The question likely at the front of most USMNT fans going in to tonight's match against Jamaica is what adjustments will Jurgen Klinsmann make with his lineup. While there's an answer at most of the positions, the big blank spot is on the right side of the midfield. It's a position that Klinsmann has been struggling with since he took over the U.S. job, but tonight's match adds a new layer of issues.
With Landon Donovan unavailable, there's really no good option for the right side of the midfield. Not that Donovan is ideal for that spot, but he's better than some of the other choices out there. Of course, if you watch Santos Laguna, either in Liga MX or CONCACAF Champions League play, you might already have a potential solution in mind.
Our new U.S, soccer blog Stars and Stripes FC offers up a strong case that Herculez Gomez might be the most logical choice to try to solve this issue, especially since playing sans a true winger against Jamaica could be disastrous.
Gomez isn't a pure, out-and-out winger. He is still a forward who is probably best as a winger/forward in a 4-3-3, but even in the 4-2-3-1 that Klinsmann will likely turn to, he is the best that the U.S. has. He is disciplined enough to stay wide when asked to, as he has proven with Santos, and his crossing has improved. Gomez also give the U.S. another goal-scoring threat, having scored a handful of his 13 goals for Santos last year from wide positions. The threat of his cutting in at attacking the goal will make it easier for Cherundolo to get involved.
Will Klinsmann make this decision tonight against Jamaica? It's tough to say. We haven't seen him use Gomez in this fashion yet, but there's a first time for everything. How he deploys Gomez and how Klinsmann decides to handle the winger position in his formation could play a big role in tonight's result. Gomez might not be the perfect fit, but considering that option doesn't exist for the U.S. at the moment, he might very well be the best option.