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Who should the USMNT start vs. Peru?

USMNT starting eleven



It was clear during and after the disappointing showing at the CONCACAF Gold Cup that changes needed to be made.

Well, we are about to find out just how willing Jurgen Klinsmann is to shake things up.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will play its first game since failing to place at the Gold Cup in July, and the Friday encounter at RFK Stadium will come against a talented nation in Peru that resembles in several ways the Mexican team that the Americans will face in the CONCACAF Cup in October.

Klinsmann has already settled on a starting goalkeeper for these next two months, but has said that several other positions are very much wide open. Among the available spots are forward and centerback, spots where there are a number of candidates that could help their causes with strong performances.

Doing that against Peru will not be easy, though. The Peruvians will be without their top two striker choices in Paolo Guerrero and Claudio Pizarro, but still have Jefferson Farfan, Juan Vargas, and most of the other players that helped them earn a third-place finish at the recent Copa America.

How will Klinsmann approach this game? Here is the lineup SBI could see taking the field:

USMNT XI vs. Peru

Some thoughts:

The biggest question mark for the U.S. going into this game is the defense. Centerbacks John Brooks and Ventura Alvarado are back after starting throughout the majority of the Gold Cup, but their struggles in that tournament have left the door open for more seasoned options to come in and take the young defenders’ places in the lineup.

With a crucial game against Mexico looming and the number of grizzled veterans called in for this camp, Jurgen Klinsmann appears likely to go with one, if not two, of his more tested players here. Klinsmann may very well give the World Cup duo of Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler another run-out here, especially since he knows that they have what it takes to get the job done at a high level.

Klinsmann already named his preferred starters at goalkeeper and both the fullback positions this week, but the absences of Fabian Johnson and DaMarcus Beasley has left the U.S. head coach with some thinking to do. There are a couple of natural fullbacks on the squad in Jonathan Spector and Greg Garza, but the sense around the camp in the nation’s capital is that Klinsmann will go with natural centerbacks who can play out wide in a pinch.

If that indeed is the case, the returning Geoff Cameron and Fulham’s new signing Tim Ream could patrol the right and left flanks, respectively, against a pair of wide Peruvian players in Christian Cueva and Andre Carrillo that are very attack-minded.

The absence of captain Michael Bradley in the midfield also leaves Klinsmann with some interesting decisions to make. No one can exactly replace what Bradley brings to the table, but Jermaine Jones has shown in the past that he can join in on the attack if needed. Jones will likely be moved into the No. 8 role while a fellow German-American in Danny Williams cleans up behind him.

Klinsmann is short on options at the outside midfield spots, and it is for that reason that it seems likely that Alejandro Bedoya and Gyasi Zardes start. The two of them are comfortable playing out wide and have the kind of speed that can help keep Peru’s forward-thinking fullbacks honest.

Bedoya is the stronger of the American duo from a defensive standpoint, so that could lead to him playing on the left and Zardes on the right. Peru right back Luis Advincula can be a handful, and Bedoya’s defensive work rate will likely be needed to slow him down.

Who comprises the front line seems to be a little more clear cut, though Klinsmann has said it is a competition there with Clint Dempsey out for this game. The pairing that makes the most sense, however, is Jozy Altidore and Aron Johannsson. The two of them have a familiarity with one another after previously spending time at AZ Alkmaar, and that chemistry gives them the edge over Bobby Wood and Andrew Wooten.

In goal, there will be no split duty. Klinsmann has already publicly given Brad Guzan the nod over returning veteran Tim Howard.


What do you think about this USMNT lineup? Worried about the defense no matter who plays there? How do you see Klinsmann lining up his midfield against the Peruvians?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. And the results are in. Brooks gets another start.

    Orozco Omar Brooks Ream (Ream @ RB)
    Yedlin Bedoya Jones Zardes
    Altidore Wood

  2. Alternate


  3. The reality surrounding Jozy Alitdore is this: Jurgen Klinsmann is grooming Aron Johannsson to become the starting striker for the national team in the near future. Johannsson is still raw but has tremendous star potential far greater than any of the previous forwards the USMNT has ever had. Unfortunately his last two years (pre and after World Cup) has been plagued with injuries which has stifled his development but his move to Werder Bremen will do wonders for him. With a clean bill of health, improved coaching staff at Bremen, and exposure to better competition; Johannsson is poised for a big season for club and country.

    The reason why Jozy Altidore will most likely be starting for the next couple of games is because Klinsmann knows what he has in his striker and trusts him the most out of the current crop of strikers he has available. The team was built to play around Alitdore for the last couple of years and is more suited to his style of play. Unless Aron is lighting it up with goals in these upcoming friendlies (which I doubt), Jozy is a seamless fit to start against the important game against Mexico. But make no mistake about it, Aron Johannsson will eventually be the starting CF for the U.S., it’s just a matter of when. JK is taking the right approach to developing potential star players in the likes of AJ and eventually Gedion Zelalem along with some of the other young exciting players. Instead of asking young prospects to perform and start right away thereby taking the spots of proven and established regulars who maximized their potential like Clint Dempsey, Jermaine Jones, or Jozy Altidore; JK is slowly integrating them to the national set up (for the purpose of getting them ready for the Copa America and 2018 WC) while selecting veteran players as long as they can perform at a high level. The team will be built around Aron’s strengths in the future with a better attacking style of play along with a better crop of young & hungry players but for right now, starting Jozy is the best shot at winning.

