By IVES GALARCEP
The U.S. Men’s National Team are in Kingston ahead of Friday night’s showdown vs. Jamaica in CONCACAF World Cup qualifying and they are fully aware that the U.S. has never won a World Cup qualifier there before.
So who will Klinsmann turn to in an effort to break the five-qualifier winless drought at ‘The Office”?
Don’t expect too many changes, if any, from the lineup we saw start in the U.S. team’s 4-3 win vs. Germany. That might sound surprising given the struggles of Omar Gonzalez, but it seems more likely that Klinsmann keeps Gonzalez partnered with Matt Besler in central defense for Friday’s match than shake things up after starting Gonzalez in both of last week’s friendlies.
Klinsmann could turn to Geoff Cameron to replace Gonzalez, but that seems a more likely move for after the Jamaica match if Gonzalez struggles.
Herculez Gomez is a wild card in the equation. He was considered a good bet to start before a nagging injury forced him to miss both recent friendlies. Now he seems more likely to feature off the bench, if at all, against Jamaica.
So what will the starting lineup look like vs. Jamaica on Friday? Here is our projected USMNT lineup:
PROJECTED USMNT LINEUP vs. JAMAICA
Fabian Johnson left the Germany match with hamstring tightness. If he can’t play, then Brad Davis seems the more likely option to start while Eddie Johnson would work well as an option off the bench in case the team is trailing.
It should be noted that Jamaica’s right back looked extremely vulnerable vs. Mexico on Tuesday, which makes you wonder whether Klinsmann might prefer the speedier Eddie Johnson to Davis in the event Fabian Johnson can’t start.
Brad Evans played very well against Germany and should get the nod at right back over Geoff Cameron, seems unlikely to start vs. Jamaica (unless Klinsmann decides he has seen enough of Gonzalez).
Beasley has locked down the left back spot for the immediate future. If Fabian Johnson is healthy he will play in midfield and Edgar Castillo simply didn’t look sharp vs. Germany.
Subs off the bench for this bench? Eddie Johnson is one and Terrence Boyd is another unless Herculez Gomez can play. Klinsmann could go with Johnson, Boyd and Gomez in the second half regardless of score. If the Jamaican heat wears on Jermaine Jones, we could see Sacha Kljestan in the second half.
What do you think of our projected lineup? What lineup would you go with against Jamaica? Think this team can win in Kingston?
Share your thoughts below.