U.S. Men's National Team

What lineup should USA use vs. Spain?


Landon Donovan is hurt, as is Jonathan Spector. Jozy Altidore is home, as are Kenny Cooper and Robbie Rogers. the U.S. national team won’t have any of these players on hand to take on European power Spain on Wednesday in what is Spain’s final tune-up before it’s Euro 2008 opener against Russia on Tuesday. So here is the question.

What will Bob Bradley do?

Will he trot out the tear-inducing forward tandem of Josh Wolff and Eddie Johnson? Will he appease the masses, and inject some skill into the U.S. attack by starting Freddy Adu? Will he play a 5-5-0 and get Spain ready for Greece in the Euros (Kidding Greece fans).

Here is the lineup I think Bradley will use (and yes, the lineup I am hoping he uses):






I could also see Eddie Lewis at left mid, Beasley at right mid and Dempsey up top, but I do think it’s time to see Adu get a start. Now, if he still isn’t ready to start then I think you’ll see Dempsey in Adu’s spot, Beasley on the right and Lewis on the left.

I know some folks will hate seeing Johnson there, but I think he showed some glimpses against England and has the speed to at least require Spain to keep taps on him.

Who shouldn’t we see in the starting lineup? I just can’t see an argument for seeing Josh Wolff again. He just doesn’t bring much to the table.

I do think Mastroeni gets the nod to provide some ball-winning bite in the middle of the field, and to hopefully give Bradley some freedom to get forward.

So what starting lineup would like to see? Share your thoughts below.

  • John

    Oh dear Lord! If you play Onyewu and Bocanegra in the middle, Fernanado Torres will have a hat-trick in the first half.

    Need some speed at center half for this game.


  • Jamie Z.

    BREAKING NEWS: Fernando Torres ruined his new wardrobe this morning.

    He opened the newspaper when he was eating breakfast. When he saw Bob Bradley’s 20-man squad, he laughed so hard food splattered all over his new suit.


    Posted by: Mark | June 02, 2008 at 05:54 PM


    I doubt any of the Spanish players know the difference between our A-team and B-team, and either way, I doubt it makes any difference to them.


  • Danny

    That seems about right Ives. I would want to see Landon (if he were healthy) teaming with Adu behind Johnson. That might create a little more offense. To put him in I think you take out Mastroeni and slide Bradly to the center. He can sit back and hold the center-mid area. I think it’s time we moved toward a more offensive scheme. I’m still not pleased with sitting back with 2 holding mids. I think it’s a waste of talent. Our most talented players are: Adu, Landon, Dempsey, Beasley, and Altidore/Johnson. They all (or at least 5 of the 6) need to be on the pitch. This would allow that (again assuming Landon is healthy, which right now he isn’t).


  • chris L

    i think we should use boca at left back and stick demerit in the center and bench pearce because pearce just sucks


  • samir nasri

    since ives loves this kind of lead:

    yes. that sound you just heard was indeed david villa and fernando torres wikipedia-ing our potential starting eleven and then falling down laughing.


  • bob

    since our forwards are our weakest link, we need to play where we’re best, in midfield. I think we’ll get pounded by their attack, so a 4-5-1 is in order with both Pablo and Bradley as DM, a combination of Beasley, Dempsey, Lewis on the wings, Johnson up top with either Adu as attacking central mid (though I doubt he’ll start him). Cherundolo, Pearce, Onyewu, and Boca in D with the goalies splitting halves. Brace yourselves, it’s going to be more than 2-0 this time


  • NOLA soccer fan

    Can we see some new blood besides eddie johnson…he has proved nothing except that 2 or 3 years ago, he was incredible. now he is nothing like his old self.


  • Will

    I’m happy with that lineup. I think it puts the best we have out there. I would however like to see Edu starting over Mastroeni, who just isn’t the same player he was a couple years ago (and that’s not good). Bradley however will definitely start Mastroeni…loves at least a couple veterans in the lineup.


