With all the missing regulars, am I being greedy to want a win in Panama?
Four more players, including starting left center back John Anthony Brooks, have been released to their clubs. Only Paul Arriola has been added to the mix, so the USMNT now has 23 guys available for selection on Tuesday. You may know them as...
G - David Bingham, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando
D - DaMarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Omar Gonzalez, Tim Ream, Jorge Villafaña, Walker Zimmerman
M - Kellyn Acosta, Paul Arriola, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Sacha Kljestan, Dax McCarty, Darlington Nagbe, Christian Pulisic, Graham Zusi
F - Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski
So what do we do now? Panama is bound to be angry after losing to Trinidad & Tobago on Friday, so we'll need another big effort to win at their house.
As good as what was essentially a 4-1-4-1 worked against Honduras, and considering how Panama's midfield tends to make plays from deep positions, I'd be inclined to stick with it. But a few changes are required. This is my suggestion:
Replacing Brooks with Besler is a no-brainer. And as he has a good left-side connection that goes back a ways, I'll agree with many of my colleagues that Beasley's cool experience should step in for this road test. As usual, Bedoya kept things safe and running smoothly on the right side against Honduras, so let's stick with that (as much as many of you will balk).
In the international game, building continuity is often as important as skill or tactics, and I certainly wouldn't want to make too many alterations to a group that won 6-0 the last time out.
- Greg Seltzer