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Who should Bob Bradley start vs. Poland?

The first U.S. national team match of the new year on foreign soil pits the Americans against Poland in a match that will be much tougher than some Americans realize.

This is not the same Poland team the Americans beat twice in a span of a year. Poland is coming off a very strong European qualifying campaign and should actually be considered the favorite going into Wednesday’s match.

Now that the U.S. roster has been revealed we can start to consider what the starting lineup may look like. Here is my guess on the starting XI Bob Bradley may trot out in Krakow.

USA Projected Starting XI vs. Poland





Bocanegra might come as a surprise considering he isn’t starting for Fulham, but I can’t see him going from regular captain to bench (and yes, I realize that actually happened at Fulham). Bocanegra’s lack of playing time could open the door for Jay DeMerit or Jonathan Spector to get into the XI though it should be noted that DeMerit only recently regained his starting job while Spector still doesn’t have one for West Ham (his two-match stint in the Hammers starting XI aside).

Will Bradley go with the Fulham forward tandem of Johnson and Dempsey? I would say so. Brian Ching seems unlikely to start considering Houston’s busy upcoming schedule. And yes, I know the same could be said of Ricardo Clark, but he doesn’t have Ching’s injury history and Houston has midfielders it can use in his place. The Dynamo doesn’t have forwards to replace Ching.

Heath Pearce should get the call. He has worked his way back into the mix at Hansa Rostock and I think he’s ready to stake a strong claim to the starting left back spot during this busy 2008 national team calendar.

I know there was a lot of complaining about the inclusion of Josh Wolff on the roster but the fact is he has played well enough to make it into the 1860 Munich starting lineup. That said, I can see him getting a starting nod, though minutes against Poland seem assured.

Oh, and about Eddie Lewis. Yes, he’s old and no he doesn’t seem likely to be around for the 2010 World Cup, but the fact remains that he starts in the EPL (insert your Derby joke here), is playing at a good level and is at a position where the best two U.S. options are both hurt or recovering from injury. There really is no point to call up some inexperienced player who is a few years away from being ready for this type of match when you have a player like Lewis who is ready and willing to do the job.

What starting lineup would you like to see against Poland? Share your thoughts and suggestions below.


  1. Convey playing for Reading reserves tonight against Fulham so gotta believe he was healthy enough to have played Poland. Demerit or Spector deserve to start over Boca in center Back.

  2. For the second match in a row Onyewu is THE match fit, in-form defender on the back line. Hopefully, wiser people will realize Newcastle is a black hole for defenders and his stock value will rise again.

    If Standard Liege pick up the league and cup double this season, Onyewu will be playing in a different country by the fall, no question.

    I feel Brian Ching will start this match, because Bradley has shown he plays gents that are forced to travel a long way.







    You can make legitimate arguments for any of the three of DeMerit/Spector/Bocanegra to pair with Onyewu. Spector is the best with the ball at his feet, Bocanegra the most experienced defender, DeMerit is a bit of a compromise. All are pretty decent in the air. DeMerit just recovered from injury , Bocanegra has been a late defensive sub, and Spector has started/subbed/U-23ed it for West Ham. Spector is probably the most match fit at this point. It should be noted that all three could played at fullback as well.

    9 Men behind the ball there, but give Michael Bradley the freedom to support the attack going forward. Donovan and Ching have a proven partnership, and Wolff and EJ can provide additional attacking options from the bench.

    Unless Pearce plays in midfield, Benny Feilhaber will make going an appearance at some point in this match. Donovan or Dempsey could drop back into central midfield, but I just don’t see Mr. Bradley going that way. I imagine Feilhaber on for Clark at 65 minutes. Johnson on for Ching, and Wolff on for Dempsey.

    The counterattack will be the U.S.’s best friend in this match, especially away from home in the cold. Give Cory Gibbs a runout at the conclusion. Poland 0 – U.S. 1.

