It’s major tournament time for your boys ye olde USMNT and that means everyone’s favorite game – who will Jurgen Klinsmann name to the 23-player roster that will make you pour a stiff cocktail and rethink your parents decision to have you in America instead of on vacation in Germany, Spain, or France. This time, Jurgen has gone in hard on defensive minded midfielders and has gone light on actual wingers, instead opting for one who will start at left back, another who is an extremely promising (attacking) midfielder, and Graham Zusi. Are you drinking yet? Might want to stock up before Copa America games begin in two weeks. Just saying.
Overall, it’s safe to say Jurgen hasn’t really gone fully crazy here, which we are thankful for. The only major “k.” guys are Michael Orozco, Perry Kitchen, and (kinda) Wondo. Orozco is depth at left back I presume? Or something? I have no idea why he is here at this point. With eight defenders being named, and CB being a position of relative strength + RB having Yedlin, Chandler, and Cameron if needed, I’m not sure why someone like Eric Lichaj or Jorge Villafana, who both play left back weren’t part of the 23. Plus Orozco has been not good for the US of late. Whatever. Perry Kitchen is more of a “(semi) embarrassment of riches” scenario where I’m not sure how he fits in with Beckerman, Bradley, and Jones. Probably like for like for Beckerman. Seems like his spot would be better used on someone who is a true winger? Someone like Sebastian Lletget. Finally comes Chris Wondolowski, who is in form and is a dangerous late game sub. Only thought here is Jordan Morris is in form as well, and offers more of a pacey option late game. Apples and Oranges really, so not much of a complaint. But really, is Jurgen Klinsmann allergic to left backs? Does the sight of a natural one in the wild make him see red? What did Tim Ream accidentally say to him in German?
Roster selection is less than half the gauntlet for USMNT fans though, as at times it feels like JK takes his roster, puts all of the names in a hat, pulls a name out, then blindfolds himself and sticks the name to a spot on the field like so. Okay, all the time. If so, I commend him for his dedication to that elaborate and likely time consuming exercise. So based on this fun (ie maddening) scenario that seems to play out every time the US plays, here are a few lineups that are possibilities, ranging from “Wow that seems like a good idea” to “Please someone pre-dial me an ambulance and a liver transplant”. Let’s start with the perfectly reasonable and perhaps even slightly exciting.
This is the “we too have competent midfielders who can possess and unlock our defenders getting forward on the wing”, also known as “guys playing positions they usually do”. How Pulisic and Dempsey work together would be the million dollar question, but this lineup has some flair, the ability to move the ball around, and could defend pretty well too. The USA’s Copa America group isn’t the most intimidating, and this lineup could do some damage and maybe (shhhhhhh don’t say it out loud) make a run.
Next is the “defend like we are playing with a lead at all times even though we aren’t + JK <3’s speed” look that moves some people to places they don’t look comfortable, like Yedlin on the right wing and Bradley as the AM. Upside is defense would be real solid, downside is Clint and Bob would be stranded up top. Not like that would be the first time. Fab still might be able to do some damage, who knows. Same old, same old. No thanks.
Finally, the “bartender, please pour me drinks at a continuous rate and ignore my swearing” concept, where most of us end up with liver and heart problems. I don’t even really want to think or talk about this one. At all. Ever. Please God.
Likelihood: 30% / 100% / find me a new hobby
Guessing what JK rolls out against Colombia is pretty futile, although I am guessing we will get an idea against Ecuador and Bolivia next weekend. I’m actually looking forward to the game against Puerto Rico tomorrow to see Steffen, Lichaj, Stanko, Arriola, and Picault in action (hopefully) more than any other game until Copa America starts. Anyway, give us your JK 11 to start against Colombia and what you will be drinking when it doesn’t happen and maybe we will steal some of it. And by it, I mean your drink ideas. Never have enough of those.