Photo by John Todd/ISIPhotos.com
The U.S. Men's national team faces what could be its toughest test of the year tonight at Fed Ed Field when might Brazil comes calling, and Jurgen Klinsmann will have some tough decisions to make on what lineup, and what formation he should use to best combat the South American powerhouse.
The Christmas Tree formation (4-3-2-1) used against Scotland was effective and dangerous getting forward, but that had as much to do with Scotland's lack of quality as it did with the USA's ability. Brazil will present a much more difficult challenge, particularly to the USA defense, which was rarely tested by the Scots.
The dazzling attacking qualities of Neymar will be difficult to stop, as will the powerful forays of Hulk, and U.S. fullbacks Fabian Johnson and Steve Cherundolo will need to have outstanding games to keep those two in check.
Considering Brazil's quality on the flanks, it's tough to picture a formation as narrow as the 4-3-2-1 being deployed by Klinsmann tonight. A 4-2-3-1 or a 4-4-2 seem more likely in order to defend the wings better, and also to force Brazil's wingers to take care of their own defensive responsibilities on the flanks.
Here is my Fox Soccer preview on tonight's match, which includes Tim Howard talking about how the USA can have success against Brazil, and also looks at keys to tonight's match.
So who should the USA start tonight vs. Brazil? With Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore looking very unlikely to start, here is a USA lineup we could see taking the field tonight:
PROJECTED USMNT vs. BRAZIL lineups
As you can see, the USA formation here is a 4-2-3-1, though with Donovan and Gomez as the wide options, this lineup can very much play like a 4-3-3 and would probably be more 4-3-3 than 4-2-3-1.
Gomez and Oguchi Onyewu replace Maurice Edu and Geoff Cameron in the lineup. We could certainly see Edu staying in the lineup, but it is difficult for the USMNT to field a lineup with the necessary width that ALSO includes Edu, Jones, Bradley and Torres. In theory you could deploy Bradley on the right flank, as he did so well last year when tried there, but it seems more likely that Klinsmann will want Bradley working the middle of the field with Jones.
What do you think of this lineup? Who is included that you're hoping to see on the field? Who didn't make our projected USMNT Starting XI that you feel should play against Brazil?
Share your thoughts below.