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How will an experimental USMNT line up vs. New Zealand?

Carlos Esquivel, Juan Agudelo

Juan Agudelo, USMNT


With plenty of unfamiliar faces set to be involved for the U.S. national team in their friendly game against New Zealand on Tuesday, who will line up from the start for Jurgen Klinsmann’s side?

Truth be told, there are some many different ways he could go with this.

[ PREVIEW: USA v New Zealand ]

Following the 2-0 win in Cuba on Friday nine players were released from the team and seven were called up, as Klinsmann shuffles his pack and tries to look at as many players as he can ahead of the two huge 2018 World Cup qualifiers against Mexico and Costa Rica next month.

The Hex is on the horizon and although the starting lineup looks pretty set, there are still plenty of spots up for grabs in the USMNT squad. So Klinsmann says.

[ MORE: What did we learn from win in Cuba? ]

Below is a look at three options the USMNT head coach could go for at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. on Tuesday at 8 p.m. ET.

Option 1 (4-2-3-1)
----- Yarbrough -----

--- Orozco --- Birnbaum --- Gonzalez --- Acosta ---

---- Williams ---- Kitchen ----

--- Arriola --- Gooch --- Agudelo ---

----- Boyd -----

Option 2 (4-4-2, Diamond)
----- Hamid -----

--- Yedlin --- Parker --- Besler --- Acosta ---

---- Bradley ----

-- Gooch --- Williams --

---- Kljestan ----

---- Agudelo ---- Green ----

Option 3 (4-3-3)
---- Bingham ----

--- Orozco --- Birnbaum --- Gonzalez --- Besler ---

---- Gooch ---- Bradley ---- Williams ----

---- Agudelo ---- Altidore ---- Green ----


Let’s start with Option 1: Well, this for me would be a really good lineup which would see youngsters handed a chance to impress as none of the starters from the Cuba game would start again. That always seemed to be the aim when these two friendlies were arranged as Klinsmann could get to look at as many players as possible over two matches. With Terrence Boyd up top on his own supported by Paul Arriola and Juan Agudelo there would be plenty of pace and trickery in attack. In midfield the trio of Danny Williams, Perry Kitchen and Lynden Gooch would compliment each other well and in defense Kellyn Acosta would get another chance at left back with Omar Gonzaez and Michael Orozco handed chances to show their importance as squad players. As for the goalkeeper, William Yarbrough impressed against Switzerland in a friendly last year and it could be time for him to make a real push to get alongside Tim Howard and Brad Guzan.

Manchester City v Sunderland - Premier League

MANCHESTER, ENGLAND - AUGUST 13: Sunderland player Lynden Gooch in action during the Premier League match between Manchester City and Sunderland at Etihad Stadium on August 13, 2016 in Manchester, England. (Photo by Stu Forster/Getty Images)

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Option 2 sees a little mix of youth and experience. With Bill Hamid in goal, this may be one of his final chances as Ethan Horvath’s emergence threatens his spot in the player pool. In central defense Tim Parker and Matt Besler could mix well and DeAndre Yedlin could start again at right back after only getting 45 minutes against Cuba. A diamond in midfield would see captain Michael Bradley at the base and Sacha Kljestan pulling the strings in front of an energetic duo of Gooch and Williams, while two up top would be the most interesting part for me. Julian Green was lively out on the left against Cuba but in his preferred central role he could wreck havoc alongside Agudelo.

Option 3 is in line with the kind of formation we expect from the USMNT’s first choice lineup. Again, a new goalkeeper in net sees David Bingham start after his solid display against Canada in February. The back four is more experienced with Besler getting an outing at left back like he was used in an emergency situation during the Copa American Centenario. In midfield the trio of Gooch, Williams and Bradley would again blend well and in attack Jozy Altidore could be the main man with Agudelo and Green picking up his knockdowns.

Simply put: Klinsmann has plenty of options as he continues to see as many players as possible in action for the Stars and Stripes.

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