps Advocate has it backward. Perhaps team mates are supportive or indifferent toward LD omission, but respect him for his accomplishments and see no need to pile on.

      • Perhaps. But if Donovan were really the prima donna, troublemaker and generally bad teammate that some have made him out to be, you’d think that by now we’d have heard something supportive of Klinsmann’s decision from at least a few members of the team — perhaps on a not-for-attribution basis. That being so, their uniform silence speaks volumes and fear of retribution is the most more likely explanation.

  26. No need to change. Barring injury or fatigue, we should see the same starting lineup that we saw against Germany. Pretty clear that’s our best team at this point unless Jozy really is recovered, which I doubt.

      • Oops! Forgot Davis played against Germany, which shows you how awful he was. Same XI as the Portugal game then.

      • Bedoya isn’t impressing anymore than Davis. I am not a fan of either, it is one area where we lack depth. But I could see Davis right back in there.

      • Bedoya came on v. Germany with fresh legs and fresh instructions. Perhaps if he started he might have offered more than Davis as well, in that regard. But we were in a shell against the talent of Germany and that was appropriate given the goal of getting out of the group stage. We can’t play in a shell during elimination games, or we’ll be one and done. Davis offers way more positivity and precision in the attacking 1/3rd.

        Again, none of these choices are ideal.

      • With Belgium’s starting right back injured, I agree with you that we could see Davis back in front of Beasley.

        I wasn’t impressed with Davis even going forward against Germany because he rarely (never?) ran to the touchline to make a cross. Then again, he would have had to beat Boateng, so maybe he realized that was a losing battle and just hung back. Still, he seemed to lack creativity or guts (or something).

        In fairness, the team as a whole seemed to be intimidated by Germany—“gave them too much respect” is I think how Klinsmann put it. Some players got over that quicker than others, but Davis maybe didn’t ever get over it.

        Hopefully, everyone will see that they stood strong against The Mighty Germany and it will give them the confidence to go out and mistreat Belgium like they did Portugal.

      • Wait, when has Bedoya played defense? I haven’t seen it yet. (but yes he is better then Davis)

  27. —————Dempsey—–——

    I think we saw this for moments with Jones making forward runs and holding it up against Germany. Also allows him to press high up the field and cause problems.

    • Jack, I love this, but I want JJ even higher.


  28. ———-——Johannsson—————-

    • ———-——Johannsson—————-

      • Perhaps we would see this if we were down a goal. But to deal with Hazard and Vertonghen out on the flanks, our formation won’t likely be Christmas tree, it will have more width.

  29. Klinsi always has a wrinkle in his lineups:


    1. would love to see Jozy obviously

    2. Chandler gets the start over Beasley who has put in yeoman’s work

    3. Back to the attacking diamond.

    4. Cameron doesn’t lose his spot based on one game, he has been awesome for months.

    5. I believe that we will win. 3-2

  30. Bring in Yedlin in the second half. He’ll bring speed and create trouble for Belgium’s back line. Would also like to see Wondo upfront and bring in Green at the 80th min. Leave one sub available just in case there’s a late heroic and we’re forced into extra time.

  31. The side needs some fresh legs

    ——–Jones – Bradley – Bedoya
    Beas – Besler – Gonzalez – Johnson

    • I ilke it; Cameron at the 6 and an additional striker

      I think you start the game with Omar and Cameron on the field and sub one for an attacker later. Adding an additional cb late in the game makes marking difficult.

      • Problem with going three in the back is that they play a 4-3-3 and I don’t think we’re technical enough to cover their attackers with just three to three and one half defense.

    • I think this would play very narrrow, which is the opposite of what we want to do with Belgium’s four CB defenders.

      I think we start very similarly to the group stages then take risks in the second half (Altidore, Yedlin and maybe Green) to try and get the win.

  32. I’d like to see… Mix at the “10” spot and Bradley where Beckerman is now. Maybe not to start but possibly later in the match. Tough call though… because Beckerman has been solid. but we have to possess more and need that bit of creativity that I feel Mix brings. I also like the idea (as noted above) of Fabian moving to midfield and placing Cameron at right back. and keeping Gonzalez in middle.
    Again these may be in game changes, as I don’t see the starting lineup changing a whole lot.

