U.S. Men's National Team

Who should the USMNT start vs. Panama?

USALineupVsJamaica (ISIPhotos.com)

The U.S. men's national team can move into the 2011 Gold Cup Final with a win on Wednesday night, and whether that goal is reached will be determined in large part by the lineup decisions head coach Bob Bradley makes.

Bradley actually has some tough calls to make after seeing several players step up in the team's quarterfinal victory against Jamaica. While the back four should be the same as it was against Jamaica, Bradley has to shuffle some things around now that he has a fully rested Landon Donovan and with Jozy Altidore expected to miss the match with a hamstring injury.

So which moves will Bradley make? Here is one potential lineup we could see take the field against Panama in Houston on Wednesday night:


Some thoughts:

Agudelo played well enough against Jamaica to get the start. Chris Wondolowski is the other option, but Agudelo's physical qualities make him better suited to cause problem's for Panama's back-line. Jozy Altidore would be a good option against Panama, but he's unlikely to play due to his hamstring injury.

Alejandro Bedoya gets the nod over Sacha Kljestan, though of Bradley decides for a more veteran group he could also start Kljestan in the central midfielder role and put Dempsey on the wing. Having Bedoya and Donovan on the wings would give the Americans a better tandem to deal with Panama's speed on the wing.

Something to note about the above lineup. Donovan, Dempsey and Bedoya can each play any of the three midfield slots in the 3 of the 4-2-3-1, so playing them together would allow for some serious interchanging, which would cause problems for Panama's defense.


What do you think of the above lineup? Which lineup would you like to see start vs. Jamaica?

Share your thoughts below.

  • Frankie B.

    I think Bedoya will end up being a better player than Benny when it’s all said and done.


  • tricksyclown17

    I like both of them, but to be fair, Bedoya hasn’t exactly had as much time as Feilhaber to prove he belongs. He’s played in what…3 meaningful USMNT games?


  • tricksyclown17

    I think we have to focus on the game in front of us. We aren’t consistent enough to plan a game ahead. That said, if we’re rolling tonight, and have a solid lead in the 2nd half, go ahead and take Jones out.


  • Reality Says

    If Wondo is “complete trash,” how is he getting significant playing time this tournament?

    I agree he’s trash, but it again shows how preposterous Bob’s choices are (i.e. Robbie Findley and Ricardo Clark).


  • tricksyclown17

    I’m pretty sure a 19 year-old forward won’t be bothered as much by the fatigue of multiple games in short spans. It’ll feel like a normal game to him, and his ability to go a full 90 depends more on his in-game fitness level. So as usual he’ll start getting tired around the 65th or 70th minute because that’s the amount of time he’s used to playing.


  • MemphisRogues

    I agree that both Jones and Bradley attacked the space in front of them. I guess what I’m saying is that they ran into that space in the attacking end. They didn’t hang in it. Even Jones’ goal and red card drawn came closer to midfield than the attacking third. Bradley and Dolo, too, were always in position to perform their D duties. With three central midfielders, Dempsey/SK attacked while Jones and MB made trailing runs, or orchestrated, or defended. What I liked about us so much against Jamaica is that we left space in the upper middle part of our formation for players to run routes in and out. We really flowed. I also agree that ‘Dolo didn’t attack as much. Nevertheless, he did make runs with Bedoya, supported him, and stayed available for the overlap. On the other side, EL attacked all night long. Bradley did a great job of covering for him. EL and ‘Dolo have made a world of difference. Man, I watched that game with my jaw dropped. Couldn’t believe Bob’s bunch were playing such a european style flow. They played in all dimensions — not just attack or defend. I hope it’s not only a one game affair!


  • Murph

    Agree with you. We have way more good mids than fwds, Duce plays in the pocket behind the striker with freedom to roam. That’s his true position…


  • Bo

    Send Wondo home. Never want to see him in a USMNT uniform again. Ream can stay home too (just needs more experience).


  • Edwin in LA

    Considering how crappy Wondolowski was and well Robbie Rogers showed his worth before the Cup even started vs Spain… and the fact that Kljestan only had 1 decent game vs Jamaica and now with Jozy’s injury….. Will we EVER see Freddy Adu during this 2011 Gold Cup tournament?

    Call me desperate or overtly hopeful but I think Adu’s qualities you know the ones he’s usually shown almost every time he’s played with the nats and even more when he’s with the 1st team next to LD, Deuce, Bradley etc etc are EXACTLY what the US needs and could use more of vs Panama to beat them senseless the way they should have in the group stage?

    I hope we see him if not at this tournament, I hope he continues his consistent play in the Turkish 2nd division and stays there until maybe he can move to another league of a better level, he had so much promise but was SOOOO overhyped.


  • Edwin in LA

    I know Kljestan had a good game but, are you high? Jamaica did a poor job of keeping pressure on the ball and maintaining possession now granted this is probably due to the US effort to do exactly that but Panama has a similar style physique and have more of a technical skillful side to their game, Sacha doesn’t have the best track record with those teams!

    Donovan should still start, and I wish someone in the US Soccer press had the balls to call out Bradley for what is obviously a rift of some kind, how do you bench Donovan but start Dempsey after they both come back from trips to their sister’s wedding’s and Dempsey was the one who had a HORRIBLE game full of miss after miss including the embarrassing tap in?

    Kljestan should phase out of the top 23 player pool and the top 10 midfielders once Holden and Feilhaber are healthy and when Chandler gets brought in as he can play our best right wing. Hell if we had Bunbury or Davies or Buddle or even Gyau in this team as the 4th FW and in place of Wondo Sacha would probably be out as well.

    Sacha has improved some in this tournament but he still can’t handle some pressure on the ball and makes some DUMB mistakes!


  • DC Josh

    I love this formation. Bedoya provides width when he is out wide, while Donovan will pinch inside, allowing Lichaj to overlap. Dempsey just knows how to score, so he needs to hang around the 18-yard box as much as possible. Deuce also plays his best soccer when he has freedom to roam. Agudelo is big enough and knows how to use his strength to play effectively as a lone striker.


  • Brooklyn D

    Holden and Donovan are our best passers, but I agree with your argument vis-a-vis Feilhaber and Bedoya.


  • Annelid Gustator

    Honestly, “too early”? Guy is 28. If he has a great year in MLS again, he should take part in WCQ, sure. But beyond that the odds are so very slim…


  • Primoone

    With regards to your final thought…I may be wrong however, I recall that formation being a 4-4-2 where all 3 were utilized as opposed to a 4-2-3-1


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