Jurgen Klinsmann

SAN ANTONIO, TX - APRIL 15:  Perry Kitchen #21 of the United States jumps for a header against Luis Rodriguez #8 of Mexico during an international friendly match at the Alamodome on April 15, 2015 in San Antonio, Texas.  (Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images)
Photo by Chris Covatta/Getty Images

FOLLOW LIVE: An unorthodox XI as USMNT faces New Zealand in friendly


The United States trots out an unorthodox starting lineup in a rare matchup against perennial Oceania powers New Zealand in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday.

[ FOLLOW LIVE: Matchcenter ]

USMNT boss Jurgen Klinsmann sent several players back to their clubs after a 2-0 win on the awful pitch in Cuba last Friday, recalling a batch of names just for this match.

Kellyn Acosta, Juan Agudelo, Matt Besler, Terrence Boyd, Bill Hamid, Michael Orozco, and Tim Parker joined up with the team.

Heading back were John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Timmy Chandler, Ethan Horvath, Fabian Johnson, Jordan Morris, Christian Pulisic, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood.

The Yanks look to go 3-0 all-time against the Kiwis, who boast Wisconsin junior Sam Brotherton along the back line.

[ MORE: Tuesday’s UEFA roundup ]

There’s some question as to the United States’ formation thanks to this batch of players sitting in front of goalkeeper William Yarbrough, who scoops up cap No. 3.

Kellyn Acosta has been used as a left back by Jurgen Klinsmann, and DeAndre Yedlin is usually a right back. But Klinsmann has called upon defenders Matt Besler, Omar Gonzalez, and Michael Orozco as well.

Holding mids Perry Kitchen and Michael Bradley are in the lineup, as are Sacha Kljestan, Julian Green, and Jozy Altidore.

It seems likely we’ll see Yedlin, Altidore, and Green atop a 4-3-3.

This is the lineup the U.S. will use at RFK Stadium at 8 p.m. ET.

Klinsmann doesn’t want CONCACAF World Cup qualifying to change

RECIFE, BRAZIL - JUNE 26:  Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of the United States looks on during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil group G match between the United States and Germany at Arena Pernambuco on June 26, 2014 in Recife, Brazil.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Jurgen Klinsmann isn’t a fan of changing up the current format of World Cup qualifying in the CONCACAF region.

[ PREVIEW: USA v New Zealand ]

The head of soccer’s governing body in North and Central America and the Caribbean, Victor Montagliani, called the current system “archaic” and wants more CONCACAF teams included right up until the end of the qualifying window.

In the USA’s region the current format sees the final round of qualifying, known widely as the Hexagonal, include just six teams and of those the top three automatically go through to the World Cup and the fourth-place team is involved in a playoff with the playoff winner from the Asian Football Confederation for a World Cup spot.

Speaking to the media in Washington, D.C. ahead of the USMNT’s friendly against New Zealand on Tuesday, Klinsmann isn’t exactly a fan of the new suggestions to spice up CONCACAF qualifying.

“What is our lesson from Copa America? Our lesson from Copa America is if we want to get our program better we have to play with the best,” Klinsmann said. “In youth soccer terms, you need to play up. [If] you have an 11-year-old super talent, don’t play him with the 11-year-olds, Play him with the 12-year-olds. For us, if we want to get better, we need to play with the best teams out there from South America or from Europe.”

“I’m not saying we need to join UEFA or we need to join CONMEBOL, but for us the eternal topic is the need to get the best games in order to improve our players. So if we can have every two years a Copa America, we need to let a [biennial] Gold Cup go.”

Simply put: the less games against CONCACAF opponents, the better.

As much fun as it would be to see an expanded qualifying system for CONCACAF — say, 12 teams make it through to the final round (cut out the third round altogether) and then the top three go through and the fourth place team goes to the playoff — in terms of FIFA rankings and testing yourself against the best it would be harmful.

[ MORE: Fastest players in PL? ] 

Of course, not too many people care about the FIFA rankings but for the U.S. there are obviously benefits of playing friendlies against top South American or European teams in non-competitive windows rather than playing CONCACAF teams who they know they’ll easily beat.

Other CONCACAF nations will likely feel a lot different than Klinsmann and the USMNT but when all is said and done would any other team other than the U.S., Mexico, Costa Rica, Honduras, Jamaica, Panama and Trinidad & Tobago seriously challenge to make the World Cup?

The smaller CONCACAF nations will argue they could and the decision will lie with Montagliani rather than Klinsmann or the other big players in the region. However if there are more teams in the final round of qualifying would it be possible for CONCACAF to suggest to FIFA that it needs four automatic spots to a World Cup and fifth place in CONCACAF would go to a playoff with the AFC?

There will be plenty more chatter on this in the days to come.

USMNT boss Klinsmann on Bob Bradley’s jockeying jab: “Simply not true”

HAVANA, CUBA - OCTOBER 06:  Jurgen Klinsmann of the United States speaks to the media prior to the US Men's National Team Training at Estadio Pedro Marrero on October 6, 2016 in Havana, Cuba.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images
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Goal.com shared this tidbit from United States men’s national team camp on Monday, where Jurgen Klinsmann was asked about Bob Bradley’s assertion that the German was “jockeying” for the American job while Bradley was still in the manager’s chair.

