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Who should the USA start vs. the Netherlands?


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With just two days between Thursday’s 1-0 victory against Japan, and Sunday’s showdown vs. the Netherlands, U.S. Olympic men’s soccer coach Peter Nowak has some tough decisions to make.

With the heat and humidity in China making such a quick turnaround very difficult, Nowak figured to be making several lineup changes from the first to the second game anyway. Now, with several disappointing performances against Japan, Nowak will have even more motivation for the various changes he will likely make.

The Netherlands will be arguably the U.S. team’s toughest opponent in the group and there will be a high price on maintaining composure and limiting turnovers against a Dutch squad that punishes opponents for mistakes.

With that in mind, here is the starting XI I see the U.S. team fielding against the Netherlands:

Projected USA lineup vs. the Netherlands






So why this lineup? Well, McBride can use a rest here, but can also come in during the second half. With McBride not starting there will be less emphasis on service, which will allow Holden to slide over to the left side. He is better equipped than Robbie Rogers to handle the defensive responsibilities on the left flank, particularly if the Dutch deploy either Ryan Babel or Jonathan DeGuzman on that side. You could also see Adu floating out to the left wing more often as well.

If Feilhaber is fit enough, he should get the nod, either centrally or wide right. His inclusion helps give the team a player capable of making good decisions in the final third. You also don’t worry as much about his defensive contributions with Marvell Wynne camped at right back. Now, if Feilhaber can’t start then you could see Kljestan back in the line-up, though his penchant for turning the ball over could prove costly against a Dutch team that feasts on turnovers.

The defense stays the same because, well, because there are no other options. The foursome did well against Japan although Orozco struggled against Japan’s Uchida. He’ll have a very tough assignment against the Dutch, which is why I don’t see Nowak using Rogers on the left this match.

Now it’s your turn. What U.S. Olympic lineup do you want to see against the Netherlands? Share your thoughts below.


  1. Orozco should start in the center and Parkhurst on the left. Orozco was toast on the left against Japan, and won’t fair better against Holland. The best player we have to neutralize Babel is Parkhurst.

  2. I agree about resting McBride. Plus, Jozy is the kinda guy that can shred a somewhat weak backline, which the Netherlands has. But maybe Nowak should start Charlie Davies too, to compliment Altidore and get more of an attacking mindset. We can’t just sit back against a team like that.

  3. Dax is terrible! If he plays, we are f***ed.

    Rogers must be on the field if we play any kind of 4-5-1 because his speed will be best chance at a counterattack.

  4. screw that…start Mcbride up top with Jozy with Adu slotted behind them. If we play too defensive then we’ll be pressed on our own side of the field the whole game.

  5. ———McBride——–





  6. if the dutch are going to allow the US to maintain possession — as there coache comments about the heat — then it makes sense to try and get Bradley forward and to leave a defensive midfielder behind him. The only player that could be that dmid is McCarty (with Edu playing CB). Assuming that Adu will be playing as a withdrawn forward, the lineup should be:

    Altidore – Adu

    Holden – Bradley – Szetela

    – McCarty –

    Orozco – Parkhurst – Edu – Wynne


  7. @Posted by: Eugene T | August 08, 2008 at 03:05 PM

    we have a winner. Although I’d run it Barca-style with adu and altidore playing off to the wings and pinching in as we get the ball further upfield. The Dutch are notorious for faltering in the back in the face of attack minded teams. If you play back hoping to stop the Dutch attack you are playing exactly into their gameplan.

    Feilhaber has no business being on this squad much less in the first XI so his inclusion is a complete non-starter for me and considering that Szetela has been playing on the right for club and played well on the right in limited action against Switzerland, I can’t think of a good reason to suddenly swap him in as a d-mid.

    Rogers should stay in as well as we need to give their back line fits and he has the pace and skill to do it that few of our players possess. (and it’ll give him a chance for Dutch revenge. :p )

  8. It would be foolish to take Rogers out unless he is being saved for a must win game against Nigeria. He has played with the Dutch so he knows what to expect. You don’t take a creative pacey player out. The kid can play defense if that is his assignment-he has proved that with the U-20’s and with the Crew. If you are going to go more defensive you pull a forward and also bring in someone like Szetela into the center with Bradley.

  9. Did Patrick Ianni become world class while I was at work today? Or are Mr and Mrs Ianni ghost writing on this board?

    I hope Nowak pairs Bradley and Feilhaber in the middle. If it is good enough for the full national team it is good enough for me. Move Szetela out to the the flank where he can keep Babel and DeGuzman honest. Wynne will also be able to to this to a lesser effect as well. Wynne does worry me a bit though as I think he gets caught out of position a little too much then he or someone else has to compensate by committing a silly foul (he’s got the Sergio Ramos Overzealous Disease 🙂 For the life of me I still cannot figure out why Nowak did not bring another experienced defender instead of Guzan. You can’t tell me Watford and Hansa Rostock wouldn’t release Jay Demerit or Heath Pearce. I would’ve loved to see a Demerit/Parkhurst pairing…..Anywho….I like your lineup overall Ives but I think the big decider will be how Peter Nowak reacts if thing go south quickly…..this game could be decided by the tactical acumen of the coach.

  10. I think it might be wise to put more pressure on the Dutch defense than a five midfield formation would allow. Why not stick Altidore and McBride up top, stuff the center with Feilhaber and Bradley, and then add either Holden, Rogers, Klejstan, or Adu on the wings, depending on how the Dutch line up.

  11. The 1st game is out of the way and the USA eeked out the win against a very feisty and unlucky Japanese team. The Dutch will try to score early and often so they can relax and take it easy the rest of the game as it is obvious from their coach’s comments that he is concerned about the energy draining heat. So with that in mind the USA needs to be on guard from the get go and not let them score. If they can hold them off in the 1st 20-30 minutes the USA has a chance to tie or win. Or better yet if the USA finds a counter attacking goal early it will be an uphill battle even for the mighty (Ha!) Dutch! Predicted USA line-up:






  12. Adu has to go. Is relatively slow, gets caught in possession, doesn’t release the ball. Thank goodness for him he had a good U-20 WC.

    Play this can sub:

    1) Benny for 1 of Rogers, Holden, Sacsha depending on fatigue

    2) Szetela for 1 of Rogers, Holden, Sacsha depending on fatigue

    3) McBride or Davies for Altidore (Bradley or Edu) depending on score and circumstance






  13. i still think it would be best to keep the same line up for the most part except switching altidore for mcbride and switching holden to the left and rogers to the right.


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