USA vs. Slovenia: A Look Ahead (and who will start for the USA?)


The USA-England World Cup opener got all the hype, but Friday's match between the United States and Slovenia is as actually more important for the Americans. A win puts them in comfortable shape heading into the last group match against Algeria. A loss would all but eliminate the Americans.

Slovenia comes in off a 1-0 win against Algeria, while the Americans have one point from their 1-1 draw against England. A Slovenia victory secures passage into the second round, while a draw keeps both teams in the hunt (though it will mean the Americans face a must-win against Algeria).

For a primer on Friday's match, here is one of my previews for Fox Soccer, a look at how the sides facing off tomorrow night are very similar.

The big question heading into Friday's match is what, if any, changes will Bob Bradley make to the side that held England last Saturday. Will he go with the same lineup (shown above) or will he make some tweaks?

Here is the lineup we see Bradley fielding on Friday night against Slovenia:

USA Projected Lineup vs. Slovenia






So why this lineup? Jose Torres over Ricardo Clark is the only change from the England match. Why? It doesn't make much sense to have Clark and Bradley in the middle against Slovenia. My money is on Michael Bradley being assigned to stifle Robert Koren, with Jose Torres taking advantage of the space given by a Slovenia midfield that should give him room to operate and circulate passes to the flanks.

Robbie Findley might come as a surprise, and I could see Edson Buddle getting the call, but Slovenia showed some vulnerability to pace against Algeria and Findley could unsettle the defense and make things easier for Altidore, Donovan and Dempsey.

Another option Bradley has is to move Dempsey up top, though this doesn't quite look like the match to do that in. If Dempsey is moved up top, you could see DaMarcus Beasley make his tournament debut.

Either way, I think the Americans will look to get forward more, and while they won't be attacking in waves, they'll show more of their attacking arsenal against the Slovenians than they did against England.

What lineup would you like to see against Slovenia? Hoping for the same lineup that tied England? Hoping the Americans go on the attack? Confident in a victory?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Austin

    exactly and thats why i said im not sure if BB will take this into consideration


  • jjank

    Yea, we need to take advantage of Buddle and Gomez being in such great form right now.
    Buddle did not really get a chance to do anything last match


  • RW

    If Beasley makes an appearance in any game during the WC I’m turning my television off and will not watch the USMNT again until Bradley is replaced. Which could be in about a week and a half…


  • jjank

    I watched the USA-England match again and the only person I can say for sure that we should sub in for would be Clark. He seemed to not really do anything or really want to get on the ball and he was partially at fault for Englands goal (as well as Onweyu, even though it was kind of a broken play). Edu or Torres need to get a chance.
    Other than that. Cherundolo, Dempsey, Findley and Bradley played spectacular 1st half, Donovan was very good on set peices and played better in the 2nd half.
    I think it would be hard for BB to start Buddle or Gomez over Findley.
    I can’t wait!!


  • Jay

    I think it is important to note that by Findley starting he wears the defense down faster and thus makes defenders more tired for the late subs that can actually put the ball in the back of the net.


  • Mister Gaga

    Findley is completely useless in a game where the opponent will likely bunker–we won’t need his speed, we’ll need skills he doesn’t have. Play Torres and Holden and put clint up top.


  • BAJ

    Here’s my thought on Torres over Clark. When the back line needs to distribute the ball Torres is the better option to keep possession longer. And keeping possession is the best defense. Plus his eye for passing lanes gives us more attacking flare and again more possession.


  • jjank

    The case for Torres is that he will link up much better with the forwards and find those passing lanes, I agree. If we had alittle more distribution skills in our mid then we are much more dangerous and allows our flanks more space.
    If we are playing a team that is more defensive then it might be better to put buddle in with Torres because buddle will help keep the form in the middle and hold up much better, whereas findley is more of an outside attacking forward.

    Honestly, as long as we try someone other than Clark, i’m fine with it because clark was nonexistent in the 1st half and the 2nd came to life a bit but still didn’t do much. I’m not saying he played bad, but just average.


  • Patrick

    I love ya Ives, you’re my favorite soccer source, but I just don’t see Dempsey moving up top ever being a wise move. He is way to valuable on the wing and Buddle and Gomez have both proven they are worthy of playing time.


  • john godfrey

    Jim. Dude. Relax. Go have a caffeine-free Coca Cola or watch some TBS or do something else in Atlanta, the hub of soccer in this country.

    Watch the game again. (I’ve watched it three times, including the play in question in slow motion, repeatedly.) Or watch a few Hull replays. (I watched every second that Jozy played this past EPL season.)

    Jozy is immensely talented but every coach he has ever played for has complained that he is too easygoing and lacks a killer instinct. And that’s exactly what he displayed on that perfect cross from Landon. Edson has been burying ever chance he has all year. And that’s why I want him in against Slovenia.


