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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. Casey —– Altidore

    Dempsey ————————–Donovan

    Torres —— Adu



  2. 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.

  3. Enough with lineups that contain players who can’t get off the pine with their home clubs. Beasley should not have been called into camp, let alone given a start. Same with Adu and same with Altidore. These guys are not match fit nor competition tested. They are not 90 minute players nor are they mentally ready for the quickness of a qualifying match. No player, no matter how good, and none of them are that good, does not get “rusty” when sitting or rehabbing an injury. If those 3 are the among the “best” we have right now, the US team is 3 and done in SA and will be the laughingstock of the Confed Cup.

  4. Keep Torres and Clarke. Dump Beasley and Mastroeni. I used to be the world’s biggest Beasley fan. I followed his career in England, PSV and Scotland. He is not playing like a world class soccer player. I think his small size and past injuries have caused him to fear the attacking style of play that Bradley wants. It makes me sick to see him stop, look and pass back whenever he gets the ball. He’s still fast, but it seems he has trouble getting past a bulldog defender who is 30 pounds heavier and 4 inches taller than he is.

  5. Instead of the “Call up Cooper” chants, “Start Altidore” and the more recent “Torres must be played” we as USMNT supporter should put pressure on Bradley once more with the chant:


    That way we have a reliable person there and Spector on the right and therefore can focus on other areas like our damn midfield

  6. Does anybody else feel Donovan has lost his killer instincts in the final third and the US is better off with Donovan as an outside mid due to better forward options in Davies, Altidore, Ching.. I like any two of Davies, Altidore, Ching starting with Donovan as an outside mid (like ives ‘preferred’ lineup)

  7. ————–Casey———–

  8. Since this will be BB;’s last game as coach … I’ll go with this lineup.




    Though I think Hell would have to freeze over before Spector sees the field. As long as Pablo and Beasley don’t start, I’ll be happy

  9. I truly believe that your player personal needs to dictate the system that team plays and there are many pitfalls when coaches are not able to adjust their systems to compliment their players’ strengths and abilities. And trying to have Beasley play as a left back is a great example of a coach for needs to hold onto a system so badly that he is willing to jeopardize results than playing a system that would fit his roster.

    If we only have 3 defenders in the player pool then please let’s play a 3-5-2.

    Also, can we please stop looking to Landon Donavon as the great US savior? He is a zero factor in big games and did absolutely nothing on Wednesday night. It’s great that he scores 5 goals against Barbados, but when we need a leader in big games this guy disappears. Let’s keep him on the bench tomorrow and play a 3-5-2. I would play the following and try and play Freddie Adu in behind El Salvador’s midfield players and let him run at their back line.

    I know coaching is a opinion and everyone has their own ideas, but everyone must agree that Wednesday was embarrassing and very difficult to watch. If the result on Saturday is not acceptable, please can Bradley before Cup qualification is lost.

    — -Altidore———Davies————-

    Clark Adu –Dempsey




  10. I’m not a fan of Mastroeni playing at D-mid at all, but I wonder why his name hasn’t come up at all in the discussion of LB/RB. I know it’s been awhile, but back when he started at Miami he played quite a bit at RB. He’s a solid tackler and a veteran presence, and has played in front of Boca and Onyewu for so long that communication wouldn’t be a problem. I know he’s on the slow side and wouldn’t offer much in the attack, but I’d rather have those attributes as a stay-at-home fullback than at central mid. And we’ve been so quick to suggest moving various players to outside back (Lewis, Convey, Beasley, even O’Brien), why hasn’t he been in the mix? Just a thought.

  11. Wispy-

    I don’t know their 40 times or anything, but Pearce *appears* to be much faster than Boca during the run of play.





  12. I’m tempted to start Casey too, just based on MLS form, but it does seem like a huge gamble to do so. I don’t know if Davies is a 90 minute starter yet.

    I would start Clark over Mastroeni because Clark is younger, faster, stronger, more athletic, and I have to imagine Pablo is still exhausted from Wednesday night.

    I would not start with Beasley after the Wednesday debacle.

    Plus, I’d let Frankie rest his hammy, I want to him playing in the Confed Cup, unless Spector is lights out on Saturday.

  13. ———-Altidore——–Davies——–

    Sub: Casey for whichever forward is playing worse around 60th-65th minute

    Sub: Adu for Torres around 70th minute

    Sub: Either Pablo for Rico or Rico for Pablo, depending on who starts, around 80th minute

    Pick you poison between Pablo and Rico, both commit some pretty stupid fouls in bad spots, but they will at least give us a definsive midfielder that can break up some of the Honduras offense.

