032213_usmntcostarica_i-lvzq5tn Jeremy Olson for American Soccer Now

5 Key Questions Ahead of Tonight's U.S. Match

Our man in Denver, Jon Arnold, has been gathering information and sharing it with you for the past day and a half, but not even he can answer these questions ahead of tonight's crucial Hex match.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
March 22, 2013
1:43 PM
We’ve tried to do our fair share of information gathering in the build-up to tonight’s match against Costa Rica, but there are still some questions lingering that won’t be fully answered until the referee’s whistle blows.

1. How fit is Clint Dempsey?

The captain for Friday’s game has been out with a calf injury and after returning to Tottenham he played just 45 minutes before flying to Denver. When asked Wednesday how fit he was, Dempsey didn’t give a definitive answer. There’s no doubt he’ll play and play hard, but with so many players missing the match because of injury, a Dempsey at full strength would be a tremendous asset.

2. Will DaMarcus Beasley start?

If so, where? The Puebla midfielder makes his return to the United States national team and could make an immediate impact. Jurgen Klinsmann has been coy with his lineup selections—and given the dissension within his ranks, can you blame him?—but he did allow a smile while he answered a question about the potential for Beasley filling in at left back. For his part, Beasley said Thursday he’s ready to play anywhere. Don’t be surprised to see the Indiana native win his 98th career cap.

3. What adjustments will the U.S. make?

Klinsmann's tactics, or at times the lack thereof, have never been under more scrutiny since the publication of an article in which multiple anonymous sources questioned the coach’s methods. There are going to be some adjustments from the Honduras match—there have to be with all the players missing—but exactly what Klinsmann has up his sleeve and how he plans to manage the game is yet to be seen.

4. How will the back line hold up?

No matter what Klinsmann puts together for his back line, it’s going to be something of a patchwork job. Defenders Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez both said they felt there was good chemistry in training and the communication that needs to take place during a match would be in place. That’s essential against a Costa Rican attack featuring Bryan Ruiz, Alvaro Saborio, and Joel Campbell among others.

5. Will the forwards get any service?

The U.S. has had difficult getting any service to the forwards, specifically Jozy Altidore. With green fullbacks in the back, the midfielders’ job becomes even more difficult, and that could be detrimental on the attack. Altidore and the other forwards are in great form and can definitely score – they just have to get the ball first to do so.

This is what we're thinking about. What are you thinking about? Tell us below.

Jon Arnold (@ArnoldcommaJon) is a writer based in Arizona and is ASN's CONCACAF correspondent.

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