CHICAGO, June 6 (UPI) -- One question lingers, making fans queasy while perplexing critics: Should the U.S. Men's soccer team bench its best player in Copa America Centenario?
After the U.S. Men's National Team looked out of synch and flat in its tournament opening loss to Columbia, coach Jurgen Klinsmann must make adjustments.
One of his biggest choices could be to bench forward Clint Dempsey.
A player that is No. 2 all-time for the USA with 49 career goals should defer his position to Bobby Wood and Gyasi Zardes, according to Alexi Lalas.
The FOX soccer analyst suggested putting the duo up top to shake things up. Fellow analyst Aly Wagner expanded on the move, explaining that it would leave Dempsey "on the bench."
"He gives you a couple goals in a tournament," Wagner said via MLSSoccer.com. "But how many opportunities is he costing you?"
Costa Rica, who had a scoreless tie with Paraguay in its first match, faces the United States at 8 p.m. Tuesday, June 7.
"I'm fine," Dempsey, 33, told ESPN Sunday. "I'm good."
Klinsmann insisted: "Clint was a warrior out there," according to ESPN.
This isn't the first time critics have questioned Dempsey's role on the team.
Nate Scott, of USA Today, said that "it's time for Clint Dempsey to come in off the bench for the USMNT," last month.
"Dempsey is at his best as the second, reserved striker in a 4-4-2 or 4-4-1-1 formation, running back toward his teammates to receive balls in the space between the opponent's defense and midfield," Scott wrote for USA Today. "He's not a target striker like Jozy Altidore, a physical player who can hold the ball up, and he's not someone who pushes way up high up the pitch and looks to get in behind the defense."
"These aren't knocks on Dempsey; it's just not who he is," Scott wrote for USA Today. "That's where he feels comfortable and plays his best. But with the absence of Altidore, USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann tried to play Dempsey as a target striker to start the game (May's friendly against Ecuador). It didn't work. Dempsey struggled to hold up play. His instinct wasn't to push the line but to check back into space, which compressed the field for the USMNT midfielders. It gummed everything up, and the hideous, boring half of soccer was partly a result of that."
The UNMNT could advance to the knockout stage with a tie against Costa Rica and a win in its final Group A match against Paraguay.
"It's going to be a difficult game," Dempsey told reporters after the 2-0 loss, via SoundersFC.com. "They [Costa Rica] know they got a result that puts them in position to get out of the group. And for us, it's a must-win. So it's going to be a difficult challenge."
"They've shown in major competitions that they can perform well, like they did last World Cup," Dempsey said. "We're on home soil. We got to bring it."