Coach Klinsmann has already said that he fully intends to treat the final two World Cup Qualifiers like any other game, and for the most part he is right to do so since it is so infrequent that these players get a chance to play together. I think however it is foolish to think that we are going to see the same 23 we have seen for the last couple of qualifiers. Lets take a look at the key areas of focus for the Jamaica & Panama games
- Find your starting back 4. Over the past 2 years, Klinsmann has played over 20 guys on the backline but has only recently started to find consistency. Left back and center back seem to be squared away, right back is still a problem.
- Cap tie John Brooks, I was extremely concerned when he left camp before the biggest game of the Hex. I know he's probably not gonna factor this time around (barring injuries) but we need to get this squared away now
- Pair Mix and Bradley. Everyone wants to see it.
- Figure out Donovan, Dempsey, Altidore. All three need to play, all three need to start...lets figure out where and how.
- Fabian Johnson vs DaMarcus Beasley vs Edgar Castillo at Left Back
- Brad Guzan starting in goal. Yes Tim Howard got us here, but Guzan may not get a chance to play again for a long time, especially in games that matter, throw the guy a bone, he's been fantastic for Aston Villa and in limited time with the US
- Fringe roster battles: Diskerud vs Kljestan, Bedoya vs Corona, Boyd vs Gomez vs Johannsson, Beckerman vs Edu, Brooks vs Goodson, Parkhurst vs GENERIC RIGHT BACK #75
I would be lying if I said I didn't want to rest key players/world cup locks like Altidore, Dempsey, Bradley, etc. But I also think we need to keep our foot on the gas. Two more wins would be huge for this team moving forward.
Anyway you slice it, these games should be fun to watch, I get the feeling like the Jamaica game may be a huge offensive output from the US especially if Altidore, Dempsey and Donovan are all on the field at the same time.