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Who should the USMNT start vs. Denmark?

USMNT XI vs. Panama 2015

photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports


Having only a few days of preparation before a match is not necessarily ideal, but it is the situation Jurgen Klinsmann and the U.S. Men’s National Team find themselves in currently.

The U.S. began reconvening in Europe over the weekend, but the pleasantries were short-lived and focus was quickly placed on Wednesday’s friendly against Denmark. The match at NRGi Park provides Klinsmann with his first chance since last fall to see an entire group of foreign and domestic-based players, and should provide quite the challenge as the Americans continue to prepare for their CONCACAF Gold Cup title defense.

Klinsmann may have had the luxury of summoning in anyone of his choosing, but he has left off some notable names while calling on a pair of newcomers. Brad Guzan was left off the squad – due to the birth of his child – and so were regulars Mix Diskerud, Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler. Filling some of their places are Club Leon goalkeeper William Yarbrough and Club American centerback Ventura Alvarado, two dual-nationals who have chosen the U.S. over Mexico.

Still, Klinsmann’s squad boasts plenty of experienced players receiving consistent minutes on the club level. From Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey to Michael Bradley and Fabian Johnson, there is enough talent in the squad to grab a result and build on February’s 2-0 home win over Panama.

Here is who SBI sees starting for the U.S. in Wednesday’s match against Denmark:

USMNT Projected XI vs. Denmark

Some thoughts:

It would be shocking if anyone other than Nick Rimando is starting in goal for the U.S. on Wednesday. William Yarbrough and Cody Cropper are there to gain experience and provide cover, but there does appear to be a chance for Yarbrough to come off the bench at halftime and make his U.S. debut. If not in this game because of the quick turnaround from club to international play, then next week against Switzerland once he’s more familiar with his American teammates.

What Klinsmann does from a formation standpoint is unknown, though the player personnel seem to indicate the continued use of a four-man back line. In that case, Timmy Chandler should be the favorite to get the nod at right back given his consistent minutes there at Eintracht Frankfurt this season. DeAndre Yedlin should also see minutes in this one, but is more likely to do so in a reserve role.

Next to Chandler will likely be another regular contributor at the club level in Michael Orzozco, who should pair up with Hertha Berlin starter John Brooks. The left side of the defense seems a little more up in the air. Greg Garza only recently recovered from a minor injury, and while Klinsmann has been high on him, the U.S. head coach has also heaped praise on experimental fullback Brek Shea. If Garza is healthy and fit enough, he would get the nod and Shea would likely see time off the bench.

Who plays in midfield should be pretty straightforward, even with Klinsmann being able to use a number of different formations. Here, Klinsmann will probably go with the 4-2-3-1 formation he has deployed so often in the past. Danny Williams has been seeing heavy minutes at Reading, and should serve in the No. 6 role in his U.S. return to help Bradley operate a little higher up the field.

With Johnson seeing time and being effective at left midfield for Borussia Moenchengladbach these days, Klinsmann might be more inclined to use him there than at right back. Utility man Alejandro Bedoya should get the nod on the opposite flank, even though the up-and-coming Gyasi Zardes had a promising showing against Panama last month.

Up top, Dempsey is all but guaranteed to again pull the strings behind the lone forward. Altidore, meanwhile, should continue to lead the attack, especially after recently finding the back of the net for Toronto FC.


What do you think of SBI’s projected starting lineup? Is there someone who you’d like to see get a start that isn’t included? Like the formation or would you prefer to see the 3-5-2 again?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I really want to see a 3-4-3

    ———————-Jozy ————————–

    This is how I would play our talent.

  2. ……..Jozy…………..AJ…………..
    …………..D Will……………………

  3. Rimando sucks! Let’s give Blondie a chance.


    Ream Brooks Alvarado

    Johnson Williams Bradley Yedellin or Chandler

    Altidore Kevin Bacon

    Johnson knows to defends and Johnson is creative, Bradley is better being both defensive and creative, and Bedoya is the true “Captain” defends and attacks, our midfield won’t have much problem controlling the tempo with this current Danish teams. I just wish Klinsmann call Novakovich as a replacement.

