U.S. Men's National Team

Who should Bob Bradley start against Cuba?


                                                                          Photo by ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men’s national team is in Washington D.C. this week preparing for Saturday’s CONCACAF World Cup qualifier against Cuba and while there are several young standouts in the 23-man camp, you still get the feeling that Bob Bradley will stick with the veterans at least one more time.

A win clinches a berth in the final round of World Cup qualifying with two games remaining in this qualifying round. That is two opportunities to see many of the young players that fans have been clamoring for.

Will Bradley wait, or will he incorporate some of the young guns on Saturday?

With that in mind, here is the lineup I think we will see on Saturday:

PROJECTED USA lineup vs. Cuba






I could definitely see Jozy Altidore getting a start, as well as Maurice Edu in central midfield, but I think we will see this starting XI again, with three young players getting looks as second-half subs.

Now it’s your turn. What lineup would you like to see Bradley trot out against the Cubans at RFK Stadium?

Share your thoughts below.

  • TCompton

    While I doubt that we’ll this line-up, this is what I would like for a squad with these players to end up playing.









    Or in a 5 man midfield:









    Defensive Analysis:

    The * for Orozco is because I’m not sure who plays left back, but I know that Orozco likes to move forward, which is important in the 4-man back line.

    If Marvell Wynne were on the roster, I’d probably have him on the right back in place of Cherundolo (I do not believe that Wynne has beaten Cherundolo for that position yet, but I like what Wynne brings to the table in terms of speed and creating attacking options… just not crosses). I haven’t seen enough of Pearce, DeMerit, or Califf to know where they stand in terms of playing time. As for Hejduk, if he’s still running like he is right now, I’d like to see him on the 2010 World Cup team as an experienced bench player. He’s becoming the new Cobi Jones, which is a nice option for a coach.

    Midfield Analysis:

    I like Edu a lot. He’s got a great soccer mind and physically imposing on the field. I wasn’t a fan of the way Nowak used him in the defense on his Olympic team, but given the players Nowak had to work with, he may have just been trying to put his best 11 on the field each time, and that Edu was one of the best defenders, even if it wasn’t Edu’s best position.

    The last several games, we’ve seen Landon Donovan on the right side of midfield, which has worked OK, but I’d rather see Clint Dempsey man the right side of the field to allow Landon the freedom to attach. Clint’s quickness and flair is great for making space on the wings, as well has taking players on 1 v 1 and getting into the box. Plus, Dempsey holds the ball very well, allowing defenders like Cherundolo or Wynne ample time and space to make overlapping runs.

    On the left, I haven’t seen anyone who has made a statement to move DeMarcus Beasley out of the first position. Beasley has had several poor games with the National Team recently, but there are few who would argue that when he’s on his game, he’s not one of the most dangerous players on the field. Plus, his chemistry with Donovan is better than anyone else on the field (although not nearly as strong as it used to be).

    In the attacking option, I like Kljestan and Adu. However, I’m not convince of Adu’s defensive capabilities, so I’d prefer to see Adu to operate when there’s five men in midfield. I’m a fan of Kljestan mainly because of his composure, vision, and his ability to rotate pretty fluidly with the wingers or with the withdrawn forward.

    When we play a five-man midfield, I’d like for Bradley to sit with Adu. Bradley’s a bit more capable defensively, but he’d still get the opportunity to push forward and attack.

    Forward Analysis:

    As mentioned earlier, I think that Donovan is at his best when he’s running directly at goal. I also think he’s is better suited to be a weapon and not a general. He hasn’t done anything to demonstrate that he can be a true captain on the field, and when he is the captain, his focus is not on scoring goals. I think that his season with the Galaxy is a good example of this analysis. Once Beckham took over the captaincy, Donovan started scoring goals. This is not a knock on him, but just an observation. It was a similar problem that I think plagued Henry toward the end of his Arsenal days.

    With Altidore, the only way he’s going to become the Striker we all want him to become is to get him in there and playing. Strikers live and die on their confidence. He’s the best option we’ve got at this position, so let’s get him on the field.


  • BlueWhiteLion

    My head is swimming. Lots thrown out there. I agree with Jamie Z’s critiques, and I like some of T Comptons ideas–perhaps the 5 man midfield. As someone else suggested, it would be nice to see Szetela.

    I think we will cap Torres.


  • eric

    Goff’s got a nice chat with Michael Bradley and his current situation, check out this RE: interim manager Christian Ziege

    Will your relationship with Ziege help your situation at the club?

    “Ziege is the sporting director and everyone has a relationship with him. He is around every day, he sits on the bench at the games, he is out at training quite a bit. I think it will be a good thing for me because, at the end of the day, he was the one who really, really pushed hard to bring me to the club. I think he has confidence in me and he likes the qualities that I can bring to a team. So I am hopeful that, when I get back, there are good opportunities. We need to go on a big run and I hope to help turn things around.”

