SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Fabian Johnson was picked to start at right back for the United States against Azerbaijan at Candlestick Park on Wednesday night in the first of three World Cup warmups for the Americans.
Matt Besler and Geoff Cameron were the central defenders, picked over Omar Gonzalez. DaMarcus Beasley, looking to become the first American to appear in four World Cups, was at left back.
Johnson started three games at left back last year but just once on the right — in the clinching World Cup qualifier against Mexico in September.
The Americans opened in the 4-4-2 formation they used in the first half of last month’s exhibition against Mexico. Michael Bradley was at the top of the midfield diamond, with Jermaine Jones deep, Graham Zusi on the right and Alejandro Bedoya the left. Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey were the forwards.
Tim Howard made his 98th appearance with the national team, moving within four of tying Kasey Keller’s record for American goalkeepers.
Midfielder Max Diskerud wore No. 10, formerly Landon Donovan’s jersey.