The US vs. Jamaica: What to Expect

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I know that I’ve made one too many ‘Merica jokes on twitter and alienated many of you with my “split allegiances” posts at Fox Soccer. However, I assure that I have white skin, blue blood courses my veins, and that blood when exposed to air turns red. Thus, I am American. Emphasis on the last three syllables. Thus, I frequently turn my gaze to our plucky national team.

Here are a few half-thoughts on the upcoming games vs. Jamaica.

You and everybody on your favorite forums and subreddits will take Klinsmann’s quote about trying to win both games as a hint of attacking ambitions. Thus, you speculate that he may actually not play four holding midfielders. You, and others, will be disappointed. Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones will provide interior muscle, while Kyle Beckerman and Jose Torres will provide metronomic passing but little true width. If the game is 0-0 near the end, Dempsey and Brek Shea may get half hour cameos. Or maybe note.

Up top, everybody will expect in-form Jozy Altidore to start. Jozy has scored plenty of goals for his Dutch club, so Klinsi should play the hot hand, right? Wrong. Klinsi has shown unwavering faith in Santos striker Herculez Gomez, who has a good work rate, high soccer IQ, and looks more comfortable in a possession offense. Terrence Boyd, doing well for Rapid Vienna, will probably get the nod also. In this sense, Klinsi will favor trying to beat the tall Jamaican center backs with guile and speed, not power vs. power.

For the back line, you will read at a few blogs several angry posts with titles ending in colorful punctuation marks about Tim Ream. They will include either three or four exclamation points. Many will also feature multiple interrogatory signs. In a few of these post titles, the exclamation points and interrogatory signs will be interspersed like slices of romaine and lettuce in a mixed salad. For the record, Tim Ream is on the “standby list.” No sources can confirm whether or not he has commissioned an honorary plaque to commemorate the occasion. In the event said plaque exists, Ream could presumably place it next to his “Welcome to the Npower Championship” certificate (which is on really really nice stationary).

At least, you say, the US can rely on Oguchi Onyewu. You re-read the first article linked in this post. You go into a closet. You shut the door. You turn off the light. A half hour later, you exit the closet. Your face is still red from shouting, but you feel better. After a cold glass of water, you remind yourself that Geoff Cameron is a pretty good player. You pray that Bocanegra forgets his age and Clarence Goodson forgets he is, in fact, Clarence Goodson. You ask yourself how he got that last name anyway. Why not Badson? Or SonWhoPlaysCompetentCenterbackButIsProneToMistakes?

Probably too many syllables for a birth certificate.

After the 0:0 draw in Kingston, you shrug your shoulders and hope Donovan returns from injury and Dempsey gets his fitness back. Prontito.

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