Who Will Start at Defense for The United States?
The 2014 World Cup starts this Thursday, and the United States are looking to start off the tournament with a bang, as they take on Ghana on June 16. But chemistry is as important in soccer as in any other sport, so finding the right mix of players is priority number one.
Over the past few weeks during the send-off series against Nigeria,Turkey, and Azerbaijan, head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has been trying to figure out which pieces fit the best for this American squad, most notably who he'll start at defense. Three names seem to be solid starters in the lineup, with Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron playing as the two central defenders, and Fabian Johnson on the right.
The left back position, however, may be one that is up for grabs until we kick-off against Ghana in one week. DeMarcus Beasley seems to be the leading candidate, but there are a lot of miles on his legs, and Klinsmann has made it quite clear that he prefers talented youth over age and experience. Beasley has been an anchor for the national team for over 10 years, and has the abilities to move up into the attack and add an extra weapon in the opponent's defensive third of the field.
Timmy Chandler is the other legitimate option at the left back position. He basically plays identical to Beasley, although not quite as quick, Chandler outweighs him by 30 some odd pounds and is only 24 years old. Don't be shocked if Chandler starts over Beasley against Ghana; however, since we still don't have a sure-fire answer on the left side, the two may split starts during group play (think of this like the A.J. McCarron/Philip Sims situation Alabama had at the quarterback position during the 2011 football season).
Having a different starting lineup every match is not ideal on the international level, so Klinsmann has to make a tough executive decision before Ghana as to who his starting four backs will be. He knows it's important to get a back-line set, because on June 22, we'll go up against Portugal and one of the best players in the world, Cristiano Ronaldo, and Ronaldo knows how to pick apart defensive units... especially ones who haven't quite gelled together.