USA Match Preview | Must Win?

Must. Win. Game.

Well, maybe it's not that desperate (yet!), but after dropping two points away to one of the two likely bottom teams in the Hex, it would heap the pressure on the US if they were to drop points against the other of that unfancied pair. So what approach does Bob take? It's certainly not yet time to experiment, so I wouldn't expect massive differences from the team that lined up against El Salvador. What's likely to change?
  • Gooch should be able to go in central defense, thus pushing Califf to the bench.
  • Howard will be back in net after serving his suspension.
  • Bob's call-up swap, sending Hahnemann home and bringing in Bornstein, says to me that Heath Pearce may have just played his way into the doghouse. Might we see another option on the left? Beasley to defense? Spector?
  • For my money, Kljestan just wasn't terribly impressive against El Salvador. True, he'll probably have more freedom against T&T, but I wonder if Torres showed enough to earn a start.
With those items in mind, we turn to the opponent. T&T are big, fast, and physical. Potentially, they could, in theory, come out and press high, but I think they're unlikely to do so. They're more apt to try and frustrate us defensively and look to counter. As a result, we'll need to stretch the width, get the fullbacks involved in the attack, and be patient in breaking down a compact defense.

At the same time, T&T's speed will make them dangerous on the direct counter. As a result, I think you'll see the central defense not playing quite so high a line, and Junior will probably drop a little deeper to close passing outlets for T&T and to recycle possession. But does Bob pull both central mids deeper or push one higher? Tough to say, but I think he'll likely keep the same 2-deep formation that he's been playing. How would I line them up?


Dempsey's size and cleverness in tight spaces will probably mean he's more effective inside, while Donovan's speed can be exploited on the flank to pull the T&T back line apart. I'd give them license to swap, likewise with Beasley and Torres. Hell, I'd be tempted to allow the entire attacking midfield four stuffed between Bradley and Ching a great deal of freedom, not only to shred T&T's defensive organization, but to allow smart players to make the right decisions about when and where to apply pressure and exploit weaknesses.

What do you think? How do you line them up? Any fears of a second successive let down? Think Altidore may have earned his spot in place of Ching yet? Any chances of an EJ siting? Would you rather see Torres or Kljestan? Think Pearce is on the outs?

1 comment:

  1. It makes me sick to see Beasley in anyones starting line up after the horror of his performance against El Salvador. He was weak, fumbling, desperate, and slow. He was mockery of his former self. He'll probably start, and it makes me crazy. If he doesn't do well, I hope it actually leads to a Change.

    Altidore over Ching? five games ago. I agree about Spector; Bradley didn't. He's scratched.