The striker is available to play against Belgium in the round of 16, but the coach has decided to once again start Clint Dempsey as the lone striker.SALVADOR, Brazil -- Jurgen Klinsmann shook things up with his U.S. national team starting lineup against Belgium, but not quite in the way we would have expected.
The U.S. will stick with a one-forward attack, with Clint Dempsey alone up top. But Kyle Beckerman is on the bench for the first time this World Cup, dropped in favor of Geoff Cameron, who looks set to partner with Jermaine Jones in the deep-midfield slots in a 4-2-3-1.
Jozy Altidore is on the bench for the match, but is left out of the starting lineup -- not much of a surprise considering he hasn’t trained much, but the fact he is in uniform suggests we could see the striker for the first time since suffering a strained hamstring in the team’s 2-1 victory against Ghana.
According to the tactical lineup sheets in Salvador, Cameron will be deployed at right back, while Fabian Johnson will slide in as a right forward in a 4-3-3. Alejandro Bedoya will be on the left in a formation that could play more as a 4-5-1 as the match goes on.
Cameron has spent two seasons at Stoke City as a starting right back and has enjoyed success against Belgium star Eden Hazard when matched up against him. The lineup changes show Michael Bradley deployed in the left side of a three-man midfield, with Graham Zusi on the right and Jermaine Jones deployed as the defensive midfielder.
That set-up differs from the one U.S. Soccer released on social media. The U.S. Soccer lineup had Fabian Johnson at right back, Cameron in midfield and Graham Zusi in the wide forward role in a 4-3-3.
Omar Gonzalez will keep his starting spot alongside Matt Besler after his impressive showing against Germany, while Klinsmann decides to keep both Zusi and Alejandro Bedoya as flank players to help deal with Belgium’s dangerous wing options.
For Belgium, the big news is Vincent Kompany is in the starting lineup. He had been considered doubtful due to injury, but the Belgium captain and Manchester City star will be in the XI. One player who won’t be starting is Romelu Lukaku, who has struggled at this World Cup to make an impact. He has been dropped in favor of Lille forward Divock Origi, who has played just 95 minutes at this World Cup, the least among the Belgian starters.
Eden Hazard and Dries Mertens will work the flanks for the Belgians, and the key match-up to watch will be Hazard vs. Johnson, who has held his own against some top wingers at this World Cup.
USA starting lineup: Tim Howard; Fabian Johnson, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, DaMarcus Beasley; Geoff Cameron, Jermaine Jones, Alejandro Bedoya, Michael Bradley, Graham Zusi; Clint Dempsey.