  33. ————Dempsey———–


  34. “Gonzalez gets the call over Cameron to deal with the physical play of Belgian striker Romelu Lukaku.”

    Really? He definitely had a huge game against Germany (after those first couple hiccups at the beginning), so I’m not questioning the pick really. I’m just curious about the “dealing with the physical play” part. Is that really a strength of his over Cameron?

  35. I’d be curious to see Yedlin’s speed for a longer period of time on the field. He has looked really impressive thus far.

    In the risk-reward category, I’d move Bradley back to his more comfortable defensive accentuation and push Beckerman up. That leaves the field without a 10 obviously, but since he’s struggling anyways, gaining his comfort and confidence back outweighs the hit playmaking takes in the midfield. I think we can possess better with him having the game in front of him than we can having him primarily focusing on the finishing pass, which he has clearly struggled with thus far.

    • I think if Bradley moves back for Beckerman, then you either have to a) take Beckerman off and play Diskerud or b) move Jones up top and keep Beckerman and Bradley back. Beckerman is really only a national team caliber player in my eyes when he’s sitting right in front of the defense (which he does really damn well I might add), but as soon as you move him up the field I’m afraid he won’t be nearly as effective.

      • Indeed, it is clear that speed is by far his main liability. We were fortunate he only got one yellow as he tried every tactic to slow (grab, tackle, epoxy) the counter when he moved up against Germany. As for moving-up Jones… he is already playing forward (as part of being everywhere), and trying to use him as the hub would show just how many passes flow through Bradley, and how an even-lower forward-accuracy-% would look.

  36. A 0-1 loss won’t cut it this game. We have to, for the first time this world cup, try to take it to our opponent. It has to be false 9 and Julian time. Finally.

    • Is this game we see JGreen make his first meaningful appearance in professional football?!

      If he is apart of the winning goal my head will explode!

      • There is a first time for everything, including my being right for instance.

        Although I believe we would have seen Julian come in against Portugal if they would have gone 2 up on us early. But they didn’t, and neither did Germany, so the sit back and defend plan worked. We got out of group.

        This match is completely different from group stage.

      • Oh do you mean where you say we have to take it to Belgium? Not only is that not true but I wouldn’t consider that an explanation of why we need to totally alter the way we play and bring in a fourth division player who’s never started for the national team to be the focal point.

        I assume you were joking but who knows?

      • slowleftarm: you can reasonably disagree with Fast Eddie’s explanation, but his reasons were pretty obviously stated.

        You object for two reasons:
        1) There is no reason to change the game plan that has worked thus far

        2) Since we haven’t seen Green yet, there’s no reason to expect to see him start soon

        Fast Eddie addressed both points already:
        1) “the sit back and defend plan worked [in the group stage]. This match is completely different from group stage.”

        2) “I believe we would have seen Julian come in against Portugal if they would have gone 2 up on us early. But they didn’t, and neither did Germany”

        fwiw, I think Fast Eddie is 80% wrong, but I can still see where he clearly made his points—and I could choose to address those directly if I wanted to voice disagreement.

      • 20%. That is pretty close to the odds I would give also. That is why I said there is a first time for everything, “including my being right” for instance.

    • Julian was there in case either we or Germany (or both) had 6 points going into the final match. Unfortunately that didn’t happen, so he’s unlikely to see the pitch unless we are down 2-0 at 75′ and JK thinks he can draw a penalty to claw a goal back. Or if we go down a goal in extra time and we still have a sub available… however that would mean facing a bunkered defense so an up-front scrapper like Wondo would make more sense.

    • Hey Expat, I do appreciate your apology abou Julian Green a couple of days ago. But I would hold off putting up any bets on this one..

      • He made bets and lost them all so he paid them off. I will pass it along to him Nick, I am sure he will appreciate it.

      • Peekaboo! Remember that time you somehow managed to fool nobody on a website with no tracking at all? Are you up to 100 identities yet? 1000? GREAT STUFF!

  37. I’d move Jones out left for Zusi and bring Donovan in as the second striker. Oh wait! That’s not an option. Hmmmm! Maybe should have left someone off and taken Donovan (or Boyd?). Oh well! Guess I’ll flip a coin and pick…. AJ! Definitely need more offensive approach to this match.