  • CM


    Your lineup makes perfect sense…Johnson (king of the backpass) gets to knock the ball back to our only offensive weapons!

    Otherwise, I’d like to see us in a 4-3-3







    ok so im going to ask again. someone name another team that plays 2 defensive midfielders at the same time? please, PLEASE, so that way i can sleep at night. anyone else see how are team was completely dominated because none of our defensive midfielders can hold possession? – now that isnt a bad thing, defensive midfielders arent supposed to, they are supposed to defend, but when you dont have anyone else in there to keep possession, its a problem. and anyone who is impressed by bradley’s goal total and thinks hes an attacking player is wrong – hes a great defensive mid prospect, but thats what he is, he has the potential to become a makelele esque player, but he’ll never be a gerard or lampard or ballack, etc. look at his goals – all poacher’s goals.

    i agree with what daniel said above, lots of respect for bob, but its more of the same, its bruce arena all over again, we are just a poor man’s england, and as we showed last week we are dead broke in comparison. these games are friendlies, lets field a lineup that can play somewhat attractive soccer and try to compete, not try to hunker down and only get beat by a goal or two. at this rate, we are obviously going to qualify, but unless we are in a group with 2 of the worst teams in the world cup we’ll be out after the first round. im tired of it, to progress, we need to take some chances, and hiring an international coach with international experience is a risk worth taking. and for the record, id like to see bradley try some diff center backs (boca hasnt earned that arm band in my mind), but i think more than anything id like the midfield situation to be resolved immediately. we are a step away to losing to mexico and maybe even canada.


  • Chris

    We need to sack Bradley before the next world cup. He is not getting this team anywhere. Once you take a player, Josh Wolff, to your roster against Spain you have got to be kidding me.



    beasley donovan dempsey




    Start playing the U20 team that played so well in Canada. Who the heck was on the team that just got dominated in Europe U23?

    MNT humiliated by England. Get a grip US we need a new coach!!!!

    Let me know what you think fans……..


  • Lloyd Heilbrunn

    “Trying to stay on MLS clubs’ good graces shouldn’t be a reason this time around not to call in players like Cooper and Jozy. This is an international date and should be treated as such by US Soccer and B. Bradley.

    Matches like this, against a power like Spain, are supposed to give the best US players and best US players for the future experience.

    What’s the point of playing guys who aren’t considered the future of the team? Or those who will play role in WC qualifying?

    If these matches truly aren’t about results there shouldn’t be any minutes given to the old and/or hapless.

    No matter how much potential Johnson may seem to have or effectiveness some of the older players have (that includes Lewis, who has shown he’s still very effective, and Hejduk), they shouldn’t be called up.

    This is supposed to be about the future.

    Posted by: Dominghosa | June 02, 2008 at 05:05 PM”

    AMEN!! Those who want to defer to clubs, talk to FIFA who actually has it right for a change with mandatory releases on Int’l dates.


  • Wayne

    Lewis and/or Adu in the starting lineup gives us a dangerous freekick threat a la England with their Beckham.

    And enough with the over-exaggerated respect for Torres and Spain. Have some faith in what is still a strong U.S. squad. After all we have Timmy Howard in the net!!!


  • Chris

    If you do not play first team soccer MLS or anywhere you should not be called to the MNT unless you are the next best thing. US needs to end Bradley’s tenure. The youth players are beginning to show some creativity with Nowak. They need to play now. Spain will make the US work for every ball before and after kickoff. I support US MNT but start producing soccer players not one dimensional machines.


  • Murphy

    Ives your suggestion is right on. However, I can see Bradley making a change in the back and playing Califf or something for some unknown reason. Or starting Wolff on the right wing. Sometimes I just don’t know what that guy is thinking.

    Spain is definitely not as physical as England, so there is no reason not to see Freddy. Especially with no Donovan.


  • papa bear

    Ives lineup is fine except for one GIANT problem. Michael F’n Bradley should NOT be playing d-mid.

