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Jurgen Klinsmann defends U.S. lineup decisions vs. Guatemala


Days after coming under criticism for some of his lineup decisions in the USA's World Cup qualifying loss to Guatemala on Friday, manager Jurgen Klinsmann has backed his choices.

Among his selections, Klinsmann opted to play Geoff Cameron at right back, Michael Orozco–who is hardly playing for Club Tijuana–at center back, DeAndre Yedlin on the wing and Mix Diskerud in a box-to-box midfield role, and while each player is not entirely unaccustomed to those positions, there is debate as to whether it puts them all, and the U.S. team, in position to succeed the most. Cameron told the Planet Fútbol Podcast last month that he is best suited in central midfielder or center back.

“In World Cup qualifying, we’re not experimenting anything. We played the best 11 that we think in that moment is the best 11,” Klinsmann told reporters in Columbus Monday. “I appreciate the discussion when we say maybe Yedlin should be playing right back or Geoff Cameron should play center back, but it would also be helpful if you look back a second to where they play in their clubs and also what their history is with the U.S. national team. I’m not playing anybody out of position. I know that Geoff Cameron can play right back and center back. I know Yedlin can play right wing or right back. This is a good thing for us to have, because we try to put the pieces together the best way possible in order for them to fit.

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“I’m not playing anybody out of position. We are aware of the situation that we have to get the result tomorrow night. I think everybody knows that. We analyzed our mistakes that we did in Guatemala City and hopefully correct them and give everybody a really good game tomorrow night.”

Klinsmann faces more decisions Tuesday in a must-have rematch. Alejandro Bedoya, who also started Friday, is dealing with an ankle injury, while Matt Besler, John Brooks and Fabian Johnson remain unavailable with their own ailments. 

"You always kind of have to rethink the situation and if you make changes, you make them and you see who’s healthy, who's 100%," Klinsmann said. "A game like that tomorrow night, you have to be 100%. If there’s any doubt about a player, we’re not starting that player. We're there for the first moment on to be very aggressive, very physical and keep a very high tempo and hopefully create chances.

"Obviously we have an ideal lineup in mind the first 11, but when you look back a couple days ago we still had a John Brooks and Matt Besler in there, now Ale Bedoya is banged up, so we don’t know. We give it a try this morning and we don’t know if he can make it or not, but always kind of couple of changes that’s coming to mind. It pays off in a certain way that we came in with 26, 27 guys.

"I think the team knows that there were some reasons it didn’t work out the way we wanted it and now we need to be ready from the first second tomorrow night and respond the right way."