Top Stories

Who should the USMNT start vs. Honduras?

USALineupVsCostaRica (               

                                                                              Photo by

The starting lineup you see above is the U.S. national team squad that played against (and was embarrassed by) Costa Rica on Wednesday. Take a good look at it. You will never see it again. Ever.

You certainly won't see it on Saturday vs. Honduras, and not just because Michael Bradley is set to miss the Honduras match as he serves a suspension for yellow card accumulation. In fact, Bradley is highly unlikely to be the only player of the ones pictured above who won't be in the lineup on Saturday.

U.S. head coach Bob Bradley has some tough decisions to make as he prepares for a match that is suddenly vital to the U.S. team's pursuit of a World Cup berth. Does he bench DaMarcus Beasley, or does he play him at his natural left wing spot? Does he start Pablo Mastroeni, or go with the more athletic Ricardo Clark? Does he stick with Jozy Altidore, or does he give recently-called Conor Casey a shot? Does he take a chance and start Frankie Hejduk (who is nursing a groin injury), or does he go with Jonathan Spector?

Here is the lineup I can see Bob Bradley starting against Honduras on Saturday (along with the lineup I would go with):

Projected USA lineup on Saturday:






Here is the lineup I would like to see go against Honduras:






About the First lineup:

I can see Bradley sticking with Beasley, but using him on the wing. I also think he will bring back the Mastroeni-Kljestan combo that played the second half against Costa Rica. Mastroeni's experience is likely to win out over Ricardo Clark while the fact that Bradley replaced Torres with Kljestan tells me the coach wasn't as impressed with Torres as I was. Also, a point to clarify: Sacha Kljestan is NOT suspended for the Honduras match. The word if him being suspended made the rounds on Wednesday night but was, in fact, not true.

About the second lineup:

I know the game is in Chicago and all, but I couldn't trust playing Beasley just three days after the debacle vs. Costa Rica. That's just me. I also wasn't impressed at all with Mastroeni. Clark is faster, more athletic and while he doesn't boast Mastroeni's experience, he does know Amado Guevara very well. He played alongside him and he's played against him. Torres deserves the start. Yes, he struggled early against Costa Rica, but his final 25 minutes were very promising. As for the forwards, I'd be very tempted to plug Conor Casey right in, but don't see him being started that quickly when he hasn't been with the team. Charlie Davies has shown some good things in the past, and while that stinker against Sweden is still in our memory banks, I think he's fast, intelligent and tough and ready to go.

One thing I'm very curious about is the status of Frankie Hejduk. If Hejduk recovers from his groin issues, would Bradley consider playing Spector at left back, with Hejduk on the right?

Now it's your turn. What starting lineup would you like to see the U.S. national team use against Honduras?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Why does everyone want Dempsey in the lineup? He’s become a cherry picker and doesn’t play defense much at all. There are others who would play much harder than he seems to want to. A major disappointment on the US team.

  2. I would go with:

    Donovan – Altidore – Dempsey

    Beasley – Torres – Adu


    Hejduk – Onyewu – Bocanegra


    We’ve established, in my mind, that we don’t have two functional sidebacks. Beasley was not actively atrocious, but Wynne was absolutely abysmal, and probably responsible for two of the three goals conceded against Costa Rica. I would put Mastroeni in sort of a defensive midfield position, Beasley and Adu on the sides, and Donovan and Dempsey out on the wings feeding the ball into Altidore or otherwise driving on goal. Balancing out with Torres’ ability to hold onto the ball, and this formation offers range and aggression. The three defender formation is hard to pull off, but we just don’t have two starting sidebacks.

  3. We need our guys to play regularly on their clubs team, whether in Europe or the US, and then they have to excel. Adu’s pro career has been about potential–he never was a dominating player in MLS. He’s playing in Europe because teams have enough money to take him on as relatively low-cost roll of the dice.

    An Arsenal scout once said they weren’t interested in Adu because they thought he pretty much maxed his potential. I have to agree with them. I don’t see Adu making an impact for 90 minutes against teams that are going to physically press him as happens in a qualifier, and which often doesn’t happen in a friendly. His best attribute is running at guys when they are tired at about 70 minutes.

