US goes with Beckerman, Bradley, Bedoya, Jones
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann changed his midfield for Saturday’s World Cup prep match against Nigeria, inserting Kyle Beckerman into the starting lineup alongside Jermaine Jones.
Michael Bradley remained in the midfield and was joined by Alejandro Bedoya, who started last month’s 2-0 win over Azerbaijan and was replaced by Brad Davis for last weekend’s 2-1 victory over Turkey. Graham Zusi joined Davis on the bench.
DaMarcus Beasley returned at left back in place of Timmy Chandler, who started against the Turks. Fabian Johnson remained at right back, and Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler in central defense.
Tim Howard was set to make his 100th international appearance, becoming the 15th American male to reach the century mark in caps.
“For anybody to reach 100 caps is an incredible achievement,” Bradley said. “It shows consistency and an ability to push yourself regardless of what’s going on. There are injuries. There are runs in and out of form. There are things that come up. But for somebody to be able to reach 100 caps playing for the U.S. national team shows that you’ve been able to push yourself through all of that.”
Howard tied Tony Meola for second-most appearances by an American goalkeeper, two behind Kasey Keller.
“For anybody, it’s an incredible achievement. For Tim, especially, when you look at the number of amazing goalkeepers we’ve been fortunate to have,” Bradley said. “It will be a special night for him. I think it’s fitting that it comes in the last game before we head off to Brazil.”
Clint Dempsey was at forward with Jozy Altidore, who is scoreless in six international appearances October.
Preparing for their seventh straight World Cup, the Americans leave Sunday for their training base in Sao Paulo and scrimmage Belgium on Thursday. They play Ghana in their World Cup opener four days later. The U.S. also meets Portugal on June 22 and Germany four days later in one of the tougher first-round groups.
Nigeria, coming off consecutive draws against Scotland and Greece, will play in Group F with Iran, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Argentina at the World Cup. Nigeria hasn’t reached the second round of a World Cup since 1998.
The Super Eagles are hopeful they can return to the knockout stage, relying on a trio of talented forwards in Peter Odemwingie, Victor Moses and Shola Ameobi.