YA LINEUP PREDICTION VS. T&T
MATHEW WAGNER - Tuesday, September 6, 2016
I hate to be the harbinger of bad news, ladies and gentlemen, but Michael Orozco will start for the US men's national team in Jacksonville.
Yes, this will not be a popular decision, but Deandre Yedlin's suspension and Matt Besler leaving to meet his daughter whose birth he missed while scoring his first-ever goal for the U.S. means coach Jürgen Klinsmann has issues with his back four.
Unless Klinsmann wants to have a completely new center back pairing for the final match of this round of qualifying (not likely), that takes Geoff Cameron out of contention for right back. Based on the roster, that leaves just two options to play at right back - Orozco and Fabian Johnson.
While Johnson is serviceable at that position and could possibly be replaced by a certain Christian Pulisic on the left side of the midfield, Klinsmann seems averse to starting the young wunderkind. It's hard to see the German coach giving Pulisic that chance against Trinidad and Tobago with first place in the group on the line.
So, basically, Orozco will be the guy at right back. (God help us all.)
As for who will slot beside Cameron in central defense, Omar Gonzalez has played well since making the move south of the border to Liga MX. So, he should get the nod over Steve Birnbaum, and Kellyn Acosta should round out the group in front of Tim Howard.
In the midfield, captain Michael Bradley will slot in the center, but who will come off for him? It could be Graham Zusi, shifting Alejandro Bedoya out on the right flank to make room for Bradley. Another option could be removing Kyle Beckerman from the center of the park and allow Bedoya and Bradley to act as two-way midfielders in a double pivot.
Considering how much Klinsmann loves to deploy Beckerman as a defensive midfielder under Bradley, though, it's more likely Zusi will return to the bench after his start against St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The striker pairing is a case of don't fix something that isn't broke. Both Jozy Altidore and Bobby are so hot at the club level, and both got on the scoresheet on Friday. So, even if we're talking about Klinsmann, he won't mess with that pairing.
While the fans might want to see Klinsmann play some of the younger guys because only a loss of epic portions could see the U.S. not advance to the Hexagonal, he's going to play it safe and stick with some of his usual trustworthy guys.
Predicted lineup (4-4-2):
GK: Tim Howard
RB: Michael Orozco; CB: Geoff Cameron; CB: Omar Gonzalez; LB: Kellyn Acosta
RM: Alejandro Bedoya; DM: Kyle Beckerman; CM: Michael Bradley; LM: Fabian Johnson
ST: Jozy Altidore; ST: Bobby Wood