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With Klinsmann’s Gold Cup 23 out, who makes your USMNT XI for the group stage?


Clint Dempsey & Jozy Altidore

With a bevy of MLS and Liga MX players -- as well as Stanford upstart Jordan Morris -- cut from the list, U.S. supporters can turn their attention to next month’s Gold Cup with a better idea of what’s in store for the Yanks’ lineup.

Klinsmann cannot trot out the same XI from either of this month’s historic friendly wins over Germany and the Netherlands. Gone from the 4-3 win over Holland is Brek Shea, and both Danny Williams and Juan Agudelo started the 2-1 win at Germany.

[ MORE: Roster in full ]

Those wins do give us a good base for what Klinsmann is planning for the Gold Cup. After a July 3 friendly with Group C’s Guatemala, the Yanks have a tricky tournament opener on July 7 vs. Honduras in Frisco, Texas before July 10’s match with Haiti and the group stage finale on July 13 against Panama.

Right off the bat, Klinsmann could opt for consistency and play 10 players who earned a start earlier this month, simply by inserting Jozy Altidore (then injured) into the top of a 4-4-2

Chandler -- Brooks -- Alvarado -- Johnson

Morales -- Beckerman -- Bradley -- Zardes

Johannsson -- Altidore

Since it’s Klinsmann, we doubt it’ll be that tidy. Altidore is the team’s leading scorer this season, and it seems likely he’ll dance back into the XI, but there are questions as to how Klinsmann wants to use Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach finished their season very well with the hybrid 27-year-old back in an advanced wing-type position). With Graham Zusi and Ale Bedoya in the fold, Johnson could easily play back.

[ USWNT: Rapinoe’s suspension will hurt the team ]

And will he trust Alvarado with the keys to the spot alongside John Brooks despite the presence of Omar Gonzalez and Tim Ream, neither of whom have seen regular U.S. minutes in a while? Could Brad Evans unseat Timmy Chandler, whose play has been mercurial at best?

Furthermore, what role does Klinsmann see for Dempsey? Is he a surefire starter and integral part of any XI, or has the play of the side without him put Mix Diskerud or Gyasi Zardes into a more prominent position (not that those are like-for-like swaps).

Here’s an educated guess at a bit of an unorthodox, offense-forward 4-4-2:


Yedlin -- Brooks -- Gonzalez -- Johnson

Bedoya -- Beckerman -- Bradley -- Diskerud

Altidore -- Dempsey

And a look at a formation that focuses on Altidore as target man:


Chandler -- Brooks -- Alvarado -- Johnson

Morales -- Beckerman

Bedoya -- Bradley -- Dempsey


Of course, there are plenty of other intriguing options, depending on Klinsmann’s choice for Bradley (the following seeming unlikely):


Yedlin -- Brooks -- Gonzalez -- Johnson

Beckerman -- Bradley

Bedoya -- Dempsey -- Diskerud


The Toronto FC man has been very good in an advanced role in recent matches with Beckerman as cover, but sliding him further back in the mix -- which seems unlikely -- would allow him some freedom while also positioning him in a box-to-box marathon man role.

But all of these keep Gyasi Zardes and Aron Johannsson out of the mix. What do you think Klinsmann will do come July 7? And will July 3 be a test for his formation against Honduras, or a chance for some “lesser lights” to make their case?

Follow @NicholasMendola