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Who should the USMNT start vs. Sweden?

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The first U.S. men's national team match of the year is finally set to kick off this Saturday (8:30pm, FSC/Galavision) and while most of the national team's top players won't be there to face Sweden, the match should still give us a chance to see some of the top young U.S. prospects.

Unfortunately for U.S. fans, standout defenders Chad Marshall and Sean Franklin will have to wait to impress Bob Bradley as injuries ruled them both out. The rash of injuries to defenders forced U.S. coach Bob Bradley to call in Michael Parkhurst from Denmark, so he should probably be penciled in as a starter.

That still leaves plenty of intriguing young attacking players who could have a chance to shine on Saturday, including Charlie Davies, Kenny Cooper, Robbie Rogers and Stuart Holden to name a few.

Trying to figure out which combination of attacking players Bradley will settle on for Saturday's match won't be easy, but should still be interesting. Here is the starting lineup we could see against Sweden on Saturday:

USA Projected Starting XI vs. Sweden






BENCH– Busch, Hesmer, Ihemelu, Wingert, Thorrington, Carroll, Jewsbury, Gaven, Rolfe, Cooper

Kenny Cooper is the player most folks would probably point out as missing but I just don't see a Ching-Cooper pairing and Davies just came off a strong campaign in Sweden so he's a safe bet to start if health. Could Bradley go with the young tandem of Cooper and Davies? I can't see him leaving Ching on the bench because that would likely leave a pretty inexperienced attack

The midfield could also be a few different combinations, though I think the above foursome is the most likely. Holden and Kljestan could swap positions, but I think this is the most likely four.

As far as the back-line goes it wouldn't shock me if John Thorrington got the nod at right back. Chris Wingert is coming off a good MLS season as well so it will be interesting to see if he gets a chance t play.

Will Sacha Kljestan and Troy Perkins really get the starts considering they will both be flying in from halfway around the world? I think it's safe to say both will unless they picked up knocks along the way.

Now it's your turn, which starting XI would you use against Sweden?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. If I remember correctly Sweden usually fields a team of big ol boys. With the exception of our forwards, our lineup looks kinda frail. Here’s to hoping our boys make it back in one piece.

    I may be totally wrong, just going by memory and mental pictures.

  2. I like Ives lineup except for one change, Cooper up top onstead of Ching. We all know what Ching is capable of, this game will be a test to see what the newer faces can do.





  3. patrick – you claim he’s been brought in as a super-sub normally…notching very few minutes… he has 0 goals and 1 assist…

    what do you expect of a player who sees very limited minutes?? his productivity isnt too far off the typical US forward… Dempsey went on a scoreless streak of many months prior to WCQ’s… perhaps we should banish him as well??

    Rolfe may not be fitted for the USMN, but he has shown growth with the fire, especially last season… his confidence on the ball and his ability to shoot accurately with both feet make him a valuable player…

    you claim to have seen him play for the nats, and you bash his performances… i agree they werent great, and he was definitely not stellar, and sometimes looked a bit lost… but past performances with the nats shouldnt have leverage on a player getting called up and played… his performance with his club should be a major factor (of course nats performances help, but club should out-weigh those)…

    saying those things, i dont think he should start… and quite frankly id be surprised if he even plays….

    id refrain from posting comments like this “I honestly cannot think of an attacking player outside of EJ that deserves a call up less than Chris Rolfe”

    if you are only going to follow it up with this ” I fully admit I haven’t seen much of his MLS career” when a player has gotten limited time with the nats

  4. ———Cooper—-Davies——-

    That’s the line-up I hope we see, but i’d be shocked if Bob didn’t start Ching.

  5. I mostly agree with Ives, but i think Rolfe may start with Ching bringing Cooper an davies on at half to allow them to combine off each other. 3-1 us.

  6. Ugh, SAY NO TO CHING!

    He has been capped enough, we know what he can do. Give Cooper the nod as a reward for his good play in the last WCQ.

