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Who should start for US national team vs. Mexico?

Sep 9, 2013, 2:35 PM EDT

FBL - WC2014 - QUALIFIER - USA - HON Getty Images

Following the loss of Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron, Michael Bradley and Matt Besler, the US national team have some serious revamping to attend to before Mexico arrive in Columbus on Tuesday.

The crucial CONCACAF World Cup qualifier sees Jurgen Klinsmann forced to reshuffle his pack as Altidore, Cameron and Besler are suspended, while Bradley misses out with an ankle injury.

(MORE: USA wary of Mexico backlash following managerial turmoil)

One thing for sure is that Klinsmann has plenty of options against a fired up El Tri. So let’s try and guess which type of lineup he will go with to try and seal qualification in Columbus.

The tried and tested

With Geoff Cameron missing and Michael Orozco failing to impress at right back, it’s time to go with the experienced members of the US squad against Mexico. Michael Parkhurst could come in at right back, with Clarence Goodson at central defense and Kyle Beckerman in a holding midfield role. Those three players would add a reliability that was lacking in San Jose on Friday night and the USA’s defense would certainly be more stable and organized. However there could be a big issue in terms of lack of pace as Mexico favor a counter-attacking style in Columbus. All three aren’t going to set the world alight but you know exactly what you’re going to get. The safest option for Klinsmann but is it to cautious to deploy at home WC qualifier?

source: Getty Images

Should Joe Corona and the USMNT’s other youngsters get a shot against Mexico?

Youngsters to make a name for themselves

Ah, the young pretenders. Is this really the right environment to chuck in players that aren’t used to the hustle and bustle of a World Cup qualifier vs. Mexico? Maybe not. But why not surprise Mexico and start with Aron Johannsson up front and then play the likes of Mix Diskerrud, Joe Corona and Jose Torres in a three-man midfield. Most people would say you’re crazy for suggesting that, but those three midfielders played together at the Gold Cup in variations of that formation and proved to be a good solid unit. As for Johannsson, why not give him a chance from the start? With Jozy Altidore out the US should either go with Eddie Johnson or AZ striker Johannsson. We all know how good EJ is coming off the bench, so start with the Icelandic-American forward, see how he does and bring on EJ to grab the game-winner late on. Simple.

All-out attack, going for the win

The riskiest strategy for the US national team and one that I can’t see Klinsmann going for, but I’m gonna throw it out there anyway. How about starting with Eddie Johnson and Johannsson up front, with Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Graham Zusi all behind them and Jermaine Jones as the lone holding midfielder. This seriously attack minded 4-1-3-2 formation would scare the life out of Mexico and if the US score early with this approach they could sit back and defend their lead quite comfortably against a goal-shy Mexico side. You could counter balance the extreme attacking nature of this lineup with a backline of Parkhurst, Gonzalez, Goodson and Johnson and it should be fine. A risky option but who says Zusi, Donovan and Dempsey won’t track back to fight for the cause? They are all capable of putting in a two-way shift and also delivering moments of attacking panache that can win the game for the US and ultimately seal qualification to Brazil 2014. This gun-ho approach may work the best on Tuesday in Columbus.

  1. geojock - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:09 PM

    Wasnt it a group of several youngsters who did well in our trip to Mexico?

  2. braxtonrob - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:23 PM

    Wow Joe, you have no idea what you’re talking about.

    Why not put in 10 strikers with your goalie, idiotic.
    You suggest such a ridiculous lineup, it doesn’t even require further comment.

    P.s. Jones has to go, he’s definitely not good enough. Oh, and if we don’t replace Howard, the best we can hope for are draws.

    • Joe Prince-Wright - Sep 9, 2013 at 3:35 PM

      Why should the US be scared of losing?

      With Mexico vulnerable a good start for the US is crucial, and an attacking approach would reap the benefits in my opinion.

      Not a fan of an ultra-defensive approach at home in a WC qualifier.

      As a former player, nothing frustrated me more than playing in a team that was scared of the opposition and altering the team accordingly.

      Good point on Howard. Really wondering if losing Chris Woods as goalkeeping coach at Everton is affecting him.

      • braxtonrob - Sep 10, 2013 at 1:29 PM

        You’re right about attacking at home, and not having too defensive a lineup, but I feel a lot more secure with a very carefully selected backline and defensive midfield. In my opinion, players like Bradley, Feilhaber, Fabian Johnson do BOTH well, and therefore are essential to having a legitimately strong side.

  3. geojock - Sep 9, 2013 at 4:01 PM

    I hate they yellow card accumulation. It seems like the smart thing to do would have been to take an intentional yellow before a less critical match. I could see JK telling his team that after the 90 min take off your jersey and run around like a chicken with your head cut off and see if you can draw a yellow.

  4. mrstev - Sep 9, 2013 at 4:59 PM

    Totally agree with JP-W. Would love to see an attacking formation like that.

    I just hope Klinsy doesn’t keep trying to force people into positions they aren’t used to playing. If that means putting Parkhurst on the right because he’s next on the depth chart, then so be it. But quit trying to shove other guys out there that don’t fit.

  5. - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:07 PM

    I still can’t believe Jozy wont be playing because of that silly foul..I just dont understand what goes on in jozy’s head sometimes.

  6. awhayes - Sep 9, 2013 at 5:18 PM

    This should be the lineup:
    Def – Parkhurst, Gonzalez, Orozco, Beasley
    Mid – Donovan (right), Jones (holding), Diskerud (linking), F Johnson (left)
    For – Johannsson, Dempsey

    Johannson could be a great guy to put in there as Mexico hasn’t experienced playing against him. Bring Zusi and Corona off the bench if things get slow and we need some crosses/creativity. Start Orozco over Goodson because he would be more familiar with the Mexican style of play because he plays in the Mexican league.

  7. tariencole - Sep 9, 2013 at 6:11 PM

    I actually don’t mind the all-out-attack lineup. But I’d put Beckerman in the holding role, and keep Fabian Johnson at the LM, with EJ off the bench. You want a stay-at-home MF in the screening role. Jones has already proven no matter how stern the lecture is about playing the #6, he’s going to charge forward, a lot. I’d also use Parkhurst on the right, as a counter-balance to Beasley on the left. Why? This means you have 3 defenders back at all times, plus the screening midfielder. It allows Beasley to bomb forward outside Fabian Johnson to his heart’s content.

    You keep width to the attack, have two effective crossers in Fabian and Zusi, with Donovan behind them.

    The other issue here is someone needs to have a heart-to-heart with Deuce and get him to play all-out this match. He was entirely too passive when his leadership was needed in CR.

  8. bishopofblunder - Sep 9, 2013 at 9:16 PM

    I am all for the all-out-attack lineup. I prefer being aggressive. But then, my future employment doesn’t hang in the balance.

  9. jshalonzo - Sep 10, 2013 at 10:52 AM

    Start Johannson!!! This kid is ready!!! He needs a full 90, which he can easily give. He’s got a great soccer brain. He has an arsenal of moves to beat defenders on the attack with ease, he’s rarely not in optimal position related to the ball & defenders, and he knows how & when to deliver to his teammates. If he starts, he’ll have numerous chances to get his first goal for the USMNT in the first half alone.

    I don’t want EJ up top!!! I want AJ there!!!
    Now is the time to use our new, and valuable asset!!! Imagine if has the game winner to secure qualification? It would be a great moment for US soccer!

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