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Who should the USMNT start vs. Colombia?

USMNTStartingXI1-Ecuador2014 (USATodaySports)


LONDON- The Colombian National Team is a dangerous team as we saw at the recent World Cup, and if the U.S. Men’s National Team doesn’t play a good game on Friday, things could get ugly.

That is why Jurgen Klinsmann is very likely to go with a veteran lineup to take on the ‘Cafeteros’ at Craven Cottage on Friday. The team he has called in has a good mix of seasoned veterans as well as younger, less experienced prospects, but the likelihood is Klinsmann will leave the younger players for Tuesday’s friendly against Ireland.

In my most recent piece, I broke down what the starting lineups could look like for the upcoming U.S. friendlies, and the team we see face Colombia will have a serious World Cup feel to it.

Give my story a read, and for a closer look at the team we could see take on Colombia on Friday, here is a more detailed breakdown:

Projected USMNT lineup vs. Colombia


Some thoughts on the projected USMNT lineup that could face Colombia:

There are several players who could easily wind up starting, such as Geoff Cameron, who could start in place of Beckerman or Besler if either isn’t sharp enough in training. Timmy Chandler is an option as well at left back. If Klinsmann wants to get extra conservative, he could start both Beckerman and Cameron alongside Diskerud, with Bedoya slotting in on the right wing.

And what if Klinsmann decides to go with a 4-4-2? Seems unlikely given the personnel at his disposal, and the opponent. The U.S. will want three central midfielders to congest the middle and limit Colombia’s space in that area. Beckerman seems a safe bet to camp out in front of the back four, where James Rodriguez likes to work his magic for Colombia. It also doesn’t help that there really isn’t a player in camp who would be a good fit next to Altidore in a 4-4-2. A Chris Wondolowski-Altidore tandem wouldn’t really work, and the rest of the forwards in camp are a bit too young to throw in against Colombia.

One interesting wild card to consider is Lee Nguyen. Could Klinsmann throw him into the starting lineup in his first camp under Klinsmann? Seems a bit ambitous, but Nguyen is in outstanding form and would fit well at the top of the midfield three. It is likely a long shot, but Klinsmann has pulled a few lineup surprises before.

What do you think of the proposed lineup? Who would you like to see start vs. Colombia?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think JK is set on JJ at CB and I think he’ll test Mix again as a deeper distributor with more defensive responsibilities. Colombia’s attack is so strong, if he tests JJ again at CB, he’ll probably need a little more protection in front of him. I hope it starts as a 4-2-3-1 and morphs later to give us more attack. I like Beckerman, but I don’t like him matching up with Rodriguez. I’d rather have Cameron at Dmid to track Rodriguez with Mix distributing. I like Garza, but the match up with Cuadrado’s pace could be very tough…rather have Chandler at LB to deal with Cuadrado.


    Not a lot of options at LM, probably go with Green, but I’m not too excited about him as a starter against a top flight team like Colombia. If it was my call I’d play Garza at LM. He’s strong on the ball and comfortable up field…plus a lot more defensive bite than Green.

    It will be interesting if JK sticks with the 4-3-3 and if he does who will he pick to play LB…Cuadrado could have a field day on the flank with that much space against a narrow 4-3-3

    Hope to see Nguyen at some point…

  2. Bedoya, may as well put me in. I have produced as much for the USA National team to this point despite Klinsi giving me far less opportunity.

  3. Based on the original projection I would swap Yedlin with Fabian Johnson or put Fabian Johnson next to Diskerud and Bedoya the wide forward on the right and Yedlin back on Defense.

    If the US gets stretched between the lines and plays long-ball from defense to the forwards or 20-30 yard passes in midfield I will not be optimistic.

    Garza and Yedlin allow Fabian Johnson full-time placement in midfield. While your at it JK just put Fabian Johnson as a Centerback.

    A few players out of position looks like an experiment. The only issue I have with this is it looks like JK does not learn from analysis very well..he’s way to stubborn.

    • Why do people say JK never learns. He clearly does. He is a much better coach than when he started(Urg, those games with 3 dmids hurt) and the switch to the 4-4-2 diamond was a huge decision that paid off.

      • We pretty much ended up reverting back to the 3 D-mids during the World Cup. It might have been drawn up as a diamond but Bradley spent so much time dropping deep, even picking the ball off the back-line.

