Line 'Em Up

In taking a look at the crew Bob has assembled for the Gold Cup, I wouldn't fault you for wondering where his formational thinking is trending. Does he go back to the staggered, single-striker experiments? Keep two deep in central midfield? Employ attacking fullbacks (oh wait, I only see one of those on the roster!)? Use a playmaker? Go back to a target man? I'm going to assume that Bob sticks with a 4-4-2, leave the "emergency seven" out for the moment, and float a trial-baloon starting lineup...

Forwards: Ching + Davies
Not really a shocker, is it? This traditional "little and large" combo boasts the holding power and (under-rated) passing of Ching with Davies' darting runs. There's been some discussion surrounding leaving the "target man" model, but we don't have to think of a target man as somebody to lob the high ball to. Ching's got good control, so we can ping balls into this feet and chest and expect him to get it down and play in the wings and his strike partner. I've no doubt that we'll see others as the tourney progresses, but this would be my first choice pairing.

Midfield: Clark, Beckerman, Arnaud, Adu
I'm going to assume that Bob stays with the two-deep philosophy and looks for Arnaud to play the Junior role of buzzing about and making late runs into the box. I doubt he defends as well as Bradley, but given some of the opponents we'll be facing in the group stage, I don't expect that will be a problem (we can always bring in Rico Clark and Feilhaber for the knockout stages).

Colin Clark on the left may just be wishful thinking on my part, but I like his game. Sadly, for me (and for Colin!), I expect we'll probably see something more along the lines of Adu on the left, Arnaud on the right, and Beckerman paired with either Evans or Holden in the middle.

Defense: Pearce, Marshall, Conrad, Cherundolo
What, you're going to start Heaps? With a lack of other options, Pearce goes on the left by default. Likewise, I don't think Dolo is here to sit on the bench. I can, however, see Parkhurst getting an extended look at right back in at least one game. Conrad is an easy pick for leadership and keeping the back line organized, but I can see any of Marshall, Goodson, and Parkhurst pairing him. I'd expect we'll be facing a lot of long-ball counter in the early going, thus I would favor Goodson and Marshall over Parkhurst, and Marshall would seem to have the bigger upside, so in he goes.

Keeper: Perkins
Robles will get a game, much in the manner Guzan did, but I expect Perkins is the first choice here. That said, Robles was with the Confed Cup squad...

Your first-choice eleven, fellow netizens?


  1. I think you're spot on with the forwards and defense. But I have no idea what to expect in the midfield. While I'd love to see Quaranta and Colin Clark start, I'm just not sure if Bob will be that experimental.

  2. Players I would like to see on the field just to form an impression:

    Robles, Beckerman, Clark, Arnaud, Quaranta, Heaps and Robles.

    Players I want to see on the field to see if they still got it:

    Conrad, Cherundholo,

    Players that need to impress:

    Adu, Cooper, Holden, Kleijstan, Perkins, Rogers, Parkhurst, Pearce, Califf.

    We're definitely in the group of death but if we can squeak by Grenada, that should build up some confidence for Haiti and when we play with confidence, we have a shot! :).

  3. @Shatz
    It's certainly a better guess than that abomination Ives is passing off as a projected lineup ;-). First game out against the weakest team in the group, you go for blood with your best eleven, neh?

    Group of Death? Surely that's Group A (Canada, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Jamaica)?

    Bob's a hard one to read at the moment. His experiments (the awful 4-3-3 implementation and Beasley at left back come to mind) have a tendency towards blowing up in his face, whereas being forced into the conventional (latter stages of the Confed Cup) seems to lead to success.

    So does he stick to lessons learned or go all Frankenstein on us by mashing experimental parts (Jay freakin' Heaps?) into an experimental formation?

  4. "Group of Death" was a joke. This is a pretty thin competition -- though our B team will probably have to work for it if they want the Cup.