How USA Will Line Up Against Ukraine
The United States men's national team takes on Ukraine on Wednesday in an international friendly, the last such game most of the USMNT's European players will be a part of prior to the U.S. opening up its World Cup camp in May.
The game kicks off at 2 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN2, WatchESPN and UniMas.
Here is how the U.S. is likely to line up.
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard
At this point and time, there's no need to mess around with the goalkeeper position. Tim Howard is the U.S.'s first-choice goalkeeper and will get the nod.
Right-Back: Geoff Cameron
The U.S. has been struggling over the past year to find a regular right-back while, at the same time, Geoff Cameron has been a regular at the position at the club level. Klinsmann prefers Cameron in the middle, but the coach is likely coming to the realization that Cameron is the best man the U.S. has for the job.
Center-Back: John Anthony Brooks
John Anthony Brooks hasn't had the best season at the club level, suffering through injuries, public criticism from his coach and poor form. But the fourth center-back slot for the U.S. is still undetermined and Klinsmann needs to take one last look at the big German-American before the World Cup training camp opens in May. This may be Brooks' final chance.
Center-Back: Oguchi Onyewu
It's been awhile since Oguchi Onyewu's name has been brought up with the USMNT. But a series of strong performances in the English Championship since his move to Sheffield Wednesday have brought him back into the mix. Clarence Goodson still has the inside track at the fourth center-back spot for the U.S. World Cup roster, but Gooch, along with Brooks, will have this game to stake their respective claims.
Left-Back: Fabian Johnson
Funny as it might be, the decision over who starts at left-back will likely have a lot to do with what Klinsmann does at the forward position. With five eligible forwards on the roster, and many of them fighting for a roster spot on the World Cup team, it seems unlikely Klinsmann will stick with the 4-2-3-1 formation he has used over the past year. In order to look at his forwards, the coach is more likely to go back to the 4-1-3-2 the U.S. used in the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying.
That could force Clint Dempsey to the left mid position which would, in turn, force Fabian Johnson into the left-back position. Johnson is more than capable in the back, despite the fact that Klinsmann has shown a preference to using him in the midfield. Of course, Johnson's last three games in the Bundesliga have been at right-back, so Klinsmann could throw everyone a curveball and play him there instead.
Holding Midfielder: Jermaine Jones
Any USMNT fans still hoping that Klinsmann drops Jermaine Jones from the starting lineup in favor of Geoff Cameron or Mix Diskerud, shouldn't get their hopes up. Just this week, Klinsmann named Jones specifically as part of the U.S.'s spine.
Against Ukraine, especially with Michael Bradley missing, Jones is in the first XI.
Center Midfielder: Sacha Kljestan
It seems odd that the U.S. would be in a position to leave a Champions League midfielder off its roster, but that's exactly the position it finds itself in with Sacha Kljestan. Bradley, Jones, Diskerud and Beckerman seem to be the four consensus choices right now at midfield for the U.S. World Cup roster.
With Diskerud, Bradley and Beckerman not a part of this roster, Kljestan will get the chance to put himself back in the mix, but will need an impressive display to do so.
Left Midfielder: Clint Dempsey
As discussed earlier, Klinsmann has so many options at forward that he may be forced to abandon his 4-2-3-1 and go with a more traditional two-striker set. As such, Clint Dempsey may be forced out to the wing.
That may not be such a bad thing, as Dempsey's poor form, combined with Landon Donovan's recent strong showings, mean that Dempsey maybe eventually be forced wide anyways. Dempsey has plenty of experience at the position for both the U.S. and his clubs.
Right Midfielder: Alejandro Bedoya
Alejandro Bedoya's recent performances with the U.S. have left much to be desired, but there's no doubt that he's become a Klinsmann favorite. He's also receiving regular playing time with Nantes and there's little doubt he'll be in the starting lineup against Ukraine.
Forward: Aron Johannsson
With 22 goals in all competitions, there's little doubt that Aron Johannsson is one of the hottest USMNT players in Europe right now. It seems a no-brainer that Klinsmann will put him in the starting lineup.
Forward: Jozy Altidore
His form at Sunderland this season certainly has left plenty to be desired, but Klinsmann recently named Jozy Altidore as part of the U.S.'s spine. Hopefully Altidore will be able to use this opportunity to have a good showing and at least stay confident that he can get the job done for the U.S.
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