USA – Costa Rica Preview

Klinsmann will soon undergo his 2nd trial as USMNT manager and fans will certainly have a lot more data with which to speculate about how his tenure will unfold. The duo of friendlies will kick off on Friday, September 2nd with  a match vs. Costa Rica at the Home Depot Center in Carson, California. Soon after, the squad will hop on a plane and head to Europe in order to conclude the international break with a second friendly vs. Belgium.

Here are Klinsmann’s call-ups:

GOALKEEPERS (2): Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton)

DEFENDERS (9): Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Edgar Castillo (Club America), Timmy Chandler (FC Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), , Tim Ream (New York Red Bulls), Jonathan Spector (Birmingham City), Chris Pontius (DC United)

: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Sacha Kljestan (Anderlecht), Jeff Larentowicz (Colorado Rapids), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Jose Torres (Pachuca)

Juan Agudelo (New York Red Bulls), Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), Teal Bunbury (Sporting Kansas City), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy)


  • Defenders Heath Pearce (Chivas USA) and Zach Loyd (FC Dallas) were both on the original 24-man roster but later swapped out for Spector and Pontius due to injury.
  • Midfielder Michael Bradley has been omitted but not likely due to hard feelings. Klinsmann has stated he’ll only call-up players getting significant minutes with their club teams. Bradley had been essentially disowned by his German club Borussia Mönchengladbach and stuck in a state of limbo. He’s now been signed by Italian club Chievo Verona and, assuming he has more success breaking into the Serie A than USA teammate Onyewu, he could soon be back on the national team roster.
  • Timmy Chandler appearing back in the line-up will calm fears that he’d had a falling out with US Soccer and was considering a switch of allegiance to Germany. In a sense I guess you could say he now has the best of both worlds.
  • Dempsey will not be present for the Costa Rica match but will join the team for the second match in Belgium.
  • Other notable omissions: Freddy Adu and Jermaine Jones

Although Costa Rica has clout within CONCACAF (3rd most winning team behind USA and Mexico) they have had a mediocre year. They went 1-1-1 in this summer’s Gold Cup and were beat up 3-0 by Argentina in the Copa America. In their most recent fixture they fell 2-0 to Ecuador in a friendly at home. In other words, goal-scorer Marcos Urena (3 in Gold Cup) and company aren’t exactly riding a wave of positive momentum.

But Friday’s match is less likely to be about how to beat Costa Rica than it will be a laboratory for Klinsmann to keep experimenting with his new squad. Assuming he will stick with the 4-2-3-1 he utilized vs. Mexico, here is FFG’s speculative starting 11:

Klinsmann will have had much more time with the team running up to these matches than he did prior to the Mexico match. Journalists report the players have undergone extensive fitness testing and are getting a deeper exposure to Klinsmann’s philosophy and style. This means these two games will be even more indicative of how the men in red, white and blue will evolve under the charismatic German.

What would you like to see tomorrow, Gringos? Any big beefs with our starting lineup?

6 Comments Post a Comment
  1. Blake Owen says:

    I like how all of the traditional forwards are youngsters. But, wow, it’s really quite an experimental roster.

    It should be interesting at least.

  2. Dom says:

    I read somewhere that Cherundolo and Beckerman will not be available for this match.

    • bensten says:

      Thanks for the heads up, Dom. That would really change things. Maybe Torrres would get the start at holding mid and Spector would fall into right back.

  3. James says:

    I think you are more likely to see Castillo back at left (despite Mexico performance) and Chander on the right in Cherundolo’s absence. I also anticipate seeing Torres in one of the central mid roles – he is destined for that spot and Jurgen knows it. In any case, it should be fun!

    My Jurgi starting 11:


    Off the bench I think you are most likely to see Larentowicz, Ream & Bunbury in this match.

    Edu will be the holding/def mid and Torres will be the linchpin to pull it all together.

    • AdamFromMich says:

      I also expect to see Castillo at LB and Chandler at RB. We might see Chandler play LB for the Belgium game, but I would be surprised to see it here. Has Chandler played LB before (at his club)?

      I like the starting eleven that James put together, except I might go with Kljestan instead of Rogers, with Rogers being used as a sub. That way we could see Kljestan and Donovan switching places during the game.

      In addition to these players, I want to see Goodson, Ream, Cherundolo, Beckerman, Dempsey, and Agudelo used in one of the two games.

      • bensten says:

        Nice call, guys. With Dempsey and Bradley out it was a tough job naming the midfield (other than Donovan, Edu and maybe Shea). I’m not sure if Chandler has played LB at his club but an inverted LB behind Shea makes sense when he (Shea) plays deep down his line and drives into the corner to make crosses (see FCD vs SKC game the other day).

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