The United States plays their first of two friendlies ahead of World Cup qualifying on Wednesday, when they take on Belgium in Cleveland. I do not want to hear Jürgen Klinsmann say that he's treating these five games like a five-game tournament. That didn't work out so well last time.
Below is our projected lineup for the game. Given that this is a friendly and some players who were called up aren't available yet, we're kind of spitting into the wind a bit. This is a guess at what Klinsmann will do, not a statement of who we would like to see.
United States lineup (4-2-3-1): Tim Howard; DaMarcus Beasley, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron; Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones; Eddie Johnson, Clint Dempsey, Graham Zusi; Herculez Gomez
Usually, I put guys I'm uncertain about in red font. I haven't done that this time around, because I'm uncertain about literally everyone. I am not sure how Klinsmann views this Belgium friendly. I would not be shocked to see the likes of Terrence Boyd, Stuart Holden, Sacha Kljestan and Michael Parkhurst get run-outs. The team above is what I am guessing Klinsmann's first choice team is at the moment, based on who is available. Having said that, let's dive in.
Ick, Eddie Johnson on the wing?
Yeah, I don't like it either. I could definitely see someone else getting a shot at left wing, but with Jozy Altidore not being released in time for this game, I think Herc goes up top and EJ comes in to fill his place. I'd rather see just about anything else.
Cameron at right back, not center back?
I can't break up the Gonzalez-Besler pairing that kept a clean sheet at Azteca. I think that averages out to two normal clean sheets. With Steve Cherundolo and Timothy Chandler out injured, I like Cameron to resume the role he's played at Stoke City for most of the season.
But I wanna see Stu Holden!
Yeah, me too, but he's probably not ready to start yet. I hope I'm wrong and he has a 90-minute blinder.
Sticking with Tim Howard?
I'm not sure what the team dynamic is like and how much a switch from Howard to Guzan would affect the locker room, but purely on form, I'd make the switch to Guzan. He's had a much better season in the Premier League and was better at the Azteca than we've seen Howard look in a couple of years. I don't think Klinsmann is going to strip Howard of the starting job, but I'd make the move if I was him.