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Who should the USA start vs. Nigeria?

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The task is simple, but far from easy. Avoid defeat against Nigeria and the U.S. men’s Olympic team advances to the quarterfinals of the tournament. Secure a victory against Nigeria and the Americans advance AND avoid facing Argentina in the quarters.

The Nigerians aren’t going to make that easy, not when they enter the match needing a victory to assure themselves a place in the quarters. Throw in the fact that U.S. standouts Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley are out due to yellow card suspensions and you have a match that will define just how strong the USA really is.

After using the same exact starting lineup in the second match tie vs. the Netherlands as he used in the opening win against Japan, U.S. head coach Peter Nowak won’t have that luxury this time. Now he has to make some tough decisions about his starting XI. Here is one guess at the starting lineup he will use when the Americans face Nigeria on Wednesday.

USA Projected Lineup vs. Nigeria:

———–McBride———–Altidore—————-

Holden—————————————–Szetela

—————Feilhaber—-Kljestan——————

Orozco——Edu————Parkhurst———-Wynne

———————Guzan——————————-

With Nigeria missing two starting defenders due to yellow cards, look for the Americans to start McBride and Altidore with hopes of keeping pressure on a suspect Nigerian back-line. Robbie Rogers comes out of the lineup after another subpar performance against the Dutch. Stuart Holden slides to the left as he did at the start of the Netherlands match, with Danny Szetela sliding in on the right flank.

Benny Feilhaber should make his first start assuming he is fit enough to start (Feilhaber is coming off a knee injury that had sidelined him before the tournament). If he can’t go then Dax McCarty could get the call. I know some will suggest that Maurice Edu can slide into midfield but the U.S. team needs Edu in the back against Nigerian strikers Peter Odemwingie and Victor Obinna.

What lineup do you see the U.S. team using? What lineup would you like to see face Nigeria?

Share your thoughts below.

85 comments
  • Enrico Palazzo

    “you tell me who was jumping. . . and oh, he is the tallest player in the wall.”

    Clearly, that was Roger Waters (circa 1970). What he was doing on the pitch is anyone’s guess.

    Like

  • thomas

    This isn’t exactly related, but this seems like a good spot to ask for a quick answer so:

    When will the squad be announced that is traveling to Guatemala for the WCQ? The game is eight days away and still no word on who’s going…I assume they will have a few days to practice together before the game so that would mean they will be in camp by the 17th…that’s this Sunday.

    Is there a possibility US Soccer is waiting for the Nigeria result tomorrow to see if any of the kids would be available to meet the men in Guatemala?

    When can we expect a roster announcement?

    -T

    Like

  • green

    “And when they’ve given you their all

    Some stagger and fall,

    after all it’s not easy Banging your heart against some mad bugger’s wall.”

    Like

  • Fumar

    “you tell me who was jumping. . . and oh, he is the tallest player in the wall.”

    Looks like Holden’s off his feet as well. Besides the wall is TAUGHT TO JUMP. That’s part of the training. Tell me where it is in the molding of a young player that they should attempt a wild tackle in a dangerous spot when their team is protecting a 1 goal lead?

    Like

  • green

    OK Marcelo,

    Whatever you say.

    Funny thing though, the ball isn’t passing under Stuart’s feet. . . ?

    Estas fumando ahora?

    Like

  • A.S.

    The tying goal was not completely Holden’s fault, but it was *primarily* his fault. Whoever has been teaching the wall to jump is also somewhat at fault, as is Klejsten for giving the ball away.

    But Holden is ALSO at fault for blowing the 2-on-none breakaway minutes earlier that would have put the game out of reach.

    So, yeah, I place the responsibility for the loss of 2 points to the Dutch squarely at Holden’s feet. And, sorry, when one player is responsible for giving away 2 points, I bench him.

    Like

  • A.S.

    The tying goal was not completely Holden’s fault, but it was *primarily* his fault. Whoever has been teaching the wall to jump is also somewhat at fault, as is Klejsten for giving the ball away.

    But Holden is ALSO at fault for blowing the 2-on-none breakaway minutes earlier that would have put the game out of reach.

    So, yeah, I place the responsibility for the loss of 2 points to the Dutch squarely at Holden’s feet. And, sorry, when one player is responsible for giving away 2 points, I bench him.

    Like

  • Yossarian

    “I give Holden credit for being in the right place at the right time for that goal against Japan. But other than that he’s been invisible.”

    Maybe you were doing other things and had the games on in the background? Holden’s been all over the field making tackles, runs, and excellent passes. He’s been everywhere – clearly the most active U.S. player on the pitch for the tournament. Yes, he made an overly aggressive mistake on the Klejstan turnover, but that doesn’t completely wipe out all his excellent play.

    Like

  • Nate M

    Fumar,

    We’re not trying to convince you that Holden didn’t screw up – it’s just not the only screwup. Where in the molding of a young player does it say to flippantly pass it in your own end to a guy that’s double teamed? Or give your mark time to take 3 touches before he’s challenged within 18 yds of the goal?

