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Who should the USMNT start vs. Brazil?


While the pain is still fresh from its 3-1 loss to Italy on Monday, the U.S. men's national team must turn its attention to mighty Brazil, which the Americans face on Thursday (9:55 am, ESPN2) in their second Confederations Cup match.

U.S. coach Bob Bradley will have to make at least one change to the lineup that pushed Italy for much of Monday's match, with midfielder Ricardo Clark set to serve his one-game suspension for a red card. That change isn't likely to be the only one as Bradley looks for the right combination to best a Brazilian team the Americans lost to, 4-2, back in 2007.

There are plenty of questions to be asked heading into Friday's match. Should Benny Feilhaber stay in the lineup? Should Bradley consider playing Carlos Bocanegra at left back and keeping Jay DeMerit in the lineup? Which midfielder will step in for Clark? Should the USA play a 4-4-2 or try a 4-3-3?

Here is one possible lineup we could see Bradley use when the Americans face Brazil:

Projected USA lineup vs. Brazil






So why this lineup? Let's start with Feilhaber getting the nod over the likes of Torres and Kljestan. Bob Bradley will look to keep things compact defensively and Feilhaber is the best-suited to the task of playing alongside Bradley. Torres is someone I want to see play more, but not in this match and not in the role Bradley needs. Same goes for Kljestan, who doesn't have the defensive qualities Feilhaber can bring to the table.

Up top we have Altidore and Davies. I see Bradley matching up a 4-4-2 against Brazil's 4-4-2 and he doesn't have a target forward who can hope to battle the likes of Juan and Lucio. His best bet is to have Davies speed to run off Altidore. It has been stated repeatedly that Altidore isn't the ideal target striker, but he sure held up well against Italy, though he still doesn't have the passing touch or vision you would like. Also, by starting two forwards,  the U.S. team forces attack-happy Lucio to stay home and defend, whereas a 4-2-3-1 would give the Bayern defender chances to sneak into the attack.

The defense is probably the toughest situation to sort out. I happen to think Jonathan Bornstein did well against Italy and should get the nod here. I know there's some clamoring for Carlos Bocanegra to be used at left back in order to slide Jay DeMerit into central defense, but I think Bradley will want some speed at left back to deal with Elano and Dani Alves. This is a reason why it wouldn't shock me if Beasley got the call at left back. I also think Bradley will want his two best centerbacks in position to deal with whoever Dunga starts up top.

That's something else to consider heading into Friday's match. Will Dunga rest some starters ahead of the final group match against Italy on Sunday? Or will field a full-strength team vs. the Americans?

Here is Brazil's first-choice group:



———Gilberto Silva——-Felipe Melo————-

Kleber——Lucio————-Juan——–Dani Alves

———————Julio Cesar—————————

Dunga could go with Alexandre Pato in place of Robinho or Fabiano, Ramires in place of Elano, Josue instead of Gilberto Silva. Either way, Brazil will come at the Americans with an interchangeable attacking front four and overlapping fullbacks.

Kaka drives the Brazil attack and Michael Bradley will be tasked to try and deal with his creativity, speed and vision. It might sound like a tall order but it shouldn't be forgotten that one of Bradley's breakout games early in his national team career was in the U.S. team's loss to Brazil in September of 2007.

One thing is certain. The U.S. team will have chances to score. Brazil's attacking style leaves it open to counters and players such as Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore need to be ready to pounce when those chances come. The Americans didn't finish great chances in the first half against Italy that could have put that match away. They can't afford to let that happen again.

What do you think of the U.S. team's chances vs. Brazil? What starting lineup and formation are you hoping to see? Do you like the lineup suggested above? What do you think the score will be?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. “he doesn’t have a target forward who can hope to battle the likes of Juan and Lucio.” What about Conor Casey? He might make the Brazilians uncomfortable at the back.

  2. Andrew Post has no clue what he’s talking about. Almost no teams play a straight up 4-4-2 any more. And we absolutely do have the personnel to plat a 4-3-3(the best feature of this formation being that it allow us to play three central mids, which is easily our deepest position.

