US Depth Chart 2.0: The top 3 at each position heading into Mexico match
FOXBOROUGH, Mass. -- The last time we attempted to decode U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann's depth chart, it proved to be an impossible task. This was right after the Americans' dreadful showing at the CONCACAF Gold Cup, and back then there were far more questions than answers. Klinsmann likes to keep people -- his own players included -- guessing. But back then, even simple queries were anything but. Now, we know a lot more.
Brad Guzan is the starter in goal, and Tim Howard is the No. 2. DaMarcus Beasley hasn't played his last game with the U.S. after all; in fact, Klinsmann says now that if the popular left back is healthy, he'll start against Mexico in next month's all-important Confederations Cup playoff in Pasadena, California.
We know Fabian Johnson is Klinsmann's preferred left back. We know that Jermaine Jones' experience is "needed" against El Tri. We also know that with the games that matter (the 2018 World Cup cycle begins a month after the Mexico game), the U.S. bench has gotten shorter, which is why we're going three-deep at every position and not four, as was the case five months ago.
Still, Tuesday's 4-1 spanking by Brazil did leave us with unknowns, particularly in the midfield, where there appears to be no obvious choice at defensive midfielder if all of Klinsmann's first-choice players are healthy and available. Given the number of players who are either still out injured or haven't reached full fitness yet after recovering from injury -- like Beasley and Johnson -- that's no guarantee, either.
Nonetheless, a snapshot of who fits in where heading into that Oct. 10 tilt has definitely emerged. "We have a clear picture about the Mexico game," Klinsmann said after Tuesday's defeat.
Here's an educated guess -- based on Klinsmann's words and actions over the national team's just-concluded September camp -- at what that snapshot looks like....