U.S. Men's National Team

Who should the USMNT start vs. Argentina?

USALineupVsAlgeria (ISIPhotos.com)

The U.S. men's national team has called in its best players for the first time since last summer's World Cup, and Bob Bradley will have his first chance to see what this summer's Gold Cup starting lineup might look like.

Stuart Holden's loss to injury was a tough blow, but U.S. head coach Bob Bradley will still have several options for his central midfield, whether he goes with a 4-4-2 or a 4-2-3-1 formation.

The real question marks are in the back, where Bradley has Jay DeMerit back in the fold, as well as fellow World Cup veterans Carlos Bocanegra and Oguchi Onyewu. Young defender Tim Ream is in the mix as well and could have an edge on DeMerit, having played more games in recent months, including two starts with the national team.

Right back is also a question mark, with Steve Cherundolo missing the match due to an injury. Eric Lichaj has been called in to replace Cherundolo. Jonathan Spector was already in camp, but Lichaj is playing regularly right back at Leeds and could have the edge.

So what will the starting lineup look like for the USA? Here's a projected lineup:



Ream gets the nod in this projection, with his sharp passing serving as a valuable strength in the back. DeMerit could get the nod as well.

The central midfield makes the most sense, though we could expect to see a more attack-minded substitution in the second half. There's also the possibility that Bob Bradley will leave Maurice Edu on the bench and start him vs. Paraguay. If that's the case, then we could see someone like Sacha Kljestan or Benny Feilhaber get a start. That seems like the less likely scenario.

Jonathan Bornstein's inclusion raises some interesting questions. With him not playing much at Tigres, will that keep him from getting the start, or will Bradley overlook that and give him the nod at left back, which would allow for the Onyewu-Bocanegra centerback tandem to be reunited?

The attacking trio of Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore looks like a safe bet to start, though you wonder if Bob Bradley would start an Edson Buddle alongside Altidore in a 4-4-2. Young forward Juan Agudelo is an exciting option, and an Altidore-Agudelo combination could be an exciting one to watch. That seems more likely to wait for the second half for that Double A pairing.

What do you think of the above lineup? What starting lineup would you like to see face Argentina?

Share your thoughts below.

  • GW

    Holden is not a winger. Or more to the point, he’s a winger just like Beckham is a winger. You’re going to get the early cross from him, which is something a guy like Dolo or Spector does very well.

    Holden would have tightened up the defense.


  • Rich K - NY

    Funny thing is I dont play the FIFA video games. The reason I use that is because that is where you positioned them(Jones and Edu) on the field, Defensive Center Midfielder, as opposed to ACM, Attacking Center Midfielder, where you have Bradley. In a 4-2-3-1 lineup, which you project BB will use, those acronyms are needed, I believe.

    And yes I do know that the trio was used in a game last year. I thought it was against Poland, but you say it was Colombia. Either way, it didnt work, and I think it’s a horrible idea. The problem is all 3 of those players like to play in front of the 2 centerbacks. Bradley and Edu are holding midfielders, they rarely push the ball forward. They are more lateral moving players. Not to say they don’t have some offensive capabilities, but they arent going to start and push the attack from the midfield. Now, from the little I’ve seen from Jones, it seems like he is a better passer, he’s quicker, and more technical. If BB is going to start all 3, I’d rather see Jones in that attack minded midfield spot(is that better? haha).

    With that being said, I would like to know who YOU think should start if you were head coach. And also, if Holden was healthy for this game, do you think BB starts him? If so, over who? Do YOU think he should of started?

    Personally, I would of liked to have seen Holden and Jones in the DCM spots. I think it was a perfect time to finally have someone other than MB start. I think Mixx is our near future ACM, if we stick with the 4-2-3-1.


  • GW

    That’s your opinion but you can’t prove anything.

    You ignore the fact that Holden has never excelled at a regular role for the USMNT ( other than the Gold Cup B squad).

    You also have no idea what BB would done with Holden at the World Cup had he been available for the US.

    You also ignore that Bolton and the US are two teams with very different circumstances ( not to mention players and staff). Coyle saw Holden and knew what he ( Coyle ) was going to do in Bolton and had a situation all set up for Stu to be dropped into. Good for him but he was also lucky. The US is nowhere near as settled as Bolton is.

    The point is Holden did well because he’s talented and he got into a perfect setup for him at Bolton. Give him the exact same role with the US and there are no guarantees he or the US will do as well.

    If you doubt that look back and see how well Donovan did when he was lucky enough to have the same thing happen for him at Everton. They had a need for guy exactly like him and that is what they got. I’m willing to bet had LD gone back a second time it wouldn’t have gone so well, with Everton a lot more depleted.


  • Hood Rich

    Argentina’s new Barca-esque emphasis on possession …

    You probably are a new fan and never seen Argentina play much or know about their tradition because if you have, you wouldn’t be making such uninformed statement.


  • MiamiAl

    I personally thought one of Bob Bradley’s biggest mistakes at the World Cup was not starting Edson Buddle! He is they type of player that in order to reap the benefits of what he has to offer, needs at least a full half of play to start to wear down opponents. You cannot just throw him in with 10 minutes left in the game and hope to catch lightening in a bottle! He needs to start! The guy just has a nose for the goal, and is a very opportunistic player. His play last season with the Galaxy was spectacular!


