For the first time in a very long time Jurgen Klinsmann stuck with the same lineup in back-to-back matches. The same 11 that lost to Colombia in the opening match of the Copa America retained their starting spots for the win over Costa Rica.
Klinsmann must be commended for attempting introduce some consistency in the side. The back four he's settled on has been very solid and shown a lot of promise. Having a steady back four is extremely exciting as a USMNT fan.
I got a little flack for stating that naming the exact same starting 11 against Costa Rica was a 'bold move'. I still believe it was a bold decision considering his job possibly could've been on the line. It took a lot of guts to stick with the same lineup that really struggled to create chances against Colombia. He deserves a lot of credit for being confident in his side.
Despite scoring four goals and keeping a clean sheet against the Ticos, there's still room for improvement, especially in one particular spot with the all-important match against Paraguay coming up.
This is not meant to pile onto the criticism of Gyasi Zardes, but it's quite clear that he's the current weak link within the starting lineup. This isn't just my personal bias speaking, the SSFC community agrees. Zardes continues to struggle with his technical ability, a struggle that's likely never going to go away. It's time to find a solution to improve the overall quality of the 11 starters. There's one simple adjustment that makes too much sense not to happen.
Alejandro Bedoya had a low-key productive match against Costa Rica. He's not leaving the starting lineup any time soon, but it's time to switch his position. Moving him out to the right side of the field in place of Zardes makes sense on so many levels.
- It gives you the same defensive work rate on the right flank that Zardes offered but adds much more technical quality
- DeAndre Yedlin will have more freedom to bomb forward as Bedoya will have the tendency to tuck into the midfield
- You don't sacrifice much at all in the attacking end because Zardes never got behind the defense and/or tried to provide service from the flank