We know that DaMarcus Beasley and Sacha Kljestan (pictured) will start Wednesday as the United States takes on Belgium in Cleveland. Jermaine Jones, too, although that is every bit as surprising as a whistle to start the match.
U.S. boss Jurgen Klinsmann said so at a press gathering Tuesday.
Beasley and Kljestan have not been first-choice men under Klinsmann. Beasley did start the last two World Cup qualifiers, but that was mostly in response to injuries. Still, is anybody surprised by Tuesday’s revelations? Let’s look at them:
Action: Sacha Kljestan is starting:
Reaction: No surprise at all. Considering the limited midfield options, who else? Michael Bradley and Danny Williams aren’t available. Brad Evans was mostly brought in for cover at outside back. Stuart Holden may play some role, but he’s clearly not in a position to start. Brad Davis is further down in the pecking order. And Graham Zusi can play inside, but if he does the options become alarmingly sparse along the flanks.
Action: Jermaine Jones is starting.
Reaction: Same as above. Besides, Klinsmann’s admiration for the infectious toughness he adds is well known by now. Even the Jones detractors had to admit that his shadow over the snowy, vital match in Denver was massive. He was the best player on the field that cold, surreal night at DSG Park.
Finally, that young back line needs some protection. Possibly quite a bit of it considering Belgium’s strength at the moment.
(MORE: Looking at a young U.S. defense against Belgium)
Action: DaMarcus Beasley is starting.
Reaction: We outlined the current U.S. depth chart at left back here. Fabian Johnson is at the top, but the Hoffenheim man has yet to arrive, just finishing up with those German relegation playoffs. Beasley was second in the ordering, so nothing tricky about this one. Besides, Klinsmann says, the kid deserves No. 100!
(MORE: Beasley’s 100th, and other Tuesday notes from the national team)