    I’d take Torres over Adu because, despite his last game, Torres is better at defense and he plays regularly. I wouldn’t mind seeing Torres pushed higher to relieve his defensive duties somewhat. Torres is better controlling the pace of the game, ala Claudio Reyna of old days, than Adu, who is more of a put the foot on the pedal kind-of-guy.

    The biggest gap the US has had since the retirement of the old guard is the type of play Reyna offered. He could slow the hectic play that we saw against CR, maintain possession, and give his teammates a breather. I am hoping Torres can serve that role. Donovan fades in and out of too many games for this role, and Adu has too much trouble maintaining possession against physical teams.

  4. Altidore Casey

    Dempsey Donovan Clark Adu

    Boca Gooch Demerit Spector


    Beasley hopefully has played last game for us. I can’t bear to watch him play anymore.

  5. The US Mens National team sucks, we will not make it out of the first round in South Africa because we have no star players. Our so called star players Landon Donovan couldnt score in the Bundesliga and Freddy Adu cant even make the bench, while Jozy Altidore cannot even start for a second division team in Spain. WEAK ASS HELL!!!

  6. —–Altidore–Dempsey—–






  7. ———-Altidore———







    I’d go after Honduras with this line-up. A 4-3-3 going forward and more of a 4-5-1 on defense. Torres will be asked to run a lot from side to side making a 60th minute sub a necessitty. Plus, this gives Donovan and Dempsey the ball wide and in space. If these are truly our two best playmakers, then they need to step up and show it. BF and RC just need to work hard, win the ball and play simple with BF’s vision needed to conect the back 4 to the frontrunners. Also, I’d replace Beasley with Bornstein because he stunk, and leave Wynne in to utilize his speed and direct hi to get up the flank and let the holding mdfielder onthat side cover as needed.

  8. Adu needs to star, Dempsey has been playing crap for the past 5 games or so , he has no grounds on which to stand and plead his case, play Adu , he’s much more confident and creative going forward.

  9. Bob Bradley’s tatics agaist Costa Rica were terrible and he deserves a lot of the blame for the loss. However, one game does not define a coach. Look at Maradona and Argentina being blown out 1-6 at Bolivia. Maradona still has a job. Let’s see how the team rebounds agaist Honduras and Confederations Cup.

  10. Still say it was dumb not to bring along players like Robbie Rogers and Stuart Holden although obviously needed in thin positions right now.

  11. I think I saw someone else post something like this and I think it makes a lot ofsense. Given that our right and left backs are pretty weak, go with a 3-5-2 with our 3 best defenders on the field.


    Gooch Bocanegra Demerit

    Maostreini Clark

    Dempsey Torres/Klejstan Donovan

    Altidore Davies

  12. I think I have a lineup that would be way better than what we saw the other night.

    Let’s go with:





  13. The US Team was beaten in Costa Rica before the game got underway. Just look at the line-up for the National anthems. The US players look terrified. The early goal by CR was a direct result of the US fear factor.

    If our players are not self motivators or Bob Bradley can not motivate players to fight the upcoming games will be a series of disasters no matter the lineups.

    Adu, Torres, Spector and Casey must play. Why does Dempsey look so bad in US games? He is not a happy camper. Somebody needs to look at the US team operation and fire Bradley if he is the problem.

  14. As a US fan im getting tired of this hate on Adu, becuase of his club situatuion…………..Adu has been pure class for us every single game and has been our most creatvive,skilled, and dangerous player vs the best teams and yet We allow Ives to cover Bradley’s Back by Ives not giving Adu credit anymore ………Ives i love ya for ya imformation and sources but your not fooling me with your agenda on Adu……i mean in your lineup you dont even list Adu even as an option as starting the only player you left out…..

    I Remember when Adu dominated Spain Ives was like Adu dserves to start and will be the starter for here on out, now becuase Braldey dosent use Adu, ives also contradicts himself a year later and says Adu dosent deserve a start. Did you watch the game vs CR ives……..Adu was the only player who could complete a pass yesterday and maintain possesion in tight spaces and yet you dont want him starting vs Honduras a game that will be about possesion???????????

