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Who should the USMNT start vs. Honduras?

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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. Ives, I really hope the second line up you posted is the one Bob Bradley decides to use. I am definitely with many that certain players need to be benched and others need to step in and see what they can do.
    Honduras midfield is pretty strong with Amado Guevara and Wilson Palacios in there, so I wonder what Bob Bradley will do deal with those guys in there.

  2. You know, some of us actually remember when Bocanegra played at left back for the USMNT not so long ago… There was a time when Cory Gibbs had a lock on the middle of defense.

    Man… I feel old. Sometimes I wake up in a cold sweat thinking about a Greg Berhalter/Cory Gibbs back line. Just be glad we have Onyewu. I’ve watched too many Fulham games to have rose-colored glasses of Boca’s defending prowess.

    Here’s a thought, how about starting Marc Burch for the Gold Cup? That guy can cross and I liked what I saw from him last night.

  3. Well said Kanu.

    A lot of people have a serious prejudice against Bradley because he lacks the European pedigree of other High-profile managers. This prejudice tempers the way they view every negative result and question every decision he makes.

  4. Mastroeni looks finished, Beasley needs to find his game again before he gets another look. Howard Heyduk Gooch Boca(as bad as he looked) Spector – Dempsey Clark Torres Donovan- Jozy Davies

  5. I’m tired of hearing about experience.
    It doesn’t mean squat if you don’t show up to play.
    I’m looking at you Demarcus and Pablo!

  6. I actually think that Adu did a good job of tracking back because he was in the box on the 3rd goal at least, but he was on the wrong side of the box. Then he had that late take away right before the whistle.

  7. I want to see Adu for at least one half. Its time to give him playing time to let him gel with this team. He has the potential. Give him a shot.

  8. Leonardo,

    ESPN gives ratings on players along with a recap of the game. Just search on Google with something like:

    U.S. vs Costa Rica recap.

  9. I want to know what Demerit did to piss off Bradley so much that he doesn’t ever get a sniff of a chance even though he is called into every camp? If Boca plays LB for Rennes and Demerit plays CB for Waterford, why not go with that and try it? And I wouldn’t be surprised if Dempsey doesn’t start Saturday. He’s now come off with an attitude to BB the last three times he has been subbed. I’d bench a player just for that. And while I like Davies – he is a liability with his temper/petulance on the field. I think that little stamp in the CR game combined with his elbow in Europe is enough to make BB nervous about going to him for a forward – although I think he has done well every time he has stepped on the field for the MNT.

  10. If we get your projected lineup I will have officially moved from a one time big BB supporter to a member of the BB must go club.

    I actually applaud the strategy behind Weds night lineup (speed on the wings) but the assessment of personnel and preparation was obviously not there. And the decision to pull Torres for Sascha was the poorest decision i’ve seen since pulling out riquelme against germany 06.

    As someone said.. if Spector doesnt start something must be up there.

  11. Ives, can you go ahead and post something on what Sigi’s first lineup will be after Bradley loses the next five matches and gets canned? 😉

  12. I wish Klejstan had been suspended. I like your line up Ives. Beasley should be out. You have to consider which players are currently in form. It does not matter what they have done in the past. It seems to me, sometimes these coaches are so loyal to players from the past. (It reminds me of the former womens national team coach using Briana Scurry in goal against Brazil int he World Cup, because of her past experience). That is just plain dumb.

  13. i’ve been following these boards for a couple days now, and i’d like to jump to bob bradley’s defense. he’s taking way too much heat for wednesday’s performance and result.

    in the grand scheme of qualifying, losing on wednesday is not a big deal, and bradley knew that going into the game. costa rica is a solid team, gets wins at home, and is likely to qualify. this year’s table is interesting because mexico has struggled early and honduras has surged with a few european-based players. so, saturday’s game is the big one — it’s an opportunity to distance ourselves from honduras.

    with that in mind, wednesday’s game became a good time to experiment a little and still put out a team capable of getting a result. can beasley at LB work in a tough away game? (it’s tough to say no definitively because beasley was so obviously rusty.) who can we trust at RB? i think it was decided that wynne and spector had each earned a shot to show what they can do at right back, and with spector’s history of hip problems and wynne’s familiarity with turf, it made sense to play wynne on wednesday and spector on saturday. that may be why spector didn’t even dress — bradley didn’t even want the option to play him if wynne went down early.

    many people have been criticizing bradley for playing guys who haven’t been getting games with their clubs, and i think that’s unfair. first, bradley has argued in the past that it is of upmost important for guys to find teams where they can play every week. we all know it’s huge, and he does too. it’s not his fault that adu has gone through 3+ coaching changes in the past year, altidore landed in that bizarre loan situation at xerex, and pearce got dropped to the reserves. second, don’t forget that altidore’s hat trick against T&T came in his first 90 minutes in months. bradley took a gamble, and it worked. on wednesday, he took a gamble with beasley, and it didn’t work. that doesn’t mean there should be some hard and fast no club play, no US play rule. third, the injury situation is tricky. ching and edu would have both been major contributors this past week, but they both went down with late injuries. yes, the US pool is deeper than it was 10 years ago, but there’s a significant drop in quality after our first 15-16 guys.

    qualifying still has a ways to go, but i think the US is still fine. there was such a panic after the costa rica game, and i think everyone just needs to relax, see the big picture, and get behind the team for saturday. bradley has been quite steady as manager, and i’m confident he will steer them towards qualification.

