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As many as three changes expected in U.S. lineup
by Paul Kennedy, June 17th, 2013 12:29AM

TAGS:  men's national team, world cup 2014


[USA-HONDURAS] Only once since he took over as head coach has Jurgen Klinsmann started the same lineup in consecutive games and it resulted in the USA's first back-to-back wins of the year. But suspensions -- first to Graham Zusi against Panama and DaMarcus Beasley for Tuesday's match with Honduras -- have meant more changes to the U.S. lineup. Despite beating Panama, 2-0, in its most comprehensive performance of World Cup 2014 qualifying, the USA could see as many as three changes in the starting lineup on Tuesday.

-- Zusi should return at right midfield, where Eddie Johnson started in Seattle. This is really a no-brainer. The Sporting Kansas City midfielder had solid games in the wins over Germany and Jamaica, finding Jozy Altidore for goals in both games.

-- Despite Johnson's inexperience on the wing, Klinsmann did say after the Panama lineup he could shift him to the left side of midfield in a double switch that sees Fabian Johnson move back to his original position on the national team at left back vacated by Beasley, whose late yellow card earned him an early summer vacation.

Fabian Johnson's work in midfield, particularly as he cuts into the middle, has quietly solidified the midfield, a problem area throughout Klinsmann's tenure, so he may be kept there against Honduras, whose strength is in its midfield, led by U.S. product and former Sporting Kansas City standout Roger Espinoza.

If Fabian Johnson remains on the left side of midfield, look for Edgar Castillo to finally get a start at left back, becoming the sixth player to start at that position in 12 qualifiers. Castillo had a nightmare at left back in his late stint against Germany, but he was coming off a long trip from Brazil, where he started in Tijuana's Libertadores Cup match three days earlier. He did play better off the bench in Jamaica though he was playing in midfield in that game.

-- The only other question concerns Michael Bradley's partner in midfield.

Starting in place of Jermaine Jones, who was held out of the game with a concussion picked up in Jamaica, Geoff Cameron had a strong game in front of the back four and as cover for Bradley moving forward. The Stoke City player took advantage of the low pressure Panama put in midfield to provide key passes in the buildup to the goals.

Honduras is much stronger in midfield, so look for Jones to return to the starting lineup if he is cleared by doctors.

  1. Alexander Lozano
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 11:01 a.m.
    I'd prefer to see EJ at LM & Fabian Johnson at LB, instead of Castillo at any position! Also, would prefer a combo of Bradley-Cameron at DM but would be fine with Bradley-Jones, too!
  1. Albert Harris
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 12:13 p.m.
    I agree with preferring Cameron to Jones at least for this game. Give the concussion sufferer a break plus I think Cameron is better long term option there anyway. As far as the situation for replacing Beas, either option is OK with me. Lots of hating on Castillo but not sure a double switch and playing both E. and F. Johnson in different positions isn't a more worrying option. Simple is usually better. At least Castillo plays the position regularly. Ah well, this is why we pay Klinsi the big bucks.
  1. Allan Lindh
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 12:17 p.m.
    Concussions need rest, more the better. And to throw Jones back in so soon would be to disregard his safety. Cameron performed well, and should be given another start. After a month or two Jones might be fine.
  1. Chris Sapien
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 2:47 p.m.
    I don't think now is the best time to put a significantly struggling Castillo at a starting LB, whether he plays there with his club or not! Although, Fabian hasn't been very convincing there either to this point.....choose your poison, get beat to the inside (Castillo), or around the outside (Fabian).....Whoever starts there, please stay at home and keep it simple!! Other than that, the midfield pairing, either Cameron or Jones with the General, makes us strong! Regarding, LM, we need both, someone who can vary providing service, and take on defenders 1v1 while staying wide doing so. E. Johnson can fill both needs....when asked.
  1. Aresenal Fan
    commented on: June 17, 2013 at 3:59 p.m.
    USA should stick with Geoff Cameron in the midfield with Bradley for this game, I personally thought he was the best player in the game against panama.

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