The USMNT should start Michael Orozco Fiscal over Kyle Beckerman as the midfield destroyer against Honduras to give the U.S. superior speed and technical ability in front of the defensive back four.
Orozco is a faster and quicker player than Beckerman, and he is a better defender who has the athleticism to better time his challenges and keep up with quicker and more elusive opponents.
Whereas Beckerman always seems to be chugging along at a labored jog, Orozco is a quick defender who has a visibly higher technical skill-set than the other center backs on the Gold Cup roster.
At 27 years old, Orozco has been playing for years at the highest level in Mexico, and his skill-level and quickness as a defender have been highly regarded by the U.S. Soccer set-up for years.
While there was a time that Orozco was the subject of ridicule by American soccer fans, no one ever questioned his skill on the ball or the improved agility that he brought to the American defense compared to other center back options except for Geoff Cameron.
With Orozco’s speed and skill on the ball and Klinsmann’s likely preference to start Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler at center back, using Orozco as the midfield destroyer allows the USMNT to start both Stuart Holden and Mix Diskerud in more advanced roles relieving them of having to constantly track back on defense or playing deeper than they naturally play.
The only tactical problem with using Holden and Diskerud together in place of Beckerman was that both players had to focus more on playing defense deeper in the midfield, as opposed to focusing on their strong suit which is using their passing and technical ability in a more attacking role.
By starting Orozco as a midfield destroyer over Beckerman, the United States can have Stuart Holden, Mix Diskerud, Joe Corona, and Landon Donovan combining together to break down Honduras as a unit of skilled attacking midfielders, while Orozco covers for them deeper in the midfield.
Using Orozco deep in the midfield and pushing Holden and Diskerud forward to play closer to Corona and Donovan allows both Holden and Diskerud to concentrate on playing more final balls for Eddie Johnson.
If Beckerman is susceptible to being beaten with speed or quick combination passing by Honduras, why not use Orozco as a defensive midfielder since he clearly has the skill on the ball, the heading ability, the speed, and the defensive skills to protect the American center backs from either counter attacks or just quality attacking play from Honduras?
It is very likely that Beckerman will be unable to keep up with Honduras, so why not start Orozco in his place?
While this suggestion may seem experimental or risky, Orozco has demonstrated than he passes well out of the back with both feet and he has the speed and defensive skills to fulfill the role of the midfield destroyer.
Any passing or defending that Beckerman can do, Orozco can do better.
Orozco plays in a better league, and his superior athleticism, defending, and skill on the ball are documented with ample video evidence from this Gold Cup and previous USMNT games.
While Beckerman is a MLS veteran, Michael Orozco Fiscal is a Liga MX player who is an aggressive and intense player who is always fired up to play. Below are Orozco’s club and international playing record:
This mentality combined with his ability to receive and release balls quicker than Beckerman, in addition to his athletic gifts outline above, make him the only option Jürgen Klinsmann has at his disposal to compensate for Beckerman’s lack of speed and quickness.
With Orozco floating between the realm of the center backs and the realm of the midfield destroyer, the United States has a capable gatekeeper to support the defensive back four in order to allow Holden, Diskerud, and Corona to focus on possession, attacking, and scoring.
Honduras should be better than El Salvador, and El Salvador was only down by one goal to the United States until the 60th minute. Additionally, Beckerman’s lack of quickness was particularly on display when he was left for dead in the penalty box by Rodolfo Zelaya of El Salvador.
Starting Michael Orozco Fiscal as a midfield destroyer would certainly catch Honduras off guard and help to shore up the USMNT’s defense.
USMNT XI Proposal with Michael Orozco as a midfield destroyer (4-1-2-1-2):
Nick RIMANDO; Michael PARKHURST, Omar GONZALEZ, Matt BESLER, DaMarcus BEASLEY; Michael OROZCO FISCAL; Stuart HOLDEN, Mix DISKERUD; Joe Benny CORONA; Eddie JOHNSON, Landon DONOVAN.