    Posted by: JustinG | June 05, 2009 at 10:45 AM
    Sub: Either Pablo for Rico or Rico for Pablo, depending on who starts, around 80th minute

    I completely agree with JustinG. Might as well swap up Donovan and Dempsey and see how they work it out, and after the last game the two center midfielders played, this would be a good opportunity to see Demeritt in the middle and that would eliminate our weakness on the left. every game we get beaten up in, el salvador, costa rica, its our left and right backs that get beaten first. boca out there could really shape us up.

    One other option I could totally go with, though its mixing it up a bit and I think it would be a shocker:


    Both Donovan and Dempsey are forwards, and Altidore and Adu both have the speed and skill to play the wing. Imagine Adu’s crosses into the center with Donovan and Dempsey waiting…Also you get the Beasley/Donovan combo on the left side and the calm and collected torres controlling the middle with clark as the disrupter. both wing defenders should be better than last game too.

    Isn’t it crazy how much things have changed since the beginning of this qualifying round???? a few months ago this line-up was a given!!!

    Now we are going into the biggest summer of the last 3 years and we are in quite a cluster mess…..the pressure is on, I am cheering for the players and their coaches to show some amazing skill and turn us around, though it should be expected that they won’t and that we really just aren’t that good after all….especially with all of the injuries: dolo, hejduk, edu, convey, ching,

  14. Here it is:





  15. I saw at least one person on here suggest it and I agree that it would be worthwhile, given the deficit of central midfielders, to play Dempsey in the middle. He is one of the best passers on the team and never seems to get involved on the wing due to the teams style of play. He tends to drift into the middle when playing for Fulham when on the attack anyway. I also think DeMerrit and Spector need to get the nod given the defensive breakdowns of the last 2 road games. Push Boca out left like he plays for Rennes. Put DeMerrit in the middle with Onyewu and Spector on the right. Solid back 4. All experienced at the positions. No experiments. Also time to drop Beasley. He is not playing club football despite being healthy. He has no business starting.

  16. Alitdore




    Win balls, keep the ball. Subs:Adu, Davis,Casey

  17. Only Rambo De Leon will sit out for Honduras with accumulated yellow’s Expect to see a 4-5-1 lineup similar to this


    Sabillion Bernardez Beata/Chavez Figueroa/Izaguirre


    Nunez Guevara Turcios


  18. I will never again talk smack about Ching. It’s like that girlfriend that annoys you and disappoints you and then when she is gone you feel awful and the rest of your life falls apart (see what I did there). Life=USMNT

  19. 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.

    Posted by: saladyears | June 05, 2009 at 10:40 AM

    He played all year at Rennes as a left back and did very well…

  20. ——–Altidore——-Davies——–
    Dempsey – – – – – – – – – – – Donovan
    – – – – – – – – Howard – – – – – – – –

  21. does nobody wanna see Feilhaber in this game? has everybody forgotten what Benny did last time he played at Soldier Field??? i think Benny’s got to get in this game. Freddy Adu too. and yes, John Harkes sux…

  22. Mastroeni’s time in my opinion should be done with the National Team. He looked slow and confused the other night. Like an old boxer trying to hold on for one more fight. Move on Bob.

    And I loved this guy for the last 6 years.

    Beaz has to take a seat too. How can you play him when he isn’t even playing with his club team.


    Need to start Torres. AND NOT TAKE HIM OUT AT HALF. He has a sick touch. Just needs to be more assertive in the attack. Too many back passes the other night. I’d move him towards the middle of the pitch.

    Oh and why the hell is Dempsey playing on the right when in the PREMIER League he plays on the left, makes no sense to me. Bob, I’m beginning to feel uneasy here.

    Here’s my lineup.

    —— Altidore —– Davies—


    Bornstein—- Boca—– Onyewu—-Specter


  23. Adu and Torres actually seemed to be trying in CR… may have been the ONLY guys trying.

    Didn’t see a single slide takle.

  24. I understand what you’re saying–if Beasley isn’t playing for Rangers, he’s not good enough to start for the USMNT. BUT, you also suggest, if Hejduk is healthy, he should start against Honduras. Here’s my question:

    If Hejduk were part of Rangers, do you honestly believe he’d be playing for them? And if Beasley were with the Crew, do you think he’d fail to make the squad?

