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Who should the USMNT start vs. Honduras?

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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:








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starts Kenny Cooper up top, or keeps Kyle Beckerman in central midfield, starts Quaranta up top and play Adu as a withdrawn forward behind Davies like he did vs. Grenada.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.



  1. Adu – got to play him to get a look at him a little match fitter. Suspect Bob would have given him a low grade for the Grenada game, though there were glimpses of great promise

    Beckerman – didn’t love his play for world class competition, but he’s a solid bandaid for a suspect backline and I’d recruit him to our local MLS team in a heartbeat. Is that style of play what Bradley is trying to develop?

    Ching – leave Brian out, surely we know his play. He’s first team material and best he plays with that level of USMNT players, unless Bradley really thinks one or more of the attackers in this squad is moving to 1st team and wants to examine the chemistry

    Quaranta – does he currently have the pace to play as a winger at an international level? I’d like to see him working wide more to test that

    Davies – only play him against the best teams, will this Honduras squad fit that bill? He needs to sharpen against the best, get his intuition and reaction time calibrated for the likes of Brazil & Italy, not dulled against easy competition

    Being essentially a 2nd team roster, it will be interesting to see who plays and how they do; I just hope they try to hold to the high standard the 1st team set in the last few games in the Confederations Cup…

  2. ———-Robles———-

    Subs: Goodsen, Cronin, Quaranta

  3. I want speeeeeeeeeed! Here is our chance to see what USA would look like if we made this our strength:





  4. We are a 4-4-2 nation that plays best when we get 8 behind the ball & counter. Now that we are playing weaker teams the formation should’t change just the type of combination in the middle. The biggest mistake that coaches can make is trying to overcoach. Make the players comfortable and let them play.





  5. I’ve seen enough of Davies – give him a break for a game. I’d actually like to see Quaranta up top with Holden on the wing delivering service. I think Ching, Quaranta, Adu, Rogers and Holden would be a pretty powerful attacking force.

  6. if Adu plays you have to design a formation for him. Maybe he is that good or maybe not. he never seems to fit in to any scheme on any team that he plays for.

  7. I’d like to see the Feilhaber-Adu pairing in the middle, but I don’t think Bob would ever do it. Not defensive enough for him, especially considering the two center mids he sent out against the minnow, Grenada.

    I’d really like to see Holden get some time in the middle too, maybe with Benny.

    Although, I don’t really think that we will see any competition in the first round that will be strong enough to provide a valid assessment of any of the new players being trotted out.

  8. —————–Ching—-Davies———–






    For fun lets make a list of guys who had all the talent in the world that never succeeded because they had no heart and grit. Americans perferred but will take any one who you think fits the mold

    1. Denilson


    3. ??? etc.

  10. Ives’ 2nd line up with Holden starting and Quaranta subbing in is what i think we will see.

    The only thing that will bum me out is if Adu isn’t starting. Yes he’s rusty but he’s exciting and inventive. As a withdrawn forward he can’t do much harm – lol!

  11. I know the home town faithful will want Quaranta to start, but this is Honduras which will be our best test in the group. Holden has to start since he is basically one of the five to seven guys on this squad with a chance of making it to SA. Bringing Quaranta on early in the second half would be a good idea.

    Also, this game is not the game to experiment with the formation. I say put Adu in the withdrawn striker role with a lone one up top. Since he’s leaving after the group stage anyway, let him experiment as the attacking mid or even right mid against Haiti.

  12. I would love to see:













    Only problem I see with the 4-3-3 is that it’s all attack and no defensive coverage in the midfield. Holden and Rogers aren’t exactly defensive wizards and I don’t know if Benny could be that “lock down” central midfielder in a 4-3-3 but I would love to see this formation if the objective is to attack, attack, attack!!

