Who will U.S. Coach Juergen Klinsmann start against France at Saint-Denis today in the first meeting between the nations in 32 years?
We know Tim Howard will be in goal and we can safely assume captain Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu and Steve Cherundolo will receive the call on the backline. If Bocanegra plays on the left, Clarence Goodson would partner with Onyewu. (Klinsi wouldn’t turn to Michael Orozco Fiscal in central defense again, would he?) With Bocanegra in the middle, Timmy Chandler would slot on the left.
In Landon Donovan’s absence, I would love to see Brek Shea running at defenders again on the flank, complementing Clint Dempsey. Jozy Altidore or Edson Buddle will fill the striker role.
Options abound in midfield. Jermaine Jones is in form. Kyle Beckerman is a Klinsmann favorite and Maurice Edu seems to have gained Klinsmann’s trust, although he might be better suited in reserve. And where does Michael Bradley, a Serie A starter, stand in Klinsi’s eyes these days?
German-Americans Daniel Williams and Fabian Johnson add to the curiosity. And Robbie Rogers, who has worked with Klinsmann since he was a teenager, is in the mix again, although he might end up being one of the three players not in uniform today.
When speculating on the lineup, keep in mind that the Americans will play again in four days, at Slovenia, and Klinsmann could hold back players for the second match and utilize several substitutes.
The lineup and available subs will be announced around 2 p.m. ET.
Kickoff: 3 p.m. ET.
TV/online: ESPN2, Univision, ESPN3.com, univisionfutbol.com
ESPN announcers: Ian Darke and John Harkes.
*Klinsmann has used five different lineups in his first five matches (1-3-1 record, two goals for, four goals against).
“I don’t give a crap about win records,” he told Brian Straus of The Sporting News during an interview in France. “I only care about what happens to this team going forward.”
*Howard and Bocanegra are the only two to start every match; Shea has started four and entered in the second half of the other.
*Bocanegra’s next goal will tie him with Marcelo Balboa for the most by a U.S. defender (13). Boca is also two caps from becoming the 12th U.S. player to reach 100.
*Remarkably, the USA and France have only faced one another twice, both times in 1979. Les Bleus won 6-0 at Giants Stadium and 3-0 in Paris.
*In Germany, the USA under-23 squad defeated the Bochum reserves, 3-1, on goals by Terrence Boyd (Dortmund), Tony Taylor (Atletico Clube de Portugal) and Dilly Duka (Columbus Crew). A second unit will face Duisburg later today.