101314_isi-jonesjermaine_usmntjd101214004 John Dorton/isiphotos.com
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Will Jermaine Jones Line Up At Center Back on Tuesday?

Do Jurgen Klinsmann and Jermaine Jones have a positional experiment in store for Tuesday night's match between the United States and Honduras? Jon Arnold wouldn't be surprised.
BY Jon Arnold Posted
October 13, 2014
8:50 PM
BOCA RATON, Fla.—You don’t want to mess with Jermaine Jones on the soccer pitch.

The dreadlocked and heavily tattooed German-American plays with an intensity few are able to match—an intensity that made his once-frequent bookings a punchline among American fans.

Off the field, though? He’s…well, he’s kind of a goofball. Perhaps that’s why he dropped a juicy hint before Monday’s practice.


“It’s always nice to come back and see the guys," Jones said. "A lot of the guys I see already in MLS, but it’s always nice to play for the national team. Me and the coach, we were talking and we have some surprise for everybody I think.

“Everybody will see it. We talked and if everything works out then, maybe I get a new position?”

With John Brooks and Omar Gonzalez returning to their clubs, it seems likely the 32-year-old line up at center back, perhaps alongside Matt Besler after Michael Orozco saw significant time in the Americans’ 1-1 draw with Ecuador on Friday.

Jones’ intimidating physical presence can come in handy, and while his positional discipline has been shaky in the past, putting him in a defined defensive role might help the New England Revolution man from straying too far forward.

Tuesday’s match is an excellent chance to experiment as well, with Honduras bringing an abysmal attack to Boca Raton.

Victor Bernardez, a center back, and midfielder Marvin Chavez, are this rosters’ leading international goal scorers—with four each. Roger Rojas is the leading forward with three goals in 25 matches, and manager Hernan Medford may again give 18-year-old Alberth Elis a run-out after he won a cap in the team’s 2-0 loss to Mexico last week.

Plus, Jurgen Klinsmann has never hesitated to try out players in different places than they’re used to—finding success with DaMarcus Beasley and Brad Evans as converted fullbacks and using DeAndre Yedlin as a midfielder rather than putting him in the fullback spot where he plays with the Seattle Sounders.

Yedlin, for one, is happy enough to play a more advanced role for the Stars and Stripes.

“I like the midfield,” he said Monday. “Obviously it’s a more attacking position, and that’s what I like to do. There are still obviously defensive responsibilities that I have to take care of, but it’s a little bit less pressure on the defensive side I think.”

When asked if playing in the midfield was a positional shift he would enjoy going forward, the 21-year-old said, “I’d be excited about it if the coach thinks it’s a better fit for me, I’d play wherever he thinks.”

Klinsmann seems to enjoy finding other fits for his players, so Yedlin and Jones can bet they'll be seeing time exactly where the coach sees fit. Klinsmann, after all, may be the only man brave enough to toy with Jones on the field.

What do you think about Klinsmann's positional playfulness? Worthwhile experiments? Waste of time? Share your take below.

Jon Arnold is an ASN contributing editor. Follow him on Twitter.

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