BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, June 17, 2013
Jurgen Klinsmann has tough decisions to make when deciding his starting lineup against Honduras.
In the backline, DaMarcus Beasley has been starting at left back the last four qualifiers but the three-time World Cub veteran in suspended. The options here are either going with Edgar Castillo who had a solid year with Tijuana or moving Fabian Johnson to left back.
There are drawbacks with each decision. Castillo is yet to put in a strong outing for the U.S team and Johnson has excelled in the midfield where he has been an enormous boost to the team's offense.
At right back Brad Evans has proven to be vulnerable in one-on-one defending. Filling in for Timmy Chandler and Steve Chrundolo, Evans has been uneven playing out of position at right back. If Klinsmann does not want to take a chance with Evans, Geoff Cameron at right back is the only other potential option.
In central defense, Matt Besler has been playing terrific soccer but Omar Gonzalez continues to suffer mental lapses that result in scoring chances for the opposing teams. While he has improved the potential option is to go with Cameron who was stellar against Panama in central defensive midfield. Cameron is naturally a central defender so it is very likely his success against Panama could continue against Honduras if he moves to his best position.
In midfield, more questions arise with the return of Graham Zusi from suspension and the potential return of Jermaine Jones from a concussion. If Klinsmann elects to move Fabian Johnson to left back for Beasley, it's pretty clear that Zusi and Eddie Johnson will start on the wings. If Fabian Johnson stays in the midfield, either Zusi or Eddie Johnson will start at right.
In central midfield, Michael Bradley is rock solid starter and he will start either alongside Jones or Cameron depending on whether Cameron is moved to right back or central defense.
Either way, it is a competitive battle to earn a space in the US team's starting eleven right now and that is what Klinsmann has said he has wanted from day one.
It's impossible to say what he will do but here is one potential starting lineup in a 4-2-3-1 that takes advantage of players currently playing well.
GK: Tim Howard
RB: Brad Evans
CB: Geoff Cameron
CB: Matt Besler
LB: Edgar Castillo
CM: Michael Bradley
CM: Jermaine Jones
RW: Graham Zusi
CAM: Clint Dempsey
LW: Fabian Johnson
FW: Jozy Altidore