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Who should the USMNT start vs. St Vincent & the Grenadines?

USMNT lineup vs. Mexico CONCACAF Cup 29
photo by Kirby Lee/USA Today Sports

There is more at stake, but that still is unlikely to stop Jurgen Klinsmann from trying out some new and inexperienced players.

The U.S. Men’s National Team officially embarks on its journey to the 2018 World Cup in Russia on Friday when it hosts St Vincent & the Grenadines (6:30 pm, ESPN2) in the Americans’ first qualifier of this cycle. St Vincent & the Grenadines are a relative unknown, but the U.S. is nonetheless expected to win handily over the small Caribbean island country when they face off at Busch Stadium in St. Louis, Missouri.

Pound for pound, the struggling Americans are still Goliath to St Vincent & the Grenadines’ David, even with Klinsmann calling in a number of younger players who have never played in a World Cup qualifier before. The U.S. head coach has summoned talented prospects like Jordan Morris and Matt Miazga over seasoned veterans like Clint Dempsey and Omar Gonzalez for this game, and is likely to lean on the youngsters to give them a taste of what is to come over the next few years.

That might seem like a risky proposition given that this is now World Cup qualifying, but the U.S. lineup for Friday’s match should still include a number of heady leaders. From Michael Bradley to Jozy Altidore to Jermaine Jones, the Americans will likely field a mixture of both old and new players as they try to get off to a winning start on the road to Russia.

What lineup will Klinsmann go with? Here is the group that could take the field:

Projected USMNT XI vs. St. Vincent & The Grenadines

Some thoughts:

Let’s start with the new blood. Jurgen Klinsmann is ready to begin transitioning away from some of the more proven elder statesmen in order to prepare promising youngsters who are more likely to be at the World Cup in two-and-a-half-years’ time.

Given the personnel at hand, it seems probable that Klinsmann goes with a two-forward formation. Jozy Altidore figures to occupy one spot, but next to him should be the emerging Bobby Wood. Not only has Wood earned a chance to really prove himself with his strong, goal-scoring U.S. outings off the bench in recent months, but he has also been in good form at the club level with FC Union Berlin.

The midfield is where you might see several up-and-comers in Mix Diskerud, DeAndre Yedlin, and Gyasi Zardes. None of them are exactly new to the U.S., but they also do not boast a bevy of experience in World Cup qualifiers. This home game vs. an inferior opponent would give them an opportunity to get a feel for what is to come, and allow them to make an impression on Klinsmann and his staff.

With no real need for a hard-nosed defensive midfielder, Diskerud could take Jermaine Jones’ regular spot in the lineup and return to the No. 6 role that Klinsmann has opted to put Diskerud in at times. Diskerud’s task would be to get in St Vincent & the Grenadines’ passing lanes and move the ball quickly and precisely when he wins it.

Yedlin and Zardes seem safe bets to occupy the right and left flanks, respectively, as the speedsters have continuously been put on accelerated courses in the international game by Klinsmann. Dynamic newcomer Darlington Nagbe should replace one of them in the second half, however, to get his feet wet at this level.

It is all but guaranteed that U.S. captain Michael Bradley returns to his playmaking role atop the diamond. Bradley will not only need to do the string-pulling here, but also lead the younger troops by giving them instructions and setting an example with his play.

The American back line is unlikely to be tested too much, so Klinsmann can afford to go with some younger pieces here. That is why it would not be a surprise to see Ventura Alvarado at centerback and Brek Shea next to him at left back despite them being suspect defenders. A more grizzled player in Fabian Johnson appears to be a shoo-in on the right while Geoff Cameron should provide veteran savvy in the middle after his solid outing vs. Mexico last month. Matt Miazga is a possibility to come off the bench, but the promising youngster might also have to wait a bit more before being awarded his first cap.

In goal, Klinsmann has said he will rotate between Brad Guzan and Tim Howard. Guzan and Howard figure to split the two World Cup qualifiers in this camp, and Klinsmann may opt to go with the latter here given that this is the easier of the two games and can learn more from playing Guzan vs. Trinidad & Tobago.