      • If we all look at the USA Belgium game in the World Cup…that game clearly showed our strength and weakness within the USMNT. That is the one game I measure Klinnsman and the USMNT with. That is the benchmark for improvement I want to see. I was one of the biggest supporters of JK coaching the USMNT when he first took over. I gave him the benefit of the doubt over what Bayern Munich and some of the players said about him after his firing. He deserved an honest attempt. He was given that. He put a mediocre team on the field at the WC. No wonder Tim Howard is taking time away from the USMNT.

      • Or Tim Howard is at a age where a lot of guys would retire from the national team. I think looking at the Belgium game is a poor way to do it……..sometimes coaches think they are right and everyone else is wrong…isnt that right Coach?

  4. —Green — Jozy — Bedoya—

    FJ – Cameron – Mix – Yedlin

    —DMB — Jones — Chandler—

    ————- Guzan —————

    • I would like to see us try a 3 ATB look but that will take quite a bit of time to perfect and probably sacrifice some games. 3 ATB needs to be practiced, practiced, practiced and a lot. I like the idea of Besler and Cameron as wide CB’s and Jones as a sweeper in the middle. At least that is me, other people like a bigger guy in the middle but I just like that way with more athleticism. Brooks is also technical enough to play a LCB in a 3 man CB system. THat system could sacrifice Gonzalez though which may not be palatable

  5. It appears that the 4-2-3-1 may be in JKs rear view mirror, but with this selection of players I’d like to see this formation with:
    Lee Nguyen in the hole as a 10
    Fabian Johnson moved back to the wing (on either side)
    – We’re now deep at outside back on both sides
    – We could use the additional speed and delivery he brings into the midfield
    – He’s played more on the wing than outside back recently
    Play Mix next to any 3 of Beck, Cam, or Jermaine at DMs- depending on who starts at CB..
    I’m sure Bedoya will start.. so seeing FJ on the left, then Julian off the bench.. would bring a lot to the table

  6. ————–—Altidore——————

  7. Lee is far better than either Mix or Bedoya. If JK can’t see that from practice and scouting then he is in the wrong job.

    Quit screwing around and start Lee

    • No, Duke, that’s not true. If he was “far” better he would be playing at a far better level. He’s at a lower level than Bedoya. Lee is a good player and I’m excited to see him, but people need to stop acting like his first good season…ever…means he is this superior player. This is the guy who couldn’t cut it at PSV and ended up in Vietnam before coming to his senses and playing in MLS. And now this season he has broken out.

      Let’s see what happens before we start sayingJK is screwing around because he doesn’t start the guy getting his first cap since 2007. Did you even watch Copa America 2007? The only positive that came from that tournament was the jersey.

      • “The only positive that came from that tournament was the jersey.”

        Not so. Demerit and Davies got their acclimation to US tourney play in that tournament and later went on to be vital parts of the 2009 Confederations Cup.

  8. It’s so depressing that Donovan is retiring and is still our best option in a starting 11. I can’t believe we’re in a position where someone like Bedoya plays a prominent role on our team. To be clear, I feel that Bedoya should be starting; I’m just depressed we don’t have anyone better. He’s just not good enough.

    We are here talking about Bedoya being one of our creative sparks for the national team! He has been a bench player a lot during his European career and played in lower-level leagues. His ceiling appears to be that of playing on a small team in the French League 1. On the national team, to me he’s just a solid player that runs a lot but when he gets in a good position he messes up the final pass or shot. He’s not skilled on the ball and can’t run past people. He lacks technical skill and had a weak shot. His strongest ability is just that he hustles.

    This is why I get so angry every time an Altidore or Holden or Pelosi or Gatt or Gyau or Agudelo or Shea (etc.) gets injured or is over there making bad career decisions. This is all made even worst by what Klinsmann has shown to be horrible decision making when picking rosters. When Klinsmann got hired I was the first one ready to throw a parade, but now I know better. I don’t get why some of you love him. He’s a smart dude big picture wise, but as an actual football manager (coaching, tactics, implementing and developing the style of play, selecting players, putting players in the right positions, putting the teams success ahead of his own ego) he’s not good at all. He needs to find himself a very good assistant like he had in Germany.

      • Mr Coach,

        You are very late to the game.

        People have been pointing fingers at Gulati for many years now.

        And they still don’t get that while he is the face of the organization and a powerful and influential man he is only one vote out of I believe 15. He’s not a dictator and decisions like firing Bob Bradley or Bruce Arena or hiring JK are not his alone. There has to be a consensus..

    • “Klinsmann has shown to be horrible decision making when picking rosters”
      This is code for “he didn’t choose Donovan.”

      The rest of that WC roster was good. Bringing Yedlin was brilliant. Wondo well, it should have been Boyd I suppose. Brooks came up big when it mattered too.

