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New U.S. midfield pairing gets test
May 28th, 2013 6:59PM

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TAGS:  belgium, men's national team

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[USA-BELGIUM] With Michael Bradley just arriving in camp following the conclusion of his first season at Roma and Maurice Edu injured, Jurgen Klinsmann will go with a new tandem in central midfield -- Jermaine Jones and Sacha Kljestan -- for Wednesday's friendly against Belgium in Cleveland (TV: ESPN, UniMas, 8 pm ET). Otherwise, the U.S. lineup will likely be close to what Klinsmann would consider his best XI.

Bradley teamed with Edu in central midfield for the 0-0 tie with Mexico on March 26. Jones had started with Bradley in the 1-0 win over Costa Rica but returned to Germany after the game with a deep gash in his leg.

The little playing time Kljestan, who has won back-to-back Belgian league titles with Anderlecht, has gotten under Klinsmann has mostly been on the outside.

Corey Ashe and Edu withdrew from the series of five games because of injuries, while Brek Shea headed to Dallas for treatment on his right calf strain. Five other players are unavailable because of recent or ongoing club commitments, leaving Klinsmann with just 17 field players for Wednesday's game.

Tim Howard should return in goal after missing the March qualifiers with a back injury. The back four will likely be the same that started in the Costa Rica snowstorm game -- Geoff Cameron and DaMarcus Beasley on the outside and Omar Gonzalez and Clarence Goodson in the middle -- while the front four that started the Costa Rica and Mexico games -- Graham Zusi, Herculez Gomez, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore -- were working together at practice on Tuesday.

Bradley played for Roma in its 1-0 loss to Lazio in the Coppa Italia final on Sunday. Also out are Edgar Castillo and Joe Corona, who are with Tijuana, which plays at Atletico Mineiro Thursday in the Libertadores Cup quarterfinals. Fabian Johnson started for Hoffenheim in Monday's 2-1 win over Kaiserslautern that gave it a 5-2 aggregate win in their German promotion/relegation playoff, while Danny Williams, who has not played for Hoffenheim since March, is also not listed on the U.S. roster for the Belgium game.

Besides Bradley for Kljestan, only Johnson would be considered a possible starter for the three upcoming qualifiers, at left back, the left side of midfield, where he has been playing for Hoffenheim, or even at right back.

Belgium will be at close to full strength of Wednesday's game. Goalie Thibaut Courtois' season with Atletico Madrid is not finished, while Chelsea star Eden Hazard is injured and Axel Witsel (Zenit St. Petersburg) remained in Europe.

Red Devils captain Vincent Kompany, who has a slight knee injury, participated at training on Tuesday and is expected to start in the middle of the backline with Arsenal's Thomas Vermaelen in front of Sunderland keeper Simon Mignolet.

The USA plays Germany Sunday at RFK Stadium in U.S. Soccer's centennial match before heading into a series of three Hexagonal matches over 12 days, while Belgium hosts Serbia June 7 in a key World Cup 2014 qualifier.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire),
DEFENDERS (6): DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Parkhurst (Augsburg)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Stuart Holden (Bolton Wanderers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC)
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (AZ), Terrence Boyd (Rapid Vienna), Clint Dempsey (Tottenham), Herculez Gomez (Santos), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders)

Belgium Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jean-Francois Gillet (Torino), Simon Mignolet (Sunderland), Thomas Kaminski (Anderlecht).
DEFENDERS (7):  Toby Alderweireld (Ajax), Laurent Ciman (Standard Liege), Guillaume Gillet (Anderlecht), Vincent Kompany (Man. City), Sebastien Pocognoli (Hannover 96), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham)
MIDFIELDERS (5): Steven Defour (Porto), Moussa Dembele (Tottenham), Marouane Fellaini (Everton), Thorgan Hazard (Zulte-Waregem), Timmy Simons (Nuremberg).
FORWARDS (7): Christian Benteke (Aston Villa), Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen), Maxime Lestienne (Club Brugge), Romelu Lukaku (West Bromwich), Dries Mertens (PSV), Kevin Mirallas (Everton), Jelle Vossen (Genk).



5 comments
  1. Brent Crossland
    commented on: May 29, 2013 at 7:48 a.m.
    Jermaine Jones continues to be a ticking bomb in any game he plays. You just never know when he is going to give away a dangerous free kick or put you down a man.

  1. Carlos Arzabe
    commented on: May 29, 2013 at 8:32 a.m.
    Kompany doesn't play for the Red Devils. He's the Captain for Manchester City (the Blues).

  1. Phil Love
    commented on: May 29, 2013 at 8:39 a.m.
    Red Devils is also the nickname for the Belgian national team.

  1. Barry Thomas
    commented on: May 29, 2013 at 12:29 p.m.
    Given the attacking strength of the Belgians, I'm more than a little concerned for our defenders!

  1. Gary Guehler
    commented on: May 29, 2013 at 1:14 p.m.
    Over/under on how quick Jones picks up his first yellow - or O/U if he gets 2 yellows or a straight red? Don't understand the attraction, other than he plays hard/dirty. Going to be Team USA's downfall sometime.


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