How USMNT Will Line Up Against Jamaica
For the second time in 13 months, the United States men's national team will welcome Jamaica to the midwestern part of the country.
The last time the two teams met on American soil in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying was during the third round of qualifying back on September 11, 2012, in Columbus, a match where the Yanks won, 1-0.
A lot has changed since the Jamaicans and their bleak 2014 FIFA World Cup intentions traveled north to the States.
With two matches left in the Hex, the United States have already punched their ticket to Brazil while the Reggae Boyz, who have earned just four points from eight matches, are close to being eliminated from advancing to the World Cup.
Close to nothing, except for pride and positioning in the Hex, will be on the line when the two nations square off at Sporting Park in Kansas City on Friday night.
The Yanks roster looks a bit different because of a few crucial injuries, but manager Jurgen Klinsmann will still be able to put out a strong side on Friday.
Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Fabian Johnson and John Anthony Brooks were all unavailable due to injury— Stars and Stripes FC (@StarsStripesFC) October 6, 2013
Here is a look at the best 11 that Klinsmann could put out on the pitch against the lowly Jamaicans.
GK: Tim Howard
Who Should Start in Goal for the Yanks?
While all of the attention surrounding American goalkeeping at the moment is fully focused on Brad Guzan, the man who has manned the area between the pipes for quite some time is having a great start to his season in England as well.
Everton shot-stopper Tim Howard has led the Toffees to seventh place in the English Premier League table after seven matches, and in the process of recording three clean sheets already, Howard has erased the doubts that were around him after last season.
Guzan may get a chance to start in goal in the coming months, but for the time being, Howard is still the top choice in goal for Klinsmann.
Defense: Geoff Cameron (RB); Matt Besler (CB); Michael Orozco Fiscal (CB); DaMarcus Beasley (LB)
For most of the Hex, the back four has provided American fans with plenty of questions about their ability to consistently play at a high level.
While those questions still remain, they will not be answered in the final two matches of the Hex.
At right-back, the best option at the moment is Stoke City's Geoff Cameron, who has made seven starts at the position for the Potters in the early EPL season.
Brad Evans, he of match-winning goal fame in Jamaica in June, will be the backup option to Cameron, who is expected to earn his 21st cap on Friday, if anything happens to the defender.
The biggest shakeup in defense comes at center back as Omar Gonzalez has withdrawn from the squad with an injury.
Matt Besler is a guarantee to start in front of his home fans, but who he will be paired with is much less of a guarantee.
The most reasonable option for Klinsmann on Friday is to play Michael Orozco Fiscal alongside Besler.
Cameron would be the second option here, but he has not played the position on a consistent basis in quite some time.
At left-back, DaMarcus Beasley is expected to continue his string of appearances at the position given the absence of Fabian Johnson in the squad.
Defensive Midfield: Kyle Beckerman; Jermaine Jones
The biggest omission from the American roster for the next two matches is Michael Bradley.
Against Costa Rica on September 6, Bradley's absence was felt in more ways than one.
The next two matches will be a huge stress test for the Yanks to see how they will play without Bradley, who injured himself before the Costa Rica match.
Klinsmann favorite Kyle Beckerman should be handed a start alongside Jermaine Jones, who needs to clean up his propensity for receiving yellow cards before the Yanks take on bigger competition next summer.
The in-form Sacha Kljestan or Mix Diskerud will probably see some time as a substitute in defensive midfield on Friday so Klinsmann can see what he has in the reserves.
Attacking Midfield: Landon Donovan (LM); Graham Zusi (RM); Mix Diskerud (CAM)
With Clint Dempsey out of the squad due to injury and Klinsmann looking to earn a full three points in Kansas City, starting the trio of Landon Donovan, Graham Zusi and Mix Diskerud makes the most sense.
All three players have played well in recent months for the Yanks, and they should be able to find a way to work together against a feeble Jamaican squad.
Expect Donovan to begin the match on the left of the midfield, but as we all know from experience, he works best when he freelances across the midfield.
With Eddie Johnson dropping out of the squad on Thursday, Diskerud should be in line for a deserved start in the center of the attacking trio.
Per a US Soccer release, Eddie Johnson out with left groin strain. Wondolowski, Goodson, and Brad Davis added to roster. #usmnt— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) October 10, 2013
The 23-year-old made a significant impact at the CONCACAF Gold Cup in the midfield, and Klinsmann is beginning to trust the Rosenborg player more with every appearance he makes.
One player that could get an unexpected start on the wing is Alejandro Bedoya, who is quietly performing well in Ligue 1 with Nantes.
Forward: Jozy Altidore
Say what you want about the club form of Jozy Altidore, but he still is the hot hand in the international level at the forward position.
Who Should Klinsmann Start at Forward?
Altidore is one of four players who have scored three goals in the Hex, and although he has found a rough patch of form at Sunderland, he should still be able to produce for the Yanks, especially with an attacking trio of Donovan, Zusi and Johnson providing him service.
It would not be a complete and total shock if Klinsmann boldly decides to start Aron Johannsson over Altidore, but the German manager should not try to wreck the confidence of Altidore by benching him.
Who do you think should start on Friday against Jamaica?
Comment below or leave me a comment on Twitter, @JTansey90.
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