With the World Cup less than 30 days away, ISH writer Adam Leightman, predicts the US Mens National Team’s starting lineup that will take the field in Brazil this summer.
Goalie: Tim Howard – Everton FC (England)
Tim Howard has been Mr. Reliable for the USA. He has been the starter since 2007 and is closing in on 100 caps for the national team. He started his career in the MLS before moving to Manchester United in 2003. He now plays for Everton and led them to a 5th place finish in England this year. Tim Howard will be working with two young center backs, so the experience he has gained in England will be crucial this summer at the World Cup.
Left Back: DaMarcus Beasley – Puebla (Mexico)
DaMarcus Beasley thought his international career was over in 2012. Then Jurgen Klinsmann called him with a strange request. During World Cup qualifying, The USMNT did not have a healthy left back on the roster due to injury. Klinsmann called up Beasley, a winger, and asked to see him play at left back. Beasley put in solid performances against Costa Rica, Jamaica, and Mexico among others. In the 2013 Gold Cup, Beasley played left back and captained the team as they went on to win the tournament. Beasley’s speed will help the USA counter attack in the World Cup this summer.
Center Back: Matt Besler – Sporting KC (USA)
Unknown less than year ago to many, Matt Besler has become one of the most consistent starters for the USMNT. Besler helped lead Sporting Kansas City to victory in the MLS Cup final against Real Salt Lake. He got his first start under Klinsmann at Azteca against Mexico in March, and the rest is history. Besler will continue to improve at pre-World Cup camp, and will be ready to take on the world’s best player Cristiano Ronaldo in America’s second group match against Portugal.
Center Back: Omar Gonzalez – LA Galaxy (USA)
The youngest player in the starting 11, Gonzalez has been inconsistent at times with club and country. However, at 6 feet 5 inches, he is a threat on corners. He is the best US defender at defending free kicks and opposing corner kicks as well. Besler and Gonzalez have been developing a connection by playing together and I expect Klinsmann to keep the pair together when the tournament starts.
Right Back: Geoff Cameron – Stoke City (England)
Geoff Cameron has been a regular start for Jurgen Klinsmann since he arrived in 2011. Cameron struggled to find his best position, but upon his arrival at Stoke City last year, he learned that he strives at right back. Cameron started his career as a midfielder, but has the speed and defensive mindset to play outside back. The back 4 pus Tim Howard played well together during qualification, but the competition and the pressure only increases at the World Cup.
Center Defensive Mid: Jermaine Jones – Besiktas (Turkey)
Jermaine Jones will be the disrupter of the team. The German-American will play in his first World Cup this summer. Until his move to Turkey in January, Jones had spent the majority of his career and life in Germany. Jones came to the USMNT looking for playing time. Since 2010 he has 39 caps and has put himself in a great spot to start a World Cup game.
Left Mid: Graham Zusi – Sporting KC (USA)
Graham Zusi is considered the best outside midfield player in the MLS and has led the league in assists in multiple seasons with Sporting KC. He will play wide and just ahead of Michael Bradley at center mid. Zusi will take the USA corners and free kicks that are too far away to have a direct shot at goal. If Zusi struggles to deliver good balls, Klinsmann will have many options to replace him with, including Julian Green and Brad Davis.
Right Mid: Landon Donovan – LA Galaxy (USA)
The most recognizable name in US soccer is Landon Donovan. This will be his last world cup and there are doubts that he will get the start for Klinsmann. Donovan will be playing a little out of position, but has played at right mid before and can push up to a winger if Klinsmann changes the formation to a 4-3-3. Donovan is the all-time leading goal scorer for the US, so look for him to score many important goals like this one in 2010.
Center Mid: Michael Bradley – Toronto FC (USA)
General Bradley, as he was known at AS Roma (Italy), is the most important US player this summer. He holds the ball up well and is the best passer on the team. Bradley was loosing playing time in Italy, so in January made the move back to MLS and joined Toronto FC. Bradley has shined in Toronto and will look to keep up his good form this summer in Brazil.
Forward: Jozy Altidore – Sunderland (England)
Altidore struggled this past year at Sunderland scoring only 1 goal this season. However, Altidore found a haven under Jurgen Klinsmann and set a USMNT record by scoring 7 goals and 2 assists in 5 straight national team games. Altidore is force to deal with and will punish any defense if they focus too much on Clint Dempsey. Here is Altidore tearing it up this summer with the USMNT.
Forward: Clint Dempsey – Seattle Sounders (USA)
Captain Clint Dempsey will led his team into Brazil this summer. Dempsey is the star of the team and his the most raw talent as well. He is creative on and off the ball and gives Altidore the space to run free. Dempsey was very successful overseas, scoring 57 goals in just over 200 games in England for Tottenham Hotspur and Fulham FC. This summer he returned home to MLS and joined Seattle. Dempsey has been on fire this MLS campaign, scoring 8 goals in his first 6 games this season. Watch as he scores a hat-trick against rivals Portland Timbers.