    • Whatever way the coin flips, please let me know. If it’s heads, stop posting about Donovan. If it’s tails, stop posting about Donovan.

    • Real life is not a video game. Donovan is not the player he was in 2010, to include how he plays in FIFA 2010. His MLS season has been mediocre. I love him and his is GOAT for me, but he is not the greatest right now. Unlike Spain, Klinsy made good choices about his veteran’s. …Give it up, baby give it up. Na na na na na na na na Na, baby give it up…

      • Of course he’s not 2010 donovan. But 2013 donovan was head and shoulders the best player on the field over seven games during the gold cup.

        And it strengthens the argument for donovan’s inclusion that an injured jozy isn’t even replaced by another forward.

      • Landon Donovan and his Galaxy just lost to a NASL team, the Carolina Railhawks. I’ve been to their games, and I’ve seen Railhawk players in fast food drive-thrus just before games.

      • Donovan ǂ Jozy.

        This is not the Gold Cup. Donovan’s last time on field for USMNT featured an awful attempt to beat a Mexican defender 1 v 1, where it looked like Donovan didn’t know what he was doing. The magic isn’t gone, but it is faded, turn the page.

      • 10 year olds get timeouts when they sing mocking little songs.
        Perhaps the greatest Mexican defender of all time, stopped him on 1 play. Seriously, 1 play is your point?

        Rafa stopped Neymar in this world cup. Does that mean Neymar should hang them up too?

      • Still, seven dominant games in an international shirt ten months ago is a decent sample size compared to your single 1v1 dribbling attempt as a counter example.

      • Do you watch the Galaxy games? The issue is, is Donovan better than either Davis or Wondo? Fact is, Donovan’s year with the Galaxy has been better than Omar Gonzalez’s year. I am a Galaxy fan and live close enough to get all their games on cable and rarely miss one. I make judgments about players I actually see play. Donovan is not as good as he used to be, but he is the same age as JJ, Beckerman, Wondo, and, I think, Davis, and still has more speed than any of those and can play more positions than any of those players. You are not a very good analyst.

      • And another thing. Whose judgment should we listen to–you or Tim Howard who said soon after camp started that Donovan is one of our two or three best players? By any objective standard Donovan is one of the best 23 US players and Klinsmann has not given one logical explanation for why Donovan wasn’t included.

      • Gary Page: what is not logical about “Landon was great but a few other players were a bit better”?

        You could say that isn’t specific, or argue that it’s just wrong, but you can’t correctly say that isn’t “logical.” It is always logical to take players who are you deem better.

        re “And another thing”: Tim Howard thinks Donovan is one of our three best. Jurgen Klinsmann thinks he is not. Quoting only one of them is data selecting.

        Last thing: apparently, Jones was clocked at 19.5 mph against Ghana. Arjen Robben hit 19.3 mph. Donovan’s top speed? 18.83 mph in 2010.

      • It is logical if you believed it, but we’ve been down that path before.

        Bale was clocked at 25 MPH last year. I don’t know how much you can trust that though. Also, acceleration is every bit as important as top speed. We don’t measure that.

  38. Cameron at right back (where he plays in the EPL), and move Johnson up to right mid in place of Bedoya (who hasn’t shown much, at least to me).

    • I agree with this but I don’t think it’s happening. I’d even say FJ at left back. Yes, Beasley has held his own defensively, but I think Cameron would bring just as much going forward on the right as Beasley has on the left. Anyways, that’s not happening. In fact this whole comment is about as useful as mentioning Landon again.

  39. I would drop Bedoya for Mix. Jones would shift left, where he effectively has been playing. Zusi moves to the right wing and Mix is in the hole underneath Deuce. Some people have been high on Bedoya. Not me. BTW, I was thinking how unlucky Stuart Holden is. This US team could use him a lot more than Landon I root for the team to do poorly out of spite. Addition by subtraction. His attitude was a cancer and you see why he was cut. He felt entitled to his spot. DMB did not. DMB didn’t take it for granted. Donovan did. And now he’s got a sad. Bless his little bald heart.