  15. Isaac,

    thanks! found the article: player ratings by our very own Ives

    *Next Level Tracking*
    Landon Donovan
    Total touches: 29
    In attacking-third: 14
    Shots: 4
    Completed passes: 14
    Turnovers: 6

    Michael Bradley
    Total passes: 33
    Completed passes: 23 (69.7 percent)

    Pablo Mastroeni
    total passes: 30
    Completed passes: 21 (70 percent)

  16. I was excited to read that WE would be playing a 4-3-3 but when i heard whom was playing where i told my wife to get my a beer i knew it would be a long night. In my opinion, and i coach a middle school team, the 4-3-3 works when you do not ask the the fullbacks to come up in attack, which is what we did. A 4-3-3 should be played with 4 NON attacking backs, one holding mid, two attacking mids, two wing forwards, and a center forward

    With our personal the 4-3-3 should have looked as follows



    A lineup like this allows for free movement for all attacking players while receiving really good coverage throughout the back.

    Now as far our lineup for Honduras we should look to play a 3-5-2



    This works for many reasons and i will try my best to break down every choice i made.

    1-Davies for his speed and killer instinct.
    2-Altidore because he is Altidore, just kidding but the common misconception with Altidore is that he needs a hold forward to partner with but in reality he is a holding forward. I am a Red Bulls fan and saw first hand how he held up play for JP Angel. So Altidore can be Davies’ Ching.
    3-Adu is an all out attacking player and needs to be on the field at all times, the second he came on against Costa Rica he started attacking, Adu needs the freedom given by the Central Attacking role.
    4-Dempsey would be better on the left in this lineup because Boca is less of an attacking threat and Dempsey has truly become an end to end winger. His defensive capabilities allow him to roam up and down the wing and do all of the little things required of a winger.
    5-Donovan on the right makes more sense because he likes lots of free space, he likes to link up with Altidore, he likes to cross into the box and would be able to with a very fast Davies as our left forward. Though he does not possess the defensive prowess required of a true winger he can more than make up for up with his speed and the help of the guys which are behind him on the right side (read below).
    6- Torres because Dempsey is on the left side Torres can push forward and be easily covered by Dempsey providing the extra push from the left side and kind of creating the overlapping runs which BRADLEY the coach loves to see.
    7-Clark is there simply because of he did to Amado when Houston played Toronto and to also cover the right side for Donovan defensive liablity.
    8- Boca plays LCB in a three man line in a top league and performs amazingly well.
    9-Gooch is the man
    10- Spector has played pretty much everywhere along the back line for West Ham but most commonly plays center back or right back, so having him play RCB works incredibly well. Spector is 6’2″ and can handle the physical side of playing center back as well as having the speed required to run in support of the attack while having a very capable CLARk of moving back to cover for him.
    11-Howard, need i say more

    As far as the future goes we should really look to keep this formation alive but we should put in Bradley for Torres and Edu for Clark.

    So the lineup i would like to see for the WC is

    —-Bradley—- Edu —-


  17. Someone asked who doesn’t think Beasley could start for the Crew.

    Me, that’s who, neither at LB or LM. And Altidore and Adu are not at a national team level of play, BECAUSE THEY SIT ALL YEAR.

  18. I guess people don’t think too much of Bornstein. I thought he was impressive a few years ago when he was getting game time, but I don’t get a chance to watch any MLS so I haven’t seen him play. I think the problem is the central midfield, and has been. The US doesn’t seem to have a true attacking CM; Michael Bradley is more a defensive player and while he is good, he is also good for a yellow card a game which means he is not very reliable. The only people I’ve seen that I think can play that role are Donovan, Torres, or Fielhaber (who looked good a few years ago also, but has completely dropped out of the picture). Also, not a fan of Donovan on the left. Having said that (and admitting that I don’t really have enough knowledge to know, I would go with:

    Altidore, Dempsey

    Adu, Torres (offensive), Clark (Def), Donovan

    Bornstein, Boca, Onyewu, Hejduk (if poss)


    They need better ball control and holding in the midfield so they are not constantly defending.

  19. I’m amazed how some people are turning nasty on guys like Beasley. You can be a fan of Beasley AND be bummed by his performance. You don’t have to hate a guy because he is not performing as well as he had in the past, and you can still think he should be benched until his form improves.

    No player is going to have a great game every time, even John Terry has had rough patches for England. But you don’t ban the guy from the national team IF he gets back on track. Guys with a bad run do need some time away to work on their club form and re-prove themselves.

    Bob and his assistants need to have a talk internally, and give proper advice to guys like Beasley and Mastro, who have had roller coaster rides the last year.