  3. I dont get CT’s response its like he is a big Anti-Adu fan( i presume, not saying im right) But he mentions excuses to the people who want to see Adu………yet ot relizing that their has been 50,000 lame excuses used against Adu to why he cant play………compared to maybe 1 or 2 as to why he should play……

  4. Why is is wrong for Adu to get a chance, you make no sense CT? Players that generally do well at one level progress to do well at the next. Like Bradley and Feilhaber Adu dominated at the U20 level now lets give him a chance at the next level. He is easily the most creative and more talented players we have but fools like you would rather him stay on the bench and learn from there.

  5. Tomorrow morning will answer a lot of questions. I think we can actually rally off the italy loss. It would be nice to watch the US not just put up a good effort, or have brilliance chances, but to finally post a score against a top team with a full squad. The italy game is another easy one to excuse… red card and all… LD lead the team and left the game full of excuses.

    Dempsey needs to be benched and Beasley should not see the pitch. I’ve heard ‘the long hard season’ excuse for Dempsey… this is irrelevant. The spanish team has had ‘the long hard season’ but continue to play genius. Dempsey is a top level pro and needs to play with that heart. BB should play Dempsey in the second half so he can watch, want to play, then figure out his half azz soccer on the pitch.

  6. I don’t think Adu would help the team at all. He’s young and energetic, but he dribbles into tackles and rarely compliments the players around him. These glorious days you cite about Freddie’s performance against the Brazil U20’s – was Kleber there? Alves? Lucio? No! When Freddie has to play out of age group soccer he will be completely dominated by bigger, stronger, more experienced players.

    Having said that however, I hope he plays tomorrow against Brazil. If he does and is the complete failure I think he will be, will the Adu lovers on this board shut the F– up about him for the time being? Or will you lovers just make excuses for him?

  7. I believe Torres should get a shot at this match. He has played in big matches Copa Libertadores and I think he can handle the magnitude of this match, if his performance does not meet expectations than you can bring in a fresh Dempsey. But then again Dempsey defends incredibly well in set pieces and is vital part of our defence in the air so its tough choice.

    Adu needs to get a chance in this game I would be very upset not to see him get some time. Adu has the skills to break down a brazilian defence and counter attack with Donovan and Altidore/Davies.
    We need to impose our football against the Brazilians break them down.

    We need to impose our football!

    Dont Tread on US!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  8. I would def give Adu a chance, he had what it took against the Brazilians at the U21 level, lets see if he is ready to step up to the next level.

    He’s the only player that has the type of creativity to create anything up top.

  9. Did Ives just say the defensive qualities that Feilhaber brings to the table? HAHAHAHA! He was the weekest sister in teh game against Italy , jeez Ives why don’t you just come out and tell us why Adu is getting marginalized when Benny pulls a howler against Italy like hd did last time.

    Adu nees to play right now, Feilhaber was aweful yesterday, see for instance goal number one where he gets stripped in the middle of the field and leads straight to the first goal!


    Benny, Beasley, etc..are all out of form and have seen little to no club minutes in the last year. Why is there a double standard with Adu. (who is beter than both of those players combined)

  10. Clearly these post have a strong American soccer feel. You all, just like Bob Bradley do not understand the world game. We as Americans are too far behind the rest of the world when it comes to soccer to play formations such as the 4-2-3-1. We DO NOT have the central midfielders for such formations. Altidore does not have the touch to be a target striker. In fact he has awful touch with his back to the goal. Donovan needs to play up top where he belongs. Use his speed! Bring Beasley back into the lineup. He has speed and can put in good crosses, not to mention go at defenders. Torres needs to be in this lineup. Benny just can’t control the ball under preasure. Torres, i believe is a more confident midfielder and has good vision. Send Sasha home. He does not have the poise or talent to play internationally. Bradley has done a poor job of selecting forwards for this squad. I can think of 2 players right now that are in better form and a better fit for this team( Cooper, E. Johson). Casey is a joke and Altidore is not in form. Davies does bring something to the table with his intensity. Better to play with two quick strikers than a tall slow one with bad touch. Stick with the 4-4-2. This is what we are used to. The type of players you have on you roster determines what formation you play, not what kind of things you hoped to do on the field. Bradley put us on a 4-3-3 in Costa Rica and we got dominated in the middle. He did it again with Italy and we got dominated in the middle. Oh and by the way, You can’t start two defensive midfielders at once and expect to control the middle. Any decent coach knows this. Apparently Bob Bradley has no clue. You have to have a possession mid at least who can hold onto the ball and distribute. If Bradley was supposed to make this team better than why are we doing worse against teams we played better against with Arena? Here is the simple answer. Bob Bradley was a step back for the US National team. We will not get better as an national team until we get an international coach.

