SALVADOR, Brazil – Jurgen Klinsmann revealed a significant tactical change to his United States lineup just over an hour before the team’s round-of-16 showdown with Belgium on Tuesday.
Klinsmann moved midfielder Kyle Beckerman out of the starting XI despite the dread-locked Real Salt Lake player having played a full 90 minutes in all three group games.
Geoff Cameron rejoined the starting lineup and is expected to play just in front of the U.S. defensive back four. Omar Gonzalez will join Matt Besler as the central defensive pairing.
The move can be interpreted in a number of ways. Cameron is no stranger to midfield, having operated there for the national team and his English Premier League side Stoke City. Many believe that despite being used as center back in the first two games of this World Cup, a midfield holding role is his best position.
Another factor may be that Klinsmann likes the option of Cameron’s strength to match up against Belgium’s midfield enforcer, Axel Witsel, and his partner Kevin De Bruyne, who will seek to make aggressive forward runs.
The alteration also provides the potential for a mid-game switch, one that would see Cameron revert to right back and Fabian Johnson move forward into a right-sided midfield role.
On its formation list, the U.S. referred to its lineup as a 4-3-3, indicating strong attacking intent. In reality, it is likely to resemble something considerably more cautious such as a 4-5-1.
Jozy Altidore, as expected, will start the game on the bench after resuming light training over the past few days following a hamstring injury sustained against Ghana in the team’s tournament opener.
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