  4. With the news that Clint has dropped out due to a hamstring issue and with JK’s previous statement that the 3-5-2 is still in consideration….I’d like to see something along the following tried at some point over the next 2 matches….

  5. This team needs some midfield chops. a diamond won’t work against a competent Denmark, so JK will have to flood the midfield. I do actually see a 3-5-2… ish formation. I definitely see fabian and yedlin playing (which is why I say 3-5-2… ish). This way the formation is flexible and one or both guys can drop back into a 4-4 or push up (for pressing) as needed. Up top, I definitely think he pairs Altidore with AJ… for at least 45 minutes (Germans love two striker sets). I think how the defense lines up will be determined by what he sees in practice today. Can a back three stop Dempsey, Altidore and AJ in practice? if not… no way that line-up is trotted out.

  6. The main question I have is whether JK goes with a 3-5-2 vs Denmark or a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3. Five midfielders allow him to use Ibarra–Williams–Dempsey–Bradley-Bedoya to start. Fabian–Brooks–Chandler would be the back three. Altidore and Rubin/Johannsson up front.

    • With the guys he called in he could roll a 3-5-2, but I think it’d be a little different than what you suggest. FJ and Chandler are more suited to be wingbacks than marking CB’s, plus Klinsmann has guys on the roster fully capable of playing those roles – Ream on the left and either Orozco or Alvarado on the right. Lined up, would look like:

      —- Jozy — AJ —–
      —— Dempsey —–
      —– MB – Williams —
      FJ —————- Bedoya
      – Ream – Brooks – Orozco –
      —— Rimando ————

      Chandler for Bedoya is kind of a toss up. Whoever doesn’t start would sub in. Garza or Shea could come in for FJ when he gets tired. Alvarado and Fiscal would likely split time.
      The big risk is that this is asking A LOT of a backline that not only hasn’t played together before, but is completely and totally unfamiliar with each other. On the flip side, you do have Williams there to provide cover, as he plays more of a true #6 role than anyone in the pool outside of Beckerman.

      Still, while I think that iteration of a 3-5-2 would work significantly better than the one we saw in January, I still think it’s too risky and ultimately if Klinsmann isn’t committed to the 3-5-2, there’s not really a point in it.

      Much more likely, I think, to see a 4-5-1 with
      ——– Jozy ————–
      FJ —– Dempsey —- Bedoya
      —– Bradley – Williams —–
      Garza – Brooks – Orozco – Chandler
      ———– Rimando ———–

      AJ for Jozy, Morales for Williams, Alvarado for Orozco, Shea for Garza, Yedlin for Bedoya, Ream for Brooks.

  7. People need to calm down with zardes he’s good but let’s wait and see with him. I’ll take bedoya over him anyday. He’s a decent striker and a decent winger in mls. Belongs on bench if anything, we need to find better that’s why we have rubio in camp. I am predicting 2 goals from rubio in these 2 matches.

  8. I just wanted to point out that neither William nor Ventura picked the Stars and Stripes over El Tri. They accepted a call up to see the setup and try to make a decision from there. Since neither were in a Youth national team, this friendly will not cap tie them.

  9. I think we’ll see the 3-5-2, and that’s the real reason JK left defenders like Cameron, Besler, and Omar at home and brought Ream, Orozco, and Alvarado instead. I’m not sure if I’m a fan of that formation, but if we’re going to see it, this is what I’d prefer:

    —— Altidore ——– Johansson ——-
    —————- Dempsey ——————–
    ———–Williams—-Bradley ———-
    FJ – Ream – Brooks– Alvarado–Chandler
    —————- Rimando —————

    Give Yedlin and Shea some time in the wingback spots and Morales some time in the middle. Give Bedoya some time behind the strikers as well as at right wingback. Dempsey and Zardes some time up top. And I’ve never seen Yarbrough play, so I hope he gets at least 45 sometime over these two friendlies.