What do you think of our projected lineup? Who would you like to see start on Friday?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. sigh. so, altidore plays, scores a goal against a crappy team, and then we have to watch him play poorly for 10 more games. Hasn’t anyone noticed this trend? He peaked in 2009. Outside of a run of games in 2013 where he played well, he’s done nothing but impede the progress of the team as well as prevent giving new strikers a chance.

  2. Better yet Klinsmann has his panties in a bunch, I think he needs time to sort things out…….so for the next 2 games Jesse Marsh steps in as coach with



    ————–Bradley———— ————J. Jones———-


    —————————-Bill Hamid———————————

    (Benny Feilhaber is rated higher than Lee Nyugen but Lee is listed as a true CAM)

    My line-up is actually killing it in FIFA 16 (come see me Klinsy, I got you lol)

    Thank you (although check Altidore’s rating, it doesn’t seem right)

  3. Against St. Vincent






    and everyone goes full 90, 4-2 United States………so anything Klinsy puts out there should be OK

  4. I like dalomismo’s lineup idea, except Tim Ream deserves given playing time at St Louis in front of families and friends.

  5. Except for Johnny/razor, everyone on this blog seems to forget that Matt Besler is on the US roster. Alvarado over Besler, are you kidding me? It’s time to switch Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin. Johnson can help keep possession in midfield, and Yedlin is now capable of playing RB with the new Premiere League experiences. Yedlin can still contribute to the attack with his pace playing as RB.

  6. —-Morris—Wood—

    Buckle your seatbelts!!!!!!!

    This line-up brought to you by JPL/jet-propulsion laboratories
    (Bradley is the axel on the turbine/ rotor)

  7. —————–Howard—————–
    ———-Cameron–Miazga———— (sub Besler around 60′ if needs be)
    Nagbe———Diskerud——–Ibarra—- (sub Yedlin 60)
    ————————-Altidore————- (sub Wood 70)

    thoughts on this lineup for St. V n’ da G’s:

    Cap Miazga and Ibarra this match.
    If there is ever a time to take this kind of chance and not be sorry it’s now… I hope.

    Beating a bunkering opponent requires speedy players providing endless movement off the ball. Ibarra, Zardes, Nagbe, Yedlin fit that bill.

    Altidore and Zardes both provide size and height for holdup play and attract attacking gravity, freeing up space for Diskerud’s, Nagbe’s, and Johnson’s creativity.

    Wood as the super-sub he has shown himself to be for whomever starts looking gassed up top.

    Bradley can be a deep lying playmaker and remain disciplined enough to do the work of a #6. His long passes and crosses provide a great deep playmaking element as well. Since Nguyen can’t seem to get a look as a #10, Diskerud needs to get his groove back as a playmaker. His greatest chance to do that is closer to goal, and this is an opponent he should be able to do that against.

    Ream, Cameron, Besler and Johnson are our steadiest back 4 of late. Having a portion of the match with them getting time together matters for the long haul of qualifying, as I see them being our best back 4 for the time being. Hopefully by the 60th Miazga will have had a great match to get a chance to get his international legs under him and Belser comes in to close up shop. Again, now is a perfect time to take that chance.

    As much as I like Guzan and Hamid and know they are the future, since I’ve opted for a few other “risky” lineup choices in other places, I’m opting for the best keeper in the pool right now and one with the most experience keeping a back line in shape–that’s Howard.

    I like Jones’ grit, and his resume and quality certainly can’t be denied, but in the matches I’ve watched him play for the US, he’s never had the discipline to be a true #6, which is what this lineup would require of Bradley… and as much as I like Beckerman, I don’t want to see him getting minutes in this match when there are other players so much in need of this experience.

    Depending on how this lineup would fare against St. Vincent, I could see this being a pretty good lineup against T&T… maybe adding in Jones for added muscle and shifting Diskerud over to Ibarra’s spot.