    Hope it’s true…


  • Angel

    Jamie Z.,

    I just saying that is cuba, and we need to experimenting with new players of course thats not going to be the lineup up thru the whole Qualifying but is time to let the future player get to play and give the Veteran some kind of break and the mix the Vet. with the new players thats all.


  • Isaac







    This lineup will be pretty affective considering Cuba’s defense shouldn’t be TOO hard to breach. Kljestan is creative and will open things up for Donovan and Altidore. It’s really not much different from Ives/ the T&T game. Kljestan getting into the attack will open up Bradley and he’ll be able to make those great passes. Torres on for Beasley, Adu on for Donovan or Kljestan, and Edu on for Bradley. Davies could come on instead of Edu and play at the right wing position for Dempsey.All in all it’ll be a great night.


  • Julio

    The Hell with it fellas, I say get all the young Bucks capped and than worry about the qualifying. We have 3 games won, how could it possibly go wrong!?!?!?


  • cometopapa

    So Chi-Town, great name-calling. The equivalent of “oh yeh!” I refuse to enter into a battle of wits with an unarmed opponent…


  • cometopapa

    And all of you other girls out there – It’s Cuba for Pete’s sake!!! Let’s see if the kids can play. Stop being a bunch of whining p*ssies.


  • The AMT

    What I’d like to see…


    Dolo – Gooch – Boca – Pearce

    Dempsey – Bradley (DM) – Torres (CAM) – Beasley

    Donovan – Altidore

    Subs: Kljestan for Beasley, Adu for Donovan, Edu for Bradley. If need be, follow the Kljestan insertion by shifting him to a second holding midfield role, move Torres out wide, and drop Adu into the midfield. Get a taste of some true 4-4-2 while also seeing how players fit into our bread-and-butter 4-2-3-1


  • cometopapa

    Angel – No need to back off your line-up. Jamie-girl and the rest of those wearing skirts have offered nothing in return. I hear a lot of calls for Szetela, Torres, Edu, Orozco on this board so what’s the problem with these line-ups?

    Give me some LEGITIMATE critique nad I would take you more seriously.


  • Chi Town's Finest

    cometopapa…. please you want to have a battle of wits but you put the worst lineup anyone has ever seen together…. since your saying its just cuba, why not call up charles renken, cobi jones, bruce arena and i am sure your god at soccer so lets add you to our list…. or you could look in the mirror, realize you know nothing about soccer and go watch cartoons


  • Nordy







  • cometopapa

    Why not call up those guys – because they were not included in the list of 23 (duh).

    And if you would have read Ives’ question (which was who would YOU like to see?) and read my post (please sonny go back, its on the previous page – do I need to draw you a map?) you would see that I said – Ives’ line-up is on the mark and I would like to see (my line-up).

    Well, that is who I would like to see.

    Now, go back down to Rush Street and bury your head in a bottle and lament over the Cubbies blowing it again and having Southsiders coached by a loudmouth doofus.

    And by the way, do you have a minute?

    Tell me everything you know.


  • Caleb

    I love when people get on to tell/ask Ives whatelse he should/shouldn’t have put into articles. The man (and for this he is– THE MAN) spends so much time already on the great articles and pieces on this site informing countless soccer fans in the states without many other reliable sources on the world of soccer outside of say, MLS. I and I think we all feel this way would sincerely offer our thanks to you Ives, for this great site!


  • ETucker

    My starting 11 would probably be:




    Once we secure qualification we can blood the younguns, but for now we should not take anything for granted. If one of these players was sorely out of form, I would say plug in Klejstan, but all are doing decent at club level



  • Jamie-girl


    I didn’t mean to single you out, personally. I agree that we need to incorporate some new blood into the team. In time, I’d love to see players like Davies, Adu, Altidore, and Torres making regular appearances. I’d even be happy to see Altidore start. I think Adu is integral to our immediate future as a footballing nation. I hope Torres gives Beasley some competition on the left flank. But I don’t think we should be reckless in bringing in our youngsters — just throw them into the lineup willy-nilly at the expense of team integrity and identity. Without a constructive and experienced framework to work within, our youngsters would likely struggle to find cohesion and be even less likely to succeed quickly.

    I get impatient with Bradley’s slow motion approach, too, but that’s because (and why) I’m a supporter and not the coach. You’ve got to strike a balance with this type of thing or you’re just as likely to end up shooting yourself in the foot.


