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Who should the USA start vs. Guatemala?


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The first group stage of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying is set to kick off on Wednesday with the U.S. national team in Guatemala City to take on Guatemala. The Americans will be favored but can’t expect an easy game, especially considering they have never won a qualifier in Guatemala before.

Guatemala should come in with some confidence, having beaten Bolivia 3-0 in a friendly earlier this month and having limited the Americans to just one goal in their past two meetings, both in 2007.

The United States will have a full-strength squad for the match, meaning Bob Bradley will be able to get a good look at his Best XI. Just what that Best XI is a bit uncertain, at least in part because of the status of DaMarcus Beasley, who is normally a first-choice left winger but who is recovering from a hamstring injury.

With that in mind, here is a look at the Starting XI we are likely to see against Guatemala on Wednesday night:

USA Projected Starting XI vs. Guatemala






Eddie Lewis will get the start if Beasley isn’t fit enough. I know we haven’t seen much of the Dempsey-Ching combo but I have a feeling we’ll see it here, though a Dempsey-Johnson tandem is a very real possibility. Pablo Mastroeni gets the nod over Edu for his experience in these kinds of environments, though it whouldn’t shock me to see the young tandem of Bradley and Edu in the middle. The back-line is set barring injury.

What do you think of this lineup? What lineup would you like to see vs. Guatemala? Share your thoughts below.


  1. why is EJ even being called up!??! what a waste of a spot. would MUCH rather have Cooper called up. and where the HELL is Charlie Davies?!?! what does this guy have to do to prove he should be on the senior squad. as much as Bradley loves the Americans playing in Scandinavia, he sure as hell does a good job ignoring Davies. Adu and Altidore didn’t get called up as they were away at the Olympics and need to get back to their club. Can we please get a change at the USSF!?!

  2. _______Dempsey____EJ_______





    I think the youngsters need experiences like this.

    I’d put Beasley in for Sacha if he’s healthy.

  3. “I can’t believe these articles are still being written. What you people think, and who is doing well with their clubs have little to do with who I pick to start.”

    Posted by: Bob Bradley

    Funny, Bob, but don’t forget I still have veto power over all your rosters/line-ups.

  4. Why not this line up:





    *same back line as ever*

    Bradley is a scoring machine. At 20-21 years of age he’s scored more goals than any other American at a top division European team. He’s fast and he’s huge. So if you’re worried about the right winger dissapearing then you can stop.






    *same back line as ever*

    Bradley has a thing for Johnson-Ching up top so if we ARE going to see that than Donovan is probably the guy that would go behind them. He wont dissapear(he wont have a choice) and he’ll still be able to use his pace to get on the end of a few passes or make a few passes him self.

    Either way putting him out wide has proven to be a failed project.

  5. …….Altidore……….Cooper………






  6. ———————Ching————————-






    Always wanted to see the dual CAM donovan dempsey attack used with Altidore/Cooper/Ching up top. Have to get your best players on the field in comfortable positions and thats donovan and dempsey behind a lone forward.

  7. —–Cooper—-Cooper—–






    Posted by: Dr. Rockzo, The Rock N’ Roll Clown | August 18, 2008 at 12:37 PM


    Dr. Rockzo – I respectfully disagree. With this lineup, it should definitely be a 4-3-3.





  8. I think Ives has it right but I don’t think Lewis has played much if at all this preseason so if Beasley can’t go on the left, maybe Donovan on left and Adu on right

  9. I’m really torn about the Nats – I think Bradley is bringing the right line-up for Guatemala.

    This is a serious qualifier and the anchor’s on the team he’s bringing have had significant success in CONCACAF(Lando, Beas, Boca, Demps Gooch, Dolo, Howard).

    I’m excited about the talent coming up that could make our core even better (Adu, Altidore, Bradley, Edu)

    I think Ives line-up is clearly what BB is comfortable with (mabye Donovan playing off Ching and Dempsey playing a bit more wide).

    I’m anxious for the younger guys to get settled into their club teams – and get to the point where they’ll also become qualification regulars. Like some other posters have indicated – this line-up as it stands won’t put us back to the last 8 in the next WC – but in time – with our core and some of the younger guys stepping up – it could get interesting. In the meantime, getting through CONCACAF is the priority – and I think this team knows how to do that.

    The best example I can give you is when Beas and Lando were the youngsters on the WC team in Korea – playing with the core guys back then like Claudio, Mathis, McBride and Friedel. We don’t shock Portugal or hang with the frenetic pace of Korea without those 2 (at the time) young and seemingly fearless kids on the wing. Do you all remember how Figo etc. had no idea how to deal with their pace back then?

    Arena brought them along pretty slowly as well – but they started when it counted down the stretch. I see the same methodical process happening here and Michael Bradley, Pearce, and Edu already already are getting regular calls ups. the attacking players are next.

    I’m excited about qualifying and how BB starts to add these pieces moving forward. But again – for the first real away match on the road to South Africa, I can’t complain about seeing Pablo, Ching, Lewis and Hejduk. They’ll win 50/50 balls, defend well, and help thwart the Ruiz counter/flops until the US breaks through 9 defenders and gets a goal.

