Show/Hide Right Push Menu


Mesa: First test for new-look US national team looms

By Gabriel Mesa - May 26, 2014

Although it is hard to accept and difficult to agree with, the fact is that not including Landon Donovan on the US World Cup roster could very well be the right call. The team must move on with preparations for Brazil

That being said, coach Jurgen Klinsmann has called in a very young, very fast roster to counter the styles of Ghana and Portugal, two teams in the Americans' World Cup group. The upcoming match against Azerbaijan this week will give a good look as to the possible starting 11 come Brazil. It’ll be interesting to see what formation Klinsmann brings out, and who will start at the fullback positions, left midfield and defensive midfield.


Three Latinos made the roster for the US, but their roles are up in the air as much as anyone’s. Nick Rimando is slotted in as the third goalkeeper so barring any horrific injuries, he won’t have an impact on the field, but he will help his teammates on the practice pitch prepare for world-class keepers. Omar Gonzalez was once seen as a sure starter, but with the indication that Geoff Cameron will play center back, it looks like Gonzalez could start matches on the bench and come in late for set pieces. Finally, Alejandro Bedoya is currently the favorite to start at left midfield. He has had a great season for Nantes in France, and has always played well internationally. Look for Bedoya to have a key role for Klinsmann in the tournament.


Tuesday will prove to be a big test for Klinsmann and his men. The US skipper took a huge risk in leaving  Donovan off the roster and he showed it by breaking the MLS record for career goals (136) in his first LA Galaxy game after the decision, scoring two goals. But in the end, Klinsmann has had a lot of success so far for the US and his moves have paid off.


He may be prepping for a better shot in the 2018 World Cup, but that doesn’t mean the young players he selected won’t make an impact this year. At the end of the day, all that can be done is to wait and see. The only real question right now is: do you trust Jurgen Klinsmann?


I do.


Here's my projected starting XI for Azerbaijan (4-4-2 Diamond), which will be played at San Francisco's now-unused Candlestick Park:

GK – Tim Howard

LB – Fabian Johnson

CB – Matt Besler

CB – Geoff Cameron

RB – Timmy Chandler

LM – Alejandro Bedoya

CDM – Jermaine Jones

CM – Michael Bradley

RM – Graham Zusi

Striker – Clint Dempsey

Striker – Jozy Altidore 



connect with us