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Who should the USMNT start vs. Iceland?

Jordan Morris USMNT 29

Preparing for March’s World Cup qualifiers and Olympic qualifying play-off is one of the main objectives of this year’s winter camp. Starting off 2016 with a win is another.

The U.S. Men’s National Team will kick off its slate of games in the new year on Sunday when it welcomes Iceland for a friendly at the StubHub Center in Carson, California (3:45 pm, ESPN2/UniMas). The match marks the first chance the U.S. has to put behind a subpar 2015, and will also give U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann the opportunity to take stock of where some of his growing player pool stands.

Unlike previous years, Klinsmann has sprinkled in some U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team standouts into his senior bunch of regular starters and fringe players in an effort to prepare them all for the MLS season and important March fixtures. How he goes about fielding them against Iceland remains to be seen, but it seems likely that there will be a balance of all three types of players.

What exact lineup will we see Klinsmann go with on Sunday? Here is one that he could trot out:

———————-Altidore———–Morris————————–

—-Nagbe————-Jones———Bradley—————Zardes—-

————-Miller—–Besler——Birnbaum——-Parker————

———————————–Robles———————————-

Some thoughts:

The absence of Matt Miazga (to reportedly sign with Chelsea) will force Jurgen Klinsmann into going with a centerback tandem of Matt Besler and Steve Birnbaum. Besler will serve as the leader of the back line, but Birnbaum also has a bit of experience that can be counted on after making an appearance in a friendly during last year’s winter camp.

Out wide, Klinsmann is going to have to field some newcomers. The most likely options are Tim Parker and Eric Miller at right back and left back, respectively. Parker and Miller are both eligible to play for the U.S. Under-23 Men’s National Team, and Klinsmann will probably want to throw them into the deep end to see how they perform and if they are ready to compete in March’s Olympic qualifying playoff vs. Colombia. Chicago Fire rookie Brandon Vincent is also an option for the left side, but he might be better suited to come off the bench here.

Luis Robles should get the nod in goal behind them given his stellar form in MLS over the past few seasons. Sean Johnson could potentially get the start here, but the fact that he was only brought into camp after Bill Hamid had to withdraw because of injury seems to point to Robles making his second international appearance.

Things get a little more interesting in the midfield, as there are plenty of options and formations to consider. The pairing of Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones in the center should be a given here, due to how highly Klinsmann still rates them. The two veterans struggled at times to find a balance between attacking and defending in the November World Cup qualifiers, and Klinsmann will surely want them to work on that ahead of March’s matches.

While Klinsmann could throw Bradley in the No. 10 spot and have Jones sit further back with a defensive midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 setup, a flat 4-4-2 formation might be more likely so as to partner Jozy Altidore with another forward. Altidore showed in November that he works well playing off of someone else, and the mobile and speedy Jordan Morris seems like a perfect candidate to complement the Toronto FC striker while gaining more experience ahead of the upcoming clash with Colombia.

If Klinsmann opts to go with a 4-4-2, Darlington Nagbe and Gyasi Zardes are safe bets to occupy the wide spots. Nagbe played wide left in November’s games, and this match against Iceland would be a perfect opportunity to hand him his first start to see how he fares. Zardes saw lots of time out on the left flank in 2015, but is versatile enough to switch to the right side. Some might prefer Columbus Crew’s Ethan Finlay here, but Klinsmann relied heavily on Zardes last year and likely will again.

Klinsmann is sure to make the most of his substitutions after halftime, so plenty of other players like Mix Diskerud, Tony Tchani and Jerome Kiesewetter should get chances in the second half to show what they have to offer.

What do you think of this projected lineup? Anyone included/omitted that you are hoping is not? Would you stick with this formation or try something else?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. ——————————–Altidore——————————
    F. Johnson————–Nagbe———————Zardes
    ——————Tchani—————Bradley——————-
    Vincent———-Brooks———Miazga———-Yedlin
    ———————————-Guzan——————————

    Reply
    • So many great stories have been missed during this SBI Show sea change. We need to start The SBI Commentators Show podcast or something. A rotating panel to debate SBI topics and comments would be neat. We could decide on a weekly format, have a schedule of available commenters, exchange emails during the week to find some direction, and record at a certain time every weekend after a brief meeting/run-through.