  10. please ditch the two defensive-mids system!!!






  11. Now for the real one







  12. It really feels good that of all the 50 lineups proposed above no one disputes the back four and of course Timmy. I dont believe we have ever had this solid back line agreement! It makes for great continuity and communications back there.

  13. I think the Ives lineup is pretty good. Last time we played, Guatemala looked like they were playing a 9-0-1 formation; it was really ugly soccer. Our only hope to score will be to constantly serve balls into the box and hope the flyin’ Hawaiian can get on the end of one. Dempsey is pretty good with his head too, and Donovan’s service has been looking better and better over the last couple of games.

  14. Do some of you guys read what you’re writing prior to posting? It’s crazy. The US can’t afford to take any team lightly. Better teams than ours took games off against bad competition and have paid the price. And in Guatemela, they’ll be a tough team to beat.

    Saying that Donovan has no place on the field is crazy. Like it or not, he’s our best field player. You find a way to get him on the field. And though he isn’t a true right winger, who’s better in that spot than he is? Dempsey can play there, but if he’s playing up top then there is no one else besides Donovan. There are some young guys coming up who will hopefully get some chances to prove they can play there, but until then, Donovan is one of our top 2 options in that spot.

  15. As a huge Kenny Cooper fan, i must say he should be on this team, but at this time that point is moot.

    Adu/Jozy should not be on this team. Let them rest and get acclimated to europe. Its a home and away series so its ok. EJ needs to stop being called up.

    I mean honestly either beasley will start and only play to half or will be a sub. the guy is still getting back into form. and pablo is just there to pick up yellows. gotta show CONCAAF who is boss.

    i like what i see except for no Kenny Cooper, which i think is about the same for most people on this website

  16. Folks. All of you pointing out the LD is NOT a right-winger and would rather see him switched with Dempsey, RELAX! As a BOB and Bruce have said in the past, it’s not so much where you put the player on a piece of paper, it’s how they play and where they go once on the field.

    If you assume the Bob rolls out Goff’s line-up, look for Dempsey and LD to play interchangably (not sure if that’s word).

    Look for LD to pinch in and pretty much do what he wants. He can do this be/c he’s got Dolo behind him and he’s got Mastro or Edu in the middle. LD pinching in also creates space for Dolo to run up the wing.

    It’s about getting the best XI on the field (Adu and Altidore excluded b/c of new-club-brown-nosing) and not so much about the boss writes the names on a line-up sheet. This isn’t baseball, football or basketball.

    My .02.

  17. The line-up Ives projects is as good as any. Bottom line, we’ve historically not left Guatemala City with very many wins. It would be very nice to secure a win down there. They will assuredly play hard, and likely dirty, to compensate for the skill difference. I just hope we get out without any unfortunate injuries, which is always likely against those guys.

  18. —–Cooper—-Cooper—–






  19. I’d like to see Donovan as the second forward and Dempsey in the ACM role in front of Bradley. Unfortunately, I don’t know who would play right midfield (Sasha?).

    One problem they have is no right midfielders in this squad. Sure, Dempsey and Donovan can play there, but they are better players elsewhere (especially Donovan).

    Dempsey will end up playing right midfield. I just hope they play someone else in central midfield other than Mastro.

    In the end I imagine the main idea here is to shut out Guetemala, b/c the US will get chances no matter who they play. Playing in Guetemala is not easy. Look for a hack-fest. US will need to be disciplined.

  20. ugh….donovan isnt a right winger. i feel like bradley feels obligated to play him because “hes the greatest american player ever”. he is ineffective on the right and there are surely better right wingers the usa can put out. the fact is that if bradley wants to keep playing his system with two holding mids and a 4 back line there is no place for donovan unless he plays him at forward or puts up behind the forward and plays with one striker.

    i know hes a good player but unless bradley wants to change his system there just is no place for donovan. like i said there are deff better players on the right wing.

  21. Strike Force—Eddie Johnson—Rossi-

    Mid-Eddie Lewis-Claudio Reyna-Mastrioni-Donovan

    Defense-Frankie Hedjuckki-Bocanegra-Subotic-Lalas

  22. Not sure why this is never used….







  23. Wonder what impact the Tropical Storm may have on the team’s travel plans? Assume all players are together now, but could be disruptive.

  24. I’d love to see Altidore and Adu. I’d also love to see them settle into their club teams. In fact, I’d rather see them settle into their club teams and actually start proving themselves in Europe than see them playing against Guatemala.

  25. I think if we see Dempsey out right, we’ll see Lewis out left. Both are more “wing to center” players (as opposed to out and out wingers like Beasley), which would allow Cherundolo and Pearce to push forward with the overlap. Gooch and Bocanegra, Bradley and Mastroeni in the middle of the field to defend. Which looks great on paper…

    …until you realize that Guate will be playing the famed 9-0-Ruiz formation, so all of the overlapping runs will be served into a box full of defenders.

