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If Grenada was the appetizer then the U.S. Men's national team's next Gold Cup opponent has to be considered the main course, but while Honduras should provide a tougher test than the 'Spice Boys', this isn't the same Honduras team that pushed the U.S. first team to the limit just a month ago.
Yes, the United States is fielding a second team in this Gold Cup, but Honduras is also missing many of its key stars, particularly in midfield. Without Amado Guevara and Wilson Palacios, the Honduran midfield won't be nearly as strong as the one the United States faced at Soldier Field on June 6.
With that in mind, don't be surprised if Bob Bradley decides to open things up a bit with regard to his lineup and approach to the match.
So who will get the start for the USA on Wednesday vs. Honduras? Here is one possible grouping:
PROJECTED USA LINEUP vs. HONDURAS
Seems like an unconventional lineup/formation for Bob Bradley right? Well, he showed in the game at Costa Rica that he's open to trying new things in the right circumstance, and while it didn't work in Costa Rica (moreso because his fullbacks were awful than anything else) that doesn't mean Bradley won't be open to really testing a below-par Honduras midfield that had its share of trouble with Haiti.
So why just four changes from the team that beat Grenada? Bob Bradley knows that beating Honduras means a place in the quarterfinals and a chance to use a brand new lineup vs. Haiti in the third group match. Is fatigue a concern? Did you watch the Grenada match? There wasn't exactly high pressure on the Americans.
Can a Feilhaber-Adu central midfield get the job done? It they were facing Guevara and Palacio I would say absolutely not, but with Honduras fielding a second unit midfield nowhere near as potent as the first-team choices, this is a good chance to see how an Adu-Feilhaber tandem would work. This lineup would also let us see Ching and Davies work together. Davies works much better with a target striker and Ching is someone who makes strike partners better with his passing and hold-up play. Now, if Ching can't go due to injury, it will be very interesting to see whether Bradley starts Kenny Cooper up top, or keeps Kyle Beckerman in central midfield, starts Quaranta up top and play Adu as a withdrawn forward behind Davies like he did vs. Grenada. That lineup would look like this:
Santino Quaranta gets the nod in this lineup because he's on good form and he's playing at home (though I'm not sure how sentimental Bob Bradley really is). Stuart Holden played very well on Saturday, and it wouldn't at all shock me if he got a start vs. Honduras, but Quaranta has been very good this season and brings a bit more dynamic attacking threat from the flank than Holden.
Now, what if Bradley decided he saw enough of Adu vs. Grenada and thinks he's too rusty? Look for this lineup:
The central defense is a bit of a toss-up for the match, but I think we'll see Marshall-Parkhurst. Honduras' best player is striker Carlos Costly, a deadly finisher who combines strength, speed and great aerial ability. Marshall should get the call to deal with him. Pearce and Cherundolo should stand pat as starters.
What do you think of this lineup? What lineup would you like to see vs. Honduras? Hoping for the Adu-Feilhaber tandem? Want to see Kenny Cooper? Think the Americans can post another rout?
Share your thoughts below.
I gotta be real honest with you brent. Aside from the blast against Mexico…good ball composure, what has he done really? I mean he really didnt impress that much in the few matches he has…and with respect to my comments about playing both sides of the pitch…i gotta say that on the defensive side of things..he was pis-poor at best. I think he left his feet 3-4 times just outside the 18 wich is highly frowned upon. Im not taking anything away from Benny because Benny has great vision but I dont see him as that center mid leader. He lacks that presence..but beckerman has what Benny has and more…because he can control that midfield and can actually defend as you stated. As far as your comment with respect to playing similar styles such as those of edu and clark…I just dont see that comparison. He is a center mid. I think one can make that comparison because of the way he approaches the defensive part of the midfield but 70 % he is leading the counter or playing through balls. The other two are defensive mids. It sounds as if you dont realy see too much of RSL games but its all good…
Holden and Rogers are a must start, maybe give them a rest on the third game.
@primoone, I disagree with your comment comparing Beckerman with Feilhaber. I see Benny, when he’s in-form, as one of the most confident, creative attacking players in the MNT pool. I don’t see Beckerman being that offensive-minded, more of a defensive midfielder in the mold of a Clark or a Mastroeni. I think Feilhaber and Beckerman would actually make a good CM pairing as they each bring different skillsets to the table.
Up top, all I ask is please no Cooper — he’s almost as overrated as Adu by people on this blog. Having said that, if starting Adu jumpstarts him towards future contributions, then by all means play the kid. Give Quaranta another shot as well. We already know what Ching and Davies can do. I’ve already given up on Cooper though.
Beckerman is the real deal. This guy can play. Ive seen him work the La Galaxy midfield for years and I gotta be honest, this guy is the prototypical attacking midfielder that causes headaches for the oposition’s MF and Defenders. He has such composure on the ball. He makes sound decisions, knows when to push the counter or if need be, when to knock the air out of the ball to draw out oposing defenders. In addition to this the guy has a wicked shot from distance as well.
Once great thing is that this guy can really flourish under Bradley taking into consideration that he likes to put MF’s that play both sides of the pich. Having said that,I think the we are all in agreement that the competition was sub-par. But, you will see that when there is stiffer competition, The guy ups it to another level. A level that frankly Sasha, Benny just dont have. This guy does everything well and with a quick trigger as opposed to the aformentioned that are just not that quick with the soccer IQ.
This guy is the complete player in center
Was it just me or did Beckermen look really smooth and good the other night?
Only those who watch players regulay really know so that is why I ask you.
Adu -Americas football fans love child.
The blind love of this guy is just unbelievable.
I think,and others much more in the know then me have speculated, that Benny F. was called in because he was so displeased with his play the other night in terms of distribution and work rate.
Some people have great amonts of talent but can’t make good with for some reson or the other. Adu may just be one of those guys. Plus- soccer is a game played more effectivly with agression and grit while staying on your feet.
CBR hit the nail on the head:
2nd half slide Holden in for beckerman..let him play centrally where he plays for Houston…bring in fresh legs in Quaranta
Love to see Quaranta play. The DC faithful will be there to get him going, and he’s been on great form lately. Give him the start here, and Holden against Haiti and maybe in the Knockout rounds.
I think Bob has seen enough of Adu, so I see him starting beckerman and feilhaber as defensive mid field tandem, with feilhaber controlling the attack! i don’t know why you have gotten rid of holden in all of your line-ups, i very much expect to keep seeing him out wide.
So your last line-up, but keeping Holden in is what I expect to see.