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USA vs. England: The Pre-Match Huddle


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






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






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).


  1. Soccernet has England as:






  2. Howard

    Cherundolo – Onyewu – Bocanegra – Pearce

    Dempsey – Clark – Bradley – Beasley

    Johnson – Wolff


  3. Great call Ives, only difference is Dempsey and Wolf switched… has just posted the following lineup….


    Cherundolo – Onyewu – Bocanegra – Pearce

    Dempsey – Clark – Bradley – Beasley

    Johnson – Wolff

  4. I am so sick of hearing people say they enjoy Dempsey playing as an “attacking midfielder”. Can anyone please tell me a time he has played this position? I have never seen him play there for Fulham or the MNT. Ive seen him on the left, the right, both striker positions, but the 10?

  5. Here’s hoping we can tie it at about 2-2. Fortunately, we have a much better goalkeeping corps than the Brits, and I think we should be able to hang in for most of the game.

    I just hope we don’t try to turtle and play exclusively on the counterattack. We just get whacked when we do that.

  6. Adu should start if Donovan is out. I like Wolff but the guy is not going to be on the team in 2010, let’s move on. He’s still a good player but i don’t think he’s still the threat he used to be–especially at right midfield.

    And I agree with the above posts–EJ should not be playing. He did not do one thing for Fulham this year, how has he earned this? Jaqua shouldn’t see the field either–so he scored some goals in Austria, I don’t think that should earn him playing time vs. England. Why is everyone here calling for him to play?

    Let’s see what someone like Freddy can do vs. a solid team. I have a feeling he is going to play well if he gets the chance today.

  7. So Bradley’s going to go with the guy who was just released by a Bundesliga II side where he has scored just twice in thirty-four appearances over the young, dynamic player who needs some big game experience who’s scored three times in eleven mostly sub appearances for a team that’s going to be in the UEFA Cup next year.


  8. Stewart Downing (23) a veteran in comparison to Young (22)? Downing does have 15 more caps, but still…

    I really think that Donovan will play based on his comments about how excited he was to have the opportunity to play at Wembley, as well as his mini rivalry with Becks. Hopefully he guts it out because the idea of Josh Wolff playing a prominent role is this game scares me.

  9. for the record… this is the lineup Bradley should be using:


    DOLO —– Onyewu —– Boca —— Pearce

    ———-Bradley———– Dempsey——–

    Adu ———————————Beasley

    ———- Donovan——- Jaqua————-

    puts creative players in the places where they can be most effective… I like Dempsey in an attacking Midfield role…

  10. I am looking forward to leaving work early (wore my Don’t Tread on Me Demarcus Beasley USMNT jersey to work today) walking down to Brit’s Pub in downtown Minneapolis, and cheering for the USMNT. And, as I do not have to go back to work and can ride the bus home, enjoying a few brews! Win or lose, it is going to be a fun atmosphere.

  11. Jonathan, why is it “a little suspect” that I have Wolff in instead of Adu? The lineup is the lineup I think Bob Bradley will use based on what I know about Bradley and his preferences. I believe he’s going to want someone with more experience for this game.

  12. I think Capello will use a 4-5-1 with Gerrard playing behind Rooney. I also wouldn’t be surprised to see Lampard left on the bench.

  13. Ives – I think your analysis is correct. Not worried about Wolf on the right…he and Cherundolo know each other well, they are experienced gamers & are still in great shape. And we’re not asking him to score, which he apparently no longer does. In fact, I think we can hold our own on both wings.

    One concern I have is our ability to maintain possession, particularly in center midfield and up top without Donovan.

    We will wear down and concede goals if we can’t keep the ball.

    Also concerned that Johnson hasn’t created or finished much of anything about the last 8-10 times we’ve used him, all against lesser comp than this. Truly a shame if LD can’t go. He’s never been playing better ball, and had a chance to (re)legitimize his rep if he continued his torrid pace in this game.

  14. irishapple21,

    BPL = Barclay’s Premier League

    Not sure why people call it that, its not like Barclay’s is paying them the sponsorship money.

  15. re: McBride leaving Fulham… Fulhamerica is dying a slow death.

    Count me as someone who doesn’t mind Wolff that much, so if he gets the start over Adu because Donovan is out, well, I’m not going to weep. (ducking) But I definitley don’t want to see EJ… I’d rather see Jacqua.