    • You do know Landon is one of the best players this country has ever produced, right? He was perfectly entitled to feel how he did for one night. If you think you’d feel otherwise you’re a liar.

      • I give a lot of credit to Klinsmann for realizing Landon had some degree of a me first attitude, and getting that crap off the team. As others have said, you cannot have that kind of attitude poisoning your bench.

        For all the crap that Klinsi has gotten for rightly saying that winning the WC is an unrealistic goal, Landon is getting off pretty easily from the fan boys for this comment, the likes of which I have never heard before from anyone. Pretty awful.

      • And Michael Bradley suffers from that same sense of entitlement that Donovan does. I am glad that we have new younger players coming into the team like Julian Green and Timmy Chandler who had to prove they deserved a spot on the team. I like the name Julian.

      • I assume this is a joke but I’m not sure. You need to be clearer when you are being sarcastic.

      • Smart guys think alike, Dirk 😉 Girls just wanna have fun-uh-huh. Girls just wanna have fun. Dang. Love that song.

      • Agreed. And let us all hope that the US troops will increase their presence everywhere in the world. Especially in the soccer-mad countries. Probably we don’t need to send troops to places like Canada and New Zealand, but let’s occupy Brazil and Argentina now. Should be item #1 on the USSF agenda and we all should lobby the government to effect this policy. Just need to make sure that those children don’t spend their childhood in the US — that would be a disaster.

      • What nonsense. LD is one of the few athletes who gives honest answers to questions instead of canned platitudes. He should be in this squad.

      • You mean like when he complained to the press about his displeasure at his teammate David Beckham? Instead of being a man, a good teammate and cleared the air in the Galaxy locker room? I am sure Beckham thinks Donovan is a stand up guy! Who airs their dirty laundry to the press?!?!?!

      • If you think that Donovan always gives honest answers consider his self-proclaimed “sabbatical” from soccer when he went to Cambodia instead of helping the team in the critical WC qualification games. Look, I get it, he was burned out and needed break from soccer, and it just happened to be bad timing, blah, blah, blah, except some Cambodians had no clue about it and posted pictures of Donovan playing pick up soccer with them in Cambodia. How’s that for an honesty?

      • What a bunch of crap. Anyone saying that he wouldn’t have the same feelings that Donovan had is a liar.

      • Has anyone heard Edu saying he hoped the team did bad without him, Parkhurst, Boyd and the others cut? When Bocanegra was left off the team last year, did you hear Boca complain?

        Can we just have one thread not hijacked by the Donovan fanboys! Seriously get over the fact he is not on the team and probably never will be again!

      • Luke, thats because no one wants to interview edu, parkhurst, goodson or any of the other names you mentioned. Stop stretching for ways to diminish Donovan’s character and what’s he’s meant to the US program because quite frankly anyone who attempts it looks silly in the process! Donovan did what he felt was best for him taking his sabbatical and that along with his candid interviews probably sealed his fate but I’d much rather know where a player stood instead of one that kept his opinions airtight…..sounds like a real man to me!!!

      • Move on! This is not 2002 or 2010. The USMNT that LD is not apart of, goes into the round of 16 game against Belgium.

      • Fine, has anyone heard Carlos Tevez, Mario Gomez or Giuseppe Rossi make similar complaints? They’ve all said they wished they were there, maybe that they thought they belonged there. Have any said they considered not supporting their own team over being left home?

      • I am a LD fan, was surprised he was left off, but… my opinion has changed somewhat. Seems many who pine for LD have an idealized past version in mind and likely haven’t been watching him play recently. He has been quite anemic/ mediocre to invisible for LA for quite some time against pretty low level teams: Chivas USA, PHIL, SJ.. Railhawks. Certainly not looking like a difference maker ready to do damage in Brazil.

      • I see an awful lot of people on this site assuming things without any shred of evidence and with history which doesn’t suggest any basis for their opinions. This is another instance. Donovan has played on 3 world cup teams, has over 100 caps, is the leading US goal scorer, has more than twice as many career assists as any US player and I have never read anything about him being disruptive or a cancer until people have taken up that chant once Klinsmann cut him. While Arena and Klinsmann didn’t like it that he took 4 months off, that is hardly the same thing as what has been charged by posters here. I make this challenge–can anyone provide any time in the past when a player or manager who has been on the same team as Donovan has made this kind of charge? Provide some evidence before saying these things. I hate these ad hominim attacks. You are defaming one of the best US players ever, so provide some evidence before doing so.

