World Cup Qualifying

Who should the USA start vs. Honduras?

DempseyPalacios (ISIphotos.com)

                                                                          Photo by ISIphotos.com

With the roster now selected, it is time to consider the options U.S. head coach Bob Bradley has when selecting his starting lineup in next weekend's World Cup qualifier vs. Honduras.

There weren't many major surprises in the group called in by Bradley, and there's little reason to believe Bradley will experiment with his lineup too much in a road qualifier against a team as strong as Honduras.

So what should we expect? More of the same group we've seen in most of the recent qualifiers. Here is the lineup we expect to see take the field in San Pedro Sula on Oct. 10:

USA Projected lineup vs. Honduras






Three question marks here:

Does the central midfield stay the same, or does Bradley turn to Benny Feilhaber or Jose Francisco Torres to provide more possession? Honduras' central midfield, with Wilson Palacios and Hendry Thomas, is one of the toughest in CONCACAF, and that's without Amado Guevara (suspended). Neither Bradley or Clark enjoyed a standout game vs. T&T, but Clark looked to be the more likely of the two to be benched before his game-winning goal. Bradley once showed enough confidence in Torres to start him in Saprissa vs. Costa Rica. Does he turn to the youngster again in the equally intimidating confines of San Pedro Sula?

Does Bornstein get the nod again? We say yes. Honduras boasts speedy right winger Edgar Alvarez, currently starting for Serie A side Bari. Carlos Bocanegra struggles at left back against really fast wingers so Bornstein is the better match-up. Starting Onyewu and Bocanegra together looks like a given here. Jonathan Spector could theoretically get a look at left back as well,  but Bornstein's improved performance against Trinidad & Tobago gives him the edge.

Who will Bradley start at right back? We will go with Cherundolo, who has been in very good form for Hannover 96. Spector has been playing for West Ham, but has not been nearly as consistent as Cherundolo in recent weeks.

So why should we expect a different performance than the one we saw in Trinidad last month from the same group? It will be up to the midfield to step up its game across the board if the Americans will have any hope of escaping Honduras with a point. Anything short of a strong showing from the midfielders will mean a Honduras blowout because the Honduran midfield is stacked and dangerous, and their best players are all in top form (save for injured striker David Suazo).


Now it's your turn. What lineup would you like to see the USA use vs. Honduras? What changes would you make? Think the above lineup can get a result in San Pedro Sula?

Share your thoughts below.

  • kobao

    i’d like to see Benny Feilhaber or Jose Torres get the start over Clark. Feilhaber has shown he has what it takes to start and Torres has shown great promise when he gets a chance. I still think it was harsh he got subbed out of the Costa Rica game as he was one of the few i felt actually played well.

    Maybe start Feilhaber and throw Torres out as a sub to see what he can do in the last half hour?


  • Isaac








  • Andy of Chicago

    What are you talking about “Bornstein’s improved performance vs T&T?”

    He looked terrible in that game…

    Spector is a better player and deserves to start.

    (SBI-I won’t argue about Spector being better than Bornstein but if you don’t think Bornstein was miles better vs. T&T than he was vs. El Salvador then I really don’t know what else to tell you. That one is pretty obvious to anyone who watched and didn’t spend the T&T match complaining about Bornstein being out there.)


  • Austin

    we are going to need a friendly to integrate castillo into the lineup guys…..the same with jermaine jones(when healthy)

    I honestly would like to see Bob bring in Omar Gonzalez or Michael Orozco now that Conrad is getting older….Marshall and Demerit are injured and conrad wouldnt usually get the call BUT i just think it would be nice for him to bring them into camp and look at them compared to onyewu and boca…..it probably doesnt matter anyways because they probably wouldnt see the field…..probably bradley just wants more experience right now so they can qualify already


  • Austin

    BF….wynne can be sloppy, but definately deserves to be in the US reserves

    his defending is great….he reads EVERYTHING perfectly including whether to contain or tackle and everything around him

    and even though he doesnt have skill on the ball doesnt mean hes extremely sloppy, he can be though at times

    his speed is unbelievable and so is his strength…he is a pretty good header of the ball as well

    im just sayin that he needs to atleast be looked at when you have injuries in back, but i dont think this world cup is his…..spector, cherundolo, hejduk, NO wynne, you cant have 4 right backs….let the experienced hejduk and cherundolo atleast travel to their last world cup and then bring in wynne to back up spector or vice-versa


