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Who should the USA start vs. El Salvador?

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The U.S. men's national team will play its second match of 2010 in less than a week against El Salvador, and while the match is carrying much less buzz than future matches against the Netherlands, Turkey and the Czech Republic, it is important in its own right.

Some fans think the match is pointless. At least a few of the more cynical U.S. fans, particularly the ones who live on a steady diet of European soccer and loathe MLS, believe it's a waste of time, but the reality is that it has much more value than some want to realize.

My latest Fox Soccer piece goes into detail about next week's friendly, and why it matters. In short, the match is the last good chance some MLS standouts have to impress Bob Bradley and keep themselves in the race for a World Cup roster spot.

So what kind of lineup can we expect to see from the current U.S. squad in camp? Here is a lineup we could see taking the field in Tampa on Wednesday:

USA Projected Lineup vs. El Salvador





Some thoughts:

Might seem strange to have both Casey and Ching paired together, but something tells me we could see them as a tandem. If Bradley goes with a target forward-speed forward combo, I'll give the edge to a Ching-Findley pairing. (On second thought, I think we're more likely to see two pairings, one in each half, like Ching-Findley and Casey-Cunningham.)

McCarty as a starter might surprise, but he did get some playing time in the November friendlies. Kljestan in a central role is very possible.

The defense seems easy enough to project, can't imagine anyone but this group starting.

So what lineup would I like to see? Here's a starting XI I would put together:





Geoff Cameron was a standout centerback in MLS last season, but many (including Houston coach Dom Kinnear) believe right wing could be his best position on the international level. Whether he plays on the right, or centrally with Kljestan on the right, I would be interested in seeing this combination.

Chris Pontius is someone who needs to get a look, but I doubt he's going to get a start at this point.

Orozco doesn't have Wynne's speed but Wynne's poor positioning and inability to read the game well often negates his speed. Whether it's Orozco or even converted midfielder Brad Evans, it's time to somebody else on the right flank.


What lineup would you like to see the USA field against El Salvador? Will you be watching the match? Who do you see having a big game?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Ching-Casey

    I must admit, I don’t follow MLS, and I don’t know much about 8-10 players…

    However, I do know that Ching and Casey are the best forwards, I don’t like Perkins in the back, Pearce has shown well for the MNT in the past and deserves another look, Sacha could be on or off, either way he is entertainingly good or entertainingly bad, Beckerman rarely has an off day(last game was an off day) so he should be back to par, I know pontious had a great season in the MLS, Rogers is a strong back up left wing for the USMNT, and I believe in Marshall.

  2. You do realize minnows in Serie A, EPL, La Liga, FA Cup, Champions League, etc get results against teams 10X better than them because they are ORGANIZED better, don’t you?

    When you park the bus in front of the goal, 99 times out of a 100, it comes down to A. Heart (determination, courage) and B. Organization. We horribly lacked the organization (see every single one of the 3 goals scored on us) and we didn’t insert the determination (created by subs when your onfield team is lacking it).

    I have seen a division 2 team beat a premier league team. I have seen high school teams beat college teams. College teams beat professional teams. And in all those times it came down to those attributes.

    Championship teams can be built on the parked bus (makes for a terrible watch). Our players were not capable of it because Bradley stood there against his bloody post, starring off into oblivion instead of being a general and screaming at the players to position themselves and pulling players aside to give them instructions.

    When you are a bystanding coach, when plan A fails you aren’t prepared for plan B and that is what happened.

    The insertion of talent had nothing to do with it. The fact they earn more had nothing to do with it. It came down to disorganization before the first goal and every time after they score another and it came down to a breaking spirit which you could see in their faces.

    (SBI-Josh, can you please cut down the size of these comments. For the purposes of this comments section, if you can’t say it in less than 200 words it probably doesn’t need to be said.)

  3. Turkey’s starting XI is not better than ours nor is Russia’s that much better. They are organized better and played better. Those teams, you could see, were positioned and told to do things that minimized the threats of their opponents.

    There are countless interviews with players who switch coaches and complain they don’t prepare enough. Take England: The players are constantly talking how different it is now that they a tactician. They study previous games, learn the weaknesses of players, their training sessions are altered to better prepare them for the game.

    Our Youth isn’t given the chance to mature! Wenger, Fergie, Moyes, etc, all have to deal with the sloppy play of youth but they all recognize that the only way for them to get over it is to be played through the pain. Our players would mature and do far better when they jumped to Europe if they knew what it took and the best chance of that is to be in the US squad.

