Tuesday night’s showdown against Guatemala could have been a match which saw the U.S. Men’s National Team earn a spot in the Hex, but now the game is seemingly a must-win after the team failed to earn any points in Guatemala City.
The USMNT will host the Guatemalans for a second time this month on Tuesday in Columbus, Ohio (7 p.m., ESPN2/UniMas/Univision Deportes Network). The Americans currently sit in third in Group C with four points, two points behind second place Guatemala and three points behind Trinidad and Tobago.
Friday’s 2-0 loss has put the U.S. in a hole heading into the meeting at MAPFRE Stadium, and a few first-choice players will be unavailable to play after suffering injuries. Fabian Johnson and Matt Besler were sent back to their respective clubs following the first game due to injuries, and John Brooks is also out of the picture. Alejandro Bedoya, who remains with the team, is also a question mark for the next qualifier after apparently picking up an injury.
In their place, Klinsmann has called in a familiar face in Sporting Kansas City winger Graham Zusi and 17-year-old Borussia Dortmund attacker Christian Pulisic.
What lineup will the U.S. coach use on Tuesday vs. Guatemala? Here’s one the USMNT could use:
Klinsmann tinkered with players’ positions on Friday, and it proved to be unsuccessful, to say the very least. Tuesday’s game is essentially a must-win now that the U.S. is not in a spot to advance into the fifth and final round of CONCACAF qualifying for the 2018 World Cup. With that in mind, Klinsmann may opt to use some familiar faces in the positions they have been playing in at their clubs.
DeAndre Yedlin, for example, should slot back into the right fullback position instead of playing on the right wing, while Geoff Cameron shifts over to play centerback.
Mix Diskerud, who Klinsmann tried to use as a defensive midfielder behind Michael Bradley, is likely to make way for someone much more suited for that role, like Kyle Beckerman. With no Jermaine Jones, the Real Salt Lake midfielder is the only true defensive midfielder on the roster with experience at the international level. Diskerud has been playing more of an attacking role with New York City FC to start the 2016 MLS season, and that was evident in Friday’s game.
With Beckerman doing most of the dirty work in the defensive end, Bradley should, in theory, have more room and time to move and create further up the field.
Klinsmann may likely opt to use a different attacking duo up front, bringing on Jozy Altidore for Bobby Wood, but the Dempsey-Wood duo did not do too badly, despite not scoring a goal on the road in the first qualifier of the year. However, Klinsmann trusts Altidore, and in a must-win situation, the Toronto FC forward is likely to get the nod over Wood.
Klinsmann is also expected to give Brad Guzan a shot in goal on Tuesday, as the head coach has stated his intention of rotating goalkeepers through the two games. Howard’s performance in the first leg was not exactly inspiring, as the soon-to-be Colorado Rapids goalkeeper saw Guatemala forward Carlos Ruiz slip a slow shot past him for the second goal of the game. That goal proved to be crucial, as it deflated the Americans’ hopes of a comeback.
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.