  14. The problem with the projected lineup is that based on form, especially Wednesday’s form Bradley could end up having to sub the whole midfield. Hopefully Dempsey, Beasley, Mastro and Kliejstan won’t all suck at once, but I wouldn’t have expected that to happen verse Costa Rica either.

  15. —-Altidore–Casey—-





    Though at this point, I’d be fine with Adu over Donovan on the left. Landycakes hasn’t shown up in abig game for us in a long time. He scores most of his goals on PKs or against the terrible teams (Cuba, etc). I think sitting Landon would send a message to everyone that they need to pick their game up and no one is safe. Also, he could be subbed on in the second half as a spark and a speed injection against tired legs. Imagine the speed off the bench with him, Davies, and Beas coming in against tired legs.

  16. I really don’t want to see Bornstein. But Beasley (who I was in favor of at LB before the CR game) needs to get his head on straight. He shouldn’t see the field until he’s playing first team minutes w/ somebody…

    I’d like to see Spector at LB and risk it w/ Hejduk at RB. I can’t believe we’re so reliant on Hejduk, but we are…

  17. I’d like to see:


  18. Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore! Adu! Torres! Altidore!

  19. I’m so tired of Bradley not vauluing or playing Spector. He wants players that played in camp with him more than talent and hot streaks. Because of Spector’s injuries, he hasn’t had the time in camp and seems to be penalized for it. It’s now or never, put him in and let’s see waht we can do.

    I like the comments of all those above who would like to see Boca move to left and put DeMerit in at Center but it is never going to happen. Bradley doesn’t make moves like that.

    Totally agree with Ives on the midfield – unfortunately, I think we are going to see Pablo, Sacha and Beasley and none of them should be playing. Would like to see Clark, Torres, Donovan and Dempsey.

  20. I think basing this line-up on ANYTHING that happened in CR is a mistake. That game speaks as much to the direction of this program as Argentina’s loss to Bolivia. Nothing. Nothing at all. I will stand by my argument that due to conditions at Saprissa there was nothing to be learned about any facet of the US soccer program. With that said, I wouldn’t mind seeing the exact same line -up that started against CR out there again.

  21. I can see Ives’ second lineup. It would be the first time in a long time that we’ve seen two forwards that play overseas and have the whole striker skill set. They can both go at players, finish well, they use their bodies well, each of them are pacy. I don’t see Davies taking over once Ching gets healthy, but I think he’s the kind of striker we could really get used to.

  22. @lassidawg

    I wouldn’t give Pablo too much grief. He’s looked fit and in form for the Rapids and I think he would have been much better if Bradley (Bob, that is) didn’t ask him to defend the entire midfield alone.

    With Edu injured, you’re really only left with Clark or maybe Beckerman who could really fill in for Pablo at that role. The 4-3-3 formation really left the DM out to dry, which isn’t Pablo’s fault. And, I might add, he at least worked the entire game. Klejstan standing by while Los Ticos weaved through our defense was one of the most embarrassing things I’ve seen in a long time.

  23. im already nervous!!!

    maybe it IS time to let freddy see what he can do. how do we get adu, torrres, donovan, altidore and davies all on the field on once?????????

  24. If USA acts on FIFA’s new ruling, I’d like to see this:





  25. As long as Pablo and Beasley aren’t in the starting line up I will be fine with it. Torres is the one guy that will be in the line up that I feel can hold the ball in the midfield. He should be starting for the next few important matches.

    Beasley can be brought in if we need to try and bring more offensive pressure from the back.

    Thank you for your service Pablo, but there are better younger players that should be in the line up, especially at home.

  26. Ives,
    I’d love to see your lineup, but wouldnt be upset to have Donovan move up to take the spot by Altidore and Beasley to play LM

  27. TORRES, I realy like the guy he is going to be great for the U.S.A , BUT at the moment he should go in as a sub until he settles down. and for sure should be a Gold Cup Starter.

  28. Altidore

    Dempsey Adu Donovan

    Kljestan Clark

    Borenstein Bocanegra Onyewu Spector


    I think this lineup gives you a great mix of defense as well a great counter attack game. Torres seems to be a great player because he can start as well as be a great sub of the bench. He adds alot of fire and energy. You can sub out Adu at around the 60 minute with either Davies or Mastroeni depending on if you need to score a goal or prevent one. Also Adu gives you some advantages on the free kicks. LD just looked terrible last game. You can also look at DMB coming off the bench with some speed on the wing. Hopefully Dempsey plays alot better!!