    Davies should be a no-brainer up top with him, but I wouldn’t mind seeing Rolfe get in there.

  7. Frank, the whole point of this game is to give people who DON’T have alot of experience some PT. I’m fairly certain Bob Bradley knows what Frankie Heydude brings to the table. Not so much Wynne and others.

  8. I like your line-up except that I would put Cooper in for Ching. There is absolutely no reason Bradley needs to look at Ching again. What could he possibly not know.





  9. Cooper and Davies should start. While inexperienced they actually bring talent which can’t be said any longer of the aged Ching who looks like he is in traction everytime he plays now.

    I’m mostly disappointed that Torres and Flores weren’t called into the team. Both of them have played well when called upon.

    I also pray to the gods that they don’t start 2 d-mids per usual. They need to end that ridiculousness already. You do that when you are on the road against a team that is very potent (i.e. Argentina, Brazil, Germany, Spain) and you need to somehow get a point not at home against a watered down Swedish side.

  10. I just realized that we have Robbie Rogers and Johnathan Bornstein on the same wing. Thats a HUGE problem. Rogers is going to leave Bornstein all by himself and he’s going to get murdered.

    So with Ives lineup switch Rogers and Holden and we got a lineup…sort of

  11. I’d just say reward the best players during the camp with starts, even if that means the most talented guys aren’t on the field to start the game. Since this is a friendly, there will be opportunities to make plenty of subs.

    Only caveat to that would be to start Parkhurst, since you drug him back from Scandanavia, so give him the start.

  12. I’d like to see Rolfe sit right behind the two strikers, like Mordic at Tottenham. We just need a solid DM to stop the advance, I don’t think Clark can play that role at an international level. Should be an interesting game, but I’m not sure if we will win.

  13. I agree with krolposki re: Thorrington. Reading Joe’s comments I thought “we must be talking about a different player.” but then I thought about how he adjusts his defensive play depending on his position on the field. Thorrington can be very aggressive in the opponents’ end – and there he’s sometimes reckless, but a free kick surrendered in the other half isn’t likely to directly cause a goal. Make ’em think twice when they have the ball.

    In his own half he’s much more careful and in the Chicago box he’s the number one guy I would want standing between an offensive player and Busch. He can lay down precision tackles like no one I’ve seen in MLS.

    So, yeah, he’s aggressive, but I think he’s also very smart where and when it counts.

  14. Jewsbury should start someplace. You need to see what he can do in a game. And he is the multi-faceted type of player that is great to have for qualifying, etc. He can play right back, right mid, either central mid. In fact, the kid can play forward if you need him to do that. He’s smart, tough, and what a right leg!

  15. This whole team is about trying out new players. I would start Cooper and Davies up front, and have Ching ready if things don’t go so well. Also, I would like to see Wingert get the start on the back line. Give him a cap and and let him show people whether he can handle the pressure right away.

  16. A question just popped in to my head: whose going to be doing set pieces?

    Our best bet for good service in my opinion is Holden.

  17. Isaac,

    I prefaced my comments for that reason, I haven’t seen him play that much, although youre comments would lend creedence to why I’ve only seen him play poorly. I just have seen him waste chances, and either have a less than productive posssession, or a giveaway too often to feel comfortable in WCQ. I’m not doubting his skill at the club level, he’s proven his worth there, my feelings are more at the national level. I think his size and lack of…. spark? maybe thats it, hinder him. The reason he’s fallen out of favor, and i think we can all agree here, is that he’s been anything but productive, and the numbers back it. He’s been in 4 USMNT games, mostly as a super sub of some sort and has zero goals and one assist. Granted, one of them he played 3 minutes but nevertheless, his performances have been eddi johnson like at times. He’s been fantastic for the Fire, and I dont want to step on any feet but, perhaps thats what he is, a very good MLS striker, thats not a bad thing at all

  18. Drop Ching for Cooper.

    Drop Clark and move Holden in.

