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Who will start for US national team vs. Costa Rica?

Sep 6, 2013, 11:59 AM EST

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Tonight in San Jose the US could take a huge step towards sealing qualification to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, provided they don’t lose to Costa Rica (10 pm ET, beIN Sport).

After Gold Cup success this summer with ‘reserve’ squad, friendly victories in Europe with another set of players and plenty of WC qualifying success of late, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann once again has a real selection dilemma.

Following second half success in the recent friendly win over Bosnia in August, Klinsmann has a plethora of options to choose from in the crucial Hexagonal match.

(MORE: Jozy Altidore healthy but US taking his situation ‘day-by-day’)

Will Klinsi go with the tried and tested players who have fared so well in CONCACAF World Cup qualification so far? Or should a few new names appear in the starting lineup down in Central America for the crunch clash with Los Ticos?

We won’t know until later today for sure, but that means there’s still plenty of time for us to speculate who will start.

In my opinion, Klinsmann could go one of three ways with this. Which group of players should he trust to help the US edge even closer to securing World Cup qualification?

European flavor

Following that incredible 4-3 comeback win in Sarajevo, Klinsmann will have seen plenty of positives from many of his Euro contingent. The likes of Hertha Berlin youngster John Brooks and winger Alejandro Bedoya showed that they’re more than ready to be included in the World Cup squad although both could be long shots to grab a starting spot. Jozy Altidore is nursing a hamstring injury while Michael Bradley only featured briefly for AS Roma at the weekend. And another European based player emerging as a major option is AZ Alkmaar striker Aron Johannsson, especially after Altidore picked up a hamstring knock. Could Klinsmann again favor an almost all-European based starting lineup?

Gold Cup goodies

With so many good performances from US players during the triumphant Gold Cup campaign earlier this summer, Klinsmann must surely consider some of his ‘B squad’ players to come in and start for the Yanks in the upcoming qualifiers. Of course the one player that stands out is Landon Donovan, but more on him later. Elsewhere Kyle Beckerman proved he can consistently shore up the midfield in front of the backline, while Michael Parkhurst is a good option at right back and Mix Diskerud proved he’s a great two-way player during the Gold Cup win. Will any feature prominently this evening after dominating the rest of CONCACAF on US soil?

Experience prevails

This is where Donovan comes in to play. Having played in multiple World Cup qualifying campaigns and getting the job done in tricky away venues such as Costa Rica, LD should get the nod in Klinsmann’s side. His experience will be crucial to pass onto the younger MLS contingent in the squad. Other veterans such as Eddie Johnson and Jermaine Jones may also get the nod as Klinsmann looks to safeguard a draw in San Jose. Experience in these situations is key and the aforementioned players have that in abundance.

  1. sa371916 - Sep 6, 2013 at 12:08 PM

    Howard
    Cameron Besler Gonzalez Beasley
    Zusi Jones Bradley F.Johnson
    Dempsey Altidore

    Not necessarily what I would chose, but almost certainly what I will see tonight. I am excited to see how this line up does. Donovan as a super sub will be great too.

    • dreadpirate82 - Sep 6, 2013 at 12:14 PM

      With Jozy nursing an injury, I’d love to see Donovan and Dempsey playing off each other up top. Those two, Zusi, and Fabian are all excellent at tracking back defensively, so we’d have a lot of creativity, while maintaining a strong defensive mindset. Not saying that this is the best option, but it would be fun to watch. I think it’s more likely we see Eddie or Johannsson in Jozy’s place, assuming he doesn’t play.

      I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Donovan in Zusi’s place, given Zusi’s recent injury issues. He’s back to good health and looked fantastic on Saturday. But that injury may be the excuse to get Landon back in the starting XI.

      Man, I can’t wait for this one…

  2. outlawsoccer - Sep 6, 2013 at 12:40 PM

    At this point im convinced
    Howard
    Beasley Gonzo Besler Cameron although this right side has options like parkhurst
    Fabian Bradley Donovan Jones
    E Johnson Clint
    the reason is Jozy has the yellow “and” the injury situation that can definitely
    based on reports benefit from 3 more days off for sure, and with the depth
    we have up front OMG man why discount Clint is and has been our most
    prolific, Landon does look as good as hes talking, that’s strange im anxious
    to see what that means, more than likely this intensity is going to be met
    with yellow cards that’s one thing we can bet on for sure with the Mexican ref
    who I have so many questions about, it spoils the entire event and exposes
    Fifa for fools, there needs to be a new organization.
    I like Mix dixerud, for his aggressive offense.
    I like Beckerman also very young for his defensive holding midfield and ball poking abilities
    I like Goodson Brooks for their height and though Goodson has been overlooked
    its too bad he cant play right back, because he is an offensive threat like an old gooch.
    Fabian is not impressing me, neither is jurmaine, but I have to go with klinsy and his
    experience etc. how can I counter a guy who has done so much?? I cant,
    he is proving the perfect coach for this transition to younger players, but I have always
    recollected the strongest euro teams have some very old players me.
    like the Dutch still using those brothers LOL LOL van what???

