Go ahead and speculate as to what kind of shape this will take, but with Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya coming into Jurgen Klinsmann’s starting lineup, the United States look set to change its look today in Jacksonville, Fla. Along with left back DaMarcus Beasley, the midfielders are part of the three changes the U.S. makes to its starting XI for today’s match against Nigeria.
Tim Howard remains in goal, while three of the four places in defense are the same. Matt Besler will partner Geoff Cameron in the middle, while Fabian Johnson has become a lock at right back. On the left, however, Timothy Chandler, who struggled last week against Turkey, gives way to Beasley, the favorite to start June 16 against Ghana.
The big changes to the team take place in midfield. Brad Davis, who picked up an injury in training this week, has been dropped from the starting lineup, as has fellow Major League Soccer star Graham Zusi. In their place, Kyle Beckerman, who rarely operates outside of a holding role, comes in at the base of midfield, with Nantes’s Alejandro Bedoya taking the other starting spot.
With Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley still in the lineup, the choices make it unclear how the U.S. will set up in midfield. Against both Azerbaijan and Turkey, U.S. Soccer applied the “diamond” misnomer to the midfield’s configuration. Unless Jones moves to one of the “diamond’s” flanks, the U.S. will change things up against Nigeria.
Up top, the choices remain the same, with captain Clint Dempsey picked to start along side Jozy Altidore. If, however, Klinsmann is changing his set up to a 4-2-3-1 or a 4-3-3, Dempsey is unlikely to stay close to his normal strike partner. Instead, the Seattle Sounders attacker could be pushed into a wider role.
Kickoff in Jacksonville will take place just after 6:00 p.m. Eastern. We’ll have full coverage of the result at the final whistle.