    Ching is done, let us move on. Clark- the biggest I have one foot, cause silly fouls, and is a ghost on the field. Oh, but I forgot, he is really fast. We already have a guy like this he is called DMB. The time for only speed to make a difference has come to past. Why do think Ching keeps getting all the calls.

  19. Would love to see Cooper and Davies start. But I think you are right he will go with Ching to get him game preparation for Mexico. Hope Wynne gets a full 90 too.

  20. Patrick,

    I wouldn’t rag on Chris Rolfe too much. His only problem is his lack of consistency, at times displaying confidence, creativity, and cleverness on the ball, and lackluster play at others. He’s really not to unlike Donovan when you think about it because he’s got a pretty good nose for goal, like that chest and volley against the Red Bulls.

  21. I honestly cannot think of an attacking player outside of EJ that deserves a call up less than Chris Rolfe. I fully admit I haven’t seen much of his MLS career, though i HAVE seen games. I’ve seen all his USMNT appearances and I’m not sure he’s been productive at all. My knee jerk reaction to hearing Chris Rolfe mentioned is that even the US has better forwards to put out there. I also wouldn’t even think about giving him a jersey for a mexico game, he’d get eaten alive by their Defense

  22. Sorry, but Rolfe size is too small. To make it at that size, you have to have some exceptional quality, like Landycake’s skill or Beasley’s speed. I like Rolfe, I just haven’t seen anything talent or skill wise that offsets his lack of size.

    Dempsey is also a potential forward for Mexico. I bet we see Dempsey and Donovan up top for that game. The A team has to be on the field if healthy and released by clubs.

  23. ——-Ching———







    Subs (Position/Player):

    Cooper (Ching)

    Holden (Davies/Kljestan)

    Carroll (Clark)

  24. In a friendly, you get up to seven substitutions. There are two purposes to this game – get players ready that you might need for the upcoming Feb. 11 Mexico game and also get a chance to further evaluate some players you might want to use later this year with World Cup qualifiers, the tournament in South Africa in June and the Gold Cup in late June, early July.

    Regardless of who starts and who comes off the bench, I’d assume you want to play Ching, Cooper and Davies as they could play some role in the Mexico game. Ching played very well in the 97 Gold Cup final in the second half against Mexico, drawing the penalty that tied the game. If we are playing a 4-2-3-1 against Mexico, it is important to have Ching ready. Cooper and Davies are possible late game substitutions in that game. Davies speed could be useful late in the game against a tiring Mexico defense.

    Pablo M is suspended for the Mexico game due to yellow cards accumulated in the last round of qualifiers. Edu is hurt and also has not played much for Rangers. So Clark also needs playing time as he might play next to Bradley in the Mexico game as a center defensive mid or at least might be needed as a center mid sub (perhaps Torres starts instead). Clark came in at halftime in the Gold Cup final and covered a lot of ground, defending well for the US in that game. Kljestan (who is due back from his trial at Celtic for the game) and Holden might also be needed as center mid subs in that game and should be used in the Sweden game.

    Depending on Beasley’s form, playing Rogers is smart as he might be a good substitute if we need a late goal against Mexico, although Torres or Adu are more likely to get the nod if such a need arises. I’d like to see Bornstein start the game at left D but move to left mid later in the game. He would also be an intriguing possible late game sub against Mexico (speed against a tiring Mexico team) and give more depth at left mid if Beasley’s form has suffered as a result of a lack of playing time at Rangers.

    If one of the center defenders gets hurt or ejected in the Mexico game, Califf is likely the first one off the bench and should also play against Sweden to prepare for that possibility.

    Once you factor in all of that, remaining starting spots and subs can be used to give time to players who might play a role for the US later in the year.

  25. I like your lineup Ives, I’d maybe start Gaven over Holden just for experience sake, but that’s a minor quibble. And I’d make sure to sub Cooper in early in the second half.


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