    It is also the responsibility of the guys on the bubble to step up their club games. Casey has done that. Robbie Rogers bombed in his last performance and thus kept Beasley on the field as much as he had, so Rogers has to play at a continuous high level.

    There are opportunities for recently injured guys like Spector and Simek to to impress.

  20. I think (and hope) that this will be Bob Bradley’s last game…Less than a win, and he’s gone…Beasley should not be in a uniform at this point. Injuries and lack of play have degraded him badly.

    And finally let the team flow through Freddy Adu…Its time for Freddy to be the playmaker. Landycakes is just not bigtime…

    Maybe Klinsman can restore his beloved Donovan’s mental state to where he could be the man and actually show up for games against good opponents.

  21. Rufus –

    Hard to start at Marseille when you’re living in Monaco…

    Also, I’m glad we’re in it, but I’m not sure any team is really made into a laughing stock through the Confederations Cup. I won’t go as far as to call the competition itself a laughing stock, but I think it’s fair to say most don’t regard it as the high-profile affair its organizers (and the USSF, for that matter) would like to believe it is.

    I understand what you’re saying about players getting rusty–it was apparent with DMB in the last qualifier. But I have to say, I’d take Altidore over most (all?) of our forward pool. I’m a fan of proving yourself at club before country (I didn’t like how EJ was gifted a starting role long after he lost his form), but at some point, we have to be honest with ourselves: Our country severely lacks depth up top; a guy who can’t find the pitch at Rangers is better than most of our left wing options; and Freddy Adu, like him or not, is one of very, very few creative central midfielders who can effectively distribute the ball in our player pool. I think you could make reasonable arguments why each shouldn’t start (I’d probably agree with all but the one against Altidore), but I think it’s obvious why each gets called up. And personally, I think Adu looked pretty good and Altidore’s problems were largely a result of him being left on a tactical island.

  22. ——Jozy—–Davies—-





    Jozy and Davies – Speed and Physicality

    Landon and Deuce – Creator who run at people on the break

    Torres – Link play to the forwards

    Rico – Range and speed in transition D!

    Outside Backs – Ability to get forward coupled with needed experience

    Center Backs – What needs to be said?

    Howard – Ditto?

  23. As long as Beasley, Wynne, and Mastronei dont start than its all good.

    Start Clark to mark Guevara. Didnt his team hella destroy Toronto the other week?

  24. Javier,

    Short of Bob Bradley walking up to Sunil Gulati and knocking him out, Bradley is not going to get replaced before the World Cup. Simply put, he is on the hot seat for performances, but not for his job.

  25. —–Altidore—–Davies—–



    Bornstein————–Spector (Hejduk)



    For all the Boca at left back haters, he plays there for Rennes every week, I think he understands the position quite well, but I think Bornstein would be the better attacking left back.

    Lot of people think Clark gives up cheap fouls, but I don’t think they are cheap and as long as they are 40 yards out from goal, I could give a toss. A defensive midfielder is supposed to be a destroyer, he is supposed to mix it up, be physical and a nuisance–that is is job. Plus, he is far more energetic than Mastroeni, who I blame for two of the goals against Costa Rica.

    Subs–Casey for either Altidore or Davies, whoever is more knackered.

    Adu for Torres

    Other attacking option.

  26. Can someone tell me why Freddie Adu is not starting. All of his coaches hold him back because he’s “still young and has a lot to learn yet”. I’ve seen him play and score goals at DC United. In my opinion, he’s just as good as any midfielder on the US team and probably better than most of the players he’s watching from the bench in Monaco. He needs to start the match to get his rythym going.

    Posted by: Pappajohn | June 05, 2009 at 04:25 PM

    Well, let’s see. Doesn’t play defense. Often jogs around the pitch to no purpose. Small, not great speed, easily muscled off the ball. Might be a few reasons he couldn’t start regularly at DCU, Benfica or Marseilles. Just sayin’.

  27. ————Altidore———————-






  28. ———-Altidore——-Davies———

    Donovan ——— Torres ——– Adu

    —————– Clark —————

    Bocanegra — DeMerit – Onyewu — Spector

    —————- Howard —————

    Is about time to have some players to earn their starting lineup. And with Dempsey looking like is way beyond the other players. I like the this format and is time to get people show that they want to be play with pride and feel they really want to be here on this team.


Leave a Comment