USA vs Italy, Take 2

What a difference a weekend makes. Like that, four players went down: Jermaine Jones, Timmy Chandler and Jose Torres suffered injuries and Landon Donovan’s bronchitis didn’t get any better, so they’re all out. Called up in their place were Sacha Kljestan and Brek Shea with perhaps another player to be named. This of course dramatically changes the lineup. The good news is that we will probably get to see Fabian Johnson at LB, where he’s been playing for Hoffenheim. Maybe Jonathan Spector but I’d rather see what Johnson can do. Spector’s future is as a bench player. When Steve Churondolo is no longer the first team RB and Timmy Chandler is, then we’re back to the question of “who will play LB?” This is a chance for Johnson to make a case for himself. But that’s the only silver lining. We’re once again denied an opportunity to see Donovan and Dempsey together under Klinsmann, and of course now we’ll never know what exactly the line up would have looked like. Based on this Q & A with Klinsmann, it’s clear that Bradley was going to start regardless, Torres was certainly going to play which means he was going to start, Edson Buddle will get some playing time (straight 4-4-2?) and who knows who will with Bocanegra at CB. Maybe Goodson. So maybe this is the lineup we’ll see:

I can easily see Dempsey in Shea’s spot and Buddle alongside Altidore, who had two very nice goals this weekend for AZ. Of course we could also see both, starting in this formation and then a 2nd half switch if it’s not working, or vice versa. If Dempsey plays up front I would expect to see him playing behind Altidore and coming from the left. Nothing shocking there. As to who takes Donovan’s spot… who knows. Kljestan could work here, but Williams is one of Klinsmann’s guys and I think he’ll want to see him play. It’s not like he’s got a lot of options anyway. At first I had Cameron slated to start at CB but I think that with all the injuries and young players thrust into the lineup up front that Klinsmann would rather go with the guy he knows better in Goodson. It’s just a friendly though, so it doesn’t matter too much.

This game just got a lot less exciting but no less intriguing. Plenty of players will have a chance to make themselves seen and heard.

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