COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Fabian Johnson took over at right back and Clarence Goodson was inserted into central defense as U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann made major changes to his starting lineup when the Americans tried to clinch a World Cup berth against Mexico on Tuesday night.
Johnson shifted from midfield to the back line, and Goodson was among four new players inserted into the lineup, joined by midfielders Kyle Beckerman and Alejandro Bedoya, and forward Eddie Johnson.
Tim Howard remained in goal, with Omar Gonzalez joining Goodson in central defense and DaMarcus Beasley at left back. Fabian Johnson played right back for the U.S. for the first time since the 1-0 exhibition win at Mexico City in August 2012, the first U.S. victory at Azteca Stadium.
Jermaine Jones and Beckerman were in the defensive midfield in a 4-2-3-1 formation, as they were during the Azteca Stadium game last year. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan were ahead of them, and Eddie Johnson was the lone forward.
Klinsmann was forced to make changes because of suspensions for defender Matt Besler, midfielder Geoff Cameron and forward Jozy Altidore caused by yellow card accumulation. In addition, midfielder Michael Bradley was sidelined with a sprained ankle.
Right back Michael Orosco and midfielder Graham Zusi went to the bench.
Seeking its seventh straight World Cup berth, the United States would clinch with a win and a victory by Honduras against Panama or a tie in a match scheduled to start one hour later.
Luis Fernando Tena, who replaced Chepo de la Torre as Mexico's coach following Friday's 2-1 home loss to Honduras, made four changes. The biggest was the insertion of Manchester United forward Javier Hernandez, who was a second-half sub against the Catrachos.