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Who should the USMNT start vs. Germany?

Danny Williams USMNT 92



The memory of last week’s stunning victory against the Netherlands is in the rearview mirror for the U.S. Men’s National Team, and a eye-opening challenge awaits on Wednesday against World Cup winners Germany.

While the Americans are seriously shorthanded, so are the Germans, who are missing several of their top starters from the team that lifted the Jules Rimet trophy last summer. Manuel Neuer, Jerome Boateng, Phillip Lahm, Toni Kroos and Thomas Muller won’t take part in the friendly, so the challenge won’t be quite as daunting as originally expected when the friendly was scheduled.

That said, the Germans will still have plenty of talent on hand. World Cup golden goal scorer Mario Goetze, Arsenal playmaker Mesut Ozil and Bayern Munich midfielder Bastian Schweinsteiger are among the players who Jogi Loew will have at his disposal.

Klinsmann is sure to make some changes from the squad that started against the Netherlands, with some of the team’s second-half standouts from that match looking ready to take on a starting role against Germany.

With that in mind, here is a look at the starting lineup we could see taking the field for the USMNT against Germany:

Projected USMNT XI vs. Germany

Some thoughts:

Klinsmann trots out a 4-3-3/4-5-1 system, with Juan Agudelo getting the nod and Fabian Johnson working the right side of the field as he did against the Netherlands. This system can function as a three-forward, but the wide forwards can work deeper to turn it into a 4-5-1 as we saw against the Netherlands.

Michael Orozco gets the nod over Ventura Alvarado. Not as a punishment for anything Alvarado did wrong against the Dutch, but to give Orozco a chance to start, something he has earned with his national team performances in past months. Klinsmann could look to give Alvarado more experience, but the Germans should help Klinsmann get a better of idea of how Orozco stacks up against elite competition.

Danny Williams gets the nod ahead of Alfredo Morales and Mix Diskerud. Morales didn’t distinguish himself that much against the Dutch, but Williams was probable pegged for a start regardless of the Netherlands outcome. Klinsmann could go with Diskerud, who he has seen plenty of, and who didn’t fair too badly as a sub against the Dutch, but we’ll give the nod to Williams.

Could Klinsmann deviate from his Netherlands tactics? Absolutely. If so, here is a lineup/formation I would be interested in seeing:

Suggested USMNT XI vs. Germany

Klinsmann has shown his affinity for the 4-4-2 diamond, and this setup would allow him to play two forwards. It might seem risky to go with just the one defensive midfielder in front of the defense, especially against the Germans, but this German team will be missing most of its top defenders and goalkeeping star Manuel Neuer, so Klinsmann could be tempted to deploy this attack-minded setup in hopes of trying to really attack the Germans.

Would he really deploy Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin as the wide players in a diamond? Perhaps not, but this lineup would give the team serious pace, and could allow the U.S. to put pressure on Germany all over the field. If Klinsmann chooses to be more pragmatic, we could see a variation that features a midfield with Beckerman deep and some combination of Williams, Diskerud and Morales in the wide slots in the diamond. Yes, that would give Klinsmann essentially three defensive midfielders behind Bradley, which could help the U.S. deal with German playmaker Mesut Ozil, but could leave the Americans vulnerable on the wings.

What do you think of the projected lineup? Do you prefer the recommended lineup? Which player are you hoping gets a start after not starting against the Dutch? See the Americans upsetting Germany?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Alvarado should start. Don’t think he will. I believe Ives is right. Orozco is playing for a spot on the Gold Cup roster and its put up or shut up time. Shea gets another nod at LB. Chandler too. I feel like Aguedelo and Morris are vying for the same roster spot and Morris is just running away with it – with no real reason to stop him he might get a start to reward him for the last performance.


    ———-Beckerman/ Williams——–
    F. Johnson——————–Zardes—
    ———–Johannson/ Morris——–

  2. If we go one up top, I would flip flop Agudelo and AJ in Ive’s first lineup. I would be surprised if we come out in a 442.

