USA vs. Azerbaijan: Guessing the USMNT lineup based on training

Christian Petersen

Training may have tipped who Jurgen Klinsmann will start on Tuesday when the U.S. plays Azerbaijan.

Will Graham Zusi be on the right or the left? Who else starts on the wing and who are the fullbacks? Who partners Matt Besler in central defense and will Jurgen Klinsmann go back to the diamond midfield?

There are a slew of questions about the United States' starting XI with the World Cup just weeks away and Tuesday night's friendly against Azerbaijan will be the first look at what Klinsmann might do, but if Monday's training was any indication, this is what it will look like:

football formations

DaMarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson looked like the first choice fullbacks, with Johnson going to the right, where he said he has been playing in training and finished the season for Hoffenheim. DeAndre Yedlin was backing up Johnson at right back, with Timothy Chandler at left back behind Beasley.

The first choice midfield is still Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, presumably next to each other with both having the freedom to get forward as the other covers. That means no diamond midfield and while Zusi worked on the right and left, it looked like he will get the nod on the right with Bedoya slotting in on the left. That could be because Bedoya can do a lot to help defensively and Beasley is still a deficient defender.

Up front, Jozy Altidore remains the unquestioned No. 1 striker. Klinsmann praised him repeatedly in the press conference and he was getting the bulk of the work in training. While the U.S. are sometimes called a 4-2-3-1 team, more often than not, Clint Dempsey plays much more as a forward and is right underneath Altidore, not back with the midfielders. In training, that was the case again as he worked with the forwards and was right there with Altidore so expect to see him do that again tomorrow night.

Klinsmann said that he would try to get close to his first team together tomorrow night, but that they would make early subs to get everyone time and performance in matches can chance who starts in Brazil so things are very much fluid. Still, at this point, it appears as if a starting XI has emerged. Now we'll see how they play, and whether it sticks.

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