USA Match Thoughts - Your Move, Skeletor!

I won't really call this a preview, because all I'm going to do is take a look at the roster, highlight some issues, and guess what Bob's going to do over the course of the two games against El Salvador and Trinidad & Tabago. Jeez, this is starting to resemble a preview isn't it? Ah well, too late to change the title now.

Some considerations . . .
  • It goes without saying that these are two eminently winnable matches. Nine points in the bag at the start of qualifying is just the sort of cushion we need to be able to do a little experimenting down the road as we fix our sights on 2010. That means, unfortunately, little experimentation for now. Get the job done first, and then start mixing things up.
  • With Howard suspended for El Salvador, who gets the call--the veteran Hahnemann or the kid Guzan? Guzan seems to be Bob's #2, but will he get the call in a hostile environment? I think so.
  • Who partners Junior in the middle? It'll be interesting to see Bob's thinking on this. I think Torres picks up time as we progress in qualifying, but I don't see it against El Salvador. Maybe some token minutes against T&T. So the question is: dynamism (Edu), nastiness (Mastroeni), or panache (Kljestan)? Mastroeni might get the nod in El Salvador, but I think we see Kljestan against T&T, if not against both.
  • Hejduk or Spector at right back? Long-time readers of FBF will know my feelings on this immediately.
  • Young guns on the rack? Will Adu or Altidore see time, or were they just brought in to get them some time with the team in between bouts of watching their club sides from the stands?
So what does Bob do with all this? Here's my best guess:

-------vs-ES----------- ---------vs-T&T---------
---Ching--------------- -----Ching--------------
----------Donovan------ ------------Donovan-----
Beasley---------Dempsey Beasley----------Dempsey
-----Bradley----------- ----------Kljestan------
----------Mastro------- -------Bradley----------
Pearce----------Hejduk- Pearce-----------Spector
-----Boca----Gooch----- ------Boca----Gooch-----
--------Guzan---------- ---------Howard---------

Like I said, Bob probably won't experiment (yet). Kljestan for Mastroeni isn't a tough call as we'll be much more attack-minded and in possession at home against T&T. Hejduk will probably get the nod at right back in El Salvador, where experience, fitness, and grit will rank high in Bob's consideration, but Spector should get a chance to prove himself against T&T, where he'll be under less pressure.

Off the bench, I think Edu and Torres will both see time, as will (shudder!) EJ, just so Bob can get a look at what sort of toughness (physical and mental) the Championship has wrought upon the Grown-Ass Man. If Jozy and Freddy see time, it'll probably be limited junk minutes against T&T. Similarly DeMerit and/or Califf may get a run out if we're up a few goals, particularly given the fact that Gooch is carrying a slight injury.

What do you think? Is Bob going to tinker or is it same-old, same-old from Skeletor? Happy to see EJ back from the wilderness? Confident that we'll have two more scalps, and six more points in the bag next week? Wondering if we need to be investigating some depth on the wings?


  1. Sigh. I want to know what grotesque hobby Bob Bradley enjoys that EJ was able to photograph and blackmail Bradley with, because this is ridiculous. I don't even want to see the photos. I just want to know that that's the reason.

  2. To be fair, he has worked his way into some playing time at Cardiff City, who are chasing promotion to the Premier League. He's reportedly been playing well, so...

    Perhaps a battle for playing time in an environment where nobody did him any favors was just the kick in the grown-ass that this particular man needed. We can hope, can't we? It's not like we're drowning in quality forward depth here.