Before Friday night, the outcome of Tuesday's match at Honduras did not matter as long as the USA took care of business against Costa Rica. That didn't happen, and the USA is suddenly up against the
wall. It could drop to fifth place in the Hexagonal with a loss. 1. How many lineup changes will Arena make?
Head coach Bruce Arena
made seven lineup changes from the team that beat Trinidad & Tobago, 2-0, to the team that tied Mexico, 1-1, at Azteca Stadium. A couple of factors played into
his decision -- a day less of recovery necessitated by Mexico's participation in the Confederations Cup in Russia and the altitude in Mexico City.
A couple of different factors will play
into how changes Arena makes on Tuesday:
-- The season is just starting for his European-based players, Geoff Cameron
, Eric Lichaj
and Tim Ream
from England and
, Christian Pulisic
and Fabian Johnson
from Germany -- and his two Mexican-based players, Omar Gonzalez
and Jorge Villafana
, have been in and out of the
lineup at their clubs since returning from the Gold Cup.
-- San Pedro Sula -- at least in the afternoon -- is one of the most difficult places to play. The USA was almost perfect in Honduras
until the Catrachos moved their key home games to the afternoon
in San Pedro Sula
Those changes on Tuesday could include:
-- Brad Guzan
for Tim Howard
-- Matt Besler
-- DaMarcus Beasley
-- Kellyn Acosta
-- Paul Arriola
or Alejandro Bedoya
Guzan, Besler, Beasley, Acosta and Arriola all started in
Mexico City after not starting in Colorado.
2. Who will replace Jozy Altidore?
The one lineup change we
know for sure: Arena must replace Jozy Altidore
, suspended after picking up his second yellow card of qualifying late in the game.
Wood -- good in open spaces on the counterattack
-- would be the obvious choice, but he played the entire 90 minutes on Friday. With just two Bundesliga games in his legs, it's hard to imagine Wood starting or going 90 minutes again.
But Arena could combine Wood and Jordan Morris
to get 90 minutes out of them and save Clint Dempsey
in reserve like he has done for the last three U.S. games.
there's always Chris Wondolowski
, who didn't dress on Friday but was in the squad for the very circumstances that took place: an Altidore suspension. Wouldn't it be crazy if Wondo ended up
playing a role in deciding the game? USA-Honduras: Yes, USA has long history of success in Honduras 3. Where will Christian Pulisic play?
After starting in the middle against Honduras and Trinidad & Tobago, Pulisic was moved to the right wing
for the third home qualifier of Arena's reign and Darlington Nagbe
played in the central attacking role against Costa Rica.
Pulisic was targeted by the Ticos and
not much of a factor after a few every runs. If Arena returns to two in central midfield with Michael Bradley
and Acosta, Pulisic could move back into the middle pushed up as the second
attacker behind Wood or Morris. U.S. Roster: GOALKEEPERS (3):
Brad Guzan (Atlanta United; 14/0), Tim Howard
(Colorado Rapids; 37/0), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake; 0/0). DEFENDERS (9):
DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo; 34/6), Matt Besler (Sporting KC; 11/1), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG; 23/2),
Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca/MEX; 15/0), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas; 0/0), Eric Lichaj (Nott. Forest/ENG; 0/0), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 6/0), Jorge Villafana (Santos/MEX; 4/0), Graham Zusi (Sporting KC; 19/3). MIDFIELDERS (9):
Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas; 4/0), Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 4/1), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union; 9/0), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC; 36/7), Fabian Johnson (Borussia
M'Gladbach/GER; 17/1), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire; 0/0), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers; 8/0), Christian Pulisic (Bor. Dortmund/GER; 10/5), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders; 0/0).
Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders; 40/18), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders; 4/0), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes; 0/0), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 11/4). Note:
Caps and goals in World Cup qualifying in parentheses.