  13. Here’s my experimental lineup. For Honduras, start vets along the backline since Honduras actually knows how to attack. Holden and Rogers as 2-way mids to make overlapping runs for Benny and Adu, who patrol the center. Cooper and Davies up top.






    in what’s really a 4-2-2-2. I don’t expect to ever see this formation, but I’m just curious.

  14. I was surprised at how terrible the surface in Seattle was, it didn’t seem that bad for the Sounders games that I’ve seen… Adu was happy that they would be playing Honduras on grass, which should also make rogers, holden, Feilhaber and Davies very happy

  15. I would start…


  16. —-Quaranta—Davies—-







  17. If we want more veterans











  18. ———–Cooper Davies———-

    –Adu Beckerman Feilhaber Cronin–

    Pearce Conrad Parkhurst Cherundolo


  19. i want to see some kind of combo of cooper/altidore or cooper/davies. it would be interesting to see what problems too big forwards can create for the other team. also i think adu would create more havoc as a winger.

  20. Osman Chavez and Carlo Costly are the only two returning starters from the recent WC Qualifying match, as far as I can tell. Also, few bench players from that match are involved…so this is a good opportunity for Bradley to experiment. Similarly, I expect Rueda to experiment with Honduras side.

    Should be an interesting match to watch. I think Rueda is a clever manager and might have a surprise up his sleeve.

  21. “Sorry to inject politics, but what is happening with the political situation in Honduras??!? Wonder how much involvement the CIA has in that mess….”

    Hey Brent- this link will send you to a good source for what’s going on in Honduras:

  22. I want to see the guys that will have a chance to factor in for 2010 – Holden, Adu, Cherundolo (not so much, he’s seen plenty of caps), Davies, Pearce, Rogers. I’m really curious to see Rogers play an international when he doesn’t have the time and space that he did vs Grenada. I know everyone is raving about him, but he had virtually all day to make decisions. I don’t think there will be many, if anymore, games like that. I’ve watched pieces of all the games so far and Grenada has easily been the worst – no pressure on the ball whatsoever.

  23. Ching-Davis





    If Ching is injured I think bob goes with starts Cooper. Adu rusty,but hopefully he can shake it off and have a good gold cup. He has a lot to learn.

  24. Any chance it could be Holden and Feilhaber in the center, with Quaranta and Rogers out wide?

    I think a back four of Pearce-Conrad-Marshall-Cherundolo should be able to hold it down.

  25. @ CBR,

    I agree that davies has played welll and has some energy, but I don’t think he’s even close to a lock for 2010. Does he have the inside track after confed cup? absolutely, but that doesn’t mean hes a lock, at least IMO.

  26. Wouldn’t be sad if Beckerman never saw the pitch for the U.S. ever again. Not a fan. Too clumsy.

    I think Quaranta deserves his opportunities but I think Holden has more potential to grow into a solid reserve/role player for the MNT…so I think he keeps his “starting job” for the tournament until his play dictates otherwise.

    Definitely rather see Cooper than Ching. Definitely like to see wins, but we’re looking for style over substance really. We need to see some guys play well and prove their mettle, if it happens we lose so be it.

  27. Why is Conrad there if he isnt going to dress? Its pointless to have vets in camp if they arent going to play, let young players get that practice time with the nats, its not like Bob is teaching Jimmy anything.. and his club team needs him badly…

    oh and Feilhaber is decent defensively, but i doubt bob will do that first line-up ives…

  28. No real preference b/n Holden or Quaranta, but I would put money on Quaranta seeing the field on Wednesday, whether as a sub or starter, considering his form and the fact that he’ll be playing at home (a la Brad Evans)

  29. I hope this is about trying to see how We Feilheiber and Adu link up. As someone who has been pushing Adu for a long time, I honestly thought Adu had a pretty terrible game the first time; he didn’t do anything with Davies. If all went as I have seen it, a fully realized Adu becomes a Robinho-type slightly withdrawn striker pairing with Altidore, and that requires an understanding with the attacking midfielder, Benny. I hope that is what is going on here.