    I’m not saying abandon all the players. I’m saying for the McCary’s, Rogers’, Beckerman’s, etc, who are C players and will be nothing more, give their spot to an up and coming player so that they can at least benefit from the experience.

  4. None of those bar Howard would make the 23 of any of those teams and Howard only makes it for England because England has some of the worst goal keepers in memory.

    The coach is responsible for the tactics, preparation, and organization of a team.

    Friendlies don’t matter, never said they did. They’re used for experimenting however Bob’s idea of experimenting is playing the same MLS C players hoping something changes when he can start preparing the youth.

    If all we can do is have a glorified team of mostly C team players, what is the point of not having more youth??

    If we never play youth or give them a chance, we’ll continually be on this cycle where our players aren’t going to develop until too late in their careers for them to make a real impact.

    Youthful players are exciting to watch. You see the drive and the creativity that has yet to be bashed out of them.

    We can’t always rely on Donovan or Dempsey to be there and who have we lined up to take over? Rogers? McCarty? Please – they will throw us back to the 80s with their play. However, players like Omar, Pontius, Tino, White, etc can and would offer something different. If the wheel is broken, stop turning. Try a fix and see how it goes.

    Ghana is a fine example of playing their youth in their version of the Gold Cup. A team 3/4s full of their u20 squad, competing against “men” and performing well. Did they make errors that cost them? Yes but that experience will make them such a better player now, for the WC in June, and for the next 10 years they’re going to be playing for their country.

    The u16s, u20s, men, etc, is not a pyramid where you have to reach each one to get to the other. The best players skip and make a jump, coach takes a chance, and maybe we find a gem. Not getting players involved until they’re 23 is costing us big time in national play.

  5. I never said we should play, I’m saying playing the same and tried C team players (Rogers, McCarty, Sascha, Beckerman, etc) who have been around the system for a few years and who are never going to be better than C team players, is useless when we can start using our younger players who are our future.

    I’m sorry but I don’t see the point in playing players who are only going to be on the plane if 6 other players are injured when we have an opportunity to see how the kids play and take 1 or 2 who would benefit as a player and would benefit the US team for years to come.

    There has to be a point where you say “Sorry man, you just haven’t cut it for 3 years, we need to move on.” Instead we have the same cycled players and we can expect the same performance.

  6. Ching has never really impressed me but looking at the forwards available, he and Findley are definitely the best optioins. At least Ching can provide some service.

    Coming from a Revs fan, the ideal would be a miraculous Twellman return, but we all know thats just a dream. Even if he was healthy, Bob never really gave him a chance.

  7. I’d love to see Alston start on the right. Unfortunately he re-injured his hamstring and will not be available for the game. He missed camp and is back in preseason training with the Revs.

  8. sorry Isaac, Im going to have to disagree with you on this. Ive slowly
    but surely joined the ranks of having little faith in Bob Bradley and our
    chances in South Africa this summer. Kljestan typifies why I believe
    that. Hes the round peg that Bradley continues to try and drive into a
    square hole. Ill freely admit Im wrong next week if, Lord willing he and
    Wynne dont start, but if they do, and they continue to play like they have,
    i.e. simply not good enough then Bradley has wasted another opportunity to give
    other guys a shoot at performing.

  9. I can’t wait for this game. Hopefully someone performs well and convinces me to stop calling them bums.

    I am looking forward to that Casey & Ching combination, everyone knows that’s going to be MaD KrAzy son!:)

    Anyway, I hope we beat El Salvador on Wednesday and show great futbol, if we don’t, than I’m not going to be all that surprised. The Salvadoreno team is a lot better than the Honduras team they brought last game. This game is going to be fun to watch.

    Off topic: I think that FIFA10 front cover jinx Sasha’s career. Maybe they should of started off by giving him the soccer for kids Wii front cover instead.

  10. True, but Bob still has a very strong winning record, and nothing was tarnished when we went 3 and out with our c team in copa america and lots was learned.

    Definitely beating the dead horse here. Here Here!

  11. You had me until you put Cooper,rogers,cameron in the mix. lol Those guys you mention will probably be replaced by a Sizzo,Hill,Arguez,castillo,Gill,Jerome,Duran,Ferrari,etc… 4 years is a long time, I hope Cooper and company decide to play for the Canadian team. My opinion.