      • Read the Beckham Experiment by Grant Wahl. Anyone who airs their dirty laundry about a teammate to the press instead of confronting their teammate face to face is a cancer!

      • So because Landycakes scores and creates goals it’s ok whatever he does…rip his teammates to the the press, take a sabbatical, leave Germany twice because he couldn’t win a starting spot, cry to the press about how he deserved a spot in Brazil, confess he wished the USMNT did not do well.

      • How happy should Donovan be since he got screwed? We could use him in this game and there is nothing Wondo, Davis or Green can do that would bring what Donovan would have brought.

        That move alone was JKs biggest mistake. Bringing the 3 above is the second biggest

      • Donovan doesn’t even play hard half the time. There are too many LD apologists. If he wanted to play in the world cup he should have worked harder. I like that Kinsmann makes them earn a spot now instead of being handed one.

      • Oh yeah, sure, Chandler, Green really earned their spots by working hard. And their selections have certainly been justified by their outstanding performance in this world cup.

      • You don’t get it. Forget the national team. They meet once a month whereas the club team meets daily. It is very competitive to play at those clubs. Donovan has been gifted his position in MLS for years. He floats through the season and plays hard in the playoffs. Chandler and Green don’t have that option. They have to be mentally focused daily or their contract won’t be renewed.

      • Where did you hear that? By most accounts including SBI, he was injured for a large part of the season and then had good run the last third of the season. So much so that Eintracht Frankfurt signed him.

      • Haha, yeah Green really has to battle for his fourth division place. And what about the other MLS players in the squad? How can they be there then?

      • He practices with Bayern’s first team. If you don’t think that is a more competitive environment than the Galaxy, I can’t help you.

      • Silly comment. Donovan is gifted his starting role in MLS and Green worked for his in the Bundelsiga IV. What does that even mean? Don’t you think Donovan did something to earn his status?
        Were you at their practices to witness Green was working hard, but what just not succeeding?
        That is what made Green “earn his spot”, practicing hard while not playing? Too many logical fallacies in your argument.
        To your comment about playing hard, see above where everyone criticizes Bradley for playing hard and not smart.

      • Klinsmann had the responsibility and made the choice.

        Some think me-first or entitlement attitude, others think locker room, others think lack of fitness. My choice is to guess that JK looked at the conditions in Brasil, the group draw (including the opponents, the travel and match locations, and the later compressed schedule), and the available bodies and decided that stamina and recovery rate were vital keys to selecting a team that could get through both the group and the 16. Donovan acknowledged his inability to maintain intensity, Wondo and others showed their intensity. QED

        Silly to keep bringing up Landon Donovan at this point. He’s not there. Let it go.


    • I think Bedoya has played great defensively, but hasn’t contributed as much in the final third. I think the best solution to this problem (not my idea originally) is to start Gonzo and Besler at CB, bump Cameron out to RB, and move FabJ out to LM.

  40. I think we need to start a 2nd forward. It’s a riskier formation but it’s the only way to get Demps more involved and produce more chances offensively. We need to possess the ball because we will not be able to withstand 90+ minutes of defending Belgian crosses and through-balls.

      • I agree. Clint and Bradley would greatly benefit from having someone to combine with. At first I was going to say start Aron and bring in Wondo second half but as I think on it more I think the other order. Wondo’s tireless running up there would help disrupt Belgium’s possession out of the back. Only thing I don’t know well enough: what would we sacrifice with one less midfielder… (Bedoya?)

  41. The hand on the shoulder is cringe worthy every time they do it.

    When they walk out of the tunnel with the hand on the shoulder they look like POWs being led through a camp.

    • I can see your point of view, but I personally like it. It has that sense of “I got your back” and we are all in this together. Plus I think Dolo came up with this in the last world cup too.

    • Klinsmann’s got to change things up and use those extra players he selected for the 23. There’s just no way they’re going to beat Belgium other wise (and make it through the quarters conceivably). We’re too deep into the tournament (fatigue, injury, etc.). If he doesn’t have confidence in them… it’s just a shame.