    Do I think this is what JK will do? I have no idea.

  8. Hopefully it won’t matter who we start. We should be able to win with a second or even third team. Klinsmann seems to want to bring new players along slowly, so I suspect that Nagbe and Miazga will play, but only in the second half after we have a comfortable league.

  9. I can’t wait to see Jordan Morris and Bobby Wood start up top together. I can see them being our two starters in the next world cup. I’d also start Gyasi Zardes on the wing and have him float in and out of the striker position to wreak havoc on the opponent’s defense.

  10. Why didn’t the real transition start in the friendlies and games that did not matter after the World Cup and before World Cup Qualifying?

    We should not play players out of position just to get them on the field if they have no hope of playing that position in the future. I am talking about Mix in this case. I cannot see him playing this role long term. It is not his game. Somebody else has to be the answer going forward so give that person minutes starting now.

    JK seems to be concerned about getting his fullbacks time to play together and build chemistry. Why does he not do the same for the central midfielders?

  11. Perhaps the problem isn’t that JK plays players out of position its that “the spine” of the team Bradley and Jones don’t want to play in the positions they are best suited for?

  12. I have 2 big problems with that line-up. The lesser issue is that you need to start Guzan here and have Tim play vs T&T. The biggest issue is Alvarado. This clown doesn’t even play for his club team in Mexico so how can you play him when he doesn’t even belong on this roster.

  13. It’s gotta be Ream at LB, no? We’ve seen Shea there, so no real need to experiment at that position. I think we need to choose a preferred starting back four and let them get as many minutes together as possible before we play the likes of Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, etc. The time for tinkering with our back four is over.

    • I think you’re looking at it wrong. Our fullbacks need to be attacking fullbacks because we will have possession for most of the game. No need for a natural defender like Ream who isn’t gonna bomb forward against a team likely to bunker. Plus Shea may be our best free kick taker so he gets added value there.

  14. No clue who the starting 11 will be. I look for Nagbe to be at least cap-tied, hopefully Jürgen keeps Beckerman & Jones out for this game. (He probably won’t, I think Jones is the more likely of the two, to make an appearance)
    I think this game will be a lot like how we played Antigua & Barbuda in WCQ last time.
    This will be a sloppy 4-1 or 3-1 type of win for us.

    • This posting before each match is always so confusing because the title asks who, but the article always predicts who JK will start, which isn’t necessarily the same.

      Should start
      Subs: Morris (Jozy), Beckerman (slide Bradley forward), Miazga (with multi goal lead slide Cameron outside and move Yedlin up cap ties Matt)

      Will start

    • You don’t play Nagbe to cap tie him. He’s not going anywhere. You play him because he is the best midfielder on the roster. Sorry Michael Bradley, but you can’t do what he can do and he has shown it one on one with you

  15. –Zardes–Altidore–Wood–

    This is what I’d do but we’ll probably play far more defensively with Jones, and Beckerman

    I think Zardes showed a lot of potential last season as a forward but as a midfielder he is just average.

    • Knowing Klinsmann this is probably what we’ll see.

  16. This lineup annoys me more than it should, but I guess we get what we get with Jurgen, i.e. Playing people who shouldn’t play (Alvarado) and playing players out of position.

  17. All of these are really good ideas, and probably represent the direction we should go towards the future – which means JK will not put out a line-up that is similar in any way.

    I fully expect him to put out Beckerman against StV&G and then switch it up totally for T&T in true Jurgen style. I can guarantee that nobody out there will be in their comfort zone…

  18. This would be fun:

    Zardes – Wood
    Shea – Mix – Yedlin
    Bradley – Nagbe
    Reem – Cameron – Johnson

    If that’s too aggressive, drop Mix and slot Nagbe at CAM and throw in Miazga or Alvarado alongside Cameron.

  19. preface, we could field the U17 WC team and probably get a win – so whatever..