  • Isaac

    Why? He still brings alot. His only problem was his rustiness. He seems to have gained back the sharpness that made him great.


  • john godfrey

    At the risk of further inciting Jim in Atlanta, I offer this: I reallyreally hope BB doesn’t start Benny in the midfield. He isn’t ready and he isn’t good enough. My preferences for central mid against Slovenia, are, in order: Torres, Edu, Holden, Clark and then Feilhaber. But I worry that BB might try to get clever with this…


  • alex mang

    well phil if Jozy would have scored a goal on the cross from LD we wouldn’t be having this conversation


  • 23

    You got that wrong. Torres is an AM, he can creates “killer passes” to the forwards or wingers that cut inside. Clark is the DM, the holding guy. MB is a box-2-box Mid.


  • Isaac

    The only change I would make is bringing in Jose Torres for Clark.

    However, there is one other lineup I’d actually like to see:







    The important thing about this lineup is it’s different methods of managing the game. Donovan can stretch defenses with his pace and skill the same way Davies or Findley can when the USA is trying to score, but Landon can also drop back into the midfield and help the USA move the ball around through there into the attack when they’re having a tough time doing so, calm the game down, or help the team get a foothold in a game. Dempsey and Beasley can take players on from the wings and stretch the field to provide service from the flanks for Altidore and Donovan, who can head the ball despite what people think, but Dempsey and Beasley can also cut into the middle to create, shoot, knock the ball around, or dictate the pace and play of the game. Altidore can work as a target striker that holds the ball up, takes pressure off Donovan, gives Landon someone to run off of and the flanks someone to aim for, but he can also work as a lone forward that, when Landon drops in to the midfield, can break down backlines on his own using his pace, size, strength, skill and aerial ability and create and finish chances for himself. Torres is someone who can pass the ball incredibly well and this comes in handy when the USA is trying to score so that he can set the ball in movement quickly through a midfield that could be clogged or he could help the USA keep possession when they want to kill the game off or take the sting out of their opponent. Basically, Torres sets the tempo that the USA will attack to. Bradley’s job is to be everywhere and institute that tempo all over the field while disrupting the oppositions ball movement through the midfield and break up attacks in his own third of the field. I could see Holden coming in this lineup for Beasley and he probably would, but Beasley has the veteran experience which is shown throughout most of this lineup.

    I think the key is managing the game, which is something Bob is always stressing in the locker room based on USSoccer videos. That doesn’t mean keeping possession, it just means having different ways to deal with the situations that come up during the game.


  • jb

    Rather childishly harsh statement. I will be annoyed if we DON’T see Beasley because of the speed, skill, and experience he brings. And if Bradley is let go or leaves, we may all come to see his time as head coach as the highest peak for American football.


  • ryan

    i think Slovenia playing for there lives is just what the English need. The English are by far the more talented team and will take advantage of a Slovenian side that is just looking to attack. But the bottom line is we need to come out and attack and take it too our next to opponents b/c we are the more skilled side. We can’t really control anything the other teams do we just need to go out and score goals and hope its good enough for first.


  • phil

    here’s another thought: Findley, DeMerit and Cherundolo are each carrying a yellow card.


    —–Buddle Altidore——
    Donovan Edu Bradley Dempsey
    Boca Goodson Onyewu Spector

    I don’t honestly think there’s much wrong with this line up. I dn’t think Findley’s speed is as much an asset as Buddle’s ability to scrap a goal against SLO. Goodson is in great form and his height could come in handy on corners. While Spector has had a rough patch there’s no denying he’s still a great option (relax y’all, Cherundolo is still my number one pick for RFB).

    Most importantly, it eliminates the possibility of not having Demerit or Cherundolo when you’ll really need them–against Germany Ghana or Serbia in the next round!


  • Franz Mathieu fan

    I’d put in Torres for the reasons mentioned above. I’d start Buddle over Findley for 2 reasons;

    1. He’s Donovan’s teamate at L.A. so they will have some familiarity

    2. Findley’s carrying a yellow.

    If the US stays relaxed, they can destroy them. I’m praying for a 3-0 win that keeps us away from Germany. My 3-day weekend is here.


  • JW

    Knowing Bradley, he will probably have us all scratching our heads as usual and either keep Clark in or go with his guy through qualification and confed cup _ Benny instead of Torres.

    I would personally like to see Torres and would not mind seeing Beasley at some point who seems to be wanting to prove something. However at this point, I don’t care who plays, just as long as we win. I am kind of tired of singling out one guy over another. I just want to get behind the entire team and i can always begin my rants if they lose and don’t get to the next round.

    GO USA!


  • TimC

    I think they need to focus on getting width right from kickoff and go with Holden or Beasley on a flank with Dempsey sliding up top…as for the CM, Torres looks like a good option but Edu and even Feilhaber would do the job. If it is Clark again, I would really like to see Bradley get forward a lot more with Clark taking the primary defensive responsibilities.


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