SANDY, Utah – Jermaine Jones is healthy and Graham Zusi is no longer suspended, but now DaMarcus Beasley is.
So as it stands, US national team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has some decisions to make ahead of Tuesday night’s World Cup qualifier against Honduras (9 pm ET; ESPN/UniMas, LIVE chat on MLSsoccer.com). And as it also stands, he knows exactly what he plans to do.
“Yes, I’ve already made those decisions,” Klinsmann said at Monday's press conference at Rio Tinto Stadium. "No, I’m not going to share."
Jones, who returns after missing the 2-0 win over Panama last week with concussion-like symptoms, has been a first-choice starter when healthy under Klinsmann. The combative midfielder’s spot was taken by Geoff Cameron for the final 30 minutes against Jamaica after Jones was helped off the field, and then for the full 90 against Panama.
Cameron put in a Man of the Match performance against the Canaleros, but it is Jones who looks most likely to get the nod.
“We have a very high-quality spine of this team,” Klinsmann had said earlier in the press conference, before rattling off the list of players that he considers to be his spine, finishing with his central midfield. “There, we have Jermaine as a [defensive midfielder] and Michael [Bradley] as a [box-to-box midfielder].”
Zusi has also established himself as the first choice at right midfield over the past year, and picked up assists against Germany in a friendly and Jamaica in the subsequent qualifier his last two times out. Replacement Eddie Johnson may have done him one better, though, scoring the second goal against Panama – off a feed from Cameron, no less.
While Klinsmann may end up choosing to hold to form in those two spots, keeping Cameron and Johnson on after their strong showings, that’s not an option at left back.
Beasley is suspended for the match after picking up his second card of the Hexagonal, leaving Klinsmann to choose between Fabian Johnson – who’s been starting at left midfield – and Edgar Castillo, who played well at left back for Club Tijuana this year but has struggled in US colors.