Mexico City, Mexico – It’s match day in Mexico and U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann has some decisions to make. In fact, Klinsmann has likely made those lineup choices by now. This series is full of plot lines, from the often heated mood of these games, to Mexican- Americans playing for the U.S. team, as well as the increasing presence of Americans playing in the Mexican league.
Klinsmann will have to replace Jermaine Jones and he will have to decide on a strategy to contain the dangerous Mexican attack. Javier Hernandez, “Chicharito,” gets all the attention and he deserves it. The Manchester United forward is a poacher supreme. His movement baffles defenses, and then from nowhere a half chance is in the net. Hernandez is well provided for on this Mexican side. Wingers Andres Guardado and Javier Aquino can tear open a defense and attacking midfielder Giovani Dos Santos can cause havoc, as the U.S well know.
The Americans have just one win ever in Azteca, a friendly last August. The goal scorer that day, Michael Orozco Fiscal, a Mexican-American who plays his club soccer for Puebla with DaMarcus Beasley, has been added to the U.S. roster to replace Jermaine Jones. The Americans are 0-13-1 in World Cup Qualifiers in Mexico, yet they might have a chance tonight.
Mexico have two draws from two WCQ’s so far and El Tri had to settle for a 0-0 tie against Jamaica at Azteca in the Hex opener. The Yanks are feeling good coming off that crazy snow game in Colorado, so who will Klinsmann pick as the U.S. attempt to make history tonight?
At yesterday’s press conference, Klinsmann said that he wouldn’t make many changes and he expressed confidence that his center backs, unnamed, could handle Chicharito. Brave words, but If Klinsmann leaves his back line intact, he will have to give them some help. Michael Bradley or Maurice Edu can play the number six role in front of the back four. Kyle Beckerman could also possibly play the role. The injured Danny Williams has played there for the most for the Americans. I think Klinsmann will play Edu in the role. Edu played center back in the Azteca win in August, so he could line up at the six to keep an eye on “the little pea.”
The other mids will have to help out with those dangerous Mexican wingers, so the U.S. may find it hard to get forward. Bradley will play of course. Sacha Kljestan, Graham Zusi, Eddie Johnson and Joe Corona will be up for the other spot with Clint Dempsey possibly playing at the top of a midfield diamond.
Jozy Altidore and Herculez Gomez would be up front, with Gomez called on once again to do his iron man thing, meaning cover acres of ground while still providing an offensive threat. Dempsey will also be asked to do a lot in a hybrid midfield/forward role.
The altitude will only add to the task, but Jamaica showed that it can be done and last August will give the visitors some belief. The bench will have a role to play also. Importantly for the U.S., Friday’s win in Colorado takes the pressure off, putting it squarely on Mexico’s shoulders. A tie would do wonders for the U.S., a win would be historic and a loss wouldn’t be the end of the world.
With all of that in mind here is the GotSoccer projected U.S. lineup for tonight.
- Brad Guzan
- Geoff Cameron
- Omar Gonzalez
- Clarence Goodson
- DaMarcus Beasley
- Maurice Edu
- Michael Bradley
- Sacha Kljestan
- Clint Dempsey
- Herculez Gomez
- Jozy Altidore
U.S. ROSTER BY POSITION (World Cup Qualifying Caps/Goals)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa – 6/4 SO), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire – 0/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake – 0/0)
DEFENDERS (6): Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake – 0/0), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City – 0/0), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City – 7/0), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy – 2/0), Clarence Goodson (Brondby – 6/0), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes – 0/0)
MIDFIELDERS (9): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla – 27/6), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake – 3/0), Michael Bradley (Roma – 21/5), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana – 1/0), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo – 0/0), Maurice Edu (Bursaspor – 11/0), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht – 13/0), Brek Shea (Stoke City – 2/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City – 5/0)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar – 19/6), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna – 2/0), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham Hotspur – 28/12), Herculez Gomez (Santos – 7/2), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders FC – 13/10)
Michael Orozco Fiscal, Puebla/on loan from San Luis, has been added to replace the injured Jermaine Jones.