    Also – there is plenty of history of stupid, wild tackles close to goal by our most ‘revered’ defenders (Balboa, Lalas, Bocanegra, Onyewu as an example).

    Like

  • gl00zer

    – minimal changes

    – keep Jozy as sub

    – Feilhaber < Sacha

    —- McBride — Davies —- (Jozy sub)

    Rogers – Dax – Sacha – Holden (Szetela sub)

    Orozco – Edu – Parkhurst – Wynne

    ——— El Guzano

    Like

  • Fumar

    Nate – “there is plenty of history of stupid, wild tackles close to goal by our most ‘revered’ defenders (Balboa, Lalas, Bocanegra, Onyewu as an example).”

    This is probably why I don’t think we have wolrd-class defenders on our full national team. You need to know where you are on the field, what the situation is and how much support you have behind you. And then if you are the last defender in a crucial situation you need to have the brains and the skills to take the ball away WITHOUT fouling.

    Like

  • Enrico Palazzo

    Wynne has been by far the most active player on the pitch. Not Holden. And if you want to see an active – and effective – midfielder, then look no further than Dax McCarty. I guess Nowak has a short memory.

    Like

  • VMan

    Can’t say I would be thrilled if Feilhaber got the call to start such an important match. Not sure if his form is where it needs to be.

    Like

  • Aatabak

    I know the game is on Wed, but could someone be helpful and let me know what time it will be on the West Coast. I have been trying to find it online with not much luck. Thanks in advance.

    Like

  • Nate M

    Fumar – couldn’t agree more with you. That’s why Parkhurst is such a breath of fresh air to watch. He’s well positioned so he doesn’t need to make the tactical foul and in control of himself enough so that he doesn’t make the clumsy ones.

    Like

  • Fumar

    Nate, I’m with you. Although my focus while watching these games has been on the attack I will start watching what Parkhurst does. He’s the kind of “silent” defender that doesn’t get his name read in the play-by-play, but doesn’t get beat either. That combo suggest good positioning and smart defending, just what holden needed to avoid giving up the free kick. Also, I haven’t seen the replay, but in a match report I read it said that Holden’s foul was on a Dutch player moving AWAY from goal. If that’s true then the blown win is squarley on Holden’s shoulders without a doubt.

    Like

  • Kevin

    I don’t about McBride. He just hasn’t shown ANYTHING (except one greta header against the Dutch) so far, and Jozy has shown everything. He has shredded defenses, showed leadership, and meshed well with the team. All McBride has done is draw fouls.

    However, with Adu out, McBride is really our only option. Unless we play Charlie Davies or someone.

    Like

  • Raghu

    Thomas,

    Good post about Guatemala next week. That is an interesting point re: rosters and waiting on results. I wonder what the plan is there.

    Like

  • jmac

    The mota smoker is casting dispersions on Holden and he didn’t even watch the game!? And BTW, Holden did tackle the player with the ball, late, and the player was NOT moving away from the goal. Go smoke some more.

    Like

  • Nate M

    Fumar – When you watch the replay, look at where Edu is positioned on the inlet pass.

    Kevin – Jozy has shredded defenses this tournament? Can you back that one up? I see some good promise but the check is still in the mail for this tournament. I would agree the McBride and Adu aren’t on the same page – but wouldn’t exactly say McBride hasn’t shown anything.

    Like

  • foozeball23

    I would not be surprised if Nowak goes untraditional format of lineup. Perhaps deploy a roller type of player where they play a little out wide but with less responsibility. Which will allow the player to be released faster. That person will be Altidore. The midfield to be setup to protect the left side strong side better since Wynne is just sheer speed. Keep Benny deep in the midfield almost like Senna who played that position to perfection at the Euro. Sit Szetela on top to break up any deep midfield passing by the Nigerians. Allowing Sacha to play that simliar gerard roller midfield allowing him to operate inside and outside when need to. Holden will use his bite to ease the trouble of orzoco. The Nigerians got some serious speed must not be overlooked. This lineup will allow our two fastest players Jozy and Wynne to operate at top speed to defend and push forward while orozco and Holden because they both are right footed can push the ball quickly inside with ease faster then left footers and hit launching crosses pass to those two players. Plus McBride will win headers for us and knock it to Jozy. The lineup will look like this if I was the coach but we can all dream. GO USA

    —————–Mcbride——

    ——————————–Jozy——

    –Holden———–Szetela—

    ——————————Sacha—

    ——————Benny—-

    –orozco– –edu– –parkhurst– –wynne–

    ——————-guzman——

    Like

  • J

    My biggest worry for this game is DMID, we will REALLY miss Bradley. IMO we have two options. I will put them in my order of preference.

    1. Slide Edu into DMID and move Orozco to his natural position. You could play any one on the left side full back, personally I would put Holden there.

    2. Play Dax at DMID. We will need a true destroyer and if we don’t go with our best player (Yes Edu is our best player) then we can put our most consistent. He is the kind of guy we will need when trying to grind out a “result”

    With that said here is my lineup.