      Sometimes the best defense is a threatening offense. If I were king for a day, without any hesitation, I would stick Yedlin in there on the right in front of Johnson, and I wouldn’t bat an eyelash in using the other guys – Mix, Wondo, Johannsson, etc. But, no Green. He’d get eaten alive out there.

  42. 1.) not Jozy. It’s too soon for him to be any good.
    2.) Bradley is not a playmaking 10. Put him deeper and he’ll be the old Mikey again

    • Agreed. The Starting XI should look like this:


      • Anybody else surprised we haven’t seen Diskerud yet? Especially considering his positive showings as a substitute going into the World Cup.

      • Not completely surprised, not because Mix doesn’t deserve to play, but because the game conditions haven’t warranted his inclusion. I think he would be a 70th minute-type sub, put in for offensive purposes in a game where US was chasing a goal. The only game where the US was chasing a needed goal was Portugal, and the team was playing very well that game so I don’t think a tactical substitution was really needed.

        I hope he does get a chance to play at some point, he’s one of my favorite players on this team and good things happen when he steps on the field for the US.

      • Well, Julian Green is not even part of the discussion,..a waste. I wish I could see Eddie Johnson up there…

      • I was also surprised that Eddie Johnson was left off the squad, but I saw this weekend against Seattle and he did not look good. He worked hard and displayed his athletic ability, but his decision-making left much to be desired. In fact, one of the fans in the seat behind mine wondered aloud which team he was on.

      • I would have preferred EJ or Boyd over Brad Davis. Just to have the option in case of an Altidore injury.
        I like Green being on the roster. The experience could help him. I find Brad Davis useless.

      • I really like Mixx, but he hasn’t shown himself to really be ninety minute contributor. I think he gets on the field if we are down in the second half, probably subbing on for Beckerman, to create a more attacking formation.

      • I was going back and forth with a buddy of mine and this is exactly the lineup i was envisioning.

        My debate was whether it was Mix or Ice Man? I almost am inclined to put Ice Man underneath Dempsey to start. Mix is great but I think he is a really effective sub. Bring him in the second half.

        This is all assuming we dont have Jozy. I agree with many comments here – i think it may be far fetched to think Jozy starts let alone plays.

      • Jones out left as a winger is a waste against a team like Belgium. We need wingers there and give Jones the freedom to attack and defend at will. That’s the role that’s gotten him on people’s all tournament XI.

        Bradley needs to get pulled. Soccer is about form and if Jones or Beckerman was playing the same way as Bradley then everyone would want him pulled. The only defense people have about Bradley is that he could wake up and be the old Bradley again. I don’t want to spend the whole tournament wishing. Mix needs a chance to play the creative role; it’s what he does best. And Bradley running the most only reminds me of the saying, “Work smart not hard.” He had nothing to show for that work rate except giving the ball away. Whereas Beckerman and Jones have highlight reels to show for theirs.

        You can’t play in this kind of heat and just run around aimlessly.

      • Bradley running the most means he’s doing the work of multiple positions: box-to-box midfielder AND attacking midfielder.

        And he actually has a lot to show for all that effort. Namely 4 pts against ghana, portugal and germany. We would have been completely overrun by all three opponents without the mileage put in by bradley (and jones, bedoya and zusi).

      • Peekaboo expat! I like “smith” as a substitute for “usaalltheway” though. It’s like… American… GREAT STUFF!

      • what highlight reels does Beckerman make? Has he scored or assisted a goal? If you are talking defensive highlights Bradley has had some take aways and tackles too.

        Bradley has been doing what everyone says Jozy needs to do. Work harder put more pressure on the ball. Guess what, this is what happens when you have tired legs. You aren’t as sharp.

        In my opinion the biggest problem with Bradley is there is no speed on the wings. That means there is no one for him to release the ball to up the field. That leaves him with no choice but to try passes in tight space. Inevitably those will include some give aways. Give Bradley some wing support and you will see a different player.

        Mix as the starter over Bradley is a silly idea. Mix will have the same problem if there is no one to pass to. He doesn’t have the quality, the calmness on the ball, or the defensive chops to match what Bradley gives.