  30. Ives do you really think that first lineup is a possibility? Who is going to win the ball, sure won’t be Feilhaber, sure as heck won’t be Adu. Usually you are a little more level headed in your lineup choices. Bradley will go with either Pause or Beckerman with Feilhaber in midfield. Adu playing depends more on who is healthy / who Bradley wants to see.

  31. Honestly, I have trouble believing that Bradley would go with only one holding player when he didn’t do it against Grenada. Also, I wonder how much can be gained by playing Adu in a position it seems extremely unlikely will ever be used in a meaningful match with the nats anytime in the near future.

  32. I think you see Ives’ 3rd line-up. There si no way he plays the first one there sin’t enough bite in that central midfield to chew a twinkie.

  33. ——————-Cooper——–Davies———————






    I like this one too but it doesn’t really matter. What I want to see is key subs come in earlier to get experience.

    I AM NO ADU BANDWAGON GUY- just wanted to make that clear but would like to see him get plenty of field time so we can get to the facts on the man vs. the myth.

    I don’t care if he scores or makes El Pibe like passes I just want to see him chase with heart on defense and stay on his feet when he gets touched. He needs to show more grit and determination because the Harlem Globe Trotters approach does not get you far in world soccer.

    For fun lets make a list of guys wwho had all the talent in the world that never succeeded because they had no heart and grit.

    1. Denilson


    3. ??? etc.

  34. I don’t think Bob would ever play a diamond midfield with Feilhaber as the pivot and Adu as the more attacking of the two. That central midfield looks good offensively, but would absolutely get shredded by any half-decent attacking team.

  35. i think it will be last game for formation.

    rogers — adu — holden
    pearce –marshall–park–dolo

  36. If this tourney is about finding out what younger players have then Holden should not come out of the line up at all. From all reports, Bradley has really liked him in his camps and he did ALOT of work as a flank player Saturday, esp when you consider his ability to play box to box. Kid deserves the chance to play as much as possible in this tourney.

  37. Sorry to inject politics, but what is happening with the political situation in Honduras??!? Wonder how much involvement the CIA has in that mess….

  38. sit davies, he made the 23 man 2010 roster as far as i am concerend…let Adu play 2nd striker





    2nd half slide Holden in for beckerman..let him play centrally where he plays for Houston…bring in fresh legs in Quaranta

  39. I am a fan of Benny, but I don’t think he would be successful as the lone CDM in a diamond; Benny needs to share the defensive work load with another player. If Adu is the CAM, (I think he will be a withdrawn forward), then he should be paired with a nasty D Mid such as Beckerman.

    I see Benny being paired in the midfield with Beckerman or Pause; I would love to see Adu as a second forward alongside Ching…

  40. I like the second line up, a 4-4-1-1 with Adu in the hole behind Davies.

    Just bought my tickets for the match. Pretty excited as this will be my first time watching the Nats live. Hopefully RFK will be hopping.

  41. I thought Beckerman did very well and made smart decisions/tackles in CM, though it tough to take-away anything too analytical with the last result…

    Would be nice to see the Feilhaber/Beckerman combo, but the Hondurans will be very motivated to beat us (after the recent world cup qualifier). The more experience against Honduras the better.

    Personally I’d like to see Adu use his abilities up front with Davies more than Ching.

  42. ——————-Cooper——–Davies———————






    I like this line up but wonder it we could ever see a 3-5-2 out of Bob. I know he loves to play the flat-four but I would like to see if our midfield probs could be solved with an extra player and not sacrifice up top. Good time to experiment.

  43. Don’t really understand why people think Bob is going to play a diamond ever. He has never shown an indication to do that.

    I think he will change a few players just like he did in 2007. Maybe Ching comes in, maybe Quaranta comes in. Feilhaber will probably replace Pause or Beckerman, Robles might get a call and one of the central defenders might make way.

    But it won’t be in a diamond. Never will be with Bob, especially with Feilhaber as the pivot.


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