  11. Jose Francisco Torres typically starts for one of the top teams in Mexico.

    He’s a far better player than Sasha Kljestan. On current form, I’d take Torres over Benny in a heart beat.

    He messed up on the Costa Rica goal. No doubt. Even if Beasley also shares some blame.

    But Torres has some bite in his game. Watch him play for Pachuca some time. Or review his hustle winning the ball back down in El Salvador.

    So…what’d he do? Mouth off to Poppa Bradley?

  12. Guillermo Barros Schelotto – did he ever get capped for Argentina?

    I know he would never do it, being so loyal to Boca and all.

    Even at 36 he so far above any play maker we have had it is ridiclous. He is by far the best player in MLS history. Valdarama is 2nd, and Jamie Moreno 3rd. (notice a pattern here?)

  13. P.S.
    I get just as pissed as anyone else. I’m a Yankees fan who hates the Yankees ownership for much of what they’ve done with the new stadium, and have organized things to protest it and only sit in the bleachers now. I think Dempsey needs a fire lit under his ass and want him benched next game. I think the USSF has been slow to get serious about professional refereeing. Don’t mistake my support for complacency

  14. Instead or repeating similar points, I’ll just say that I agree completely with KO’d. I suspect that many people who attacked him and others, saying they’re not demanding more of our boys have yet to learn the art of subtlety. If somebody cannot understand the point being made between passionately supporting your team while calling to attention faults, demanding changes, and expressing opinions—and blindly condemning, then there’s nothing more I can say. That said, GO USA!!!

  15. yea ko’d you tell em how to be complacent with mediocrity at best!


  16. I think the USA should go out like this:





    Donovan should stay out wide so that Feilhaber can work inside, where he is more effective. We’ll need possession, which Torres can add to. Jozy to run his socks off up front and provide a physical presence and hold the ball. Dempsey needs to have a good game and Bradley will need to work hard to win back balls. My only concern with Torres and Feilhaber is that it might not have enough bite. We’ll see.

  17. I think Dunga will rest some players – not for lack of respect, but just to rest players. He’s done it in the past in tourneys, and he knows his team is tired from long seasons. Does that mean he’ll sit Kaka and Robinho? Nope…but Gilberto Silva or Dani Alves might sit. Brazil just thinks some of those starters are interchangeable.

    Regardless of whoever starts for the Americans, its how they play that will matter. If Bradley is smart he’ll pressure the Brazilian defensive third and force some mistakes. Egypt did that all day and it worked for them. All their goals came on winning the ball in good position. Brazil has some definite weaknesses (G.Silva’s lack of speed) that can be exploited. I think US has a great shot of getting a good result here, they match up pretty well against Brazil.

    Beasley in the back is a big mistake…Dani Alves or Maicon would take him to school. I’d rather have a solid defender there.
    Brazil is a good team, but they’re not without fault. Great GK, Lucio can be prone to pushing up and making mistakes when he has the ball, Dani Alves/Maicon can be a liability by pushing up too much, Felipe Melo and Kleber are not very experienced, Gilberto Silva is painfully slow and Robinho has had a bad stretch of games. They do have plenty of talent that can change a game on their own w/ a moment of brilliance….US will just have to be very good on set pieces and stay focused throughout the game. I can see a 2-1 win or 1-1 tie for the Americans.

  18. this is the best i can come up with:




  19. It would’nt shock you Ives, if Bradley gave Beasly the nod? Really? wow…

    If Bradley gives Beasly the start then Bradley is a bigger Boob than I originally thought.