  • Chi Town's Finest

    Cometopapa, by reading your writing, I am gonna guess your wearing a depends diaper write now…. Chi towns finest is the nickname for Kanye West…. since your old as hell… hes like the Nat King Cole of your generation…. have fun in the nursing home gramps… you know ZILCH about soccer


  • christian

    It’s funny that some of you, ok, most of you are very misinformed about Torres.

    Torres is NOT a LM in the same way that Donovan is NOT a RM.

    Sure, he could play there and maybe contribute but he ain’t gonna shine the way he does for Pachuca playing out wide.


  • Matt Johnston

    We will probably see the line-up Ives put out with possibly one exception. My guess is that Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena have a deal where Donovan will only get limited minutes so he can be on a red-eye back to LA for the Galaxy match.


  • Frankie Football

    Anyone notice this from todays ESPN Mac Kanji interview?

    emilio (PARSIPPANY,NJ): What things do you need to improve on the most? Any chances of playing for Senegal?

    Macoumba Kandji: Well the things I need to improve the most are my left foot, which is getting better each year and learning my runs, which I can learn from coach and Juan Pablo and all the great players here. And there is definitley a chance to play for Senegal or the U.S. National team. Both are options and we will see what happens.

    This Seems like a change in stance about playing for the US…He could look nice on the RW if his skills translate..


  • Britton

    Altidore Dempsey


    Beasley Szetela

    Bradley Klestan



    How Jozy isn’t starting is beyond me.


  • ben

    Really, Ives et al? You think Sascha will get the call over Maurice Edu? I don’t buy it. Klestjan’s defensive skills are hugely lacking, and Bradley needs defensive cover in midfield to allow Donovan and Dempsey the offensive freedom they require to perform.


  • Angel

    Frankie Football,

    That sound very nice and I hope we get him to play for the USA, I can imagine now in the near future with Altidore, Kandji, Adu, Shea, Soumare WOW this is sound like music to my ears. I think in two more World cup we will be a strong team to beat.. U17 and U18 & U20 have very good players too that are coming up but like I said before we need to play them as soon as possible. Hopefully we can get more friendly games that we can cap all this young players (Look at Arsenal with young players the playing a beautiful Football)


  • Nick


    Beasley– Dempsey– Donovan

    —-Bradley– Kljestan—-




    Edu – 60th minute for Kljestan

    Altidore – 70th minute for Ching

    Torres – 80th minute for Beasley

    I think we’ll see a lot more of the young players in the next game, provided we beat cuba.


  • FKA

    I quit watching the Nats until Kenny Cooper is called up. I’m not even a huge fan of his, but for pete’s sake he is scoring goals. Lets use our brain Bob Bradley.


  • Jags98

    Landycakes- becareful he only looks good if he produces an asst or goal. His defensive is horrible. When have you ever seen him pressure someone when he does not have an opportunity towards goal on a turnover. Never! Hit the weight room, get stuck in.

    DMB- Agree with others, needs to get shape else where

    Bradley- son or father, one of them needs to sit out. Take your pick?

    Ching- thanks for all you have given us, take care now bye-bye

    YoungBloods- Get them in now, let them threaten some positions, boost competition, they are ready, and so are we!


  • Matt

    Here is what I think we’ll see:

    GK: Howard

    DF: (R-L) Cherundolo-Bocanegra-Onyewu-Pearce

    MF: (R-L) Dempsey-Edu-Bradley-Beasley

    FW: Ching-Donovan

    Subs: Adu, Torres (make sure he gets on the field!), Szetela

    I think Davies will get a chance against T & T, and Adu might even get a start. Bring Jozy off the bench (or start?) vs. T & T. I think the Cuba game is business and the T & T game a blend of getting experience and achieving a result.


  • Big Timer

    Pretty much the same as against TnT. Ives you must be employing reverse psychology switching Donovan and Dempsey.


    Cher. Guch Boca Pearce

    —–Edu Bradley

    Dumpster Lando Beasley


    Subs: Adu, Torres, Jose

    After the demolishing of Cuba 5-0,the Hybrid experiments will begin.

    TNT will be:


    Wynne Boca Guch Pearce

    —-Bradley Edu

    —–Adu Torres

    –Donovan Altidore

    Subs: Szetela, Davies, DeMerrit


  • Monkey Boy

    I agree with the few who would like to see some young guys get a chance against Cuba — weak team, while we’re playing at home. However, I doubt that BB will deviate from his traditional. He’s my suggestion for Cuba:






    Subs: Davies (Altidore), Sasha (Donovan), Szetela (Beasley — move Torres to LM and Szetela back with Edu)

    If we beat Cuba as we should then for T&T:

    let Donovan, Dolo, Gooch, Beasley, Howard and Edu return to their clubs. Replace with White, Wynne and Rodgers.