  12. “This is a glorified MLS American all-star team and we will learn nothing from it. ”

    You won’t, but that is not the point.

    Findley will NEVER make a World Cup squad.

  13. As on example I personally i think it will benefit robbie rogers to get acquainted with brian ching, Bornstein, and any other midfielders who may be brought along….

    I know when I played it really helped if I had weeks to prepare with new teamates than just going into an unfamiliar team…these camps are great for the newbies and subs we want to bring in…

    I really don’t see how you can argue against it!

    How can you be against getting your players more acquainted with how they play the game and more practice before the big tourney?

    How can you be against letting Bob and his staff dot his i’s and cross his t’s on their selections for the world cup???

    It just seems strange to me that you don’t want your team to have this practice, even if it is not the full team…are you a fan?

    Practice always makes players better…

  14. I am quite aware of the level of mediocrity all the other “world cup hopefulls” play at.

    I just want to see the Bob Bradley Token Mexican play. Watched a few games with Orozco playing sweeper/stopper for his club. He reminds me of a young boca…real gritty. Not the best in the air but can cover quite a bit of space in and around the box.

    Not sure if he will have a memorable night on the right.

  15. Could Pair some Team mates up at the M and Forward!!!! Great Idea Wha??

    Seems perfect.

    Davis on only when a starter tires of course. Lets see what some young guys have.

  16. —–Cunningham——-Findley——-




    Davis on at 57:31.
    The K man on at 88:11
    Casey on at 92:22


  17. …So you’re saying there is another right back option who has a better chance of making the World Cup? Why take anyone when you can take someone you has such great potential.

  18. “Having any of those 3 I mentioned is just like having Findley alone up top. Some posters just don’t get it.”

    Who else goes up top with Findley then? Pontius, an unproven forward/midfielder? Ching, so long as he gets good service, will help bring other players into the game and that’s important when playing next to someone like Findley who moves off the ball very well.

  19. Or some fans want to see others up top with Findley. Having any of those 3 I mentioned is just like having Findley alone up top. Some posters just don’t get it.

  20. I assume we’re talking about Edgar Castillo. There seem to be some serious doubts at Tigres about his defending. Against Monterrey they started right back “Gringo” Castro at left back to try to plug the hole left there by Castillo and the other LBs. Meanwhile his time at left mid is likely to diminish greatly now that big money signing Everton Cardozo is deemed healthy enough to play.

    All of which means Edgar has a tall hill to climb to be considered this cycle, especially when the US has 3 potential left backs who have played in the side quite a bit(Bornstein, Spector, Boca), an important consideration with the limited time a sele can pactice/play together.

    I think left mid is fairly well covered, too, with a number of midfielders who can move there if necessary.

  21. In the case of a friendly, potential outweighs form. Kljestan has LOADS of potential, enough for Celtic to notice. I don’t think Kljestan should, or will be in the 23 for the USA, but we know what he’s capable of, and if he’s able to get back in form, he provides the excellent depth and option off the bench that Benny Feilhaber does and we KNOW how big a difference that can make.

  22. I am a bit surprised Rimando didn’t get a look here. Those penalties he saved….WOW…..You RSL guys have quite a man between the pipes there.

  23. Is this not a CONCACAF B/C team? Didn’t Holden do well against a bunch of CONCACAF B teams and get called up for the subsequent World Cup Qualifer and come off the bench? Didn’t Beckerman come off the bench against El Salvador in the next World Cup qualifying. Kljestan didn’t do well in El Salvador but I was just saying that your point about Kljestan possibly getting rocked like Hejduk was wrong considering that he was the man who bailed him out. I disagree about you Cameron and ” that guy from Seattle” ( Who the heck is that) doing better. He worked a lot like Michael Bradley does. A physical guy who covers ground offensively and defensively, showing precise passing and touch offensively, and bite and ability to read the game defensively. Cameron is a good prospect, but Beckerman has been better for a longer time.

  24. Beckerman hardly dominated MLS, Cameron and the guy in Seatle Alonso were much better. Beckerman is good and in Gold Cup he showed some distribution capabilities, but against who exactly? Concacaf’s B teams? And Mexico’s A- or B+ team?

    See what happened against Honduras team, that wasn’t at full strenght, but was stronger than the Gold Cup team. And I believe our squad was about the same this past Jan compared to Gold Cup.