      I know, pipe dream, but I would listen if two or more of you wanted to do some kind of podcast like that.

      The Total Soccer Show is great, but it doesn’t scratch the entire itch.

      Reply
  2. Agudelo is U23 no? and yea i guess tough breaks for Duka and Dax McCarty. I have a hard time believing either one are not every bit as good as the guys in the team though.

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    • Agudelo misses the cutoff for U23s, yes I know he is 23 now, but his birthday is before whatever the cutoff date is.

      As for Duka, he’s mostly been a reserve his entire MLS career including last year with Montreal. He had a lot of promise in the youth levels, but just hasn’t shown as a professional and no I can’t think of a player at his position on the roster that he is better than.

      The thought on Dax is he’s either too old or too small to be an asset for the next WC, but its about a 50/50 split on whether that is right among posters here.

      Reply
    • Joe Gyau, still rehabbing the knee and is in Germany. For Dilly Duka while probably unfair just doesn’t put up the big stats to catch the eye. This time, I think the number of U23 players in the camp probably kept out a couple like Dax and and Agudelo unfortunately .

      Reply
      • Agudelo is U23 no? and yea i guess tough breaks for Duka and Dax McCarty. I have a hard time believing either one are not every bit as good as the guys in the team though

      • The increased number of U-23 players included in this camp has pushed a number of contenders out of the picture. Players like Agudelo, Lleget, Duka, & even Dax were bypassed in the hopes that the U-23s could gain additional time together to prep for the Olympic Qualifier in March.
        I was actually hoping that they would have 2 camps this January…1 for the U-23s and One for the Sr team. They could have played a charity game against each other before the friendlies.

  3. On Bradley and Jones: “The two veterans struggled at times to find a balance between attacking and defending…”

    And this: “Altidore showed in November that he works well playing off of someone else.”

    Was this article written 5 years ago?

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  4. Well I really hope the projected lineup is very wrong. What is the purpose of these games anyway? Is it to get the non functional “spine” in shape for qualifiers or is to try out players that never get a chance to prove they belong? Based on the projected lineup, I think that the others, not named, are now assuming the role of practice dummies. I truly hope this is not the case. JJ and Bradley does not work. It hasn’t in the past and it never will. No matter how hard you try and make it. Bradley as any kind of play maker is a joke. And why are we still trying to find some way of making Jozy look like a starter for this team.

    Meanwhile, nobody is rating Lee N at all in any projected lineup. Lee and JJ played on the same club team for two years. Did JJ ever move up to attacking mid? FRIGGIN NO. Why you ask? Because he’s a DM and nothing else. Lee has owned AM since joining the Revs and I think the Revs know a little more about what the two of them are good at then JK. I am a major LN fan and I am tired of seeing him get screwed on minutes by Klinsmann. Give the kid a chance to swim or sink..,.. Start him and let him get more then the usual 10 minutes he gets, in a position he never plays. He has more upside in the middle than anybody in this camp. And that includes the new flavor of the month Nagbe

    Reply
    • I think the projection is based on knowing Klinsmann not what people want to see. I mean Finlay has better numbers over the last 2 years and more of a true right wing player yet Zardes is projected there because that’s probably just what Klinsmann will do.

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  5. I’ve always seen that Bradley likes to play deep and provide help to teammates in the form of being available for easy outlet passes to relieve pressure and keep thing safe. When he does that he cannot realistically make attacking passes because he comes under immediate pressure. However, if the other team drops off him he can punish them with good, accurate attacking balls. I think that if the CBs are good, Bradley can be a very effective DM, but if he has to try to bail them out like JJ tries to do, I think his game suffers.

    With these CBs for the US and Iceland missing its best players, MB at DM could work. Of course the back 4 must push up as much as possible and the other mids must be aggressive in pressuring the opponents early.

    Reply
    • We don’t have a Gooch & Bocanegra anymore. 🙁 That’s why we’ve needed two deeper playing central midfielders.
      We want to play from the back but our CB pairing has been inconsistent, for many reasons. We could play down the wings but that’s our biggest inconsistency.