    If I were to make a bold prediction for the 2018 Russia World Cup: I would say that Fabian Johnson, Michael Bradley, Gedion Zelalem, and Aron Johannsson are locks to make the starting line-up. With age against them, possibly Clint Dempsey(still currently outperforms all US forwards) and Tim Howard(debatable whether he starts).

    • “Johannsson is still raw but has tremendous star potential far greater than any of the previous forwards the USMNT has ever had.”

      um, no

      • Johannson has an opportunity to score goals at Bremen. Why not wait to see what he does there? Right now he looks like a archetype: a Scandinavian/Nordic player who fits in well with good technique and field awareness, and almost but doesn’t have a big impact.
        Root for him, yes, but knight him? Not yet.

  4. ——–Zardes——AJ———-

    Just like Howard needs to earn his starting role back I think Altidore has not shown good form as a starter and needs to have some stellar performances from off the bench to earn his spot back. Zardes has been great in the wide mid position but I would like to see less energy wasted having to track back which should make him even sharper near goal. AJ may not be scoring bundles of goals but he does everything a striker should be doing to find those goals. He is the US’s most promising man up top for the future. Early in Mix’s Nat career he has showed what he could bring to the table as an AM. After those few games he was moved (at club as well) which actually caused two good players to play poorly from being out of position (Bradley). I am a fan of Mix and its sad to see what has happened to him at Nat and club level. Benny and Lee have been called by many to replace Mix due to his poor performances of late. I still think Mix is better and both Lee and Benny would do as bad if not worse if they played DM or were forced wide because none of the three could out compete Pirlo or Lampard in CM spot. If Yedlin is going to be one for the future he needs to start, also we dont have many wide options on this squad. Back line should look like this for awhile (FJ for Ream when healthy) the young guys need more FRIENDLIES to develop and then could be used as subs in more important games when needed.

    As for people saying teams play people out of position all the time and do well that is partly true. The top teams in the world have small gaps in talent and can move people around when needed. Moving a player form AM where he almost played as a third forward is not a big change when they move them to forward. And moving a CB wide is not that big of change as long as they have the skill set for the move. Moving attacking minded players to defense minded positions and vice versa is a much bigger change. If we have 2 or more solid players in a position then I would like the best one to win that spot and not force anyone out of their comfort zone. Chemistry is an important aspect of soccer and a comfortable player is a successful player.

  5. ———-Altidore—-Johanson————

  6. No distribution in the middle of the field with that lineup…I think Williams or Jones should sit, with only one of them playing the defensive midfield role. Bedoya might be better served in the middle

  7. The biggest change JK should make is removing himself.
    He is a whiner. Read Goff’s column in the Washington Post.

    Time to move on. I think he is doing fine coaching, maybe there is better, maybe not. Time to move on regardless.

    His attitude is that HE gets it. Of course all of Europe gets it, no one in the US does, unless he educates us. It is getting really is old, it is insulting and it is holding us back.

    Move. On.

    He can go coach a Euro team, like Portugal, that is overrated and we can beat them out to get to the knockout round in the next World Cup.

  8. Please. Not Jozy up top to start. Again. It’s the definition of insanity; keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.

  9. Some wishes would never come true but it would have been so nice to use these friendlies (since we are not worried about rankings anymore) to see:

    —————Gyasi Zardes———Aron Johannsson————-

    —————————-Lee Nyugen————————————-

    Sebastin Lletget———————————-Alejandro Bedoya

    ————————–Jermaine Jones——————————–


    —————————–Brad Guzan———————————-

    Second Half
    —————-Bobbie Wood———Aron Johannsson————–

    ————————–Benny Feilhaher———————————-

    Sebastin Lletget——————————————Graham Zusi

    ————————–Danny Williams———————————


    —————————–Brad Guzan———————————-

    • Unfortunately there aren’t enough international fixtures to Trial and Error these ideas. So, for better or worse, we need people like JK (or some other coach who’s been, for years, at the highest level) and his staff to judge which players will have chemistry and which players can potentially make the jump in level. It’s a big jump. Some players who aren’t stars in MLS can make that jump (Jordan Morris), others who are tearing it up can’t be difference makers internationally (Lee Nguyen).

      • “Some players who aren’t stars in MLS can make that jump (Jordan Morris), others who are tearing it up can’t be difference makers internationally (Lee Nguyen).”…..
        Lets not select or try players excelling in their current position in MLS (like the Feilhaber’s, the Finley’s, the Lletget’s, the Grella’s, the McCarthy’s) but lets move players around until we happen to get a win. Lets reject a player that plays CAM effectively for his club and replace him for a player who plays DM (for the same Club) to control the central attack of the USMNT (the National team)…………the exact reason the USMNT will always be struggling with the minnows of the world till a savior comes along….

      • No, the exact reason the USMNT will struggle is because other teams have better players than us, no matter who we put on the field.

      • Jamaica has better players than we do?
        Panama has better players than we do?
        Mexico has better players than we do?

        The answer to all of those are……Absolutely not! We don’t have the best players, by far, but we have enough to be a threat to any nation. Sometimes a team “appears” to be superior based on the kind of coaching they receive.

    • Why wouldn’t you start Altidore? He is the 5th leading scorer at age 25 for the US and has regained his confidence the last few weeks.

