The U.S. national team is slim on outside backs at the January being conducted in Carson, California, and it looks like there's a reason. It has been practicing with a 3-5-2 in training camp,
according to Jermaine Jones
, who has been converted to center back on the national team.
The only senior player with experience on the outside in
camp was Brad Evans
and he was injured and left. The only other players listed as defenders on the camp roster are his replacement, Matt Hedges
, and Matt Besler
, Steve Birnbaum
and Perry Kitchen
Outside back is the one position where all the national team's incumbent players are based at foreign clubs: DeAndre Yedlin
(Tottenham), Greg Garza
(Tijuana), Fabian Johnson
(Borussia Moenchengladbach) and Timmy Chandler
(Eintracht Frankfurt). Right back is not Geoff Cameron
's favorite position, but that's where he's playing for Stoke City.
The USA has not played
with three in the back in years. It beat Mexico, 2-0, in the second round of the 2002 World Cup when Bruce Arena
switched to a 3-5-2 for the knockout phase with
joining Eddie Pope
and Tony Sanneh
. The USA opened the 1998
World Cup with a 3-6-1 with Thomas Dooley
, David Regis
Both U.S. archrival Mexico and the
Netherlands played a 3-5-2 with success at the 2014 World Cup.
Jones, the center of the three central defenders in practice, refused to reveal how the seven players in front of the
backline would line up. 3-5-2? 3-4-3?
"You'll see," he said on Tuesday after practice.