      I think is this the primary conundrum that keeps us from being able to consistently create chances against teams of equal caliber.

      Reply
      • I’d say Nguyen is better closer to goal, creating and scoring goals. Nagbe is better getting on the ball and transitioning the team quickly. I don’t know just my take.

  6. I’d really like to see the new guys given a chance to prove what they can do. To that end I’d like to see something along the following:
    ——————————Zardes————————
    –Morris————–Nagbe————–Kiesewetter–
    ————-Kitchen———–Bradley——————–
    –Vincent——Besler——–Birnbaum——Polster–
    ————————–Robles—————————-

    Subs: Miller, Parker, Tchani, Trapp, Finlay, Jozy

    I don’t want to see Jones…we know what we’ve got with him and while he’ll still be in the picture this year we need to look at what we’ve got with these younger guys. Fielding the 3 Crew players together will keep a bit of consistency/chemistry within the team.

    Reply
  7. I actually have a couple changes, including going with a 4-2-3-1 with morris moving out to the left wing, then having nguyen in the hole (as his final shot), unfortunately dropping nagbe, however hes shown his best position is box to box mid, which is bradley’s spot for the time being. I also have acosta at left back (wanna see what he has), and then brad evans at right back (saying he is probably our most consistent option at that spot). I also wanna see mix, finlay, kitchen and polster get some time off the bench.

    Reply
    • “unfortunately dropping nagbe, however hes shown his best position is box to box mid, which is bradley’s spot for the time being”

      the most straightforward solution would be to drop jones and move bradley back to the holding mid spot, with nagbe more of the box-to-box.

      Reply
  8. Zardes——-Jozy——Finlay
    Nagbe——Trapp——Bradley
    Vincent?-Besler-Jones-Birnbaum

    With Miazga probably missing it, just stick Jones at CB since JK will have to have him on the field.

    Reply
    • I know JJ struggled at CB in the very few games played there, but would not be against another run at it. Either that or, as I said above, make him a strictly def mid. He is suc h a beast, and competes harder than anyone we have. Not to mention that the bigger the game the better he plays normally.

      Reply
  9. Could we please give Lee Nguyen a start and meaningful minutes? I am tired of the afterthought 10 minute cameos. I think he has demonstrated enough in those cameos that he deserves a real look. Let’s see what he can do. I happen to think he can add some real value to this squad.

    Reply
  10. I think you start out with the vets
    ——–Jozy——Morris——
    -Jones-Bradley-Nagbe-
    ————-Kitchen————
    Miller-besler-birnb-evans
    ————-Robles—————
    Sub in Kiessewetter, Zardes, Finlay, Parker and Trapp

    Vs Canada go more experimental.
    ——-Kiessewetter—-Morris—-
    ——————-Nguyen—————-
    ——-Zardes———–Mix————
    ——————-Trapp——————-
    -Miller-Parker-Birnbaum-Polster
    —————-Bingham—————
    Subs: Shelton, Tchani, Acosta, Vincent, Johnson

    Everyone gets a cupcake cap! U23 potential starters Morris, Kiessewetter, Parker, Trapp and Miller all come away with significant min next to fellow u23s and vets. We get to see new guys Finlay and Tchani off the bench, and Zardes, Mix and Lee get extended opportunities to own a game. I doubt Michael Bradley ever sits down but this is how I would do it.

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  11. I’m hoping Nagbe can make that next step asap. I’ve loved his game and he possesses that flair we rarely see in the American pool. I just hope it can translate and he can adapt at this level (and soon).

    Reply
  12. ————————-MORRIS————————–

    ZARDES—————NAGBE——————FINLAY

    ———–TCHANI————–BRADLEY—————

    MILLER——-BESLER——-MIAZGA——–EVANS

    ———————ROBLES——————————-

    Since Altidore can’t score but has the physical attributes maybe Klinsmann should try him at LM (like Bunbury at RM for the REVs)
    Again we have no true LB from a senior MLS team, and that area is our weakest position …..no Robbie Rogers (LA Galaxy), Ryan Hollingshead (FC Dallas), Jorge Flores (Portland Timbers), Villafana (Portland Timbers) or Donny Toia (Montreal Impact)

    Reply
    • I like this lineup a lot better. JJ was our best player in Brazil but I’ve seen enough of him. No reason for him to be called into future USMNT squads.