    — McBride – Altidore

    ———Feilhaber

    Kljestan————–Szetela

    ———-Edu—————-

    Holden -Parkhurst – Orozco – Wynne

    Like

  • LJ

    Rogers is staying in, putting a team back on its toes is reason alone for him to play. I can’t believe you guys are really that down on him, I’m going to have to watch the tape again (if I still have it)

    He was drawing a ton of fouls for about the last 15 minutes before getting taken out.

    Like

  • foozeball23

    LJ I agree with you about Rogers but again we have a hole to fill in the middle. But I Played with rogers and i know what he is capable of and dang he can damage some defense bad.

    Like

  • Fumar

    jmac – Good to hear from you. It’s nice that your fist substantive contribution to this post is a crappily crafted personal attack. How does one cast dispersion aside from maybe wielding a prism to disperse light around a room? That being said, what the hell does that have to do with anything? I’m not sure which word you are thinking of, but I AM sure that dispersion does not mean what you think it does.

    If you read my comment carefully (I’m sure for you a small paragraph takes some serious concentration) I said that I had not watched THE REPLAY. I had watched the game, just not the REPLAY. Therefore, all of my observations were from a first go around perspective. The match report I had read, stated that Holden fouled a player at the edge of the box that was moving AWAY from goal. I didn’t remember this happening and wanted to know if anyone else had seen this happen. It was a question.

    Please don’t take my criticism of Holden so personally. I’m a USMNT fan just like you. And please make sure you read my post carefully before you decided to throw nonsensical insults at me. Or as jmac would say, before you cast dispersion about me, whatever the hell than means.

    Like

  • Nate M

    I’m with the Rogers critics – he seems to be a one-track horse and the defenders key on that. He strikes me as a player that his current skill level is nearer to his talent ceiling than players like Jozy, Adu, Holden, or Szetela. Who knows though – I thought the same thing about McBride 10 years ago.

    For this particular game – he’s one of the better options on the wing.

    Like

  • Nic D "The Texas 2 Stepper"

    This is probably the one . . .

    ———–McBride——Altidore———–

    ——————————————-

    —–Klejstan——-Benny——Holden——

    —————– Szetella—————–

    —Orozco——Parkhurst—-Ianni—-Wynne-

    ——————Guzan——————–

    What I would love to See . . .

    ——————McBride——————-

    –Davies————————-Altidore—

    ——————–Benny——————-

    ————Klejstan—–Szetella———–

    —Orozco——–Edu—-Parkhurst—-Wynne—

    ——————-Guzan——————–

    Like

  • Isaac

    whoa Nic D i had never thought of that formation. and now that i think, that is a beauty isn’t it? Benny is very creative but can also make very vital tackles which makes this formation great. there is still the issue of who is going to help orozco. your formation shows Sacha as the most likely candidate but are we really sure he wont give it away again. however i have full faith in Sacha, but we should also be aware that even with Kljestans monumental run, we should remember that Nigeria is a speedy team and can catch you on the counter. their also perfectly capable of out dribbling our defenders. So we need to find a formation that allows us to defend, counter, pass(especially in the midfield), and attack efficiently in each area. its going to be tough. but i think USA can pull it off. especially with Nowak showing that his creative juices are flowing.

    Like

  • Fumar

    One last thing for jmac I just watched the replay and the Dutch player was in fact facing away from goal AND passing backward before holden comes in VERY late and fouls. Now I am completely certain we lost 2 points because of Holden and holden alone. It wasn’t a dangerous situation but he decides to go ahead and hack away. (the foul is seen in this highlight reel at just before the 30 second mark.)

    http://www.nbcolympics.com/video/player.html?assetid=0810_hd_fbm_rc_ce047&channelcode=sportfb

    Like

  • Me

    If US wishes to have one chance and I am sure the coach would play this formation…no kidding!šŸ˜‰

    —–Altidore———

    ——–Davis———

    ——-Klejstan——-

    ——-Feilhaber——

    ——-Zsetela——–

    ——–Edu————

    ——–McCarty —-

    ——–Wynne———-

    ——–Parkhurst—-

    ———Orozco——

    ———-Guzan——–

    Like

  • Me

    If US wishes to have one chance and I am sure the coach would play this formation…no kidding!šŸ˜‰

    —–Altidore———

    ——–Davis———

    ——-Klejstan——-

    ——-Feilhaber——

    ——-Zsetela——–

    ——–Edu————

    ——–McCarty —-

    ——–Wynne———-

    ——–Parkhurst—-

    ———Orozco——

    ———-Guzan——–

    Like

  • Murna Gilbert

    Briank,

    Go on, call Nigeria an U-27 team or whatever you like. It is typical of the USA to whine when things aren’t going as planned. If I remember, you also complained about the chinese gymnastic team. I’m not surprised.

    It is clear that no team/country games the rules the way the USA does — your performances have always been dogged by drug scandals; that’s no accident, of course.

    Like

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