  10. Klinsmann’s Troll 11:

    Johannsson – Wooten (never played together)

    Jones (as AM)

    Morales – Williams (DMs in wide positions)

    Mix (as DM)

    Garza – Brooks – Alvarado – Orozco (Gold Cup CBs, out of form LB, RB who’s currently playing CB)

    Howard (after stating Guzan is the #1)

      • Hey man, I saw your earlier “comments” (hint hint)
        I went and read those things you mentioned. Don’t know if u saw my sarcastic response.
        Anyways, I went on and read through about 20 or so opinion pieces, and you know what I keep finding.. I keep finding a ton of complaining. You know what else I keep finding, that not one..ONE.. of these so called “experts” can agree on anything. NOTHING. I see the usual criticism and complaints, then most (not all) say “This is what we should see, or This should be a starting 11, or This guy should be in this spot”-stuff like that. My issue is that none of the pundits’ solutions are anywhere near similar. They’re as “All over the place” as a JK roster.
        (At least I didn’t read stuff like it was a mistake to exclude Jordan Morris from the Gold Cup like I read in several places a month ago)
        To me it seems like nobody wants to look at us and admit we just don’t have a lot of good players…we just have a lot more in the conversation.
        It’s no different than reading stuff on this board. There’s an enormous difference between one’s actual self vs. one’s perceived self, I think that same principle applies to this ongoing back and forth.
        I mean, it’s not like when Spain had to decide whether to play Fabregas as a false striker-knowing at least 9 of the other 10 starters, or should Lahm be in the middle or RB-knowing at least 7 or 8 other starters…
        It’s like examining an inkblot Rorschach test…. Even the experts can’t come close to solutions that are remotely similar

      • Bac I agree with everything you just wrote. Everyone has their own opinion. I think one thing that can be clearly concluded though (from the stuff you read and I have read) is that the majority of the press/journalist/pundits/fans that cover and watch the USMNT are being heavily critical of Klinsmann. People can make of that what they will.

      • If you don’t know the quote from Teddy Roosevelt about critics, you should read it. I’m curious, have you ever made some great prediction that shows just what a genius you are? It’s always easy to criticize, especially after the fact. To build or create something good or positive is a lot harder. I can’t remember anything from you that has ever been positive. Am I wrong? I have pointed out times where I have criticized Klinsmann. Can you give examples of where you praised him? Like when the US beat Mexico for the first time ever in Azteca? Or when we beat Italy for the first time in Italy? Or Germany, or Holland? Or when the US had the highest total of points ever in WC qualifying? Or when the US team had the best record in its history over a year, like we did in 2013? The other day bottlecaps complained that in the last WC we had only one win, as if that were a big failure and you supported his position. Can you provide me with any analyst who predicted the US would/should win at least two games and would be a failure if they didn’t? Did you predict correctly how the US would do in the WC? I don’t like to mix politics and sports, but sometimes there are apt analogies. It’s like the critics of the Iran agreement. It’s easy to find fault with some of the details, but the critics can’t provide us with a better alternative that is realistic. Critics here are similar in that regard. Like the foreign policy critics, you assume the US is much better and more powerful than it is or possibly can be at this time. So, the problem must be the leadership. Actually, the problem is that we aren’t as good as you or some others seem to think. Bringing in Feilhaber or whoever you imagine won’t make any appreciable difference in the quality of the team and is certainly no guarantee that they will be better.

      • “Bringing in Feilhaber or whoever you imagine won’t make any appreciable difference in the quality of the team and is certainly no guarantee that they will be better.”

        maybe, maybe not, but following your logic, are you stating that player selection has no connection to team quality and/or results?

      • I’m saying he’s not good enough and too old. If he were playing this well for SKC and he was only 22-24, then yes, bring him into the pool. Right now we are seeing him at his best, but Russia is still 3 years away and he will be 33 and a half when the next World Cup is played. In the meantime he isn’t good enough to make a real difference in how the team performs in qualifying. Plus, he hasn’t played hardly at all the the team in the last 5 years so he isn’t integrated with the players we have.

      • Gary, sometimes you make it too easy!!

        You say he is not good enough, and we are saying that he is. Simple as that. We disagree on that one.

        You are supposedly not a Klinsmann apologist right? Then why don’t you seem to have a problem with:

        J Jones- 33
        Dempsey- 32
        Beasley- 33
        Beckerman- 33
        Wondo – 32
        B Evans- 30
        G Cameron- 30

        Benny is only 30 but he is too old? Yea ok. Arjen Robben is 31, I guess Holland should drop him, he’s too old.

        Also, the other reason that your point doesn’t make sense is because it is not all about the World Cup. There are games to win before the World Cup, including the Gold Cup (4th place), now the Concacaf playoff game, the Copa America and possibly the Confederations Cup, and World Cup qualifiers. So for you to say, “he will be too old by 2018, so lets not use him right now” is silly. By the way, you don’t seem to have that same complaint about other players. Sometimes I wonder if you think about what you write before you write it.

      • First of all, not every SBI conversation is about Klinsmann, so lets get that one out of the way.

        Second, your questions are pointless because the answers to them are difficult to prove. They would be difficult for you to prove also. Only way to prove them would be to go back month after month of SBI articles and comments and find the appropriate links, and I am definitely not doing that. All that said, I will play along.

