(Read R to L)
Defense: Cameron, Gonzalez, Brooks, Villafaña
Midfield: Nagbe, Bradley, Johnson
Attacking Mid: Pulisic, Dempsey
Center Forward: Wood
I could see Acosta coming in for Nagbe or Bradley in that situation. The only thing I don't like is the lack of width on the right side.
What I think we will actually see is a boring and uninspiring 4-4-2, with Altidore and Wood up top and Lleget and Bradley behind them. Pulisic and Johnson left and right and the same back line. With that lineup I could see a drab 1-0 or 1-1 result for the USA.
At this point, I would consider starting Jordan Morris.
GOALKEEPERS (3): Brad Guzan (Middlesbrough), Tim Howard (Colorado Rapids), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS (8): DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), Walker Zimmerman (FC Dallas)
MIDFIELDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Jermaine Jones (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy), Dax McCarty (Chicago Fire), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund)
FORWARDS (4): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Bobby Wood (Hamburg)
Given the growing popularity of soccer at youth levels over the past 25 years, one would've thought our talent level would've improved somewhat.
But the way I see it, the best players on the team are either foreign-born (Brooks, Johnson, Nagbe), or 18 years old (Pulisic). Perhaps Bradley, but even he -- as the son of a former national team head coach -- isn't really emblematic of a widening in the American talent pool.
Where's all the young, home-grown talent? Even guys like Morris (22) and Wood (24) aren't young enough to be considered future superstars.
Yes, the sport has been growing in popularity, but just because a sport is popular doesn't mean you play it well. Basketball has been huge in China for a couple decades and they haven't seen much in the way of results.
The top American talent that has received good quality training in dedicated systems for most of their life hasn't had as much time. If you look at our U-17 team, they've looked dominant in recent competition and have the CONCACAF championship later next month. They should be World Cup bound after that.
Our U-20s just won their first ever CONCACAF championship on the back of a weakened squad, and are headed to the World Cup this summer in South Korea where they should put in a good showing. A weak pool means advancing is likely there.
Our last cycle of U-20s made it to the quarterfinals before losing to Serbia, the eventual champions. While many of those players are struggling to find playing time now the quality is there. Carter-Vickers, Zelalem, Hyndman, Rubin, Miazga, are a few examples of the talent on that team.
Pulisic isn't the culmination of a long period of US soccer development; he's the first and best of a group of players that is slowly rising through the ranks. Though many will not pan out, the overall talent pool is getting better.
Of a mini golden generation for the USMNT. I'm very bullish on our chances at the U-20 World Cup. Haji Wright, Josh Perez, Cameron Carter-Vickers, and Gedion Zelalem (whom I don't really rate, but others apparently do) were among the big names left off the CONCACAF Championship roster. Erik Palmer-Brown, Brooks Lennon, and Luca de la Torre all impressed me at that tournament. This might sound absurd, but I think our U-20s are dark horses to win the World Cup.
Orozco? Brooks Gonzalez Villafana
Johnson Pulisic Nagbe
Isn't Ream lefty? Do we really have 3 left footed defenders on this squad?
Looks like Michael Orozco is our right back.
Straight question: which defenders, if any, own the 4-0 debacle.
Without Yedlin, our best back four absolutely includes Chandler. As it is, we're either going to play Orozco there or break up the Brooks-Cameron partnership in both matches.
As for whom I blame for the Costa Rica debacle, I was angriest with Brooks by far, though Bradley, Jones, Johnson, Chandler, and Gonzalez also were on my shit list. I gave Besler a bit of a break since he was played out of position.
Showing my ignorance.
Mainly in the Championship, I believe; if I remember right, he was on a Premiership squad at one point, but didn't get a lot of playing time.
He's a natural right-footed player but comfortable playing on the left.
He's gotten looks for the national team, but he apparently punched Klinsmann's dog (or something) because JK never took the slightest interest in him, even as he was seemingly scrambling to find someone useful at outside back.