    I would like to see Agudelo up top and Zardes on the left. AJ coming off of the bench.
    I think Zardes deserves another opportunity to go up against the best and build on his last game.

    I like Ive’s central midfield in the first lineup.

    Defense – oh boy. Other than Brooks, I am unsure. Chandler cannot concentrate for 90 mins. There are periods of the game that he just loses focus and does not mark.

    I think we are more dangerous with Fabian up the field. So give Yedlin a shot at RB. Fabian will have to work hard to cover back for Yedlin. I like the fact they can interchange.
    I actually like Shea at LB for this game. Like his physicality and can see him stepping up.

    I would like to see Alvarado start again. I cannot see Orozco being able to physically handle the Germans. And I think Brooks and Alvarado are the pairing of the future. They need games.

  3. Sorry Aguadelo Lovers:

    I would much rather see Morrison in a starting role.

    The guy has the look of a winner and he seems to finish every opportunity that comes his way, He has a great combination of pace and strength that no one else in the strike pool has.

    Giving him a start here would expose him to European club scouts and maybe get him an offer that would get him to leave Stanford.

  4. SBI’s offense sets up well. Yedlin’s speed is a real difference maker in how the other team has to play to account for it. He simply has to be on the field for more than a sub’s role. Bradley, FJ, and Yedlin all provide defensive cover when not going forward, so the SBI formation can easily transform into a 4-4-2. Because FJ and Yedlin are also defenders, it also give the fullbacks the ability to overlap without losing defensive cover. I’ve yet to be convinced by Shea as a defender. The rest is probably as good as any other option right now. We do need to see what Agudelo can do as a starter, and we do need AJ to have another shot at challenging Jozy for that starter role.

    • TBH, I don’t think AJ is as good as Jozy. I think we should keep giving him chances and he is a good player, but right now I don’t see AJ beating Jozy. I really like Yedlin coming in as a super sub because he is mistake prone throughout 90 minutes, but mostly he can terrorize anybody with the speed he brings. Bringing that amount of speed against tired legs is a great weapon to pull out later in the game. At the same time, I do want to see Yedlin eventually play 90 minutes because that’s the goal… he’s a young player we should develop until a regular starter. So why not try it out in a friendly against Germany to see where he’s at when it comes to playing the full 90? I’m content with him starting, but for getting results, I like him coming off the bench.

      • Stylistically, Jozy and AJ are different players. However, AJ is not a younger version of Wondo. Wondo is poacher who relies on ok positioning. He is a poorer version of Chicharito. AJ is a playmaking, withdrawn forward who plays well interacting with other players. He is a weaker version of Clint. He could play wing, but not his ideal position. Wondo cannot play wing or midfield.

  5. Sure hope at least one decent CB emerges before 2018. Gonzo is beginning to show signs of decline. I’ve never been convinced by Brooks or Orozco. Besler is probably the CB I trust the most but he has no recovery speed if he does get beat. Alvarado still has a lot to learn. Cameron is mistake prone as shown at the WC. I guess my hopes are on Miazga and Carter-Vickers.

    • Right. I think Brooks has a ton of promise. He’s still very young, and he has all the traits to be a quality CB. I trust Besler the most, too, he’s very smart and good at distributing the ball. There is plenty of time for Brooks and Alvarado to learn, but we can’t just pin our hopes on them. Carter-Vickers is also insanely young… so let’s give him time. Also, a lot can change between now and the WC. For example, Besler came out of nowhere for a lot of USMNT fans.

      • Yeah…isn’t Carter Vickers 17? I think he’s the youngest member of the U20 and more in line for ’22.

  6. Wish JK had called up another LB for these friendlies. I guess I’d start Fabian there because he’s only other option than Brek against Germany. I’d like to see Agudelo & Zardes up top. Don’t like Ibarra, but he’s only left mid left, so I’d start him, Bradley, Williams & Yedlin in midfield. Then, Chandler is at RB. I’d put Brooks & Orozco in central defense. Not an ideal lineup, but considering who’s available, that’s what I’d do.