        I have been positive about Klinsmann many times. You not remembering them or not seeing them is your issue. Some examples include when he finally calls up players I think were deserving, such as Zardes, Gyau, A Morales, etc. Bringing back Donovan for the Gold Cup. Being undefeated against Mexico so far. I admitted he seems to have been right about J Morris. There are many more. Unfortunately there are waaay more reasons to be unhappy with his performance.

        And yes I correctly predicted our World Cup campaign (get out of the group and lose first game). Although I foresaw the team playing much better than they actually did.

  11. Let’s go with Ream instead of Besler. He’s earned it.

    Drop Jones back to take Danny Williams spot. Neither has earned it lately, really the holding mid spot should be Kyle Beckerman’s, but he is permanently a guy JK would like to replace, so…

    Who should play CAM? I really do think that Feilhaber deserved the look. But going with who is in camp, there is no CAM, so why not give Jones the run out.

    Zardes has to continue to get ample playing time. That dude just continues to produce every time he’s out there.

    Maybe we could play a 5-2-3? Send out all five Center Backs?

    • Hunky Dory,

      “Maybe we could play a 5-2-3? Send out all five Center Backs?”

      Ironically, that is close to how Germany lined up in the 1990 World Cup final where JK won his World Cup. They lined up in 5-3-2.

      The back 5 had 4 center backs and a converted midfielder at left back.

      It was one of the the ugliest, most brutal and violent games I have seen. However, Germany did win.

      • And, of course, Spain won a WC without a forward but a bunch of midfielders. I think this illustrates that all the sturm and drang over the best formation maybe isn’t all that important.

      • if you’re talking about ‘best formation’ no matter who the players are, then of course you’re right.

        but most (though not all) comments referencing formations i’ve seen on this site are specifically geared toward our player pool, in which case, it is important what formation you send out, unless they’ve all been raised and trained in some ‘total football’-type system.

  12. Gk: Howard
    Lb: Rogers
    CB: Ream
    cB: Cameron
    RB: Yedlin
    CM: Williams
    CM: Jones
    CAM: Benny
    RM: Finlay
    LM: Lletget
    ST: Aron

    Oh wait….smh Jurgen.

    • I’d love to see that line up except substitute Ream for Besler and Jones for Bradley. Alas, that makes far too much sense so it’s highly unlikely we will ever see it.

  13. I am a Revs fan and I would not start Jones in the Bradley spot. In fact, I wouldnt start Bradley there either. Both are DM’s, not AM. Apparently he doesn’t trust Mix enough to start him and if that’s the case, why would he bring him? Could have brought Benny or Lee Nguyen… both are excellent in the AM spot.

    If this ends up being the lineup Im wondering where the offense will come from?

    • “If this ends up being the lineup Im wondering where the offense will come from?”

      Jurgen will tell the players to “express themselves” on the field. That should do it.

    • Ah, the fascination with Feilhaber and Nguyen continues. They have one good season in the MLS and people think they are world beaters. Nguyen couldn’t cut it in Holland and Benny couldn’t cut it in Denmark. That’s why they are in MLS. It’s not like they are
      Bradley and Dempsey, established European players who returned home for big money. While J Jones is not an attacker or distributor necessarily, he played In the Champions League and was a starter for a top 4 Bundesliga team. He scored in the World Cup on a goal equal in quality to that scored by Messi. I remember a qualifying game, I think it was in Honduras, during the last round in 2012 when he played a great through pass for Dempsey to run onto and score. So, despite it not being his best position, I would prefer J Jones to your choices.

      • You have to put together a team not just your best 11 players. Different players have different skill sets they can bring.

      • Totally agree with Jack.

        You also said it yourself in your earlier post, ” who will get the ball to the forwards?” Those two guys are much more adept at doing that than Jones. This is just poor roster selection, plain and simple.

      • “Those two guys are much more adept at doing that than Jones”

        You obviously have never seen Jones play. If he is fit and in form he is perfectly capable of organizing the attack in Peru’s half for a game or two.

        If he is fit and in form I take Jones over Benny or Lee every single time.

        He is a better soccer player, period, than either man…

      • Nah, I am sure he has seen Jones play. Jones is definitely the better overall soccer player, but he is not better than Feilhaber in that specific role, which is the creative/passing/attacking midfield role. Jones is better deeper in midfield where he can run everywhere and wreck havoc, but definitely not as your play-maker. In a perfect (non-Klinsmann) world, you have Feilhaber (or someone like him) advanced, with either Bradley or Jones behind him. Maybe both behind him if it is a 4-2-3-1 formation.

      • The difference is Jones has proven he can take this USMNT team on his back and lead it somewhere good.

        Granted he hasn’t been given a chance but Benny has never shown he can reproduce his current SKC form at this level , for this team.,so given the nature of the next three games, if Jones is on, I will count on him to do something good before I count on Benny or Lee..

      • You just said it, he hasn’t been given a chance.

        Yea you might be right in the context of the upcoming Concacaf Cup, it is a big game to all of a sudden include Benny, but that’s only true because Klinsmann messed up. Remember this goes back a while (the Benny situation). He should have been brought in a long time ago, and maybe right now he would be good to go for the Concacaf Cup because he would have had a good amount of USMNT games with the current group under his belt. Once again, Klinsmann being Klinsmann.

      • UCLABG,

        “but that’s only true because Klinsmann messed up. Remember this goes back a while (the Benny situation). He should have been brought in a long time ago, and maybe right now he would be good to go for the Concacaf Cup because he would have had a good amount of USMNT games with the current group under his belt. Once again, Klinsmann being Klinsmann.