  29. ———-Casey——–Altidore——–




  30. Ives,

    I like your lineup a lot. I would really like to see Torrez in the middle in a playmaker roll where he has fewer defensive responsibilities. I would like to see Davies in also who looked very promising against CR.

  31. Ives,

    Good line-up. The more Torres plays, the more I believe he can play the center mid role. Although, it will be hard for silent Bob to overlook his first 10-15 minutes against Costa Rica. Head to head, Torres is more in form then SK and with a little direction (coaching), can play better defensively. I hope silent Bob gives him another chance.

  32. Here’s a thought, the following left midfielders should have been given a chance to play with the national team rather than starting a player that’s been injured/riding the bench for most of the year:

    Colin Clark
    If you’ve watched him on the left for the Rapids this year you’ve seen a driven, physical player, with good defensive abilities, decent speed, and a wonderful cross. Seems like exactly what we need, no?

    Brad Davis
    OK, not much pace, but his crosses have been spot on and he’s in excellent form. At least he’d be able to get the ball on the head of a Altidore or Dempsey.

    Eddie Lewis
    Veteran, may not be showing the form of his younger years, but can still send in a good cross and always works hard. Also, actually knows how to convert to a left back.

    Khano Smith
    Just screwing with you…

    Robbie Rogers
    Great pace, a little off his best so far, but has great upside potential and a lot to prove. May not be the best defender.

    All I’m saying is that it’s not like left midfielder is some sort of wilderness. We’ve got some good young prospects and over-looked veterans that could have been given a chance, but instead we place the hopes and expectations of our national team on pine riders who look more interested in avoiding a tackle than winning an effing WCQer.

  33. Ives’ guess as to Bradley’s lineup is also my guess. Here’s the lineup I’d like to see, which assumes that Hejduk can’t go:





    God help me, it’s Bradley’s exact lineup, except with Torres for Beasley (and I’d like to see Torres stay WIDE). I almost put Clark in for Mastreoni except that I want a true defensive midfielder to play next to Kljestan (Clark is more of a two-way guy, like Kljestan) and I have to wipe Wednesday from my mind and remember that Mastreoni is normally a very good player.

  34. I don’t see why you guys want to throw Bob under the bus. His players let him down. I also don’t think Torres should have been taken off, but in the first half I don’t think he won one 50/50 ball. THAT’s where that game was lost.

    I honestly think that if Edu had been available, he would have been able to provide the steel to tell those Ticos where to go. (Don’t mean that in a racist way, by the way)
    Gulati: Guus, we’ve just raised 30 million dollars to get you out of your contract with Russia, and coach the USMNT
    Guus: Sounds good. Let me see your prospective back four. (mumble, mumble)
    Gulati: So, what do you think?
    Guus: Pass.

  35. Altidore/Casey—–Davies





    like JPC I think Dempsey dissappear on the right…

  36. If Bradley plays that Central midfield pairing he deserves to get fired and I’ll boo the sh*t out of it tomorrow night.

    I’ll forgive him for missing it in San Jose from the bench. But he’s seen the video now.

    Clark and Torres!!!!!!!

  37. @ saladyears

    “It’s funny how many people are calling for Boca at left back. Why? He’s slow, he hasn’t played there in years, and he’s not going to add anything to the attack.”

    Can’t agree with you, there. Boca played LB every game for Rennes this year (withe exception of the last two league games a couple French Cup games). And he is no slower than Pearce, who logged more minutes in the last year than anyone else on the team.

  38. I was wrong, Rennes plays with four defenders and Boca is LB. I’m now officially on the “Boca for USMNT LB” bandwagon

  39. Javier: I’d think it almost impossible for Bradely to get fired. There is a lot of wiggle room for the US to qualify, so the pressure of a couple of bad games can easily be reduced. A win against Honduras and we are comfortably on pace for a top three finish.

    Besides, the mind set in US Soccer – probably correctly – is that frantic changes typically back fire. At least they would with our workmanlike group.

  40. Clark instead of Mastroeni as defensive mid, Torres instead of Beasley at left mid and Feilhaber filling in for Bradley. I could live with Klejstan there too but it would be interesting to see how Feilhaber can play at this point.

  41. Boca plays his position at LB week in and week out with Rennes. Again, let’s have our defenders who play their club positions play the same spots for the Nat’l setup. Hopefully Torres & Wynne will start. I think the criticism on Wynne is nuts. If he shouldn’t start, or be in the squad because of his play in the CR game, then neither should Onyewu. Barring his mistake, he settled in and did a decent job for the fact that his more experienced teammates sucked big time. If anything, besides the PK goal, Donovan did his ‘when the going gets tough, I disappear…’ act. And I’m one of his biggest defenders.

    As I remember, The Ticos were blazing the US left side much more than the right…

    Altidore Casey
    Donovan Torres Clark Dempsey
    Boca DeMerit Onyewu Wynne


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