  • bizzy

    Altidore up by himself?? Bradley Attack center mid??? Argentina 3 USA 0












    Maybe we need to let the master of assist play the role of ACM. NO MB!!! He’s not getting any playing time with Villa has to tell us his game is not up to par (regardless of what he’s done in the passed!!!).

    We are in BB hands. Heavens help us….GO USA!!!


  • F-Unerd

    Edu has been moving further up the pitch to attack with Rangers. I think he is getting out of that hold/defensive mid role.

    From the projection above, i’d switch Edu and Bradley.


  • Experiment


    Edu for Mix
    Agudelo for Altidore
    Bradley for Jones


  • Experiment

    Altidore can be switched for Buddle as the starter. Altidore tends to be good as a target, and Dempsey can actually score, so that’s what I went with. However, Buddle is a solid target as well and he can score, so he may be a better starter than Altidore.


  • Experiment


    Subs (Friendlies allow for 6 subs):
    -Edu for Mix
    -Agudelo for Buddle
    -Altidore for Chandler (move Dempsey to left and Donovan to right wings)
    -Bradley for Jones

    Altidore or Buddle can be the starter. I’m going with Buddle at the moment simply because he is both a target and can score.


  • JPGR

    I’m not a big fan of Jozy’s past performances

    but you see something I don’t, so I am not going to bash Jozy.

    I will make this deal. If he plays great (goals or not) I promise I will never be critical of him again.

    C’mon Jozy, prove me wrong and I’ll back you up all the way.

    USA All The Way!


  • wes

    I’m really excited to see Ream play against Argentina. We should learn a lot about what we have at the CB. I also would like to see Chandler, but I understand the concerns about his chemistry with the team so far. I like Jozy, but Agudelo can score, or at least has shown the ability so far.


  • Matt Snyder

    Agreed about Holden’s role. This is an opportunity to see who can fill in at the CAM. Feilhaber is one of the most creative passer’s. To bad Bradley hates Convey….he HAS actually played CAM on many past occassions—albeit not for the Nats.


  • Warren

    Yeah let’s start the guy who barely gets on the field for his Mexican team, makes sense.

    Or..not so much.

    Not sure if you heard the news, but Argentina is really good, and our defenders are mainly going to be defending, not so much bombing up the winds into attack.

    Boca please, Bornstein can watch and learn, like he does for his club team.


  • Warren

    Yeah the modern game like in France; oh yeah the highest rated league we have an LB in; which is Boca.

    Boca’s not fast he’s just…better than our other LBs.

    Though Gooch has done well at LB in Netherlands, which makes him our next highest-rated LB.


  • Warren

    So what? Chandler is starting and doing well in Bundesliga; he’s is young and fast. I think he can keep track of which color jersey to pass to. I like Lichaj but against Argentina i have more confidence in the newbie.

    And this is a friendly after all.

    Start Chandler, show him some newbie love; if he freaks, pull him for Lichaj. No prob.


  • Warren

    Again: Bornstein can barely get a minute in a Mexican league game lately.

    So by BB standards he is nmt game fit.

    Case closed. I admit Bornstein wasn;t as awful as some of us feared in South Africa; but fact that he is not Mexican League quality tells you something that Bob hasn’t figured out yet.


  • Warren

    To quote you “the point is Holden did well because he’s talented..”

    One coach, Owen Coyle saw that right away.

    Another coach, who need not be named, preferred his son over the talented guy for several years, at CM.

    Facts are facts.

    All moot right now, but there’s no denying the facts.

    The same role is – cm – which is part d, and part distribution; how you can doubt even now that Holden can handle cm for USMNT is – amazing.


  • beachbum

    good for you F-Unerd. you watch the games evidently 🙂 while in the past Michael has pushed forward, I believe that on elittle evolution might be Michael and Maurice trading those roles

    your lineup looks good to me, Ives.


  • beachbum

    excellent post. thank you.

    disagree n your analysis of the mids performances at the WC, but agree 100% re. Stu, Findley, etc.


  • beachbum

    wrong…Holden plays the flank very very well, as a matter of fact.

    true, for Bolton, he’s in the middle, and kicking a$$…or was until that bs tackle

    where was Fergie’s crying claims of bs after that horror play? oh yeah, his guy did it…never mind.


  • beachbum

    I like the lineup Ives

    could see 4-4-2 tho. who pairs w/ Jozy up top to start? why not the kid Agudelo? throw him in there with the rest of the A Team boys and see how he fits. this also puts Maurice on the bench for this game, but then he plays 90+ in a few days


  • GW

    “The same role is – cm – which is part d, and part distribution; how you can doubt even now that Holden can handle cm for USMNT is – amazing.”

    No one doubts Holden’s talent.

    Your basic premise, that the cm role for Bolton is the same as the cm role for the US is flawed. Is isn’t the same.

    Two different teams, styles and sets of players. Until Holden stops getting himself crocked we’ll just have to wait and see what Bradley does with it when he gets back.


  • GW

    Between 2000 and 2008 Convey played 46 times for the US and scored one goal.

    The height of his powers was about 5-6 years ago when he was playing for Reading. Then he got badly hurt.

    I remember seeing a lot of his US games and thinking that it would be great when he finally reached his potential but I don’t think anyone ever thought he did. Busy? yes, creative??? I don’t think so.

    Now he’s a lot older and playing in a lesser league. Perhaps he’s doing well but he certainly isn’t as good as he was and that wasn’t that good.

    So why does you want this guy back? Did you ever see him play for the USMNT and DC United as I did? I mean I’d like Eddie Pope back for the US but that ain’t happening.


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