        Easy for you to say.

        But I am from that school that believes that it is up to a player to sell himself to a coach.

        Remember, JK called Benny in for a January camp in 2013 I think, and he also took him on that two week tour of Brazil before the World Cup. That was Benny’s chance and he clearly did not sell himself to JK very well.

        Benny has spent his entire career letting his managers down. His talent was clear to everyone when he was at Aarhus in Denmark for example but no one wanted to buy him when they got relegated.. Who knows why? So he had to play with them in the second division.

        And he played well but no one wanted him until MLS finally came for him. Then the Revs just dumped him off to SKC and that wasn’t exactly smooth sailing at first either. I’ve watched him his entire USMNT career and when he recently admitted he never took fitness seriously until just the last season or two, it cleared up a lot of questions for me. Like why such a talented player was only good for about 20-30 minutes.
        I don’t know about you but I found Benny’s admission on fitness mind bending. A pro soccer player admitting he didn’t understand the benefits of fitness?

        I get that he is so hot now that he is smoking but you’ll have to forgive those of us who find it hard to trust that this will continue or will happen outside the confines of SKC.

        Benny spent most of his career putting doubts in the minds of managers so if JK has been very cautious about trusting him I don’t blame JK.

        That said, I can see JK calling him in if he keeps it up but not until after the playoff game.

      • For UCLABG: I wonder if people ever check out the history of players they discuss. I often do. Check out Benny’s bio on Wikipedia. Whether it was England, Denmark, the US National team, or where ever, you will see that Benny starts out by playing a lot of games for a team. Then, the longer he stays, the less he plays. Can it be that he gets worse over time? Maybe, as we have seen from his own admissions and comments from Klinsmann, he wears out his welcome by not doing all that’s required. Also, it sounds like he is not a good team player, a bit of a cancer in the locker room. It is only in the last two years at SKC that he has played consistently well for a team for that long, as I recall. Maybe he has finally matured, but he is now almost 30 and he is not someone to build a team around for the next WC in 3 years. Benny basically screwed up by wasting his talent is how it looks to me and now that he maybe has his head on straight, he’s too old to bring into the national team since we need to build for 2018. For the next WC we can hope than Hyndman or Zelalem will grow and mature into good enough players to fulfill that role.

      • I’ve seen Jones play plenty and while he does occasionally hit a solid long ball, he also misplays and losses many of those passes as well.

        Overall he is a better soccer player than the other two, but Benny and Lee have a different skill set than Jones and play a different role. Placing players into roles that don’t fit their skill sets is part of the reason we have been so poor under klinsmann.

        Also what’s the point of having him organize the attack for just a game or two, as you put it, if you don’t intend on giving him that role when the games matter? That’s just a waste of time.

      • Amru,

        The point is, Mikey isn’t around.

        If I’m going to have a stand-in I’m counting on Jones to produce more than I am counting on Benny or Lee..Beast Mode is a more of a leader than either of those two.

      • The thing is, it doesn’t even have to be either benny or Jones. They can be played together, just in their correct respective roles.

      • Amru,

        I’m not a big believer in “natural” or “ correct” positions especially when to comes to national teams.

        You play where the manager thinks the team needs you.

        National teams that aren’t Brazil or Argentina often have holes in their lineup.

        So maybe their available center forward is not, in their view, international level. They can’t buy another one so they often ask one of their international level players who they trust to slide over and fill in.

        It happens quite a lot even with the big boys.

        Fabregas, a slightly built midfielder, played striker for Spain, and did well, when they won the Euros in 2012.
        Ivanovic , Chelsea’s right back , plays center back for Serbia. Muller, Schurrle and Goetze shift between striker and midfield for Germany as needed. Going back Claudio Reyna was a central midfielder for the US while he was also the regular starting right back for Rangers. Eddie Lewis played left wing for Fulham and Preston North End when the Bruce was using him at left back. John OBrien was Ajax’s regular left back when he played attacking midfielder for the USMNT in 2002. Bedoya made his name as a central attacking midfielder for Orebro. It was BB who converted him to the right wing. I believe he still shuttles between the two spots for Nantes. By the way Gooch played left back for Michel Preudhomme when he was on loan at Twente for a few games.

        And of course Fellaini has played just about everywhere for Everton, Man U. and Belgium

        So what you are accusing JK of has been SOP in the national team world for a long time.

        It’s obvious that JK trusts guys like Bedoya and JJ so he could go with them as his midfield attackers rather than bring in Benny who he does not trust.

      • GW

        Clearly JK isn’t a big believer in natural roles either. Let me run you down a small list of his failed experiments.

        Mix at DM
        Jones at CB
        Danny Williams at RW
        Torres at LB

        Over and over again he puts players in a position to fail. Sure sometimes you can mix and match a little bit, but you cannot take any CM put him into a creative role and expect him to become Inesta.

      • Amru,

        “Mix at DM
        Jones at CB
        Danny Williams at RW
        Torres at LB

        Over and over again he puts players in a position to fail.”

        You say “he puts players in a position to fail “.

        I say it is the exact opposite.

        He has given these players, who are already integrated into the team, a chance to make themselves more valuable to the team and see if they can help fill these positions of need.

        That is what a manager who is often short of manpower options does.If you haven’t noticed, player availability is always pretty sketchy when it comes to national teams.