    • Mr Bruin,

      “He’s a smart dude big picture wise, but as an actual football manager (coaching, tactics, implementing and developing the style of play, selecting players, putting players in the right positions, putting the teams success ahead of his own ego) he’s not good at all”

      The US had a style of play before JK.

      It was defend like hell with two banks of four, push the opposition out to the wings and shutting down the middle and then counter attacking by springing Donovan or getting the odd opportunist goal through Dempsey.

      To paraphrase what Arjen Robben said about that team, ” They are very hard to play against but are not very talented .”.

      W/o Donovan, or if he had an off day , which he had more than a few of, then the US rarely had a shot against serious opposition. They could beat any of the big boys but rarely did The 2009 Confederations Cup was the height of that team but it also showed just how thin it was because injuries to Davies and Gooch quickly dropped them back from possible contenders to something less..

      JK’s team is a realization by the USSF that the US had taken the previous style of play as far as they could and were going to have to do something different if they wanted to become serious contenders.

      Which is why the USSF brought in JK, to effect the transition, to the next phase. After all, how many LD’s do you see on the horizon?

      You are impatient and you refuse to see any good in the change perhaps because of your attachment to the old style.

      But there is no going back even if you fired JK tomorrow.

      W/o Donovan, or if he had an off day , which he had more than a few of, then the US rarely had a shot against serious opposition. They could beat any of the big boys but rarely did The 2009 Confederations Cup was the height of that team but it also showed just how thin it was because injuries to Davies and Gooch quickly dropped them back from possible contenders to something less..

      JK’s team is a better team. There is no over reliance on one guy. This is not Donovan and ten other guys any more. It is more of a team now, less predictable and harder to prepare for.More youth and more MLS guys. If JK is such a bad coach how did he get such good World Cups out of Yedlin, Brooks, Beckerman , Besler, and Green for example? Five guys who a year before the World Cup none of you would have believed would have played as well as they did. More to the point it is still evolving with quite a few new players who have potential to develop much further. And they still managed to beat Ghana, something Donovan never could quite manage.

      This was not the case so much in Donovan’s time. Landon was great but he wasn’t going to play forever.

  9. i don’t see Besler starting. he is in bad form – clearly exhausted from the end of a busy year and really not a great pair for Jones. Jones needs a cb pair that complements his game (hustle, passing, breaking up plays) but is more conservative in position and can cover his deficiencies (the aerial game). I see him working well with Brooks or Cameron; and certainly Omar in future camps.

    speaking of Cameron; you gotta start him. He is playing well in England right now and could benefit us either at CDM (over Beckerman) or CB (over Besler).

    il go with:
    -Chandler-Jones-Cameron-F. Johnson-
    -Chandler-Brooks-Jones–F. Johnson-

      • thats a good point. Collin is similar to what I expect Jones to be as a CB

        i guess I just thinking about how Ream lost his mark and Jones couldn’t cover the cross vs Honduras. I like to see a tall cb paired with quick cb for that reason -> lightning & thunder

        fwiw, Collin is 6’2″ while Jones and Besler are both 6′

    • Do we really want Nguyen out there starting when he has practiced a couple times with the team. If he lays an egg, it could be very bad in the long run. You know how national team players around the world get cooked in one game and fall off from there…..many……just go look at ENgland they are littered with guys like that in the BPL

  10. Hate Yedlin as a MF. He does not have the skill to be a midfielder. He is a Defender that creates havoc as the extra attacker down the flank with his speed and crossing ability. Hate that we try and take what are great assets for the back line (like Yedlin and Johnson) and try and plug holes in the midfield.

      • Because Jurgen is molding the two for four years from now. Four years from now Yedlin will be a staple in USMNT and Johnson will be on the back end of his NT career. Put Johnson at fullback where he will use his wits and skill in a few years time to hold that down. You groom Yedlin to be something more. I think you dont understand the learning curve that kid has been on. If Jurgen thinks he can be a winger, then I believe him. Plenty of fullbacks have made the switch

    • I’m not a huge fan of this either. I feel like JK insists on playing people out of position in an effort to prove what a genius he is.

      • Hmm. Maybe. Could also be an acknowledgement that the USMNT, like a lot of pools, is heavy in some areas, weaker in others, and the best 11 may not be able to all play their club positions all the time.

