Photo by ISIphotos.com
Now that the really hard work has been done, it is time for the U.S. men’s national team to finish off its World Cup qualifying group.
The Americans can essentially do just that on Wednesday when it takes on Trinidad & Tobago at Toyota Park on Wednesday. A win would put the U.S. team at nine points, giving the Americans a five-point lead on second place in the group regardless of the outcome of the Guatemala-Cuba game, and a seven-point lead on third-place Guatemala if the Cubans can tie ‘Los Chapines’.
Yes, there would still be three games to play, and there are mathematical permutations that could give us a final standings with the USA in third place, but that would require a collapse if amazing proportions.
Trinidad & Tobago is far from a pushover. The ‘Soca Warriors’ have four points from its first two matches and did something the Americans weren’t able to, score multiple goals in Cuba (in a 3-1 win in the group opener). Young midfield ace Keon Daniel has been a revelation, scoring three goals in qualifying after two matches to help make up for the absence of injured striker Kenwyne Jones.
So what team should Bob Bradley use to face Trinidad & Tobago? This is what we will likely see:
I could see Eddie Johnson getting a look, as well as Ricardo Clark, but I see Bradley using essentially the same squad that beat Cuba (with Cherundolo back in for Hejduk). If he wanted to get a little daring and go after T&T he could sit Edu and start Johnson and play a straight 4-4-2 with Michael Bradley as the lone deep-lying midfielder.
So what will the Americans face? A pretty fast and skillful T&T team that doesn’t have quite the fire power of past teams, but that can still move the ball well and finish. Daniel is also a very good free kick specialist so Michael Bradley and co. will need to be careful about fouls near the box.
Here’s a closer look at Trinidad & Tobago, with some video highlights from their 3-1 World Cup qualifying win against Cuba (note that the field is much faster in this match than in the U.S. team’s 1-0 win in Cuba, and also it wasn’t raining like it was in last Saturday’s ugly 1-0 encounter. Looks like the Cubans figured out that letting the grass grow would slow things down.):
So it’s your turn. What starting lineup and formation would you like to see the U.S. national team use against Trinidad & Tobago on Wednesday?
Share your thoughts below.