    He ripped up Holland as a CM not a DM. It’s time Pappy Bob realize that his son is, in fact, a pretty good CM and NOT a GD MF SOB’n DM.

    It’s really time to stop this 2 DM bullsh*t already.

    OK I lied, one more glaring problem. Pull Gooch from centerback. Anyone who thinks he even has half enough pace to keep up with Torres is nuts. Orrozco is pacier and should be given the nod. It’ll be a trial by fire, but I think his athletic abilities are better suited to marking Torres.


  • eric

    2 thoughts on ideas floating around:

    1 – Maybe Freddy can hit the free kicks, and maybe he can’t. He’s done it before with the U-20’s, but was awful against England on fk’s. I hate it, but I don’t feel like we have a decent option without Lewis in there.

    2 – Beasley can most definitely play on the right. He hasn’t had a great performance for the Nat’s there, but Rangers deploy him on the right all the time, he’s had some of his best SPL games there.


  • Ted

    “ok so im going to ask again. someone name another team that plays 2 defensive midfielders at the same time?”

    Internationally, France (Makalele, Viera), Greece (played with three while winning Euro 2004), Mali and others


  • FTK

    Dear Bob,

    For the love of all things football, please use Ives’ lineup. Don’t overthink things. We know what the celing of our 25+ year old players are. That celing is mediocraty and 3 and outs in the World Cup. Any chance of this country earning international respect lies in our children. Please give them a chance.




  • jay

    Since Orozco isn’t on the 20-man roster, I doubt he’ll be the choice in back. But I totally agree with your sentiments, and a few months ago I posted something about how poor a matchup Villa and Torres were going to be. But I have to believe Demerit will play in this game. You don’t not dress him against England, then bring him to Spain and not play him. Why yank him around like that? Bob’s willing to let others play for a contract/work permit/better team. Anyway. If Wolff plays I’ll be disgusted. They need someone who can pass in the midfield, and I kind of liked the idea of bringing Eddie Lewis into a central role, alongside or in front of Bradley. At least it’d be something new, albeit ironically new since it involves an octogenarian. So, my overall (and probably useless) point is this:







    I obviously couldn’t pick between a few players. Does anyone wonder whether either Cherundolo or Hejduk could play on the left? It seems like finding a way to play them both would be beneficial. This is all stupid, since the chance of Bradley using the same lineup as he did against England (with Mastroeni for Clark) are about the same as the United States having a repeat result, or worse. That’s my bet. (Sorry about writing this novel, but to finish, isn’t it crazy how quickly the outlook for the USMNT has reversed following the Gold Cup final last summer? Kind of sad.)


  • FTK

    Papa Bear Bradley is a “link” midfielder in Ives’ formation, not a Dmid. It’s an essential position to every formation that uses 5 mid fielders. Bradley prides himself so much on being a “box to box middlefielder” that he is asking out of Holland because they won’t let him play that there.


  • josh






    I also wouldn’t mind changing Edu for Dempsey and Dempsey for Adu (with Adu as the first offensive sub).


  • eric

    WRONG – without thinking about it, I do know the Dutch have moved to a 2 D-Mid system. I’m sure there are others.


  • aristotle

    What lineup should USA use vs. Spain?

    Someone else’s.

    Seriously, it’s hard to get too excited over which lineup will cause them to lose by the least goals. It’s hard to see them losing by less than two goals.

    I can’t wait to see the wonderful world press about how good we are after three consecutive multiple goal shutouts. I’ll predict 3-0.


  • Ben

    Mastro is the d-mid version of Josh Wolff. He had his moment in 2002 and it has been downhill on the international level since then. With the personnel called in, there is almost no other options than a 4-5-1, unless Bradley was bold and played Jaqua and Johnson up top with Adu directly behind them.