  • Austin

    sorry if it seems like im ragging on u BF, but holden and torres are not holding mids, they are attacking mids who can attack through the middle or exploit th wings with crosses and skill at other times….a holding mid is a defensive mid that holds the ball, takes strikes from 18 and further, and is aggressive throwing tackles in….Rico and Bradley are exactly that….what you see with gerrard is a player that exceeds all limits and thats why hes so good and renound, u cant ask for another gerrard in that position right now in the world i believe….the type of player in england that compares a little more to holden or torres is a frank lampard

    P.S….completely agree about Dempsey though:)


  • Austin

    THANK YOU EA….i have been trying to tell people that, he is just not some1 who you can seriously depend on to start over landon and dempsey… AND HES NOT A HOLDING MIDFIELDER, thats the other thing, people think that he could start over rico as a holding midfielder but his tackling, size, and aggresiveness does not fit the tee at all

    if we should feel sorry for anybody south of border it should be orozco( wasnt even looked at in gold cup)


  • notsweet81

    Honduras will come out with a lot of emotion and so will the fans…especially with all the political craziness they have gone through. The two teams are very close as far as talent level is concerned and with a big homefield advantage I don’t know if it will matter who is out there.

    I would vote for Holden over Dempsey because if Dempsey walks around like he has been the Honduran midfield will push down the left side all day.

    Ives, I thought Suazo was back from his injury? Are you just saying that he is not on form?


  • scott47a

    I’m not in charge, but if I was:



  • r.benjamin

    I also hate the 4-5-1 but agree this might be the time to use it. Clog the middle. Add Torres. Sub in Feilhaber for Clark or JFT at 60. Or Sub in Holden if you want and push Dempsey up. I’m a big Jozy fan, but maybe sub or dont use him here.

    I also think in this formation and eventually the 4-4-2 you will see Davies THRIVE with JFT’s distribution. JFT and Jones or Edu MUST be given a full look.

    Spector sees speed each time out in the EPL. His positioning and class trump what Bornstein has.


  • Isaac

    I understand that Torres and Feilhaber are tidy and composed on the ball, but that’s not required to win one of these games.

    Those two are guys who thrive when the team has possession. If our team can’t get the majority of the possession, then Torres and Feilhaber can’t do what they do best, which is keeping possession.

    I will say that Feilhaber brings an awful lot of bite defensively for such a great attacking player so I wouldn’t be surprised if he started. However, he’s looked best off the bench since the Honduras game so I think that’s what Bradley will go for here.


  • andrew in tampa

    Altidore, Cherundolo, Clark, Dempsey, Casey, Donovan, Bocanegra and Feilhaber are carrying a yellow card – which two players are absolutely essential to getting a win against CR? I think that is the more crucial question, Ives.
    Given Bradley’s penchant for conservativism, I can’t see him going all out for a win in Honduras. i see him placing his eggs in the home game basket. It makes no sense to risk it all on the road, lose and leave yourself weakened for the home game. And you can’t ask guys to play tentative because they have yellow cards


  • The Ghost of Josimar

    Like the rest of us, Ives has a reasonably good sense of how Bob Bradley’s mind works.

    But in what dimension would Jonathan Bornstein ever start for a team of West Ham’s caliber? Should Bornstein start at left back? It really shouldn’t even be a question.

    Bob Bradley’s failure to better integrate Jose Francisco Torres is one the *big* stories in US Soccer.

    It speaks volumes to Bradley’s limits as a manager. His conservatism. His mis-guided and over-long reliance on one Sacha Kljestan. His failure to select and develop a side that can maintain possession through the midfield.

    Torres should get considerably more time going forwards. But based on past performance, it is only reasonable to expect to be disappointed by coach Bradley.


  • Deuce

    Spector will definitely start. When was the last time Coach Bradley worried about club form in determing roster spots??? Onyewu, Altidore, Davies, BEASLEY….on and on…
    Spector started the last few games, he will continue to start.
    Of course it has been said a million times already, but I wish both Cherundolo and Spector would start, with Spector on the left. Of course, Spector plays there for his club, so Bob Bradley won’t play him there because he doesn’t pay attention to club play!!!!!
    I’m excited about 5 of the central midfield players, feilhaber, torres, clark, holden, and bradley CAN all rock the house. I just hope whoever starts decides to show up!


  • Deuce

    Of course our wings and strikers are our best positions right now though. Super Stars on the wings, young flashes up front. So i’m optimistic, as usual. Hoping I’m not disappointed any time soon again…its a horrible feeling.


  • Dennis

    I suspect we will see Spector rather than Bornstien starting at LB. West ham simply faces better teams than Chivas does. Bornstein needs to get out of the US (and add a little mass) if he wants to become a better defender.

