By IVES GALARCEP
The U.S. Men’s National Team’s January camp rolls into its final full week of action and Jurgen Klinsmann will need to start thinking about which player he will plan on giving playing time to when the USMNT takes on Canada on Jan. 29th in Houston.
The Americans have a closed-door scrimmage against Club Tijuana’s reserves at Home Depot Center, and while that match should offer some players an opportunity to impress Klinsmann, the training camp itself should ultimately determine who Klinsmann hands starts against the Canadians.
Canada named a young squad for the friendly in Houston, which means the MLS-heavy U.S. team currently in camp won’t be facing the toughest of tests in preparation for the Feb. 6th qualifier against Honduras.
That won’t make the friendly any less important for those players who are considered long shots to make the U.S. qualifying roster that takes on Honduras. Eddie Johnson and Graham Zusi are candidates to start, while Juan Agudelo and Mix Diskerud seem like safe bets as bench options, but beyond those four it is tough to call any of the other players in camp locks to make the trip to San Pedro Sula.
So who will Klinsmann turn to against Canada? Here is a starting lineup we could see take the field at BBVA Compass Stadium:
PROJECTED USMNT lineup vs. Canada
Jurgen Klinsmann could give 45 minutes each to young goalkeepers Sean Johnson and Bill Hamid, but I can see Klinsmann wanting to take a good look at Hall, especially with him playing at home at BBVA Compass Stadium.
Alfredo Morales might be a surprise to some, but he is a talented young player I can see Klinsmann wanting to take a good look at. Steven Beitashour and Tony Beltran are more natural right backs, but Morales is arguably a more intriguing prospect. The real question is whether he isn’t a better defensive midfielder. If Klinsmann believes so, then it’s more likely Steven Beitashour or Tony Beltran would get the nod.
Klinsmann could turn to Feilhaber as a starter ahead of Diskerud, but with Diskerud having played more recently there is a good chance he is sharper at the moment.
Edson Buddle might seem like a strange pick considering the poor MLS season he just had, but the word out of camp is that Buddle has looked strong. He also gives the lineup the best possible target forward for wide forwards Johnson and Agudelo. Chris Wondolowski could earn a start as well, but The trio we list seems like the trio best-suited to start together. Yes, a case can definitely be made for Josh Gatt to start, as he did against Russia, and it wouldn’t be much of a surprise if he did get the nod, but I just see the above forward trio lining up together.
So what starting lineup would I trot out against Canada? Here’s the XI I would go with:
Here is the full roster in case you forgot who was in camp:
GOALKEEPERS: Tally Hall (Houston Dynamo), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire)
DEFENDERS: Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Tony Beltran (Real Salt Lake), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), A.J. DeLaGarza (LA Galaxy), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Connor Lade (New York Red Bulls), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Justin Morrow (San Jose Earthquakes), Jeff Parke (Philadelphia Union)
MIDFIELDERS: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (out of contract), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders), Benny Feilhaber (Sporting Kansas City), Joshua Gatt (Molde), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (Chivas USA), Will Bruin (Houston Dynamo), Edson Buddle (Colorado Rapids), Eddie Johnson (Seattle Sounders), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
What do you think of our projected lineup? What would you change in the lineup? Which player are you most hoping to see start vs. Canada? Which projected starter on our squad do you NOT want to see in the starting lineup?
Share your thoughts below.