    • Not for nothing… but I don’t think there was a left back on the planet that was gonna run with that guy…
      Shea has been a surprise, I’d keep throwing him out there. I’ll be the first to admit I thought he was done…and done…

    • I’d at least like to try Ream at LB at some point just to see if there’s any chance he’d be an upgrade. I’m curious why JK hasn’t given it a shot. Ream has played decent-to-good at LB for Bolton. He has good speed. Very good ball skills. A great passer. And removes him for the most part from having to ply his greatest weakness: physicality/50-50 aerial balls.

      • He’s called him in several times, but has not impressed him enough (same with Sacha). Coaches have favorites and/or set opinions of players. I suppose he views him as a fringe player at best.

  7. You know, it’s so funny how some USMNT “fans” that post on this board talk about JK is that or has hidden agendas or is not very good/is not a good tactician. I just finished watching the Fox Sports Women’s World Cup Wrap up and my DVR’d ESPNFC, and the ex-players had positive things to say about him. Former Mannschaftt defender Arne Friedrich who also played for him said that (1) he is great motivator and he gets everyone to really want to play for him and (2) he is an excellent tactician and he does not know why some American fans don’t think so. Even Wynalda says he is a very likable guy, but sometimes his German nature might cause him to say or deal with things in a way that some Americans (essentially) find off- putting, but he personally likes him a lot.

    Brian McBride even said that what he doing with Green (not taking him to the Gold Cup) makes sense because Green clearly needs a mental break. He said it’s normal because he went t German right after college and realized that he was not mentally ready for the the professional club setting he jumped to.

    …but hey, posters know best.

      • Sure they should have an opinion.

        And fans like Edmondo have the right to call them stupid for those often bizarre opinions.

        And of course , you have the right to whine about all those mean people who criticize the ones with the bizarre opinions.

        That is the great thing about SBI , the ease with which one can get on and say anything, however stupid, racist, untrue, counterintuitive or whatever it may be.

        Got to love the internet.

      • As much as I applaud and barf JK’s decision-making, I really don’t see any coach in the world transforming our existing talent pool in a short period of time.

    • I agree with you in the fact that many people support Klinsmann and give him a lot of credit, especially those who know his mission and have seen it pan out. I also agree that Klinsmann is a very good coach.

      At the same time… people are entitled to their opinion and opposing views are a good thing to help keep everything balanced. If JK didn’t have any criticism, it wouldn’t help our soccer culture and our national team. In fact, he seems like he really likes pissing off some fans and thinks it’s a good think to have haters. As much as I may disagree with your posts slowleftarm, it is good to have the criticism and maintain healthy debate. While JK’s not a God, he has done a lot of good things, and has done a good job bringing attention and some controversy to the game.

    • The criticism about JK not understanding tactics didn’t begin with U.S. fans.

      I personally think he does understand fairly well – the guy was a successful pro and international player, as well as a fairly successful international coach, at least to the degree of not hurting either of the two teams (the pro coaching career wasn’t stellar). But that criticism started on the German national team and really fermented at BM, though as you point out, it wasn’t universal. Personally, I’d say he understands tactics but places too much emphasis on attack for my preference.

      • Yeah it’s fine to cite Arne Friedrich but what about Phillippe Lamm’s comments about JK? Surely, he knows more than the posters on here too.

      • When I lived him Germany, the general opinion on Lahm was that he was very talented, but an opinionated *DB* who thinks he’s always right. His opinion might be tainted by personal issues. However, this was the opinion from football fans in the Cologne/Koln area (not fans of Bayern). Then again, the love Poldolski (Poldi),but make fun of him because they think he’s dumb as bricks.

  8. I want to see Agudelo get a lot of minutes and Morris get at least 20 minutes. Besides that, I don’t care, as long as we play well. Let the game begin!

  9. the formation I am most interested in does not involve Shea or Chandler

    Traffic Cone-Brooks-Garbage Can


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