USMNT v T&T: Predicted XI
USMNT v T&T: Predicted XI

Some people say that USMNT manager Jurgen Klinsmann is a genius when it comes to making his lineup and substitution choices. Others say he is merely throwing things against the wall repeatedly, letting the chaos do the work for him. Whatever your belief, it's a fact that his lineups have been incredibly hard to predict over the years.

It does mean that it can be incredibly fun to try to guess what he'll do so let's do exactly that, along with a few more radical ideas on how to play the game out.

What Klinsmann is likely to do is trot out a 4-4-2 very similar to the one he used in the previous match. The first obvious change will be in net where he has said Tim Howard will be given the start. While he is still a top class goalkeeper, he won't be the starter come 2018 in Russia. The team would be better served giving Brad Guzan all the caps he can get ahead of that tournament. Games in Russia will be brutally difficult and this is a good trial run.

For those who would say that Tim came all the way from England to be a part of this team, remember that Guzan has been shadowing Howard for years all across the globe.

The defense is likely to remain the same, with the exception of possibly Brek Shea given the nod at left back. While the Texan isn't known for his defensive prowess, he has speed enough to keep up with the kind of wingers the defense will face in Trinidad. As of now the pairing of Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron appears to be the way to go through qualifying, so they need as many reps together as possible. Fabian Johnson is the best defender on the roster so he'll slot in at rightback.

Another possibility would be Johnson on the left and Deandre Yedlin along the right.

The midfield is the key to the whole game and Jurgen isn't likely to not use veterans. Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones will certainly be the key to the whole thing. The wings will feature Gyasi Zardes on the left flank since that is where Jurgen loves to put him. His runs from midfield will be key to opening channels, though his distance from goal will prevent him from contributing to the score sheet. The right flank will feature Mix Diskerud, Kyle Beckerman (more likely swap him and Jones) or Darlington Nagbe.

The point is to absolutely dominate the middle of the park. Starve Kenwnyne Jones of service and the T&T offense will become stagnant, making the defense's job much easier.

Lastly up top will be Jozy Altidore and Bobby Wood. The pair looked good a few days ago in St Louis and it's best to see if they can continue the momentum they built up. More importantly, Altidore is the only striker on the roster with the experience needed to get through a tough road match. Wood, though talented, will be relying on Jozy to lead the way and show him the ropes. Service will be limited and it'll be up to the pair to hold the ball up, retain possession and find the midfielders as they work their way up to give the defense much needed respite.

So, to sum up:


The top options for subs has to be Nagbe, Diskerud and Tim Ream. Ream is especially important as he can be used anywhere on the back line. This is especially important if the team is in need of a goal and want to add more speed to the wings, or the extra midfield player. He gives the team options.

What Klinsmann can't forget in this match is to start planning for the future. This lineup may work Tuesday, but going forward it'll be vital to find another combination. Mix hasn't been able to take his game to the next level yet and while Nagbe is promising, deep midfield isn't his position.

Personally, it'd be nice to see the following:


It's the best option based given the players available. Whatever lineup Jurgen uses will likely provide surprises. It'll be a tough match, but one that can be managed.