Who should start for US national team vs. Mexico?

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Following the loss of Jozy Altidore, Geoff Cameron, Michael Bradley and Matt Besler, the US national team have some serious revamping to attend to before Mexico arrive in Columbus on Tuesday.

The crucial CONCACAF World Cup qualifier sees Jurgen Klinsmann forced to reshuffle his pack as Altidore, Cameron and Besler are suspended, while Bradley misses out with an ankle injury.

(MORE: USA wary of Mexico backlash following managerial turmoil)

One thing for sure is that Klinsmann has plenty of options against a fired up El Tri. So let’s try and guess which type of lineup he will go with to try and seal qualification in Columbus.

The tried and tested

With Geoff Cameron missing and Michael Orozco failing to impress at right back, it’s time to go with the experienced members of the US squad against Mexico. Michael Parkhurst could come in at right back, with Clarence Goodson at central defense and Kyle Beckerman in a holding midfield role. Those three players would add a reliability that was lacking in San Jose on Friday night and the USA’s defense would certainly be more stable and organized. However there could be a big issue in terms of lack of pace as Mexico favor a counter-attacking style in Columbus. All three aren’t going to set the world alight but you know exactly what you’re going to get. The safest option for Klinsmann but is it to cautious to deploy at home WC qualifier?

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Should Joe Corona and the USMNT’s other youngsters get a shot against Mexico?

Youngsters to make a name for themselves

Ah, the young pretenders. Is this really the right environment to chuck in players that aren’t used to the hustle and bustle of a World Cup qualifier vs. Mexico? Maybe not. But why not surprise Mexico and start with Aron Johannsson up front and then play the likes of Mix Diskerrud, Joe Corona and Jose Torres in a three-man midfield. Most people would say you’re crazy for suggesting that, but those three midfielders played together at the Gold Cup in variations of that formation and proved to be a good solid unit. As for Johannsson, why not give him a chance from the start? With Jozy Altidore out the US should either go with Eddie Johnson or AZ striker Johannsson. We all know how good EJ is coming off the bench, so start with the Icelandic-American forward, see how he does and bring on EJ to grab the game-winner late on. Simple.

All-out attack, going for the win

The riskiest strategy for the US national team and one that I can’t see Klinsmann going for, but I’m gonna throw it out there anyway. How about starting with Eddie Johnson and Johannsson up front, with Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Graham Zusi all behind them and Jermaine Jones as the lone holding midfielder. This seriously attack minded 4-1-3-2 formation would scare the life out of Mexico and if the US score early with this approach they could sit back and defend their lead quite comfortably against a goal-shy Mexico side. You could counter balance the extreme attacking nature of this lineup with a backline of Parkhurst, Gonzalez, Goodson and Johnson and it should be fine. A risky option but who says Zusi, Donovan and Dempsey won’t track back to fight for the cause? They are all capable of putting in a two-way shift and also delivering moments of attacking panache that can win the game for the US and ultimately seal qualification to Brazil 2014. This gun-ho approach may work the best on Tuesday in Columbus.

Podolski after golazo finale: “This is like a great movie”

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Lukas Podolski has won a EURO, a World Cup, and the Bundesliga with two different sides.

Only Lothar Matthaus and Miroslav Klose have been capped more than Germany’s Polish born Podolski, and he received a hero’s send-off from the home crowd at Germany’s 1-0 win over England on Wednesday.

And of course he sent himself off in style with a gorgeous goal.

[ MORE: Guardiola close to adding $43m GK? ]

Podolski said there were more than 30,000 people from Cologne at the match, where he won one of his two Bundesliga titles.

“That’s when you know where you home is, and that you’ve done a lot of good, also off the pitch,” Podolski said. “That makes me very proud.”

It was a perfect night to say goodbye, and the goal made it almost surreal (Thomas Muller called it “cheesy”).

From Goal.com:

“This is like a great movie,” he told ARD. “We win 1-0 and I score the goal.

“I know I have a left foot that was probably gifted to me by God, or someone up there, and I can always rely on it. I am proud of these last 13 years.”

Feel good hit of the Spring.

Report: Guardiola close to adding $43m Benfica goalkeeper

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Year Two of the Pep Guardiola era at Manchester City could feature another big goalkeeper purchase.

Claudio Bravo hasn’t panned out in sky blue, and Joe Hart doesn’t look likely to be coming back. Wily Caballero is getting the lion’s share of the minutes right now, playing every minute aside from a trio of FA Cup matches since February.

[ MORE: Podolski scores screamer in German finale ]

$43 million is the fee noted by Abola when it comes to the latest target for Guardiola, a neck-tattooed Brazilian by the name of Ederson.

The Benfica backstop, 23, has 20 clean sheets in 32 appearances this season. He signed a new six-year deal in late January, but money may talk here.

Podolski goes out with super goal; Germany tops England

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The highlight of Wednesday’s international friendly docket was Lukas Podolski‘s final match for Germany, and the former Arsenal man did not disappoint his crowd.

But first, Canada plays its first match since unveiling new coach Octavio Zambrano.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

Scotland 1-1 Canada

Zambrano saw plenty to like from his new side, as Canada went ahead early with a goal from former Scottish youth Fraser Aird. Toronto-born, the ex-Rangers and current Falkirk man got his first Canadian goal against the team he represented at U-17 and U-19 levels.

Norwich City’s Steven Naismith redirected Tom Cairney‘s shot to make it 1-1 before the break, but Scotland never found its way back into Canada’s net.

Germany 1-0 England

Lukas Podolski scored his 49th international goal in his final cap for Germany, and it was spectacular.

Joe Hart didn’t stand a chance.

The match saw big stops from both ‘keepers, as Hart thwarted Leroy Sane on a second half break after Marc-Andre Ter Stegen defied Dele Alli in the opening 45.

Podolski subbed off in the 84th minute to wild applause, but it must sting slightly to know you finished an illustrious career one goal short of a nice, round 50. We guess he’ll have to rest on his millions and millions of earnings and loads of on-field honors.

Elsewhere
Vietnam 1-1 Chinese Taipei
Philippines 0-0 Malaysia
Cyprus 3-1 Kazakhstan
Yemen 0-1 Palestine
Cambodia 2-3 India

McClean to wear No. 5 in honor of deceased ex-teammate

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James McClean is a colorful personality who doesn’t shy away from strong opinions — he once called Jurgen Klopp “a bit of an idiot” — and the West Brom man is using the big stage of World Cup qualifying to proudly honor a deceased ex-teammate.

McClean has long before friends with Derry City captain Ryan McBride, who shockingly died hours after leading his side to a league win this weekend. Given his age (27), few saw it coming even after McBride admitted to feeling ill after the match.

[ MORE: Zlatan still bitter with Guardiola ]

McBride and McClean played together at Derry, and the latter was excused from Republic of Ireland training to attend funeral services this week.

He’s still expected to play a role in Ireland’s World Cup qualifier against Wales on Friday, and McClean will don the No. 5 of McBride. Irish defender Richard Keogh usually wears the number and agreed to the change.