    The last US/Guate game, in Dallas (’07?) was the worst 90 minutes of soccer I’ve ever seen, because of this. I’m not expecting an adjustment.

  26. My suggested lineup:







    Donovan is more effective than Dempsey in the middle. Plus, with Ching the target man, Donovan could use his pace to roam free.

    Edu MUST start over Mastro. It’s time to move on. Bring in Mastro late in the game to protect a lead. Otherwise, give the young guys the experience they desperately need. After all, it is Guatemala.

  27. @TKING

    Cooper underperforms whenever he wears the U.S. uniform?????

    He’s played a total of 60 minutes in the uniform. And scored a goal.

    Hard to argue that he’s done anything but what’s usually asked of a striker.

  28. i think ives probably predicted it correctly. same old from bob bradley, nothing different. prediction: US holds no possession but plays good defense and nets a couple, likely off of set pieces. here is what i would like to see given the players called up – not necessarily exactly what i’d like to see, but i kept it reasonable as something bobby b would maybe entertain (though he obviously wont)

    ching – johnson

    beasley/lewis – bradley – donovan – dempsey

    pearce – onyewu – parkhurst – dolo

    i agree with above that donovan does better in the middle – make bradley sit back and let donovan play an ACM, should be no problems because his defensive hustle is great. also the system could be fluid, allowing for a lot of interchange between dempsey/donovan/beasley, more of a 4-1-3-2. i know parkhurst wasnt called up, but i still stand by the fact that we need a smaller, quicker, smarter person to pair with either boca/onyewu. i think this lineup would preserve our defense strength but give us a chance to score off something that’s not a set play. standard target forward + fast other forward up top (see charlie davies’ success).

    finally – check out carlisle’s article on ESPN about US players being proud of their olympic performance and feel that they’ve proved we are a reputable force and how incredibly similar their rhetoric is to what was said over 10 years ago after the olympics….we shouldn’t be happy with people not thinking we are a pushover, we should only be happy with success.

  29. Ben has the line up right except it should be Cooper instead of Ching. They both are good in the air and can put the ball in the net in messy situations in the box, but Cooper is more agile and can score outside of the box more consistently. Also Cooper can take people on 1v1. Too bad Cooper never gets called up.

    I would also try a Parkhurst/Boca combo and Parkhurst/Onyewu combo and see which one is better. Parkhurst is a smarter defender and less sloppy. He could make the defense more discpline and organized. Too bad he didn’t get a call up either.

    Adu and Altidore are still both pretty young. Altidore might be a better choice then Ching but not cooper. Altidore still needs to be more polished, and he’s inconsistent. Adu can’t use his right foot, isn’t very strong on the ball, and tries to do too much. After starting a year in Europe, he’ll probably more polished.

  30. ——Johnson (Altidore)——Donovan——

    ———————Klejstan (Adu)—————


    ——————-Bradley ———————-



  31. Donovan is so much more effective as a number 10. When he’s on the right, it becomes very easy for him to disappear for long stretches (see the Mexico game a few months back). Dempsey sees much more of the ball playing on the right than he does playing as a target. So it just seems to make sense to have Donovan up top and Dempsey on the right but of course, we know who’s coaching.








  32. Why are you asking these questions Ives?

    I mean its pretty clear that we don’t know much about the game or the players as much us BOB. So what ever he picks I’m happy with it.

  33. They’re going into a notoriously hostile environment. It doesn’t surprise me to see a more experienced lineup. I think Edu definitely gets some field time to allow him to get a taste of the atmosphere and pressure.

    I wonder how much longer the Johnson experiment will continue. He needs to show something to deserve all these chances. He hasn’t been the same player since his injury.

  34. I’d prefer to start Lewis unless Beasley is 100% healthy. And make sure Edu is subbed in to ensure things go smoothly for his work permit. I agree that Mastro should start in this game since he’s got the experience in qualifying.

    Hopefully some of our younger guys will continue to improve their skills, cause I look at this and we have a long way to go to hang with the elite teams. We’ll have strong games such as the one against Argentina, but we’ll also have a lot more games like we had against England in which we were never really in the match. Lots of great parts here, but not quite ready yet.

  35. HA!! nice post “Bradley” last time I checked the US hasnt done jack squat with the line up they have put out! Secondly piss off if u got a problem!

  36. I hate the Ching Dempsey Combo up front. I’d much rather see Landon in a reserved forward roll (a 4-4-1-1), and then Dempsey out wide.

  37. What about Cooper??? He may have a good season but the man is a ball hog and always underplays when wearing the red white and blue! Then again so does most of the players!

  38. I can’t believe these articles are still being written.

    What you people think, and who is doing well with their clubs have little to do with who I pick to start.

  39. First off this is a joke with out Adu and Altidore!!


    I fail to see how either of these players have earned the right to play in any of these games. Mastro is a foul waiting to happen and hes passed what little prime he had! Johnson.. well he speaks for himself. Both are their on name alone and will only aid a loss!

    Donovon is NOT NOT a right winger! He most effective coming out of the middle of the field whether thats ATT MID or 2nd striker.

    Switch Donovon and Dempsey.


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