  3. Couple of comments:

    FIRST, There is a significant difference between U23 CONCACAF and a full MNT Polish squad getting ready for Euro ’08. Anyone relying on the recent U23 performances as a guage for whom should/should not be included in the line-up needs to get some reality. SECOND, how much longer do we have to watch the Onyewu experiment? This guy is Big and athletic and that is it. Give me DeMerrit, Parkhurst, Spector, or Bob Bradley’s red-headed step child. DeMerrit proved he could stick with guys in the prem. Gooch got laughed out of Newcastle.

  4. papa bear:

    If we had our best team we would beat Poland easily? I don’t think we are missing anymore players than they are. This team that you say sucks features eight EPL players, two Bundesliga players, Bradley from the Dutch first division, Onyewu from a top team in the Belgian first division, and Donovan and Ricardo Clark from MLS. Who are these great players, or players that don’t “suck” that we are missing?

    I don’t think we would beat Poland, in Poland, easily, no matter what players we had. We can’t beat Panama in Panama easily. I also don’t think Poland is lucky to have beaten Portugal in the group. I guess Portugal isn’t that good either?

  5. I really think that this should be the first choice lineup in the qualifiers later this year (disregarding injuries)







  6. I think the team called up absolutely sucks. Of course wanting to gives players who played the U-23’s time off didn’t help.

    If the full team was there we’d beat Poland easily. Their Euro ’08 qualifying wasn’t all that impressive. They were in easily the softest group. They are in Euro ’08 more from luck than skill. Group G was the only other one soft enough for them to have a chance. Any other group and they’d be sitting home this summer.

    Calling in Boca and Feilhaber is an absolute joke. Benny couldn’t crack a U-23 squad for lack of fitness and yet he’s called up for this? Boca hasn’t played for what, 2 months? Demerit should get the start.

    I’d like to see Donovan and Dempsey change places even though playing Donovan up top isn’t ideal either I think his crossing isn’t as good as Deuce’s.

    Clark is a good inclusion as he is fit and isn’t going to feature in any games for Houston for a while since he is still on the suspension for kicking Ruiz in the gob last year.

    This match as 1-1/2-2 draw written all over it.

  7. ——–Johnson———-






    – I like Donovan on the right, but I think you need to get your best players on the field and see how it works, and that means donovan as the playmaker, and Bradley on the right.

    – I wanna see Gibbs get in,b/c when healthy I think he’s real good

    – I think I’m gonna be real pissed if eddie lewis plays, why isn’t he retired from international play, is he still dreaming of 2010? Justin Mapp must be out of his mind that he’s not in their b/c of this guy

  8. —————Howard—————–






    Brain McBride please come out of International Retirement lol

  9. I think Spector should be in the back four but he most likly won’t start. Shame though-he looked good at West Ham lately-very compossed.

  10. Doug, I wasn’t trying to persuade you into anything. In my opinion, Ching isn’t getting the start and at least part of the reason has to do with an upcoming slate of games for Houston and the fact that he hasn’t played as many games lately as Eddie Johnson has.

    We will find out Wednesday.

  11. ——————Ching——————







    I love the way that Ching and Donovan work off each other and the service Lewis and Dempsey bring from out wide (and it keeps Clint close enough to goal to make effective, slashing runs). Also, this could be the best formation where you can play Rico and Bradley at the same time and at their most effective positions.

  12. Orozco should be called up. He looks very composed and unnerved for such a young guy with his only professional experience coming from the Mexican League. I think he could replace Gooch in the central defense.

  13. I want Benny in there. His brief stint against Mexico reminded me what I like so much about him.

    Otherwise, I agree on the starters, but I definitely want to see some quality time for Spector and DeMerit, and a cameo for Gibbs.

  14. Ives,

    Do you really think that Ching gets a call-up only to ride the bench because he is injury prone? I am not persuaded. If he gets the call-up, then he will get the green light if his form is better than Johnson’s.

  15. Erik Abarca- lol, im just saying they’ve worked well together, while bradley and clark have failed together….

    as far as the U23’s went, from what i hear Feilhaber entered the camp with quite an ego… i mean common’, he’s an established National player coming into a camp with a bunch of mls prospects… should’ve been a shoe-in… then it was a snowball effect leading to a crap camp… thus why he wasnt selected


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