USMNT v. Honduras: Five Questions


With the Honduras friendly closing in and the start of the Russia 2018 cycle under way, here are some key questions that Jurgen Klinsmann will want to keep an eye on from this game and what the answers to them could mean going forward for the USMNT.

1. What formation will Klinsmann use?

Klinsmann has been tactically flexible during his tenure with the U.S. depending on his side, which he’s had to be to accommodate the players in his side, and to the opponent he is facing, but one gets the feeling that he would like to move to a 4-3-3, and the start of the cycle would be the opportune time to begin implementing it, will we see it here?

2. What’s DeAndre Yedlin’s best position?

Though he regularly plies his trade as a marauding full-back, his time with the U.S. National Team has largely come as a right-sided midfielder. Last match, he looked extremely comfortable there, cutting inside, finding and combining with teammates, beating defenders to the byline, and providing defensive cover. Is it possible that Klinsmann could look to use Yedlin out right and Fabian Johnson on the left in the future, giving all of these attributes to his flanks? Is Jurgen just looking to get Yedlin comfortable in the set-up before slotting him in as a right back?

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3. Who gets left out of the central midfield?

Even if Klinsmann picks a 3 man midfield, he has four worthy contenders for starting roles. Mix Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya have been terrific in the most recent friendlies with no Jermaine Jones or Michael Bradley available. Now that they are, how does Klinsmann pick his line-up? Bedoya is comfortable out wide and has played there in the past under Klinsmann as recently as the World Cup, but he’s much more dynamic centrally. Jones may be too long in the tooth by the time Russia comes around, but is that enough to leave him as the odd man out?

4. Where does Clint Dempsey play?

With Jozy Altidore’s  injury in Brazil, the world was unable to see Klinsmann’s ideal formation since he left his other target forward Terrance Boyd at home. This forced Dempsey up top for the majority of minutes in the World Cup. However, Dempsey isn’t a natural lone striker, but more of a support striker, able to tuck deep and find the ball and pop up in the box causing trouble for defenders with well-timed runs and a surprising physical presence. Now that Altidore is back, will Jurgen play Clint as a support striker, or could he move him out left where he has played for a majority of his club career?

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  • 5. Which youngster will make their mark?

    Joe Gyau was the man I had pegged to make the leap to full-time international and not just someone whispered about by fans who are looking for the next big thing, but now that he’s out until January with knee surgery, there will be even more opportunities for a fresh face to come forth. Greg Garza seems to be slotting comfortably into the left back role, and Bobby Wood showed flashes against Ecuador despite seeming overwhelmed by it all. But, this is the opportunity to get a leg up in the pecking order for this year’s cycle. Who is going to be the guy we start penciling in as a player for years to come?

    My best bet: Alfredo Morales. Morales has been impressive for top of the 2. Bundesliga table FC Ingolstadt 04, and is getting his chance to be a high energy midfield anchor, pushing ahead of guys like Wil Trapp and Caleb Stanko who have been seen as the future of that position.