USMNT Travel to Trinidad for World Cup Qualifying


On Tuesday afternoon the United States Men’s National Team will travel to Trinidad and Tobago for their second game of World Cup Qualifying after starting off with a rout of St. Vincent and the Grenadines on Friday.

Jurgen Klinsmann announced last week that he would use the two goalkeeper system for these games, with Brad Guzan starting on Friday and Tim Howard on Tuesday. The USMNT have two outstanding goalkeepers, that is certain, but rotating them is much like using a two quarterback system in football. It can be difficult for each player to find a rhythm and play loose, because they could fear that a mistake would cost them their place as a starter.

It is clear that Klinsmann is trying to keep everyone sharp with competition, and competition is great for players. However, at the goalkeeper position, that Klinsmann claimed was Guzan’s to lose throughout Tim Howard’s sabbatical, stability is very important. Trinidad is a difficult place to play for any team due to the atmosphere, the field conditions, climate, etc. and the choice of Howard could send the message to Guzan that he is the number two, because he started the “easier” game. It could tell him that no matter what he does, the spot will be Howard’s until he retires.

Or, it tells Guzan and Howard that they both need to be in top form for club and country, and it pushes the both of them to compete and support each other. Nevertheless, Klinsmann needs to pick a concrete number one goalkeeper for the USMNT as they get deeper into World Cup Qualifying. That decision will be vital going forward with team play and chemistry when the games start to matter more and more.

With that being said, there are a few other stories worth keeping an eye on tomorrow. Jermaine Jones suffered a slight hamstring injury on Friday, but according to Steven Goff, will be ready to play on Tuesday after not training yesterday.

On Friday night, Darlington Nagbe and Matt Miazga made their debuts for the US (with Miazga being cap-tied), and made their marks. Nagbe was very impressive in his central midfield role, combining well with Jones and Michael Bradley, essentially pushing the team into a 4-3-3. It was a glimpse into the future of the team, and possibly a formation we will see down the road with this team. However, an away game in Trinidad will be a grind it out type of match, where one point would not necessarily be a disappointment. Klinsmann is more likely to go with a familiar lineup, formation, and gameplan that will be get the job done.

A likely lineup would be:

Brad Guzan

DeAndre Yedlin; Geoff Cameron; Matt Besler; Tim Ream

Jermaine Jones; Kyle Beckerman

Gyasi Zardes; Michael Bradley; Fabian Johnson

Jozy Altidore

In a 4-2-3-1 the USMNT would be playing to ensure they have a chance of getting a point. Inserting Kyle Beckerman into the lineup adds increased stability in the midfield for defensive purposes. It will be important for Beckerman and Jones to cooperate as to who goes forward and who sits back. Fabian Johnson’s best position with the national team is left wing, we have seen numerous times his influence going forward in the attack, and once again he showed his ability on Friday night. The only problem, he is also the best option at either fullback spot at the moment, so if he is going to play in a more advanced position, the US will have to develop reliable options at fullback.

DeAndre Yedlin’s development on defense will also be tested if he plays in defense on Tuesday. Arguably his best position is right back, because he can see the game in front of him and react. However, he will be tested by the Trinidad attack and atmosphere on Tuesday, and his play will go a long way to showing how far he has come since his breakthrough in the World Cup.

The USMNT vs Trindiad and Tobago match will kickoff at 6:30 ET and be broadcast on BeIN Sports.