        We have three right backs right now who can hold up…Johnson, Yedlin, and Chandler. Until Darlington Nagbe gets his US citizenship I don’t really see a huge impact guy with the kind of speed that can turn an International game we can just plug in right now, so Yedlin is getting the nod there. His speed can definitely turn a game and it does put D’s under big pressure.

      • Nagbe needs to prove himself next year with Portland to be in the equation for me. There problem was defense not offense and he should have been fine going forward. Took until the last game of the season to score. He should have had plenty of opportunities with Valeri unlocking defenses for him

      • It totally made sense in the WC. That speed alone is enough to ruin tired defenders. Starting a game is different though.

    • So a few months ago Yedlin doesn’t have the skills to defend, is brought into the WC games as a midfielder, does well, and now he doesn’t have the skills to play midfield?

      Johnson has always preferred to play an attacking position, specifically a right mid/winger. Even his time with the German youth he didn’t play defense. That didn’t happen until his club moved him there. The truth is, FJ is our best RB, LB, RM, LM, and winger now that LD is out of the picture.

      • I don’t understand why people still think Yedlin cannot defend. His defensive abilities have skyrocketed in the past MLS season.

      • Yeah, he plays defense when Sigi actually tells him to. Against Dallas he did. But really that’s about the only time I can think of.

      • You didnt watch the LA series where he had Donovan in his hip pocket. Yedlin has shut down that side of the field since Sigi has reigned him back….its also no wonder that Seattle has alllowed ZERO goals in over 300 minute all of which were essentially playoff games…Yedlin has never been THAT bad defensively. Its just a narrative that people like to push because guys watch one game where he does bad and hold it against him. As a rookie he top 5 in every defensive metric when compared to fullbacks. He had his dummy moments as any rookie does but this year, especially in the 2nd half of the season, he has been awesome back there. Especially when he is asked to not get forward as much

  11. ——————-Altidore——————–

    I wana see rubin get a start here, has been really sharp for utretcht and I wana see what he has.
    I view Fabian as more of a mid at this point, watch him when he plays rb, really sruggles tracking back
    Jones is a d mid, period.
    Interesting to see both Garza and yedlin go against really skilled wide players like james and cuadrado in this one

    • I certainly want to see Rubin get some minutes, but I would hesitate to START him given his very brief professional experience. Yes, he has been playing above his years, but one mistake at this level and he could be thrown off for the whole match.

      If we’re giving a cold start to a new face, I’d prefer Nguyen. He’s been out of the USMNT pic for a while, but he’s got many more professional seasons under his belt.

  12. I know I’m in the minority, but I’d actually like to see FJ on the left, either as the back or the winger. I think we’re stronger on the right with some combination of Chandler, Yedlin and Bedoya than we are on the left with Garza and Green.

    For me, Bedoya’s best performances are on the right, not when he’s central or on the left.

    • i actually have no problem with a Chandler/FJ swap but FJ has made it clear he loves the right. so i’m ok there. plus, him and Yedlin on the right is pretty lethal in theory.

      i do disagree about Bedoya though. i think he is much better centrally. and he prefers the middle.

      • Fabian can deliver quality crosses from the left too. He played LM against Panama and sent a beautiful searching ball to Jozy in the six for the tap in. Did he assist on Dempsey’s goal against Italy? He’s versatile, he could play half the field player positions. Do you start him where he’s most comfortable but we have a decent player or do you play him at a position where we lack depth? People criticized our play in the Belgium game but FJ was hurt in the first 30 minutes. He might have made a difference. We also wouldn’t have had to burn a sub and bring in Yedlin. We could have used both of them at the same time like against Portugal.

  13. ——————-IBARRA—————–RUBIN———————-




    We’ve seen enough Altidore, lets see something a little different

    • OR



      Beckerman is not the fastest on his feet and against a team like Colombia that could be an issue….Lee Nyugen and Mix is a coin toss for me as to who plays first, though I’d like to see Lee against top opposition as we already know Mix is solid. Ibarra and Rubin are new and inexperience but we already know Altidore and Wondo’s limitations…….but as we know we are going to play the lone striker up front which doesn’t work even against minnows of CONCACAF with a player that cant make the starting line-up for a bottom team like Sunderland……AJ where are you!!!!! I need you kid!!!! lol

    • Why not Jones as the #6/8, after all that is what he plays with Lee for the Revs.
      Cameron should go back to his RCB position. We need the height.

      • too soon….. Im still pissed about that car accident.

        I really feel we beat Ghana in 2010 with charlie and we could have realistically beat Uruguay to make the semis

      • ^ THIS ^

        I still hope that CD9 (even 1.5′ shorter) could build on his form and find his way back into a USMNT Jersey again!

