TAMPA, Fla. – Say this for Jurgen Klinsmann: the man is not afraid to experiment on the fly.
Jose Torres, perhaps the most creative man on the current U.S. roster, and perhaps the last man you’d expect to see at left back – he’s playing left back.
Torres (pictured right, with Carlos Bocanegra) is left-footed, so that part makes sense. And he can certainly serve a good ball from that side, having done so from his left-sided midfield role previously.
Antigua and Barbuda doesn’t figure to present much of a threat. So there’s a case to be made that this isn’t exactly a river boat gambler’s move. The strength of tonight’s opposition does help mitigate the risk.
On the other hand, the field already looks like a swamp land starter kit, and we’re still 20 minutes from kickoff, with rain falling steadily.
So this match has the possibility of becoming a quagmire, lesser fit for technical sorts, better for the “mudders” of the bunch. If that’s the case, Torres might find himself in trouble here and there.
Here’s tonight’s lineup for the United States’ national team’s first match of the 2014 World Cup qualifying cycle:
Tim Howard; Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra (capt.) Jose Torres; Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Maurice Edu; Landon Donovan, Herculez Gomez, Clint Dempsey.