  16. irishapple21 — we’ve gone over this before. Some people refer to the EPL as the Barclays Premier League (BPL). I’m not one of them, but I see it often enough that I don’t think it’s incorrect.

  17. bill: Please disregard my previous post. I just realized you meant “Barclays Premier League” as “BPL.” Oops. LOL!

  18. bill: What does “BPL” mean? It should be “EPL” because each of the home countries of the UK have their own FAs. (With exceptions, of course, such as Cardiff playing in the English FA.) There is no British national league, although there is a British national U-23 team that will be playing in the Olympics. Only England and northern Ireland’s FAs are participating in that team, though, and the nationalists of northern Ireland play for Ireland’s national team.

  19. It is a little suspect Ives, that you have wolf in for donovan instead of Adu… i bet bradley goes with adu instead of wolf when push comes to shove… or at least I hope… thaere is no justification for not starting adu if he’s idiotic enough to start EJ. Seriously if EJ is the best we have… then we really suck

  20. I am at work and am taping the game so I won’t be able to live comment with you all so here are some of my thoughts.

    1. Ugh, Josh Wolff, I hope it’s Freddy Adu instead. Inject the youth and take your chances. To score against England you must be aggressive and not play the dull game they like.

    2. I think the biggest test for the US will be Bradley/Clark vs Lampard/Gerrard. The two Brits are very good at lulling you to sleep, thinking they are not in the game and then all of a sudden come up with a bit of magic.

    3. I’d also be really interested to see Jaqua as a substitute. He’s a big unknown but could be a real asset in the future for us.

    Prediction: 0-0

  21. I would like to see gabby or wolcott up front with rooney , i think pace could give the us fits especially if young gets the start too.. as for the US i really hope its not clark.. for some reason i just don’t rate him or think he has worked well teamed with Bradley

  22. its amazing that you would assume EJ gets start, but Freddy does not (due to not seeing 1st team action… EJ does not get 1st team action as well)..

    For the love of US pride, do not start EJ!

  23. The England teams knows itself. I mean they are constantly playing against one another in the BPL, Champions League, FA Cup, Community SHield,etc…and have played together for years. COuld be very tough to break down.

    The US team…I think the tem Ives has listed play on 5-6 different leagues.

    I think Hargreaves stats in there somewhere…

    This should be a great measuring stick for the US. I hope LD can play and impress. I see him back in Europe, with a big BPL team(Everton?) or in Spain, in the January transfer window. I hope Spector plays…is he healthy? I hope Frankie Hey-dude cheers his team on…from the bench…although if he’s up for it, he can give a forward fits…But Rooney would toast him.

  24. Sorry…seven’s prediction. Added a T.

    While I’m here…guys I want to see the field today, even if just as subs:






  25. Eddie probably does start, unfortunately. I’d rather see Jaqua and Donovan up top…but Eddie’s at least passingly familiar with some of the English players.

    If I’m England, I go with Steve’s prediction and start Ashton. He’s a big, skilled, target, and closed out the year strong at West Ham.

  26. Donovan will show up for the match and he will be so nervous he just might Pee at Wenbley before the match! then Mexico won’t be the only country that hates!!!

  27. Ives,

    I just hope you are wrong on your line up predictions… i just do not want to see Eddie Johnson on this team. He does not deserve a call up, nor to be starting against England.

    I hope Adu and Donovan plays. I’m getting a bit frustrated with not being able to put our first team everytime we have a good game to play.

  28. I think the Donovan injury report is tactical on Bradley’s part. Bradley is taking this game ultra seriously. There is no way that Donovan does not play in this game. Period.

    I’m not the biggest Donovan fan, but I’ve been looking forward to seeing what he can do on the big stage again after his invisible man act in the WC 2006. Weird, but I’m kinda rooting for him.

  29. after looking at the US lineup I dont see anyone that can creat chances for them self or others, Im kind of worried that Englands midfield is going to control this game.

    But I pray that we win with a shutout, well i’ll just take a win.

  30. I think Adu starts. If it were a competative, go with the experience. For now, you can only help Adu by getting him some time with the full national team. Hopefully Benfica will value him more after that. But I doubt it.


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