  • brett

    Chris- so you want players who do not get 1st team time to not get called up, but you want to field alot of the U20’s from canada??

    lets see that leaves Jozy, Bradley, Rogers and Dax… i wouldnt mind seeing those kids get time… but im sure you are also expecting faces like Szetela Adu and Zizzo… but lets be frank, none of those 3 have gotten much of any playing time in the past few months, some havent seen PT in even longer…

    the funny thing is, if bradley were to experiment with the lineup, youd all call for his head when it failed…. if he stands firm with his lineup, you all call for his head…. he’s getting the results, he got us into Confeds, and he’ll get us into the WC….

    for all the “FIFA INTL’ DATES” people…

    when it comes to the faces of Jozy, Rogers, Alverez, etc… the reason they were not called in for these camps is simple… with the olympics looming overhead, you’d be seeing some of the big names gone for several months between these friendlies, the france tourny and then the olympics… this’ll aggitate the friendship between the MLS and the USSF… later on when we get a friendly against a big name like Brazil that doesnt fall on a FIFA date, the MLS teams will be simply tell the USSF “NO”.. its all politics, learn to accept it…

    Bradley is giving some faces a look on defense…. he’s mixing up some vets like lewis, Hedjuk and Pablo for exp…. he has seasoned players like Gooch, Dempsey, Boca, LD, Beasley, and EJ… and current faces like Adu, Bradley and Edu

    we simply have to accept that we are not as good as we think… the youth players are getting time in some form with the nats whether its senior squad or youth… they are also getting time with their clubs… all of this is preperation for WCQ, Gold Cup, Confeds, Copa (if invited) and WC (assuming WCQ works out)


  • brett

    Ben- i would love to see jaqua get a nod… he may not be the most gifted but i like his style of play… he’s smooth with the ball… always was my fav. with the fire…


  • Royce

    Hey Ives and everyone else on here:

    For my sanity’s sake, please don’t remind me that Bradley left home the sakes of Altidore, Cooper, and other players with higher upside for the sakes of who?? Josh Wollff?? Nate Jacqua??? Are you kidding me!! I’ve been trying to withhold comment, and have been fairly patient with US Soccer and Bradley for some time, but after embarrassing displays at [earlier] Copa America and [recently] against England and [soon to be] Spain, I can’t take this anymore. Oh goodness, I was so disgusted and embarrassed at watching our team play against England, and know that we are likely to see more of the same against Spain so folks, get your vomit bags ready. But let’s say Bradley wants to compete…. To answer your question, I really like your lineup with the exception of Heath Pearce and Bocanegra on the left. (wait, I just looked at the 20-man roster and now realized how exposed we are down the back left… like Torres, I now have to change…WTH). Alright, well, the only change I’d make is to try out DeMerit alongside Gooch. Otherwise, I completely agree with your lineup and hope Bradley comes to play tomorrow… otherwise, I’d like to see Edu come on for him sooner than later.


  • royce

    one more thing, i must say that while ej’s performance last wednesday was tough to accept, he was clearly the most dangerous american on the field and has shown tremendous improvement….

    ok, i’m done


  • brett

    Royce- if you dont want to be reminded why bradley left them off the euro roster, then stop bringing it up…. its not rocket science…

    what defensive lineup do you think the US could place that would hold Torres at bay?? he’s going to get his chances… i remember in Copa that Bornstein kept Messi at bay for nearly 60 min… which is a feat amoungst any, but lets be frank here… these are world class forwards and they’ll find a way to create chances…

    so please, go ahead and produce a lineup that would dominate the field…one that could compete regularly… b/c quite frankly we are not at that point yet.. not saying we’ll definately lose with our TOP team, but we will definately rely on quite a bit of luck and fortunate misplacing by the spanish squad regardless of who shows up on our roster…


  • Scott Monette

    Well, lot of good ideas out there. Here is my two cents.






    In this line up I see Duece as more of the target and EJ as the second forward. We throw out the bucket and put Adu in the middle of the park to run things. This will be his baptism of fire. MB has defensive role only. He made so many bad passes, I don’t want him forward at all.

