[USA-AZERBAIJAN] Jurgen Klinsmann says he expects the lineup that he starts against Azerbaijan on Tuesday night at San Francisco's Candlestick Park will be close to the starting lineup for the opening game of the World Cup June 16 against Ghana.
Just how long the starting XI stays on the field remains to be seen. Klinsmann said he expected to use all six available subs as his players may have heavy legs after the 12-day training camp at Stanford University.
He did caution that he might experiment with the backline throughout the send-off series, but he said the goal is to use same four players for the three group games in Brazil.
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The backline has been the biggest area of speculation as the national team went through the 12-day training camp at Stanford University. He has used multiple players at right back and left back during his tenure and then named three defenders -- Timmy Chandler, John Brooks and DeAndre Yedlin -- to his 23-player World Cup squad who played a combined one game in qualifying.
“Hopefully, once we’re in Brazil and we have that first game, we’ll have the backline doing well and being consistent,” Klinsmann said. “In those three sendoff games, [we will experiment] because they are very, very tight for those spots and we want to give them exposure and time. So we will definitely make some changes to give them a chance to prove a point."
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At Monday evening's public practice at Candlestick, Fabian Johnson was working at right back and DaMarcus Beasley was at left back as they drilled with the U.S. attack, while Yedlin and Chandler worked with the four center backs and two holding midfielders. That would seem to indicate Klinsmann has settled on Johnson at right back, and the left back is toss-up between Beasley, the incumbent, and Chandler, who hasn't played for the USA in 16 months.
“With all of them in here," added Klinsmann, "we are actually very positive on this whole process."