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    • “Since Altidore can’t score”

      it seems like you’ve got some social experiment going on to prove the adage “if you say something enough, people will believe it”. (that is, if they don’t watch the games or ever look at his stats.)

      i can’t really think of why else you would keep peddling this line.

      Reply
      • Altidore sucks, hence the reason the US has been horrible in the last 9 games, nothing to hide or push there. If you score in only six games in a 20 game-period you are below average. He is nothing close to Dempsey (and they are trying to phase him out!!). “Oh he is one of the top strikers for the USMNT”….any striker from a play-off team in MLS (ANY) given the same STARTS on the national team as noscore and they will score (Wondolowski has score 10 goals in 31 games coming mostly off the bench in the second half). FYI

      • see, the fun part about arguing with someone who says “Player X can’t score” is that it doesn’t take a lot to prove them wrong. yes, you’ve found a source showing that jozy wasn’t very good (for his club) for two of his 10 professional seasons. that’s pretty good!

        and now i’ll just assume you can find the stats for the rest of his career, since my 5-year-old could find them without asking for help.

      • @Bizzy- (Wondolowski has score 10 goals in 31 games coming mostly off the bench in the second half)

        Only goals Wondo scored off the bench were against Cuba, I believe in the 2013 Gold Cup.

      • then you are worst than your five year old. Past glory doesn’t mean anything (ask Adu) and in hes past 20 games (twenty starts) Altidore has only scored in 6 games. He scored 39 goals in 67 games for AZ then came to Sunderland and scored 2 goals in 2 seasons. So Sunderland should have kept him because of his passed accomplishments?? Maybe I should be talking to your kid instead

      • @Jack
        Wondolowski would have done more if he was consistently starting like Altidore
        He did score off the bench against cuba though…
        Guatemala Jul 3, 2015 Int W 4-0 Sub-On 67 min 1 goal
        Cuba Jul 13, 2013 Gold W 4-1 Sub-On 57 min 2 goals
        Guatemala Jul 5, 2013 Int W 6-0 Sub-On 58 min 1 goal

      • Seems like bizzy is trying to be cute with his stats. Altidore scored in 6 of 20 games but how many goals? Just off the top of my head I recall him scoring twice against Peru and against SVG. The total number of goals is more important. Plus in many of the friendlies he was subbed off early, at halftime on a few occasions.

        Don’t get me wrong though – I wouldn’t mind JK trying someone else in that spot, especially in these friendlies.

      • And we all remember Wondo’s goal off the bench to beat Belgium in Brazil!!!! Oh wait what he missed that, I blocked that out I guess.

        Let me try my hand at Bizzy math, Wondo scored 5 goals in 5 days, the other 1500 days of his USMNT team career he only scored 5 goals, he’s a bum.

      • of course Johnnyrazor (Another Noscore fanboy)
        Reasoning – Why does Altidore suck? Because even though he STARTS every game he goes on long draughts scoreless
        You want to compare him to Wondolowski??? Do you want to count his consecutive starts??
        2015 – 2 Starts (just 2!!!) 7 subs (used or unused) goals 1
        2014 – 1 start (ONE START!!) 10 subs (used or unused) 0 goals
        2013 – 7 starts (highest) 9 subs (used or unused) 9 goals (look what happens when he gets STARTS!!).
        When Altinoscore is around he sucks all the air out of the room (well when he’s around he takes all the goals away from the team lol). For the USMNT to be that attacking threat we need someone else.
        So no according to that logic Altidore sucks even more

      • Not surprise you have that sick mentality Nate….I mean you think Altidore is Daniel Sturridge or something. Makes sense

      • Just because its fun

        Daniel Sturridge scores every 3.2 games for England, Jozy scores every 2.8, so you are right at the international level Jozy is no Daniel Sturridge.