        By the way, did you actually see that Italy game where Williams wore the #7 shirt and lined up on the right side of midfield?

        Do me a favor and watch the replay.

        Because if you had seen it, you would have seen that Williams was lined up as a slightly advanced midfield destroyer deployed on the right hand side to make sure Italy did not overrun the US in midfield as they love to do to everyone they play. Williams, who is pretty good on the ball, also gave the US defense another option in midfield to release the ball to so they would not have to just blast clearances long. Remember this was early in JK’s tenure and they hadn’t had a lot of time to work on working the ball out of the back.

        Williams gave the US another option to help offset just a little bit the huge possession advantage Italy usually has over most teams. I think it remains one of JK’s most canny tactical moves and it obviously worked because the US won that game, in Europe, 1-0.

        That move was anything but a failure.

        Perhaps you were fooled by the #7 shirt that Williams wore. Wearing that shirt does not mean you have to play like a classic right winger. It’s just a number.

        As for Paco Torres at left back, Bob Bradley did that first, so JK was simply giving Paco another shot at a position that needs all the candidates you can get.

        How long would it take you to figure out if a CB is good enough to be #1 at his position for the USMNT on the depth chart? I ask because you seem to think it’s just as easy as giving the guy a game or two and then boom instant #1 CB for the next two years! Or he fails never to be seen again.

        I look back at Greg Garza and remember watching his USMNT debut and I think one or two games after that thinking “Okay that’s it the USMNT has their left back”.

        Now look at him. Then I thought Shea was making a really good transition to left back at Orlando and with the USMNT and now he is gone for who knows how long. So DMB comes back from retirement and then he falls apart.
        That is three legitimate candidates for #1 left back lost all within about half a year. Garza is back but is he really starter material?

        The USMNT is not as stable as a club team.

        It will for the most part always have some issues with team cohesion because with an average of 15-20 games per year there will be few opportunities to blood new guys adequately and still give time to your regulars to keep them sharp.

        So how come BB and Arena had such good cohesion you say? Well they had a smaller but better talent pool, were not transitioning to a new style of play and had fewer problems getting their guys released for their teams.
        They were lucky enough to have the best of guys like Reyna, Obrien, McBride,Gooch, Dolo, Boca, Jozy and Dempsey.

        JK still has had production from Dempsey and Jozy , but on they are both on the downside of their careers. As for the rest, the current pool has no players equal to them except for Jones and maybe Fabian.

        Oh and I forgot, BB and Arena had the best of Donovan which JK never got. Care to name me LD’s replacement ?

        Perhaps then you can see why JK and many other national team managers often opt to explore the versatility in their more regular players because at least that way they don’t have to be integrated into the greater whole of the team and its culture if an emergency arises.

        Could Lowe have brought in a very good defensive midfielder to replace Sami Khedira when he got injured? I’m sure there are plenty of really good German defensive mids that you or I haven’t even heard of.

        But he chose to put Lahm in there instead; my guess is because he felt it was better for overall team continuity rather than bringing in some new guy. Do you think he put him in a position to fail? Or did he trust him to help the team out with a tough job?

        To put this in layman’s terms it’s like your company promoting from within when you have a vacancy.

        Maybe people have applied who on paper have better resumes for the job but you promote one of your own because you know them, have faith that they can make the transition and you already know that they know the drill and will fit into your unit.

        I can make an argument for both sides of that situation but what JK and other international managers are doing is really no different from that.

        Like I keep saying Amru, this all comes back to the players. If Benny was doing his thing at Bayern Munich, or Barca or even Swansea City then sure Benny would be forcing JK’s hand. But since he is doing it at SKC, given his long questionable history then there is just enough of a difference in quality between those clubs and SKC so that JK can justify waiting a bit longer.

        Clearly he doesn’t trust Benny. Just as clearly Benny made his own bed in that regard.

        So I think it is a little naïve to portray Benny as some poor, aggrieved victim. Go ahead and blame JK for the situation but save a little blame for Benny too.

        If he keeps it up I’m sure he will get his chance but it won’t be until after the playoff game.

      • We need to remember that Bradley is the guy since we have no one better, but he isn’t available for the two friendlies. He will be there for the Mexico game. So putting Jones there is a temporary patch. When I said that I didn[‘t see who could get the balls to the forwards, I’m only talking about the next two games. These are practice games and for building some cohesion before Mexico, so this isn’t a crucial problem. Long term the problem is that we don’t have anyone better than Mikey at the moment. Neither Nguyen or Feilhaber are the solution to that problem IMHO and both will be a bit too old for 2018 WC, as will Jones. We need to remember that we have the game against Mexico, then the first round of qualifying, which should be fairly easy and a chance to try out some new players. So, you have to look at the player pool differently for the different competitions.

      • 4-2-3-1 with whatever forward of your choosing (Altidore/ Iceman/ Dempsey/ Wood/ Wooten/ Zardes/ Agudelo). Dempsey is either the starting forward, or the left-attacking mid. If Dempsey is the left-mid, then you put a speedster or someone somewhat fast on the other side (Finlay, Bedoya, Zardes)? Something like this for example.


      • I like this line up. My only issue with it is I think Bradley and Jones are too similar to be played together. I think you have to pick either Bradley or Jones, along side a true #6 like Beckerman or Williams.