  10. I don’t give darn who they play, just want to watch the game. But I am sure this thread will be vocal.

    But before you armchair coaches go wild, I did a quick calculation. If we play a 4-4-2 and everyone plays in their role(fwd, mid, def, Goal) then there are 101,606,400 permutations of the lineup.

    If we switch it up and we play them outside their role, then it’s 53,970,627, 110,400. I think Rimando at striker and Shea in goal would be hysterical.

  11. The questions marks are Bedoya/Zardes on the RW; Chandler/Yedlin as the RB; and Orozco/Ream/Alvarado as the other centerback next to Brooks.

    I would go Zardes, Orozco and Chandler.

    If Shea starts over Garza then Jurgen’s man-crush on Shea is officially confirmed.

    • I forgot to mention D Williams or A Morales. To me that is a toss-up. I’d like to see each guy start one of the games.

  12. Agree that your lineup feels probable, but I would like to see Alvarado start with Brooks. We already know what Orozco can do, and he’s serviceable at best.

    • I wonder if JK considers Ream more of a CB or a LB like he plays for club. Would be nice to see Alvarado and Ream each get to start one of the games. To me it is hard to pick between Orozco, Alvarado and Ream from just watching them play for their clubs on tv. There doesn’t seem to be much between them.

  13. Well the good thing is Klinsmann doesn’t know how to coach to that won’t be the projected starting XI

    —– Altidore — Johannsson —–
    ———— Demspey ————–
    Johnson — Bradley —- Zardes
    Garza – Brooks – Alvarado – Chandler

      • This is the most lame response on the internet. The old “you don’t play professional ball” or “you don’t coach professionally”. In that case none of us should ever comment on this board or disagree with what a player or coach does. People like Ives Galarcep shouldn’t even have this website or write about soccer. He’s never played or coached professional soccer, what does he know? He shouldn’t even have an opinion right Concorde?

      • I don’t really think the objection is with this guy having an opinion; I think it is to the fact that he leads with ” Klinnsmann doesn’t know how to coach” followed up by his fantasy lineup.

      • The issue is not Prada having an opinion.

        The issue is what does ” to that wont be the projected starting XI ” mean?

    • Interesting, but I don’t think Zardes has the defensive chops for this formation at the International level. Switch in Bedoya, and I think it’s workable and worth a look.

      • Why? Often he actually seems to have a really decent work rate when he is playing on that side of the ball. Seems this year he has figure out (a bit) how to keep doing that while cutting inside (a la old school LD) when counterattacking with the ball. Don’t get me wrong, I think striker is his best position, and I have no doubt that Bedoya is better as an overall player in that position, for now. But it appears that Zardes can do the work there to let him stay on the pitch if Jozy and Clint are the only 2 playing up front and middle.

      • Zardes at forward. Its his natural position as most of his goals scored last year were at the forward position. Move Bradley up for more connections with Wingers Bedoya and Johnson as well as the forwards.
        Move Ream to defensive midfielder as he did quite well at that position at Bolton.

        Garza at left back as well as Chandler at right, as both players are having a good run at their respective clubs. Brooks seems to doing bettter as well as Orozco at Center backs but would never be my choices over Besler or Gonzales. It will be intersting to see how Alvarado will fit in. I would like to see him play against Mexico.

        The backline is very problematic and will require the midfielder playing closer to the back in a more protective role.


        F johnson. Bradley Bedoya Ream
        garza Brooks Orozoca chandler

    • I think that we should play two up top and a wide-diamond in MF

      ——- Jozy —– Deuce —–
      ———— MB90 ————
      — Fabian ——— Bedoya —
      ———— Danny ————
      – Greg — JB — Fiscal — Tim –

      Greg and Tim would have plenty of cover getting forward with Johnson on the left and Bedoya on the right bring able to hustle back and fill in at outsude back until the shape and alignment us recovered.

      Danny sits deep as a “pure giver” … I mean mean 6 leaving the 3 more advanced kids the ability to trade marking/attacking responsibilities as the 3rd runner in the box or overloading a particular corner of the box.


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