    Torres had a patch after the C.R. game where he did not play much for Pachuca, did he have a minor injury that slowed him or made him less effective? He is now being more effective at Pachuca, he may get some time ahead of Clark.

    It is really unlikely that any new players would be added at this stage in qualifying, The US is leading the group, the team chemistry seems to be good, I think it would be a mistake to send the message now that you do not trust the players you have.
    After Qualifying, new players will be brought in for friendlies and if they fit in well in training, we will get to see them in some games with most of the potential starters. As fans who see only the games, not the training sessions, we will never have all the information. Mastroeni in 2002 was not a surprise to those who watched the training sessions after Armas was injured, however, anyone who simply saw him in a horrible runout in Giants Stadium in the last tune-up for the 2002 W.C. would never have placed him in the lineup. The people I know who did see several of the NJ based training sessions were very impressed with him and his performance was outstanding in the W.C.

    The Bradley haters should give it up. B.B. will be coach of the US MNT for at least the next 9 months and perhaps beyond that.


  • Dennis

    I am not sure benching Dempsey is the right thing to do, It might make him try too hard to prove he can dribble like C. Ronaldo (he can’t). Now, taking him out early because he looks tired, that’s another matter. I am sure he knows that Bob expects him to pay attention to defensive responsibilities and if he is too tired or too lazy to do that reliably, some rest on the bench might rejuvenate him. With several days between these games, I expect Dempsey will look much sharper in the second game. He might be one of those guys who does not deal well with time zone changes (he did play better in S.A. after several days and he did pretty much suck for long stretches after the long flights to the US). In fact, I am trying to recall when he had a good game within 3 days of a 6 hour time change, probably happened, I just cannot recall it.


  • Dennis

    Who besides Amado Guevara will be missing for Honduras? I thought Costly and another starter were out as well.


  • Dillon

    Bornstein is a fine player, but I hate to keep seeing him as the first option on our national team. Someone who stick out to me as one worthy of a fast-tracking to the World Cup is Geoff Cameron. Skilled and gifted enough, fast and strong enough, great on defense and a good option going forward. Lack of experience in big matches is an issue, but just because he has never been there before does not mean an exclusion. He got one call up and has played admirably all year. Seeing how we are so thin at that spot and nothing has panned out, I think we out to give him a shot in the near future aka our friendlies this winter


  • The Ghost of Josimar

    1. Jonathan Bornstein may be faster than Spector. But the game in England is played at pace. And in what dimension would Bornstein ever start for a club like West Ham? Doesn’t the question of who should start at left back answer itself?

    2. Torres’ ability to control the play in tight quarters and keep possession on the ground — these are qualities we absolutely need. It was stunning to see Sacha Kljestan repeatedly preferred to Torres this past summer. Bob Bradley’s decision not to give Torres a serious run of play is one of his more glaring failures.


  • Isaac

    I’m so tired of hearing the constant argument, “why didn’t Torres get playing time this summer for the national team?” Ives already posted something on this guys. He was just plain tired. There is no conspiracy theory here guys. There is no coaching problem with him not getting a look in the summer. I believe that we can trust Torres to be a good third sub for the moment though. However, don’t be surprised if Bradley brings in Ching, not that I’m asking for that, but it’s a possibility.


  • strongboy3

    spector hasn’t done anything wrong do lose his spot at right back, or in the starting eleven. I say play both cherundolo and spector. One on the left. Bornstein is way to behind to be playing with anyone outside of Concacaf. If he’s our starting left back in the WC, we are going to get work down that side.


  • DaveW


    Danilo Turcios and Amado Guevara are out on card accumulation.

    @SBI Do you think Rambo de León could take advantage of the US left back as well?

    Also, after watching the coaching duel between Rueda and Aguirre/Carrillo in Azteca, I think Rueda is way better at making in-game adjustments than BB.

    Really worried about the flank play of Honduras, including their forwards serving from wide.


  • Deuce

    true strongboy, but teams already target our left back no matter who plays there, it would be nice if we put spector there to finally plug the hole.


  • Eric

    Conor Casey made the roster?? He has been, IMO, the least impressive member to wear the MNT uniform in the last couple of years.


  • Dennis

    Dempsey is out due to a shoulder injury picked up in yesterday’s game. That opens up a slot for Holden, Torres, Feilhaber. It will be interesting to see which Bradley picks. I imagine it will be determined by which looks best in training this week and which might pair up best with the outside backs (defense being so important in an away WC qualifier.)
    Courage will also matter, at the moment, Honduras may very well be the least safe place to play in this part of the world.


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