[ PREVIEW: USA v New Zealand ]

Klinsmann was reportedly offered the job in 2006 but couldn’t reach a salary agreement with U.S. Soccer. Bradley was then hired, and kept his job after the 2010 World Cup saw the Yanks advance to the Round of 16 before falling to Ghana.

Bradley was eventually let go after the 2011 World Cup.

From Seth Vertelney’s write-up:

“It’s simply not true,” Klinsmann said. “I could have taken the job in 2006, I could have taken it in 2010 and then we got together again in 2011 and we figured out a way to make this happen so I was not jockeying anything.”

Klinsmann’s response implies that he was offered the job before Bradley was extended by U.S. Soccer after the 2010 World Cup.

Bradley’s son, Michael, is also the captain of Klinsmann’s USMNT side, which means this could be dicey territory, even if the Bradleys operate on a high professional plane.

As expected, Klinsmann makes changes to USMNT roster for NZL friendly

SEATTLE, WA - JUNE 16:  Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann of the United States smiles as he walks off the pitch after defeating Ecuador in the 2016 Quarterfinal - Copa America Centenario match at CenturyLink Field on June 16, 2016 in Seattle, Washington.  (Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images)
Photo by Otto Greule Jr/Getty Images

After knocking off Cuba in Havana on Friday, Jurgen Klinsmann has made a number of changes to the U.S. national team squad that will face New Zealand in Washington, D.C., on Tuesday, the Yanks’ final tune-up fixture before taking on Mexico in 2018 World Cup qualifying on Nov. 11.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

Nine players have departed USMNT camp — all of whom either play their club ball in Europe, or for an MLS side scheduled to play a league game on Wednesday or Thursday  — with seven players joining up with the remainder of the squad in the nation’s capital.

In (7): Kellyn Acosta, Juan Agudelo, Matt Besler, Terrence Boyd, Bill Hamid, Michael Orozco, Tim Parker

Out (9): John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Timmy Chandler, Ethan Horvath, Fabian Johnson, Jordan Morris, Christian Pulisic, Chris Wondolowski, Bobby Wood

[ MORE: Three things we learned from USA 2-0 Cuba ]

The changes leaves Klinsmann with a squad of just 20 players for Tuesday’s exhibition, and a whole new set of players vying for a place on the roster as the Hex beckons just over a month away.

Cuba 0-2 USA: Wondo, Green tally in USMNT’s ugly win in Cuba

SALVADOR, BRAZIL - JULY 01: Julian Green of the United States (R) celebrates scoring his team's first goal in extra time with Chris Wondolowski during the 2014 FIFA World Cup Brazil Round of 16 match between Belgium and the United States at Arena Fonte Nova on July 1, 2014 in Salvador, Brazil.  (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
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Chris Wondolowski and Julian Green got the goals as the U.S. national team picked up an ugly, choppy victory in Cuba on Friday, the first time the senior squad played a game on Cuban soil since 1947.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s USMNT coverage ]

For the most part, the Yanks escaped the bumpy, cratered field at the Estadio Pedro Marrero in Havana without incident. Christian Pulisic was clattered by hard challenges on numerous occasions in the first half, and was subbed off after 45 minutes. Steve Birnbaum was less fortunate, as the D.C. United defender received studs to the top of his head, opening up a gushing wound with 10 minutes left to go in the game.

All three of the USMNT’s first-half shots on target came via Green, a surprise inclusion in Jurgen Klinsmann’s starting lineup. The best of the bunch played out in the 23rd minute, when the Bayern Munich youngster broke down the left flank, cut into the penalty area, cut back toward the end line, and fired a left-footed shot low, but right at Cuban goalkeeper Sandy Sanchez, who made the kick save with the ball headed for the far post.

[ MORE: Three things we learned from USA 2-0 Cuba ]

Cuba nearly opened the scoring long after, in the 28th minute, Roberney Caballero unleashed a speculative effort from from outside the penalty area. The ball looked headed for the inside of the far post, but 21-year-old goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, the youngest player to start in goal for the USMNT since 1994 (Zach Thornton), which occurred before Horvath was born, got fingertips to the ball and pushed it wide.

Maikel Reyes went inches from giving Cuba the lead just before the hour mark. The Cruz Azul striker raced down the right side of the field and into the penalty area, where he unloaded on Horvath with a shot to the near post, but came up with only woodwork as the ball clanged off the inside of the post and shot across the face of goal behind an unknowing Horvath.

[ MORE: All the news, info surrounding Bob Bradley’s Swansea appointment ]

Three minutes later, in the 62nd, the Yanks were on the scoreboard. Green cut inside from the left wing to fire a right-footed shot at Sanchez, who made the initial save. The rebound, unfortunately for Sanchez, fell right to the feet of Wondolowski, who hammered the ball into an empty net for the 11th goal of his international career.

[ MORE: Cristiano Ronaldo hammers An-four-a in goal-scoring blitz ]

Green grabbed a goal of his own — deservedly so, it must be said — to make it 2-0 in the 71st minute. It was Wondolowski who provided the assist, a simple cross across the face of goal with Green in all alone at the back post.

The USMNT’s final game before its World Cup qualifying showdown with Mexico, in Columbus, Ohio, on Nov. 11, will be a friendly against New Zealand at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., (8 p.m. ET) on Tuesday.