    Subs: Sasha (Adu), Rodgers (Bradley – move Torres back to work with Szetela), Demerit (Boca)


  • cometopapa

    Hey Chi – Sorry, I had to run off to coach my undefeated traveling team last night. Thanks for the heads up on Kanye West – whoever he is (HA!) Hate hip-hop, love rock n’ roll…

    And is must be sad that you sit in your mom’s basement, taping away on your little computer because you didn’t make your high school soccer team and thus weren’t at practice yesterday (or any day for that matter).

    So sad…

    Making you look silly is like shooting fish in a barrel so I will sign off now.


  • Chi Town's Finest

    After you said coaching a traveling team, I will leave you alone… you must be big time to coach traveling rec and not club.

    later old man


  • JT

    Cometopapa – You have an incredibly inflated image of yourself. First you listed a lineup that moved one of the NT’s top defensive midfielders to right back without making any type of explanation other than “surprise”. Then you stated that the opponent was “only Cuba for Pete’s sake”. This is a Cuba side that the Americans struggled to beat 1-0 – they scored off of a defensive blunder, generated minimal scoring opportunities and required a class save late in the match from their keeper (the one that you decided to leave off of your lineup by the way) to avoid a deflating draw. Personally, with the poor displays of soccer that this side has shown in the last three matches, no opponent should be thought of as an easy win. But you didn’t stop there – you made a veiled attempt at humor by talking about baseball. And you apparently don’t know the meaning of the term “called up”, following your ill-conceived retort with “duh” as if you had just made the most clairvoyant statement of all time. In your “battle of wits”, you are not performing very well at all to this point. If you want LEGITIMATE criticism of your odd lineup, answer the question of Bradley at right back, the benching of the American’s only world class player in Howard, and the replacement of two proven attacking players in Donovan and Dempsey. Try to use something other than “I want to see the young guys”.


  • Chi Town's Finest

    JT 100% chance he doesnt respond….. he has had the same lineup posted the last 2 US games and everytime he backs down from the argument…..plus hes like 100 years old… he might of died by now


  • Jacob

    I’d like to point out the previous Jacob on the first page was not me, and I’m adding the A to differentiate, no offense to new Jacob.

    I like what everyone else is saying, Altidore for Ching, everyone else looks fine, cap Torres, yada yada yada.

    Something else I would like to see: Gooch bringing back the neck beard. He’s always looked imposing and menacing with his size, and the boxing tape has only helped, but with that beard, I would rather watch in standard than hd, it’s that scary.


  • cometopapa

    JT – Happy to respond to your post as it at least has some intelligence to it.

    Lets start from the beginning – Ives’ question was “who would you like to see?” not “what line-up will win the game?”

    For the 3rd time – this is who I would like to see. I never wrote that it was the greatest line-up in the world.

    As far as your thoughts regarding Cuba, here are some facts – The Cuba game was played in Cuba, in the heat and rain, on a poorly light pitch with knee-high grass. This match will be played at RFK on a fast track, cooler weather and hopefully no rain. In front of a Pro-US crowd. All work in the USMNT’s favor.

    Players – Howard is great, no argument but I don’t think we give up much playing Guzan.

    Orozco needs to get out of the doghouse after the Olympics. Don’t see anything wrong with Gooch and DeMerit (DeMerit deserves a chance). Bradley at RB – Califf, no way. Hedjuk, been there done that. Wynne not called-up. Dolo is the obvious choice but I have a feeling something is going to happen to him. He has a history of injuries, he is small in stature and is not getting any younger. Why not take a look at Bradley (or someone like R. Clark, if you will) to play here. MB can mark opposing teams’ wingers and can get into the offense. We are weak on the right side.

    Midfield – General consensus is that Torres has to be capped, end of story. Edu is my defensive midfilder. I just like him better than Bradley there. I do not buy into the 2 DM strategy. Szetela has played every minute for Brescia and I’d like to see what the coaching staff there sees in him. He might not play because of a reported groin problem.

    I also want to see Adu and Altidore play together and after the Olympics and a good season in Europe, I want to see Davies as well.

    No offense to Dempsey and Donovan – great players and will be in the first team in SA.

    That’s it JT. Sorry you had to step up for Sport. Apparently, he can’t write anything but hate and offers nothing constructive to the debate.

    And I’m out…

    See you on the next blog.



    Cometopapa….. i have to say you know nothing about soccer….. JT and Chi Towns Finest are right…. you have no Clue…. go ahead and try to use big words for an excuse either way your an DUMBA$$


  • Vince







  • Vince

    Sorry to post back-to-back, but I am sicl of the US thinking we need to play a 4-5-1. It’s like we are conceding to play defensive just because Arena decided to use it in the world cup. Did it work there?


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