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Who should the USMNT start against Ecuador?

Landon Donovan USMNT 21

Photo by David Richard/USA TODAY Sports


Landon Donovan will start, but who will play alongside him is still a mystery.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will bid adieu to one of its greatest legends on Friday at Rentschler Field in East Hartford, Connecticut, as Donovan plays in his final international match against Ecuador. It has already been confirmed that Donovan will be in the lineup for the momentous friendly as U.S. captain, but which Americans head coach Jurgen Klinsmann opts to trot out next to the 32-year-old attacker remains in question.

While Donovan will dominate all the talk leading up the match, Klinsmann is using the fixture as an important piece of the U.S.’s preparations for next summer’s Gold Cup. That means Klinsmann will likely field as strong a team as he can in an effort to move to 2-0 after starting this World Cup cycle with last month’s 1-0 win at the Czech Republic.

That said, the 22-man roster is still littered with fairly young and inexperienced players, which was evident at practice on Tuesday.

Just which players will Klinsmann choose to go with then? Here is a projected lineup SBI could see facing off against Ecuador:








Some thoughts on this lineup:

Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando seem likely to split halves again, but the latter could get the nod after starting last month’s friendly on the bench and coming in after halftime. This approach would give Rimando a chance to play with a stronger unit while also giving Guzan a chance to show his skill when the game inevitably opens up after a flurry of substitutions.

In defense, World Cup veteran Omar Gonzalez appears to be a lock to start at right centerback. Who pairs with him is a bit less clear, but Tim Ream might be the preferred choice as his passing ability and calmness on the ball could complement Gonzalez’s physical nature well. On the outside, DeAndre Yedlin should earn his first U.S. start given that the only other marauding right back on the roster, Timmy Chandler, seems a safe bet to play at left back after a solid showing there against the Czechs.

Who to deploy in midfield, and where to deploy them, is one of the bigger questions Klinsmann faces. He may opt to go with a similar triangle to the one he used in Prague and tweak it by fielding the type of defensive presence missing in the Czech Republic. Alfredo Morales could serve as the No. 6, sitting and cleaning up behind the more offensive-minded duo in Alejandro Bedoya and Mix Diskerud that helped make up the Americans’ lone goal last month.

With Donovan guaranteed to start but only play roughly 30 minutes, Klinsmann may not want to deviate from fielding two wingers and a center forward at the top of the U.S. attack. Joe Gyau impressed out wide on the right in his debut in September, so he may get another look there while Donovan occupies the left and Jozy Altidore serves as the lone striker.

There will be six available substitutions in this friendly, but one of them will almost surely go to the backup goalkeeper. Julian Green should also see the field, as he is a natural fit on the left side and could replace Donovan near the half-hour mark. Klinsmann may then choose to wait and see how the match progresses before deciding who else earns caps. Do not be surprised if John Brooks, Michael Orozco, Greg Garza and Joe Corona all see the field in the second half.


What do you think of SBI’s projected starting lineup? Do you see Donovan deployed out left in a 4-3-3 formation? Who should get the nod in the midfield?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. ———————LD10————-****ZYARDES****———-

    ————————-**** NYUGEN****————————–





    US 3 – EQUADOR 1
    Goals: Zyardes 12′ Joao Plata 40′
    Donovan 32′
    Lee Nyugen 55′
    …And the dream continues!!!!!!

  2. Klinsman has the same problem that Poyet does at Sunderland. He has a striker who is not that great at playing the lone forward, but who has shown to be prolific when crosses get to him running at goal.

    Klinsman might go to his 4 3-3 formation and LD is certainly better at assists that JG.





    But he might could try going back to the diamond. He used Yedlin on the wing in the WC







  3. I don’t think we should have to waste a sub on goalies for both friendlies, especially when most players on the roster will only be playing in one of the games. Start either for Friday and let him go 90 and then let the other go 90 Tuesday.

    • agreed. Guzan vs Ecuador, fly him back to England and let Rimando play vs Honduras. Hamid has the dignified role of playing backup for each.

  4. On a side note… Anyone else experiencing a mobile version of this website now? My iphone always showed the desktop version until now.