    Ream over Shea – its StL! either should be fine but one is playing 90 min in England and the other is coming off a two week vacation in Florida

    Besler over Alvarado – VA is captied and going nowhere.. if we wanted to break in a LCB of the future Brooks, CCV or Hedges would be in camp. Besler-Cameron is by far our best CB pair for this year, 2016 and likely 2017-18. Get them minutes together.

    subs: Nagbe, Ibarra, Miagza – 3 new cap ties in a game they should be comfortable stepping into.

  20. This is a great opportunity to both blood Miazga and cap-tie him. Since it’s who should start than who will, here’s my two cents:


  21. Hamid
    Yedlin Cameron Miazga Ream
    Johnson Bradley Nagbe Zardes
    Wood Morris

    All uncapped players should be able to beat this team. why not let them try for 45 min and if we aren’t winning 2-0 then but in the Ol’ Faithfuls

  22. Scrap the diamond. Aside from 45 minutes against Mexico, it really hasn’t paid dividends (even in the Mexico game, they adjusted in the second half and ended up tying the match). It shouldn’t matter on Friday what formation we play, but every time we go with the diamond against good teams, Bradley has to push further back making it essentially a flat four (4-4-2). This leaves the forwards starved for service. Most teams play with 5 in the midfield and we also end up getting run through. Our 6’s can’t keep up by themselves and Bradley ends up running over the place trying to cover. We need to start playing a midfield of 5 with defined roles or good teams (or even semi-decent teams lately) will continue to punish us.

    • someday soon, playing Nagbe in front of Bradley in a diamond would be amazing. We could own possession across concacaf.

      also in Jones’ later years he would be smart to embrace the #6 role. Less attacking/box-to-box work that he can’t really handle and more defense, short passing and positioning players in front of him would suit him in the next few years.

      • Would love to see Nagbe and Bradley in front of a DM (would be Beckerman but should be a Kitchen/Trapp/Dax or even Mix). Play a 4-3-3. Now that would be boss.

  23. I don’t see what Alvarado has done to earn a start. The only reason may be to build his confidence against a weak opponent, which may be fool’s gold. But if it keeps Matt Miazga from getting hurt, it can;t be all bad.

  24. Definitely NOT Jozy Altidore! Why do you guys keep including this worthless striker in every lineup? He needs to be benched once and for all.

      • To be fair, most of Jozy’s large WC Qualifying goals have been against very small countries like Guadalupe and St. Vincent. It’s not like he scores a hat trick against Germany or something like that.

    • definitely Jozy Altidore because not only are we convince people he doesnt suck but its games like this that he gets goals that keep his scoring percentage up for fanboys to argue about.
      “Give ’em hell Jozy”!!!

    • @Nolan: That’s what I’ve been saying! Altidore is such a bad player that he’s never scored a single World Cup qualifying goal against Germany! Get that bum outta here!

    • It is to be expected. He certainly hasn’t been playing well for the US of late, but if he regains any semblance of form, he can be a decent holdup striker. I would rather have someone else playing up top with Wood (like Morris), but can’t argue with the likelihood of his inclusion.

      Not sure why Alvarado is anywhere near the lineup when Ream and Besler are available. While Brek is likely to get the start, he still has a lot of convincing to do. Not a huge fan currently. No consistency.

      Switch FJ and Yedlin. Let them play where they normally play. That would be nice for once. However, if necessary, put FJ at left back and Yedlin at right back. Zardes covers one wing for sure, just up to JK who plays opposite him, whether that is FJ, Yedlin, or someone else.

      I think Bradley and Mix should also switch, or you can toss in Nagbe or something to shake things up a bit, but Bradley on the top of the diamond is getting really annoying. It isn’t his best position, nor does he have the skills to perform there. Knowing JK, Jones and Bradley will be starting and potentially Beckerman as well. Why not all 3? JK loves doing that crap too.

      I’d say something like this is what I would do (maybe switch Mix and Nagbe as well as maybe switch Ream with Besler or potentially Ream to LB and Besler to LCB and put Brek on the bench):



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