    I think you can make a valid argument that you have to perform for club before you perform for your country, but I would say that Altidore (not playing for Xerez), Adu (not playing for Monaco), and Beasley (not playing for Rangers) are far more talented than Hejduk. Not playing for their clubs doesn’t affect that. Form and fitness are other issues, though…

  25. ————-howard———-

    specotor- Gooch–Jayd—Boca




    ——-Josi——-DMB or Davies)

    The reason i put DMB up front is because he will give you some great service into the box from the left side if you can spring him free…also, im sure he will want to redeem his poor performance and solidify his spot in the attack (his natural position)

  26. I say we go back to the good ol’ days with a 5-man back line. DeMerit scares the hell out of me. Isn’t he the guy that was embarrassed by El Salvador? Even so, he doesn’t play much, and usually there’s good reason for a coach consistently not playing a player, even for Bob (who I support fully.)

    So, let’s try this:


    Keep Mastro and Clark back, let Boca and Spector (who see the game MUCH better than DMB and Wynne) make appropriate runs…but we still have a 3-person wrecking crew when they do.

    Donovan is completely ineffective up top. Completely. He needs to be able to run at defenses, not get served. And Jozy works better with a strong, static CF like Ching/Casey.

  27. Ives’s second lineup is my choice as well, with one exception (also mentioned by Ives): if Hejduk is healthy, I’d start him at right back. I like the speed and strength of a Davies-Altidore pairing. Donovan creates better from a midfield position, and is fast enough to track back if necessary to help out the left back. Beasley needs to shake off Wednesday’s debcale, and the rest of his rust. First subs are Adu (not Klejstan), Spector (not Wynne), and Mastroeni (I know he was awful against CR, but I might still use him to help protect a lead).

  28. My line up would be:






  29. –Beas–Beas–




    That’s the lineup I’d go with against the SBI XI of Sunday CenterMids and I would still win. It’s amazing how everyone on here is a tactical genius and so sure about there knowledge. The ship is not sinking and there is no need to panic and most importantly is that Robbie Findley is a better forward than Charlie Davies. Davies plays on a team that couldn’t beat any MLS squad and in a league that is on par with the USL.

  30. Off topic, but one element of the US ‘team’ severely lacking is John Harkes. Sick of his self-absorbed blather and absence of serious analysis or commentary (not to mention inability to pronounce MASTRO-ENI). Surely I can’t be alone….

  31. If there is a silver lining to what happened in Costa Rica, it must be that Bradley (if he is even remotely observant) has now learned an axiomatic truth: against high-level competition, a left midfielder cannot be converted into a left back. It is far better that he learned the axiom at a fairly early stage in WCQ, rather than, for instance, after having conceded a goal in the 1st 10 minutes of the World Cup group stage against the Czech Republic.

    If Beasley in not good enough for Rangers, he’s not good enough for the US — at any position. Similarly, if Pearce is not good enough for Rostock, then he is not good enough for the US.

    If Hejduk is available, play Spector at left back. He’s naturally left-footed, and played left back for Man. Utd. and Charlton.

    If Hejduk is unavailable, play Spector at right back, play Bocanegra on the left (he was one of the best left backs in France this year), and play Califf or Demerit in the middle.

    Altidore Casey

    Donovan Torres Dempsey


    Bocanegra Demerit Onyewu Spector


  32. I like Ives lineup but I start Casey and save Jozy for the 2nd half since he doesn’t look fit enough for 180 minutes in 3 days.

    The Pablo/Kljestain duo is so turrible I hope we don’t see either one.

  33. I’m not calling for Bradley’s head here or anything, but I continue to be baffled by some of his selections.

    Torres was our best player in that first half, and he was replaced? Why does BB keep rewarding Pablo’s poor performances? Why is Spector not starting in these situations?

    I’m glad to see Altidore is starting lately (as our lone striker…let’s be honest, ESPN, this is no 4-3-3), but I find many of Bradley’s choices very frustrating.

  34. Whatever the line up is, I have to hope that Landon is back in the middle. He’s too important to be that far away from the ball. And then if he has to track back to get the ball it stalls the attack.

  35. ——-Altidore——-

    My choice as well.

  36. Ives,

    Do you REALLY think that Bob is going to stick with Beasely, even at LM? Clearly he’s a horrible Left Back (and nothing against him for that, he’s never played that position), but he’s also playing horribly right now when he gets forward- re-watch how many times possession died on Wednesday night when the ball went to him, and bounced 10 feet away to the defender. He’s terrible right now.

    How can Bob Bradley stick with him???


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