    Just keep it simple, an attacking lineup, two wingers a DM and an AM with two strikers. We have creativity(adu)…speed (EJ maybe DMB). Width with two wingers.

    Now with a standard 4-4-2 with wingers we force the flow of the spanish attack to the wings initially, as they will be in a 4-2-3-1, their creativity in attack comes from the center(Xabi, Xavi Alonzo) to the wingers, then to Torres or Villa. We must find some are to break that attack route. Both our wingers are good at tracking back and helping out with the defense. If we can bend a bit and force the inital play to come to the wings where either dmb/dolo or Lewis/Pearce is waiting. That is the best matchup we will have. Hopefully, they will start to grow frustrated and start to play over the top to Torres directly. That is favorable to having them pass the ball around us all day….Now the FB’s of spain give me pause and could undo my whole idea, but pick your poison. Do you trust us to win the middle of the park with MB and Pablo? Trust the FB/Wingers? Or Trust Gooch and Boca to beat out Villa and Torres?

    Really not to many options, but I stand by my idea to park two forwards in there half, go with only ONE DM, and put our hope in the Spaniards getting frustrated with there early attempts at wing play and becoming one-dimentional with playing long balls to Torres over the top. I know….wishfull thinking….



  • Steve

    I fully expect Eddie Lewis to start and Beasley to sit. Eddie showed last wednesday that he can still get it done…and with Beasley just coming back from injury, you have to wonder if he’s ready to play 2 games within a span of 7 days. I see DMB coming in as a sub

    Another possibility would be having Eddie Lewis start at left back instead of Pearce and have DMB in the Left Mid role.


  • JeffM

    I agree, Ives; your lineup is both what I’d like to see and what I think we’ll see. It’s pathetic, though, that I am advocating a lineup that features Eddie Johnson. Can we really not do any better? At the moment, the answer is “no”.

    The Nats are a completely different team without Donovan.


  • brett

    JeffM- and that shows our true weakness.. we rely to heavily on 1 player…. id love to have LD in the lineup, but we really need to learn how to win without him against quality sides… just think if he gets injured before the WC, would it be a quick in and out??


  • pj

    Here’s the line up:

    ———- Jacqua ———-

    Beasley — Adu — Dempsey

    —- Bradley — Edu ——



    And here’s why:

    Jacqua can’t be any worse than Johnson, and he was playing well with his club team before the season ended so give him a shot. If he seems uninspired enter Johnson.

    Beasley is returning to form and he needs to run the lines for us, but he never needs to take another free kick again. They were miserable against England which is where Adu comes in. And he’s creative, showed promise in the few minutes Bradley played him and provided instant life to our dying offense. I think he and Dempsey would be fun to watch together.

    Bradley the son is a stud, his father is not but that shouldn’t take away from his work for the team. And Edu needs to play vs this kind of quality side to improve, we know what mastroeni can do and he’s not going to be in the 2010 lineup.

    Hejduk was great when he came on, Cherundolo is usually pretty solid but he was getting raped up and down the flank vs. England. Torres and Villa will be no kinder than Rooney and Gerrard were… he’s going to have problems. I also think Demerit should get a half time substitution because I think our middle defenders are too slow to keep up.


  • pj

    one more thing… Eddie Lewis should come on for Beasley at half time so he’s not overplayed and tired for the game vs Argentina. And where is Jonathan Bornstein? I would like to see him on the left handling Torres instead of Pearce… seemed like he did a good job against some stout competition like Leo Messi so he could be a good option if Bradley didn’t hate him.


  • Brian

    Lets have some fun, see some kids and add some flare








  • Angel


    Beasley———-Adu———–Eddie Lewis




    I would like to see what can Adu do in the starting lineup I think if he start can get to the rythem of the game. I like what eddie lewis did against England. Eddie J. and Dempsey can work close each other at front in the attack mode but I like to see Jaqua coming in on the second half for either eddie or dempsey, We need to give him some experience. I hope the USA play much better than what they played against England, Remember not to get Star Struck….GO USA lets give everything you got


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