    DMB is the biggest Liability on the field at left back. The amazing thing is how our oposition doesnt exploit him more. He makes bad decisions, is un-coordinated in defense, clears horribly (hitting torres in the face) does not play the offsides trap well, and does not know a thing about marking his man off the ball. All these were on display both matches he started. The unfortunate thing about it is that Torres got pulled for DMB deficiencies in the back.


    Spec-gooch-JD- Boca


    LD – Torres


    * Sasha because Dempsey needs a break

    * Davies because Josy needs a break

    * Sasha and Torres can both Interchange

    their respective MF slots

    I think if Bradley is not here to secure points (as evident by the non-coaching in the Italy game) then he needs to play guys that dont get regular starts for us and call it an oportunity to try new players…

  20. Donovan needs to play in that attacking midfield role…He is much more efective playing there, then playing out on the wing…Also enough with Dempsey playing on the wing…His just useless there…Put him as a central midfielder, and please put Adu and Beasly on the wings


    Spec Ony Boc Born

    Demps Brad

    Adu Beas



  21. I agree Bornstein wasn’t great – but he is still our best option. Pearce is terribly rusty, and Bocanegra is coming off a leg injury and there is a clamor to start him against Brazil with Elano and Dani Alves running at him????? (cough… morons). As for Beasley, we all saw that the LB experiment failed against Costa Rica, he doesn’t have the instincts and strength to play as a defender. He is good at tracking back, but not as a straight-up defender.
    If Bocanegra passes fitness, I start him with Onyewu, if he isn’t 100%, I go with DeMerit. I’d personally go with Torres over Feilhaber, because we need someone who doesn’t lose/give away possession easily, and we don’t want to be opening ourselves up to Brazilian counter-attacks with Feilhaber trying to open the defense up. I agree that Feilhaber is stronger defensively than Torres, but not by much. I just believe that we saw in the Eygpt vs Brazil game that they struggle with teams that play a possession game, and I think Torres brings that quality better than Feilhaber. But if Bradley insists that Benny stays in the middle, and he has two forwards to work with, I can see the move paying dividends.

  22. Honestly it all matters on what kind of game Bradley has. Brazil will score. If our midfield sux, then our forwards will do nothing. Let’s hope for the best, these guys have the potential. I will say this, I would love to Casey Connors stomp thru all those little Brazilians.

  23. With Dempsey coming in as a sub….
    ————– Torres-Bradley-Felihaber—————-

  24. Largely I agree with Gabe. The Dempsey hate has to stop. He’s had a string of sub-par matches, but has still played effectively and is one of our most credible threats offensively (plays well defensively too).

    Again, I agree that US fans can be overly fickle in their demands. I would say however, that while BB probably shouldn’t be fired, IMO he does deserve to feel a little bit of heat for constantly (obstinately?) failing to field a squad capable of maintaining possession and attacking the goal. Adu and Torres really should be playing, and Bradley deserves criticism for keeping them off the pitch. Their vision, creativity, and technique should not be left to languish on the bench. I think it’s also unfortunate that BB doesn’t seem to have in place a coherent offensive strategy beyond playing long balls overs the top to either Ching or Altidore.

    I do take issue with the insinuation that US soccer fans are a bunch of ignorant dolts. I think the majority of us that post on this site are informed, passionate fans who want nothing more that to see our team do well. We’ve shown that we are capable of competing with the world’s best teams, and it is out of frustration at our inability to beat them that some posters are overly negative. This also happens in the British press. Sorry, have you ever read the The Sun?

  25. Where is ronaldhino? U.S.A. will get intimidated by the names on the backs of the opposing team’s jerseys just like they did against italy and think, “I shouldn’t be scoring yet,” and they will shank the ball at every scoring opportunity.

  26. @JohnnyT

    Why are Ko’d and I “pretentious know-it-alls” because we dislike unconstructive ranting and bashing. I fail to see the logic there. Not once have I insulted the intelligence or game knowledge of any poster here. I did call a couple of trolls to the carpet, namely Aco93 and Rossaneri, mainly because their comments usually go something along the lines of “American soccer sucks” and “Americans will never beat top teams.” These types of comments are made principally to inflame and incite.

    If the people we criticize are such great fans and are so knowledgeable of the game, then they should SHOW IT with intelligent, productive debate.


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