      • …And Kenny Cooper scores every 2.5 games for the national team. What is Klinsmann waiting for and why doesn’t he even have a team??? LMAO!!!!!

      • It is really hard to see how any US player in MLS who can’t score more goals in a year than the 17 per year that Wondo has averaged in the last 6 years can be considered a real boon to the US. I like Wondo, but he probably lacks the quickness needed for the USMNT (and he is getting old).

        That said none of the players people favor is any better; Altidore, Bruin, Felihaber, Dempsey, Davies and Rolfe were the next 6 US players in that order behind Wondo in goals scored during the MLS 2015 season. As for goals per 90 minutes, only Gordon and Casey did better and Dempsey was about even, at least for guys who scored at least 3 goals.

        Dislike Altidore, disdain Wondo if you want and feel free to claim your favorite young player is better, but unless he is lighting it up in Europe, it is hard to see much there other than wishful thinking.

      • Wondo’s totals were pretty inflated with 6 PKs this season. If you take away PKs then it’s
        12 Finlay , 11 Bruin, 10 Wondo, Davies Altidore 9 Dempsey, Grella,Sapong

      • Dennis — if you are going to bring up goals per 90 minutes, why ignore Altidore’s goals per 90, which is (I think) the highest of all US players in MLS with a significant number of goals.

      • Landon Donovan only scored over 12 goals once in MLS play so your need to score over 17 in MLS to be a Nat striker seems high. Dempsey never has and McBride only scored 17 one time in the first season of MLS when defense was optional.

        MLS game is so different from the international game and when you figure in missed games do to call ups and playing in systems that might be designed for international players on their teams there doesn’t seem to be much historical connection between scoring in MLS and scoring for the Nats.

      • Pirithous – You are right, I missed Altidores goals per 90 minutes (0.65 compared to Wondo’s 0.54) But it does not change the basic premise in my comment that Altidore is next behind Wondo in MLS scoring. Goals are infrequent enough that it is always going to be an iffy statistic, but Wondo’s record over 5 years is remarkable. It is not much of a stretch to think that any player who cannot ever score more goals in a single season than Wondo has averaged over 6 seasons might not be any better. Goals per 90 minutes are even worse since they would lead one to think that Connor Casey should still be in the mix.

  13. Personally, I would hope for a 4-3-3, with Jozy, Morris and Zardes as the forwards and Nagbe/Jones right in front of Bradley as the pivot (with Jones & Bradley covering each other and the back line).
    I think Bradley is mismatched as a 10, but is more like a Pirlo, where he makes great passes from farther back. We also want Jones & Bradley to make runs into the box.

    Reply
  14. “Altidore showed in November that he works well playing off of someone else”

    yes indeed, altidore showed that in november, and also in every other goddamn month of his whole goddamn career. it’s still astounding to me how many people (including managers of professional soccer clubs) think he’s got the skillset to be a lone striker.

    maybe someone can put a helpful blurb in his wikipedia entry? “Despite being a big black guy, Altidore performs best in a fast-tempo, short-passing system with quick interchanges between multiple attacking players. DO NOT MISTAKE HIM FOR EMILE HESKEY.”

    Reply
    • Agree. Yet, people still think, because of his physical attributes he is good in that role. This includes JK. It’s like someone, somewhere will descend upon the pitch and hit Altidore upside the head with a “clue stick” that will allow him to play a center forward like McBride. Zardes plays the lone center-forward better than Altidore.

      The only time I saw Altidore effective as a lone center-forward was at Akmaar when Verbeek put him in in that role, but not to score goals per se, but as bait. It kept the other team’s fullback from going into the attack, as they often had to help or keep near the centerbacks to try and keep Altidore covered. Of course, playing a lone center-forward the ball never got to JA close enough to be real dangerous or attack with any help, or to score, but that was by design. He was there to keep the defense busy and to not allow them to add more attackers at the tail end of the games they were leading!

      Reply
    • Because for at least 2 years he played as a lone striker for USMNT and AZ Alkamaar/Sunderland.

      Pretty much played in a single striker role for both club and country from about late 2011 until early 2014; this coincided with some of his best play for USMNT and his goal scoring record at AZ Alkamaar.