  5. I understand playing Bedoya, I just hate it when we do. Corona didn’t have the best of games last go around with Mix alongside him, but the potential creativity between those two is too tasty to ignore.

    I’d love to see Morales get a full match. We’ve been given a sampler of him and I’ve liked what I’ve seen. Let’s see if Jones or Bradley should start sweating a bit more.

    • i think if LD was not around, and with Green injured, Corona would be a player JK could easily slide into the LM/LW position Franko has LD listed in above.

      i also really like Corona, but we need Bedoya in there right now. and while the Mix/Bedoya/Corona midfield wasn’t terrible, i think it’s worth seeing Morales in there. i think JK will get all 4 on the field together for the final 15 minutes of the first half.




      • Corona has been below average to terrible every time he has suited up for us. Always amazes me that people will howl and scream when someone like Shea gets chance after chance, but people like Corona slide by. Let’s face it, some guys make a living below the Ralston line. If Corona makes a big leap in club play, bring him back. Until then I think we have seen all we are going to see from him.

      • it’s never smart to start a conversation with hyperbole. he has not been below average or terrible every time. so if we’re going to have a real conversation, lets not start it off that way.

        the fact that you are comparing Shea to Corona is silly. Corona plays 90 minutes for Xolos every week out wide or in central midfield. Shea can’t even consistently dress for any team he is on.

        as a Xolos fan, Corona has played very well for his club this season and has an impact every game. because of that, he isn’t going to stop being called in. not when he has had multiple games for the US where he has looked the part. sure, not every game is perfect and against the Czech Republic he didn’t stand out, but he still worked well with Bedoya/Mix as a whole.

        i’m not saying he should be starting, but in a game like this, it would be insane to not give him some playing time.

    • I think Corona will have a better game this time. He’s not traveling as far and he’s been playing 90 minutes consistently now.

    • I anticipate Bedoya sliding out to the wing or being the sub for Donovan once his half hour is up. He is solid defensively, so I think him being on the right would provide cover for Yedlin’s inevitable offensive runs.

      • if we play a 4-3-3 though, he’s just a right sided central mid with Gyau and Yedlin providing the widget.

  6. ——————-Altidore—————

    Landon should play all 90 – still a top 5 player in the US pool. but if he must leave Wondo or Green (available?) maybe Corona will replace him.

  7. think this is a great lineup, but i’d rather have JAB play. he’s the CB moving forward, so he should continue to start. Ream can play the 2nd half. i really hope the midfield starts like you have it listed. i’d like to see how Morales works with Mix and Bedoya. i like Corona, but i think the US needs that #6 presence.

    • “Who” and “whom”, are interchangeable in most usages. Typically, usage depends on the whole “he” vs. “him” argument: Who = He, Whom = him. In this case, I suppose you are correct. Grammar Police = 1 SBI = 0. We should keep a running total or something.

    • “Who” is a subject. “Whom” is an object. Who should start is correct. “To whom should Klinsi give the starting nod” is an example of when “whom” should be used.

      • Thank you. “Who should start?” would certainly be correct, as would “to whom shoud Klinsmann give the starting nod?” For the same reason, it should be “whom should the USMNT start?”.

  8. ————Donovan——————-
    LD ———Lando——Landycakes—-LD10

    Will that make him stop whining already?

    • Still on this? It gets old.

      Wondo had a chance to send us to the next stage in the WC and didn’t even put his shot on frame.

      I’m a Wondo believer but when you have one chance to score, I’d want LD to take it over Wondo. No offense to Wondo.

  9. Since Bedoya is good defensively, I would like to see him on the right to provide protection for Yedlin, who I would want to get forward as much as possible without fear of lack of coverage behind him. Gyau will not be able to play that role.

    • agreed.. Brooks is probably a bit better but Ream is more in form.

      its about exactly 4 years since the last time time we played Ecuador on the east coast.. hopefully Ream shows us all that he has improved since then.

    • I think Brooks is a bit more deserving considering he’s been with the team during the last year (no fault of Ream’s). However, I think Klinsi will bench him for the first half to tell him to buck up and mature, or he’ll lose his starting XI spot. Send the warning Klinsi!


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