      • Beckerman has been fantastic. The only player who’s come up bigger across the three group stage matches is Jones. And that’s just because Jones has done a much better job when getting forward. But, as a holding midfielder, Beckerman has been huge.

      • didn’t answer the question. We are looking for highlight reel material here. Not “huge” or “fantastic” play.

      • You can count on one thing here,,JK wont change anything … and that includes starting Jozy.

        We need someone to create and that is not MBs strong suit

      • The fact that we haven’t seen Mix yet should tell you that there is no possible way he starts. I think a more attacking lineup that could be exciting would be to start Wondo and Yedlin.
        —JJ —Beckerman— Yedlin

        This lineup provides a lot of speed and attacking on the right side. I could imagin Klinsmann rolling the dice with this, but realistically, I think at most he starts Wondo and sticks with Bedoya on the right who he rates highly.

      • anybody else find it weird and frightening that the only offensive play that the “deepest USMNT in history” came come up with is playing a kid RB at RM? I’m not trying name drop but isn’t there someone who could give us spark in that situation and play more direct than Zusi Bedoya? EJ perhaps? Arriola? I’d even take Shea right about now. But we really don’t have a better microwave sub than Yedlin? He hasn’t played bad but still… just seems to be a huge hole in the lineup right now.

      • You know who’s a better option than everyone you mentioned even from the little we’ve seen of him in camp? Julian Green. That’s exactly the role Jurgen brought him in for. We haven’t really had a need for late sparkplug subs to grab a goal. Yedlin came in over Green because not losing was just as important as getting a goal in those situations. And he has the defensive ability and speed to consistently cover the entire wing. Greens one of our best attacking options at that spot, we also haven’t had much of a need for it.

      • I like this one a lot, however now that Gonzo has gained confidence that his knee will hold up, he’ll revert to the great CDM of old. He would also benefit our air defense against all those nasty crosses that Belgium throws up there.
        I am also supportive of dropping MB back next to Beckerman, and letting Mix deal with some of the possession and distribution forward.
        Good Luck USMNT!

      • My previous post was supposed to be in response to USMNT FAN’s lineup. Sorry for putting it in the wrong place duh…

      • Id agree with the second part but not the Gonzo part. Gonzo scares me and sooner or later he would cost us

      • I like it, but…pull Bedoya and slide Johnson up in his slot. Slide Cameron over to RB and insert Gonzo next to Beasler. Mix in the 10 hole to service Dempsey. Zusi comes on as impact sub. Also later, pull a CB, slide Jones inside, slide Mix out to left wing and add Wondo or Johansson up top.

    • Point 2) is naive. Yes bradley would play better in more of a holding role but doing so puts beckerman on the bench and still leaves a gaping hole in that playmaker spot.

      Bradley has been far from spectacular but even if (and it’s a big if) we have a guy on the bench who’d be a playmaking upgrade, we’d be conceding a massive amount of defensive coverage.

      • The problem is Bradley is all we got. In the ideal world with a deep team we could bench Bradley and play a true #10. Sadly we have no one and playing a mediocre Bradley in that role while keeping Jones + Beckerman together in the CDMs roles is FAR better option than not.

    • Although he isn’t a prototypical 10 by any means, he definitely has the tools to be a creative force in the middle for the US. As evidenced by the mileage he has put in, he is trying to be and do everything/be DM CAM. Not possible. Hopefully if he is slotted there again, he doesn’t drop so darn deep ALL the time and provides an intermediate outlet upfield for Beckerman and Jones rather than them having to lob passes straight up to Dempsey.

      Seems the US has lost possession because defending, Jones ends up deep on the wing, with Beckerman and Bradley fronting the CBs. When they regain possession, the only one forward is Dempsey who is not a holdup player. Jozy would help fix this in the safest way with hold up play, but if/when he isn’t available the only solution to more possession means leaving the middle more vulnerable/trusting Beckerman and the CBs a bit more… he only other solution I see is bringing in inexperienced players such as Yedlin on the wings to counter more effectively.

      At some point though, you have to pick your spots, be aggressive and roll the dice. No tentative safe paths lead to greatness.


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