by Carlos D. Mojica (@CD_Mojica) | Photo by Jorge O. Martínez
Jürgen Klinsmann recently released the U.S. Men’s National Team 26-man roster ahead of its match against Mexico. While the names in the roster should not surprise anyone who’s been following the American squad this year, there may be some questions regarding who should be in the starting XI.
With this in mind, here’s my take on who should start for the Stars and Stripes come November 11.
GK - Tim Howard: While Howard may not be in his prime anymore, he has continually stepped up for the U.S. when the team has needed him. If any goalkeeper can keep a clean sheet for the Yanks, it’s Howard.
RB – DeAndre Yedlin: Over the past two years, Yedlin has made the right back spot his own. His time in England has helped remedy the defensive woes that once plagued him. No surprise here.
CB – John Brooks: Sidelined by injury during the previous set of World Cup Qualifiers, Brooks returned for last month’s friendly against Cuba and has made six starts for Hertha Berlin. He is back to his best, which is good news considering Mexico’s attack.
CB – Omar Gonzalez: Although Gonzalez hasn’t been Klinsmann’s first choice at center back for some time now, Geoff Cameron’s absence will force his hand a bit. With that said, Gonzalez is having himself a great season with Pachuca in Liga MX, which strengthens his case.
LB – Fabian Johnson: I have long been of the opinion that Johnson’s best position is on the left wing, but given the lack of depth at left back, Johnson will continue to play there. Not a bad option.
RM – Alejandro Bedoya: Bedoya is the type of player who can delight or frustrate depending on the night, but he always contributes to the team. Against Trinidad & Tobago, for example, Bedoya was not his usual sharp self on offense, but contributed greatly defensively.
CDM – Michael Bradley: After much tinkering, it would seem as though Klinsmann has finally found the perfect spot for Bradley in his system. Deployed as a holding midfielder, Bradley is able to spread the ball around while also assisting on defense. This gives the other three midfielders freedom to attack.
CM – Sacha Kljestan: Kljestan has been able to work himself back into the national team picture thanks to what is arguably his best season. The NY Red Bulls man has made the “10” role his own, connecting well with his teammates and even getting on the score sheet.
LM – Christian Pulisic: So far this season, Pulisic has managed to contribute three goals and five assists for Borussia Dortmund, no small feat. Given his young age, it’s clear that Pulisic is far from the finished product, but he has certainly earned himself a starting spot in Klinsmann’s squad.
FW – Bobby Wood: Wood has scored four goals in 11 matches for Hamburg SV this season, good enough to lead the team in goals. While his output may not sound that impressive, Wood contributes more than just goals, as his constant movement tends to trouble opposing backlines.
FW – Jozy Altidore: Jozy Altidore has scored 15 goals for club and country in his last 30 games. He has also been a huge factor in Toronto FC’s run to the Eastern Conference finals. In this kind of form, Altidore looks unstoppable. Mexico will be watching him closely.
What do you think of this starting XI? Agree? Disagree? Let me know via Twitter: @CD_Mojica