      • Do you realize that this article is about the game with Peru and that Dempsey is hurt and Bradley not available? I have been discussing that line up for that game, not about who we should play vs. Mexico.

      • Yes i realize that Gary. Follow the comment chain. That was a reply to GW not to you. I am talking about what Klinsmann should have/could have been doing.

      • Does Altidore tearing up Holland have any bearing on how badly he sucks now? Not really. Then why are you bashing Fehaber’s performance in Denmark and Nguyen’s in Holland? Who gives a crap what players did years ago?

        The objective should be creating a balanced lineup that leverages our strengths and exploits the opponent’s weaknesses. It should be done with the best options available in terms of form, fitness and team chemistry — in the present.

        At best, Klinsmann is a space cadet, unintentionally all over the map with what he says and does. At worst, he makes disingenuous statements about what league or form someone needs to be in to get a callup, and then picks people who haven’t earned it based on his own stated criteria.

        Klinsmann is a scab on US Soccer. I wish we could rip it off and let the healing begin.

      • Benny couldn’t cut it in Denmark? His team got relegated. Know how I know you don’t know what you’re talking about?

      • Denmark is hardly a top league. If he was good and in demand another club in Denmark or another European league would have offered him a contract. One example is Podolski whose Bundesliga team was relegated but he got a number of offers and took one with Arsenal, which didn’t work out. But, he got another position in a top league. If a player is wanted, it doesn’t matter if his team is relegated. Some players will stay with their team, many with other offers will stay in a top division. Happens all the time.

      • A good coach will find a place for JJ on the field and try to utlize his passion and ability to break up plays, etc.
        A great #6 can get passes from the backs, cover ground, organize the players around and in front of him, be on the correct side of the ball defensively on a consistent basis and be able to connect with the players who are capable of connecting passes as well.
        JJ does not do many of those skills very well. He was on the wrong side of the ball defensively on 4 of the 6 goals conceded in the World Cup. He covered less ground than our #10 and he was almost always in the attack when we scored.
        Before all of you get your blood pressure up I believe there is a place for his passion and skill set. But I believe it is not as the #6 position and I also believe he does he play well with MB.
        It is not up to us it is up to our coach to figure this out.

      • Apparently for Gary Page, when trying to evaluate players RIGHT NOW, form shown many years ago is better than form being shown RIGHT NOW. So much for being analytical.

        Also, lets list some “established European players”: Bradley, Altidore, Dempsey, Beasley. You know who was much better than all of those players? Landon Donovan, who was pretty much an MLS lifer. While playing in Europe is generally (not always/ it depends) a higher standard, its not always a good tool to use when comparing players. Especially when you add examples like how both Altidore and Bradley had failures and successes in Europe. Same for other players.

      • “Also, lets list some “established European players”: Bradley, Altidore, Dempsey, Beasley. You know who was much better than all of those players? Landon Donovan, who was pretty much an MLS lifer.”

        That’s a pretty shaky comparison.

        LD was better than those guys.Though you will get an argument about Clint.

        But it was not because he was an MLS lifer. It was because he was one of those one of kind soccer savants. A fricking genius.

        Name me another MLS lifer who has had a career anywhere near what LD had.

        Name me an MLS lifer NOT named Landon Donovan, who was/is a better player than Bradley, Altidore, Dempsey, Beasley?

        Going to Europe is not the answer for every American kid but neither is staying in MLS. If they are not careful, I can see a day soon when Americans will be shut out of the “skill” positions by foreigners like the English are in the BPL or the Italians were at one point in Serie A.

        If the USMNT is ever going to be a “World Power” it will probably need to have players playing in a variety of leagues.

      • I would have to think about that. Hard to answer without having a full list of MLS players in front of me. Also, the MLS is a young league, so anybody older than say 36 had zero chance of being an MLS lifer.

        If I can use international players, just off the top of my head I can throw out Carlos Ruiz. He never played in Europe and was superior to Bradley, Altidore, Dempsey and Beasley. He was probably better than any forward the USMNT has ever had, except for Donovan. I don’t know how much you’ve seen of Carlos Ruiz but trust me, he was better.

      • Reading it back my reply was much too humble. Pulling out Carlos Ruiz in response to your question was definitely a mic drop.

        ::drops mic:: ::walks away::

      • UCLA Bruin G

        Ruiz was a great player but whether he was greater than the 4 Americans you mentioned is probably arguable.

        Besides I should have been clearer and wrote “ American MLS lifer “just to be consistent in terms of what was being discussed.

        Also Ruiz isn’t really an MLS lifer.
        He was 22 when he signed for LA and had been a pro in Guatemala for Municipal since he was 16.
        And he did leave MLS to play in
        Paraguay, Mexico and Greece.

        Of course technically LD wasn’t an MLS lifer either.

        He signed his first pro contract for Leverkusen in 1999 and played 28 games for B. Leverkusen 2 before he ever played an MLS game.

        That is about a season’s worth of games..

        But he was more of an MLS lifer than Ruiz was.

      • You have got to be kidding. Carlos Ruiz was a great player in MLS 10 years ago. I don’t know if he would do nearly as well now since ML
        S has improved so much. He plays well for Guatemala, but he hardly was the terror of CONCACAF. If he was really good, he would have played overseas like players like Dwight Yorke or many other players from CONCACAF who played in Europe.