    Kljestan SUCKED in ES, SUCKED, I saw him 1st hand at HDC, he was hardly what he use to be in MLS in 08

  25. Maybe it’s because Turkey and Russia are better teams with their starting XI is why they made it that far, considering that they play for, oh, I don’t know….55-65 minutes of the match.

    Youth isn’t always or automatically the answer. The experience, maturity, and professionalism required to stay composed in situations like the Brazil or Spain game is rarely found in youth, players like Jozy Altidore and, I geuss, Charlie Davies being the exception.

  26. Oh and I forgot about the Earthquake pair of Arturo Alvarez and Ramon Sanchez, this last one is the ES captain if I’m not mistaken.

    So if some of our current guys can’t cut it, be gone, you can’t even make it with guys that are about to get to MLS and might actually dominate you?

    Here’s my 2 cents as far as who the line up should be?






    Cameron and McCarty can alternate, I know Wynne looked bad, but I’m sorry Conrad was worst and caused the 1st goal, Rogers had as much if not more to do with 2nd goal and Marshall I believe stayed onsides for 3rd. Alston is hurt, otherwise I’d start him at RB

    Leave Evans, Gaven, Pearce and maybe Casey off the squad so Goodson, Orozco, Pontius, Rogers I guess I’ll live with Kljestan as long as Casey is off the field, but I would of loved for both to be off completely

  27. Hindsight is so wonderful isn’t it?

    You do realise you are talking about Brazil who brought on Elano and Alves as subs? Those two guys together probably make more money than the entire US team and for a really good reason. Meanwhile our subs were guys like JB, Casey, Torres, Sascha, and Adu, none of whom were likely to have much of an impact. And before you say Torres and Adu would have held possession better are you nuts? The Brazilians have youth team guys who are better.

    Sending Adu out against Brazil would have amounted to child abuse, weak and puny little thing that he is.

    Few teams in the world would have had Brazil down 2-0 at the end of the first half. What really happened was that Brazil finally remembered who they were; after that it did not matter who they were playing,they were going to win the game.

    That happens sometimes. Where I fault Bob is that if it were me I would have packed the goal with 10 men after scoring the second goal in the 27th minute and told the guys to kick anything that moves but that’s just me.

    In fact, the US was putting ten men behind the ball just before the half and was looking okay but Fabiano scored pretty much just after the second half kickoff and after that it was Katy bar the door. Brazil has better players than the US. Very often, better players really do make the difference. Still, Onyewu send a header over the crossbar from a corner in the 88th minute. He makes that, and he should have, and who knows?

  28. That makes no sense. You want Findley up top alone? Findley did well this season next to a bigger striker so you’re only setting him up for failure. Some of the fans here just post crap without thinking

  29. Considering the fact that Kljestan was the man who bailed Hejduk out of the “Baile de Castillo”, I’d say that was a moot point, even if it wasn’t the main one.

    Kljestan, Beckerman, Rogers, Goodson, Marshall, McCarty and Casey all recently were conquering the MLS, even Kljestan out of form was able to do pretty solid against MLS, so that’s another point that makes no sense.

  30. “Josh D -We can’t “park the bus” to drag out a win because our players can’t seal up the middle. We can’t play a holding game because our players don’t seem to be on the same wave length hence simple passes going astray. Both of those tactics come down squarely on the coaches shoulders to get his team in a position where they can do it. You play to win and winning isn’t always pretty but a win is always down to tactics.”

    If you thought the Honduras game was embarassing and a waste of time just try to imagine how bad it would have been if half our players were from the Under 20 side. Under 20 sides are not composed of the best players; they are composed of the best Under 20 players that they can get to play for them. Big difference. Most really good players under 20 in Europe are too busy with their clubs or the senior sides. Why do youthink people like Adu look so great with them but then struggle when he has to play with real adults?

    I don’t see the coaching staff out there letting simple passes go astray. I don’t see the coaching staff failing to seal up the middle.

    The US has fine goalkeeping, Dempsey and Donovan and then a bunch of journeymen. Other than Timmy, Clint and Howard ( that is being very optimistic), none of our remaining players would make the final 23 of Spain, Brazil, Italy, France, Holland,or Argentina. Maybe England but I doubt it.

    The US team is an average bunch with a few good players and a good coaching staff.

    Bradley isn’t looking at anyone for 2014. He and the coaching staff won’t be here. Their focus is entirely on 2010 as it should be.


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