While the 2-1 victory over Antigua and Barbuda was as uninspiring as a victory can be, the United States faces another match on Tuesday with even less personnel. Fabian Johnson is still out with the flu, Landon Donovan and Brek Shea are still injured, and Edgar Castillo is still "out for two weeks" (even though he played for Xolos over the weekend). Throw in the fact that Jermaine Jones will be out due to yellow card accumulation, and the lineup is less "Who will Juergen Klinsmann start?" and more "Who can Juergen Klinsmann start?"
While a win or a tie will get the US into the hexangonal, a loss, of course, is where things get much more dicey. A 1-0 US loss combined with a 3-0 Jamaica win at home means that Jamaica goes through to the hex. Goal difference is the first tiebreaker, and so if the US should lose by more the one goal it makes Jamaica's job all that much easier. But all of this is to say that the United States should take care of business: a win should be foremost on the team's mind.
This is the same lineup that started the game against Antigua and Barbuda except for one key difference: Michael Parkhurst in the left back spot, with Carlos Bocanegra moving back to center back and Clarence E. Goodson IV moving back to the bench. Even though Bocanegra used to be paid money to play left back, those days are lost and gone forever. Parkhurst currently plays fullback in Europe, and switching his sides for a game is a more palatable option.
Am I confident that this team will play markedly better than they did in Antigua? No, of course not. But Klinsmann --despite all of his talk about aggressive, up tempo soccer -- seems perfectly willing to attempt to grind out results, much to the chagrin of the fan base. The furor comes from the disconnect between the style of play and how Klinsmann said the team would play when he was hired. That debate is for the hex and beyond; for now, let's just win this game.