        I also hope that the other JA (Agudelo) and AJ (Johanson) can keep building their game up to compete for his Spot

      • True, although I don’t believe they played that much together. And by the way, Davis is not 1.5 inches shorter, one of his legs is 1.5 inches shorter. he wears a special shoe to compensate.

    • Jozy has always done well with a partner, IMO. especially with CD9. at AZ he almost always had a partner and look what he did there.

  14. Looks very likely. Ton of speed, especially on the outside, lot of high-motor guys who will run up and down the field for 90.

    Our bench depth is filled with a lot of fringe or outright blue-sky guys Klinsmann’s taking a look at, but that starting 11 actually looks pretty durn good.

    • Much like against Belgium, I think Klinsi starts Cameron in the DM position. Beckerman is such a true professional, but he’s so limited athletically that Brazil will rip him apart with their speed and intelligence. Cameron isn’t that much more intelligent, but he’s a better passer and is a bigger presence in DM.

      I’d bench Green and bring in Chandler for RB, move FJ to left wing. I don’t mind including Green, he deserves to be there, but he’s not starting material against Colombia.

      And if Yedlin didn’t need the caps, I’d toss Bedoya out wide and throw Nguyen out there. Jozy is going to be so isolated with Bedoya as his backup. Nguyen would offer the support he needs. He’s a more creative Dempsey.

      • This cap does nothing for Yedlin in terms of qualifying for exempt status. If you havent heard it sounds like he gets his Latvian passport in the next couple weeks and will be with Spurs in January and Spurs need him especially if Walker has a set back in the coming weeks as he is back after this international break.

        I will say that it is very likely Yedlin starts, since he will probably be sent home after this match to get ready for LA. Also, Yedlin’s pace will be needed against Colombia

    • I agree for the most part. While Beckerman is competent, I think that would be a perfect for Bradley, although he is not on this roster. Bedoya is decent, but he hasn’t shown that shine. He will be a workhorse in the midfield, but if you have a solid DM behind that position, I’d say you put a more offensive player like Nguyen in that role. It wouldn’t surprise me to see Cameron put in the DM position as opposed to Beckerman, like Josh D has said, but I’m not counting on it. I think adding Green to the left is a good idea. While he may not be the starter when a competitive game is played, he likely will be in due time (not necessarily on the left).

      I tend to prefer us in a 4-4-2, but it doesn’t look like we have the personnel for that. The above lineup will likely be the starting lineup unless it turns into something like this:


      • I would bench Besler whose form has dropped. He simply has not been playing well. Also not to move around players too much. Keep Fabian and Yedlin on the same side to keep building that chemistry which is very importan and try to find new solutions on the left side. Don’t dismantle what has been going on well on the right side.

        Julian Green———————————-Yedlin
        Garza or Chandler-Cameron—–J. Jones—-Fabian Johnson

        Maybe find someone else for Julian Green on the left side, but he has been getting some playing time for his club in Germany.

      • I forgot about Nguyen. The following option-

        or Nguyen and Bedoya switch
        Garza or Chandler—Cameron-J.Jones——-Fabian Johnson
        I actually like this more

      • I agree to an extent. While the chemistry factor is important and will likely take precedence, I also think we have plenty of time for that. I am interested in the best lineup possible given the squad chosen. This is also taking into consideration the fact that Klinsmann likes the 2 D Mid system. While I am not a fan, I am tinkering with the lineup that Ives proposed with mine, given some of Klinsmann’s tendencies, which could vary. However, I don’t see it happening regardless. If I had an ideal lineup, it would be more offensive (aka 1 D Mid).

        One of things I noticed in your proposed lineups is that we lack a true D Mid. Nguyen and Mix are offensive players first and foremost. Mix is one of my favorite players, but I’m not sure you leave him alone in front of the back four. That’s not really his ideal position. You need someone to be the backstop (i.e. Jones, Beckerman, Cameron, or Bradley, who is not on the roster). I like the offensive potency of the lineup, but I just can’t see it without a single true D Mid. Who knows? Either way, JK won’t do it haha.

        Given the players selected, my ideal lineup (note I’m not sold on Yedlin as a winger) is as follows:


        Brooks can easily slot in for Besler or Cameron, but I prefer to see Jones (right now) at D Mid rather than the back 4. That may be something that changes in time and what JK will likely do, but I prefer this lineup personally. Just my thoughts.

      • Bold strategy, going with only ten players. Colombia certainly isn’t expecting it, and it might open up some space for the counter-attack.

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