US starting 11: Davis and Gonzalez in, Bedoya and Cameron out
Jurgen Klinsmann has gone with the same 4-2-3-1 formation that earned a draw vs. Portugal, but with two major changes.
Here are the starting 11 players that will attempt to keep the United States in the 2014 World Cup:
That's the same 4-2-3-1 formation Klinsmann deployed against Portugal following the loss of Jozy Altidore, leaving Clint Dempsey as the lone striker up top, pairing Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones in the defensive midfield, deploying Damarcus Beasley and Fabian Johnson as attacking fullbacks, and Michael Bradley as the offensive fulcrum.
But there's also two major, major changes from the Portgual lineup. Graham Zusi is moving from the left midfield flank to the right, moving Alejandro Bedoya to the bench and opening space on the left for Brad Davis. A longtime star for the Houston Dynamo in MLS, Davis is the US's purest left-footed player, capable of delivering pinpoint crosses and free kicks.
The other change is in central defense, where the Los Angeles Galaxy's Omar Gonzalez has replaced Geoff Cameron. Gonzalez started alongside Matt Besler for most of the US's qualifiying campaign, but lost the starting job to Cameron after a poor start to 2014 both for the Galaxy and the national side.
Neither Davis nor Gonzalez have started yet at this World Cup, and few American fans would have expected either one to get the call for this game -- particularly Cameron, who made a pair of critical mistakes against Portgual but was also arguably the American's best player against Ghana, a force who played the principal role in keeping the Black Stars off the board for 80 minutes.
Klinsmann is, in short, rolling the dice -- and a nation holds its breath to see if he comes up snake eyes or not.
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