USA vs. England: The Pre-Match Huddle

USA vs. England: The Pre-Match Huddle

International Soccer

USA vs. England: The Pre-Match Huddle

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The U.S. national team is set to face off against England at Wembley Stadium today at 3pm (ESPN Classic) and the match has American fans across the country excited (and some extremely nervous).

The match is the first of three high-profile friendlies for the Americans (Spain and Argentina being the next two) but this one will be considered the most important in the eyes of U.S. fans who would love nothing more than to have some bragging rights over their counterparts on the other side of the Atlantic (and in some cases, Brits who now call the United States home).

There are plenty of intriguing match-ups to consider, but first let’s consider the lineups we will see today:

USA projected lineup

———-Dempsey——-Johnson———-

Beasley——————————–Wolff

———–Bradley———Clark————

Pearce–Bocanegra—Onyewu–Cherundolo

——————–Howard—————–

With Landon Donovan’s availability in doubt, I can see Bob Bradley going with veteran Josh Wolff in a right wing role ahead of the less experienced Freddy Adu, who has seen no first-team action for months. This is the same lineup I suggested earlier in the week and I don’t really see another combination being used to start the match.

ENGLAND projected lineup

———–Rooney——–Crouch———-

Young—————————–Beckham

————Gerrard—Lampard————-

Cole—-Ferdinand—–Terry——–Brown

——————-James——————–

Ashley Young is, well, young, so you wonder if Capello will start him or go with a veteran like Stewart Downing instead. I think Young is an electric player who can change a game, but Capello may choose to use him as a second-half sub. The back four seems pretty set as does the midfield. I’m not sure how Capello rates Crouch, and if he might consider starting DeFoe, whose speed could create problems for Bocanegra and Onyewu. I also wonder whether Capello chooses to go with David Bently over David Beckham in the starting lineup. Another possibility is a 4-5-1, with Gareth Barry combining with Gerrard and Lampard in central midfield, with Crouch going to the bench.

Interesting points for me include:

  • How the American center backs deal with Wayne Rooney.
  • How Dempsey and Johnson (if they start) find chances against Rio and Terry.
  • What Landon Donovan can do against England’s vaunted defense (if he plays)
  • How Beasley does in his first national team game since November.
  • How Heath Pearce does against Beckham or Bentley.
  • How Steve Cherundolo deals with the speed of Ashley Young (if Young starts).
  • What Freddy Adu can do once he comes on as a second-half sub (assuming he doesn’t start)

What will you be looking forward to? Share your thoughts on any of the above topics, and anything related to today’s friendly in the comments section below (and remember to check back here during the match as I will be doing a running commentary).

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