      His greatest asset in my opinion is positioning; tactically he gets into position to at the very least generate a scoring chance, his technical skills are what fail him. Surround him with enough support and he’ll get into those positions to score.

      Reply
      • well, you’re right that he’s been playing as a lone striker for the past couple years (that worked out well at sunderland), although most recently klinsmann’s pushed dempsey up in a more supporting striker role.

        however (and this is directed to bottlcaps as well), at az jozy was almost always part of a forward *3*, depending on the in-game strategy. in general, jozy was never far away from at least one other attacker, unless–as bottlcaps noted–they were just trying to preserve a lead.

      • At Sunderland he lacked the support (and he was out of form; the guy was missing sitters right in front of the goal). He was expected either to hold the ball up for midfielders (which he did well) or to run onto balls all by his lonesome, fight off 2 sometimes 3 defenders. He can’t do that.

        And you’re right about his time at AZ. They used outside forwards that never starved him of service, as well as CM/AM’s that supported him on top of the 18. Just like his most prolific time for USMNT; he had Zusi, Dempsey, Bradley/Jones, Donovan(when in the picture) or Bedoya and FabJo combining on the overlap, etc. all attacking and trying to feed him. At least 4-5 options/ways for Jozy to receive the ball. He doesn’t need a strike partner. He needs a competent midfield dictating how to penetrate the defense, and just let Jozy get in position to score.

        I actually think part of our problem is trying to fit in and feed that second striker, as well as a lack of attacking options on the wings. Everything right now HAS to be funneled through the center, through Bradley and the second striker, and you’re limiting the variety of approaches to just over the top balls or through balls for him to run onto. The play is way to vertical, and defense closes in on itself, limiting his space.

      • since i agree with almost everything you wrote (i don’t think he did well in his hold-up play at sunderland, especially with the ball in the air all the time), i guess we’re mostly arguing over semantics.

        jozy needs someone to play off of, whether that be a second striker, a winger, or an attacking mid–and that comes down to the system/style more than the formation.

  15. —————– Altidore ——————
    Zardes ——– Nagbe ——— Morris
    ——– Jones —– —–Bradley ——–
    Vincent – Besler – Birnbaum – Parker
    —————- Robles ——————–

    Reply
    • Stringers from the nordic leagues plus the 37 year old Guojonsen (formerly of Barca, Chelsea, others) obviously no Sigurosson or others from the English/German/french leagues that make up most of their normal roster . this group has already played Finland W1-0 and UAE L1-2 this year.. So they might be a good cohesive unit but these are they guys fighting for those last few roster spots this summer

      Reply
  16. ——–Nagbe——Nagbe—–
    ————–Nagbe ————
    Nagbe—–Nagbe——-Nagbe

    Nagbe–Besler–Birmbaum—Nagbe

    —————-Robles—————-

    I’m kind of a fan. A team of Nagbe’s and three bigger guys

    Reply
  17. Wouldn’t mind seeing this line up but as a 4-1-3-2 with Jones commanded to be the “1”. I know he likes to attack, but his passing is erratic. And I am a HUGE JJ fan. Nobody in the pool competes like he does. He is ferocious. IT would be aggressive, but MB gets up and down the field. But I am no strategist, just a fan.

    Reply
  18. These are friendlies against pretty lightweight opponents. Would love to see more of the new faces. Do we really need another look at a midfield pairing of Jones and Bradley? Would really like to see either Trapp, Tchani, or Nguyen get a start in the middle…

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    • I’m pretty tired of that pairing, too. Especially considering they nearly cancel each other out with the same play style and tendencies. I’ve never felt the compliment each other well enough to be a pairing.

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    • Iceland is ranked 36th in the world although they will probably much less than full strength as a lot of their attacking players play in European leagues that have already started up again. They did almost qualify for the last WC and will be in this Summers Euros so not really lightweights.

      Reply
    • I really think that pairing (Jones-Bradley) doesn’t need much more work. Sometimes they have it and sometimes they don’t, but I really don’t think a couple more games together is going to help their chemistry before we start qualifying again. I think we need to move away from that pairing anyway because I want to see Nagbe get play centrally with Bradley.