  3. outlawsoccer - Sep 6, 2013 at 12:43 PM

    no surprises klinsman conservative

    sit jozy with the yellow and the hammy

    clint eddie
    Bradley Donovan Fabian and jurmaine
    Beasley besler gonzalez Cameron
    howard

    if up to me my observations tell me to go
    aaron clint
    bedoya Bradley Donovan
    Castillo gonzalez brooks goodson
    guzan

    I too would sit jozy.

  4. outlawsoccer - Sep 6, 2013 at 12:44 PM

    and I like sach kljestan and his form right now like goodson, left off the roster all together

    zusi and clint have not yet shown me form
    Fabian and jones have proven not up to the task lately.

    bedoya has been unstoppable the work rate so has
    Castillo, goodson in the gold cup, brooks in bosnia
    pretty solid,
    the strategy is the biggie here.

  5. outlawsoccer - Sep 6, 2013 at 12:50 PM

    Scenario 1,
    play for one point the tie. be defensive
    use five defenders don’t bring Bradley forward
    sub in the last 30 minutes brooks Beckerman Castillo
    no reason to start jozy here. yellow card plus injury
    eddie cant look fresh for 90, so id go with the young guy to totally throw
    costa rica off their game plan any strategy they had is out the window immediately
    when we announce aaron is the forward. and since were playing for a zero to zero tie who cares.

    Scenario 2,
    play to win, go all out early, use jozy and eddie up front to try to out run the defense
    use clint and landon to dish.
    put Bradley in a position where he is ok to move forward!!!!!
    use five defenders, meaning Fabian and Beasley on the left
    jurmain and Cameron on the right with gonzo in the mid.
    and it may mean no jurmain as besler is the other defender.
    I still think in this scenario he sits jozy, I just don’t see why we play
    him in this situation
    1) we are more likely historically to beat mexico at home in the US than CR on the road that’s huge.
    2) with all the yellow cards why not just sit the most important guys save em for mexico, including
    Bradley jozy etc. and go for the tie, its possible we can get a tie or better with our B team. given
    the explosive offensive capability and the fact that CR cant sit back at home now they have
    to take chances.

  6. outlawsoccer - Sep 6, 2013 at 12:58 PM

    klinsmann may have determined the opposite
    we are more likely to beat costa rica than mexico,
    if that is his idea based on the fact that lets face it
    mexico is a better team no matter where the game is played.
    losing to costa rica really puts pressure on the mexido game
    and it may come with fewer starters due to the collection of an
    additional yellow card.
    the logistics of all this mean to me we go conservative use
    all the most defensive guys and save the yellow card dudes
    to try to stop mexico at home here with at least a tie.
    in fact a tie in both games works out well. squander the talent
    on a risky victory in costa rica, or save everyone go conservative
    play for a tie in costa rica and with all the good guys preserved
    try for a result at home, in the mexico game.
    where we have been far more likely to get points than on the road in CR
    where we have no wins seven losses and a tie.
    why be so bold and aggressive ????
    that case can be made given the last 2 games should be pretty easy
    though ones on the road Jamaica and one at home its a huge drop off
    in challenge versus costa rica mexico that’s for sure.

  7. konmtu - Sep 6, 2013 at 1:57 PM

    Will be:
    Johannsson
    F. Johnson – Dempsey – Donovan
    Bradley – Jones
    Beasely – Omar – Besler – Cameron
    Howard

    Because Klinsi loves him some Jermane Jones. And German-Americans.

    SHOULD be:
    Johannson
    Zusi – Dempsey – Donovan
    Bradley – Cameron
    Beasley – Omar – Besler – Parkhurst
    Howard

    RunDMB by default. Omar and Besler are no-brainers (although Brooks in place of Omar wouldn’t be horrible IMHO.) Parkhurst by default because I prefer Cameron in the holding mid position. Cameron holding allows Bradley to be the metronome and keeps him from having to take rash measures on defense possibly saving a yellow. I know Donovan and Zusi usually play out right, but Zusi provides the best service, and Donovan is too dangerous and in-form to sit. Plus, they’d flip-flop all night. I’d let Jozy rest a few more days and let the blonde Kevin Bacon wear out the center backs of the Ticos with Dempsey supporting and bring EJ in at the hour mark to poach on the work Johannsson did to tire their defense. IF (big if) the game is in hand, bring in Beckerman for Bradley if he hasn’t gotten a yellow, yet. And maybe Jones for Cameron for the same reason.

  8. hildezero - Sep 6, 2013 at 2:09 PM

    This is my lineup: 4-2-3-1

    ——————EJ———————
    ————LD Zusi Deuce———–
    ————Jones Bradley————
    -Fabian Gonzo Besler Cameron-
    —————-Howard—————–

    It’s a big possibility we might see this formation and lineup against Costa Rica.

  9. boscoesworld - Sep 6, 2013 at 4:38 PM

    I really have to wonder is some of the posters have actually seen Fabian Johnson play lately? He at least on this team is by far the most active and creative wide midfielder. Even if he at LB he screams up that wing and provides quality service. Seriously scratching my head because the same people favor Eddie Johnson to start!! Ouch. A couple lucky in the right place at the right time goals does not a legend make.

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