      • Gary no i am not kidding. Because Ruiz is Guatemalan you can easily argue that other players had greater career overall, similar how to Kareem had a greater career than Jordan. But Ruiz was easily the more skilled, dynamic and talented player. Same as Jordan was over Kareem. I admitt it is hard to compare Ruiz to Bradley and Beasley, but you can easily compare him to Donovan, Dempsey, McBride, Harkes, Wynalda, Altidore etc. IMO he was better than all of them except Donovan. I think i’ve heard people like Lalas and Cobi Jones and Donovan and others agree with me. Granted that they are all Galaxy guys.

      • UCLABG,

        It is ironic you brought up Ruiz.

        When I saw him in this last Gold Cup I had to make sure this was the same Carlos Ruiz. It is awesome that he is still a factor at his age and doing his bit for Guatemala. Even at his age, he was still arguably Guatemala’s most dangerous player. It made me hope that Herc would find the fountain of youth at TFC and make a comeback for the USMNT.

        I don’t think there is any question Ruiz was/is a great player. He’s certainly a Galaxy Hall of Famer.

        After all he is basically the guy LA traded for Landon.

        What has kept him from being more celebrated is being Guatemalan, and probably, his disagreement with Rico Clark.

        Had he been from a more high profile CONCACAF power like Mexico, Costa Rica, Panama or the US or had he been born say 5 or 10 years later, when awareness in this region had gotten a lot better he would be much more appreciated. He is certainly as good as if not better than any of his Mexican contemporaries.
        Players from small obscure soccer countries often have trouble being recognized. Ryan Giggs is a great player but if he hadn’t wound up with Man U would he even be half as well known?

      • Just keep growing the player pool and give the U-15s through 20s a legit chance to dream.
        I doubt the player pool will ever regress or even plateau again in the US, the US has caught the bug. It’s a numbers game that will eventually lead to chances to hold the cup. (When we’re old- 2026).

      • If a player wasn’t all that great when he was playing during his prime years, he probably isn’t going to be good enough for international play when he is past his prime. Feilhaber is now 30 and Nguyen is close to that. There will be some exceptions, but not many. I guess I have to explain what should be obvious.

      • Yea ok Gary now you are reaching. Read all the comments under your name, you got refuted on this one by many different posters rather easily. Atleast GW tried his best to rescue you. I guess a “passed his prime” Benny is still better than most of our other options. Benny vs Mixx for example, need I say more?

      • UclaBruinGreat,
        Opinions are based off of age rather than talent or skill. They don’t realize that until someone comes along that is clearly better, regardless of age, playing the Dempsey’s, the Donovan’s, the Benny’s, Nyugen’s, the Beasley’s should never be an issue because if you are not better in fitness and talent of a 30 or 34 year old then you clearly don’t deserve the position…..right? It would even give the young players a level to shoot for and try to surpass. Perfect example man….Mix and Feilhaber

  14. I think we could see that but Bedoya and Jones switched. We’ve seen Jones play on the left at the Worl Cup and Bedoya play in that 10 a few times.

  15. I think the SBI projection looks pretty good defensively, but who will pass the ball to the forwards? J Jones is pretty versatile, but that’s not exactly his forte. Looking back, I think the loss of Stuart Holden was one of the biggest blows to the USMNT in quite some time. He could have made a huge difference for our team.

    • “I think the loss of Stuart Holden was one of the biggest blows to the USMNT in quite some time.” — Got that right. Huge blow. In the last 10 years we lost O’Brien and Holden to injury. Big losses for a program thin on that kind of talent.

    • Charlie Davies and Jozy were so much fun to watch together. They balanced each other and had great chemistry. . . I thought they were going to be our forward tandem in WC10, 14, and 18.

      • this is why i’d like a (speedy) forward to win the partnering striker spot. even if its a 433 (Gyau, Zardes, Rubin, Morris, Gatt(…), etc.,)

      • Jones captained for us twice before, during a January cupcake camp. As I remember, the second game was one versus Venezuela where Rico Clark scored a last-minute winner in stoppage time.

  16. Seems really narrow and lacking in creativity. But I guess thats what you get when you dont have wingers or fullbacks or attacking mids.

  17. Franco, I would dispute that Specter is in any way a “natural” fullback.He has played there enough that many coaches have considered him serviceable there, but having watched his pro career from the beginning his strongest positions have always been in the middle of the field.

    • Not sure if it will happen, but I wouldn’t mind seeing:

      Garza, Ream, Gonzo, Cameron
      Garza, Ream, Cameron, Spector

      Naturally, you can adjust this quite a bit. Now, I like the projected lineup back four as well since it gives us all of our best defenders (from my perspective) on the field at once, but it leaves a lot to be desired on the offensive end (I think Garza, Spector, and Yedlin offer more going forward). As for the rest of the positions, the projected looks pretty good, but likely we would see Zardes on the left and Bedoya on the right. Best part of Zardes and Bedoya is while they can certainly offer some speed and attacking presence, they both do phenomenally when tracking back.

      • I just don’t see it, Brooks and Alvarado will start as always, probably have Besler and Omar in the second half.

      • I like Ives’ lineup except I would move Zardes into Jozy’s spot and replace Zardes in the midfield with Mix Diskerud or another player who can make connecting passes and hold up play during transition.

      • I was thinking similarly, but if Jozy has gotten back into some sort of form, he may be useful up top. At his best, he is beneficial, but can also be a serious weight to carry if he isn’t putting in the effort or is still not up to speed in a general sense.

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