      I think our approaching games against Colombia are more necessary to prepare for, and therefore we should try to work these U-23’s as much as possible. For example if Bradley and Jones both start in the middle, I’d want to pull whatever one of them isn’t playing as well as the other at halftime for Tchani or Trapp, OR Acosta!
      If we start three up top like Zardes-Jozy-Morris, I’d want to do the same thing to whichever one of them looked not as tuned in as the others and if that happens to be Jozy, Zardes or Morris can move centrally and bring Kiesewetter in on one of the wings.

      Reply
  19. Like the lineup but i think we all that this is way to predictable for JK’s liking.

    I would like to see Nagbe and Bradley in the middle. Nagbe being more of the CAM.
    Leaving Jones out. I know that is not possible and Jones will start because he needs an Fn club to sign him…….and 2018, here we come!

    Reply
  20. I don’t know much about Parker or Miller, but the rest of the lineup looks good to me. I think the pairing of Altidore and Morris is important. I think Altidore is much more effective when paired with a speedy forward. Remember how well he and Charlie Davis played before Davis’ accident? They seemed like the long term future for the US. Morris needs to get a lot of playing time since he has so much potential but so little professional experience. Hopefully he can fill that role of the speedy attacker. In the second half I would keep Morris on and bring on Kieswater to replace Jozy and partner up front with Morris. Since this is only a friendly with Iceland, I wouldn’t worry about the score but concentrate on giving a lot of new or newer players run outs to see how well they hold up.

    Reply
    • Gary – I’ve watched Eric Miller a couple times – and have come away less than impressed each time I’ve seen him – he doesn’t have the athleticism it takes to be an international level outside back (if you need proof go back and watch those CCL leagues games he played in last year). If I had to choose a player that he reminds me of – I would say a slower version of Tony Beltran – and that might be flattering Eric way too much – as Tony at least offers something going forward. I honestly think Eric will be out of MLS within a couple of years and really see the only reason he got called into the camp is the left back issues the u23 team has had.

      Reply
  21. Thing we know 1) MB and JJ don’t work great together as a two CM system. 2) MB is not a No10. The sooner we move away from these issues the better and now seems like a perfect time

    Im a big JJ supporter but I think the days of playing both him and MB together (as the only CMS) are gone.

    Reply
    • Just want to point out that in a flat 4-4-2, the #10 role would be either Altidore or Morris. This formation, in theory, should maximize the abilities of 2 box-to-box CM’s like JJ & MB. Unfortunately, similar to England trying to play Gerrard and Lampard together, the chemistry needed to pivot appropriately isn’t there.

      Thats all pointless because we really should be phasing away from Jones, at the very least not having him start in friendlies.

      Reply
      • Agreed – JJ needs to be more backup and CM as Nagbe and Bradley. Possibly alternating in the attacking position as both have shown strength but not consistency.

        That defense is a work in progress. I suppose we may see Liga MX players for the Copa camp, such as Beasley and hopeful for Villafaña who is just starting with his new club.

  22. I could Imagine that same group of players playing a bit more like a 4-3-3. Moving Nagbe more central and pushing Zardes and Morris into the wider areas. That might leave Jozy a little isolated. This line-up also shows my bias for seeing Nagbe playing centrally (PTFC fan).

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    • I actually would really like that. Reminds me of last years friendlies when we just had a midfield trio of Mix, Bedoya, and Corona which I thought worked really well.

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    • Ives Galarcep and Freddy Adu are teasing me with that article that is on GOAL right now. Of course time will tell if Freddy is serious and if he can actually regain any form. If by some miracle he gets it together, i’d say a minimum of two years before we see him with the USMNT again. In theory, one full/productive year in NASL with Tampa Bay that sparks interest in him again, then a move to MLS or another league with good play there, and then Klinsmann calls him in for the World Cup.

      Adu and Nagbe to the rescue!!??!! Haha, but then I wake up from my day dream.

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      • Oh my. Ives and everybody else, please stop with Freddy. Until the guy passes a fitness test, ability to play consistently for anyone beyond a year AND shows he actually belongs anywhere else than an equipment boy, STOP STOP STOP!!!

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