Klinsmann, who has long resided in nearby Orange County, will trot out a host of new players as the U.S. plays Costa Rica.
Wait... new players? Has the lineup been announced?
Hardly. I'm just taking a guess here. I know it's fun to try and sort out a lineup, whether you're a sports writer or a die-hard fan. You think you know what the manager should do and dammit, there's no convincing otherwise.
Well, the only thing I'm certain about the lineup we'll see on Friday is that it will be unpredictable. Probably what many think will happen won't. Probably some of the players we expect to see in the lineup won't be.
I've come to expect nothing but the unexpected from Klinsmann. Why? Because he's not like any coach the U.S. has had. It grew easier and easier to fill out Bob Bradley's lineups, and it was similarly the same with Bruce Arena. Sure, Bradley threw us an Adu-esque curve every now and then but any casual fan could guess his lineups and expect 70 percent accuracy, even in friendlies.
Klinsmann... I just don't see him as the guy who will field the same 11 match after match, at least on in friendlies and least of all now, for his second and third game as national team manager. He's going to want/need to see new players and going to want/need to see young players. The veterans he's seen but how will they mesh with each other under this new scheme?
Having said that, Klinsmann could start any player on the roster and make a valid reason why that guy should be starting. I suppose that speaks to how wide-open spots are right now. If Bradley would have started say Jose Torres or Brek Shea in the midfield, you knew they had no chance of playing with Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones ahead of them in the pecking order.
There is no pecking order now. Yeah, you have Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Tim Howard and other strong talents on the squad (LD only for Costa Rica, Deuce only for Belgium) so those guys aren't going anywhere, but mostly there are spots up for grabs.
So predict away but just don't be disappointed if... *when* your prediction comes up wrong.
My wrong prediction...
Howard; Castillo, Bocanegra, Orozco Fiscal, Chandler; Rogers, Torres, Shea, Edu, Donovan; Altidore
I hate to use alignments as in this being a 4-5-1 because that's pretty rigid and I see this as fluid. Edu could serve in the holding midfielder role with Rogers and Donovan on the wings and Shea and Torres in the middle but I wouldn't be surprised to see all those given freedom to roam, to the point that where they go wouldn't really resemble whatever formation they came out in.
Anyway, that's what I've got. I like the backline because of the youth and versatility and overall there is a lot of youth. This is progression, folks. The kind of progression we should have seen right after the World Cup.