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The first chance to see a close to full-strength U.S. national team in 2010 will come on Wednesday in the Netherlands, and while there are still several top players recovering from injuries, the match vs. the Netherlands should provide a good measure of how strong the U.S. squad is just three months from the World Cup.
The Dutch will provide a stiff test, particularly to the American defense, and playing at Amsterdam ArenA will be the best overall combination of competition and atmosphere the squad has seen since the World Cup Qualifier at Azteca in August.
Injuries are still an issue for the Americans, with Charlie Davies, Clint Dempsey Oguchi Onyewu, Ricardo Clark and Benny Feilhaber all sidelined, but that will mean golden opportunities for play.ers to impress against very tough competition on Wednesday
So who will U.S. coach Bob Bradley start vs. the Netherlands? Here is our take on the Starting XI we see taking the field in Amsterdam.
USA Projected Starting XI vs. the Netherlands
So what other variations could we see? DaMarcus Beasley could get the nod ahead of Stuart Holden, and Jose Torres could get the call ahead of Maurice Edu. The Beasley-Holden decision is a tough one since both have had limited action in recent weeks, but Bradley could be tempted to give Beasley the nod to see just where he is in terms of form and fitness right now.
The Edu-Torres decision is a tough one to call as well. Edu is healthy and hasn't had a proper look in a long time because of injury. Also, a Bradley-Edu tandem could be considered a better defensive match-up against a Dutch midfield likely to be led by Wesley Snjeider. That said, Torres has been with the team steadily for the past nine months and is playing well in Mexico.
As far as the forward spot alongside Jozy Altidore, we'll give the nod to Johnson, who in season with Aris FC. Findley wasn't that impressive vs. El Salvador either, but that doesn't mean he won't get some playing time.
The defense is set, but you have to wonder whether Bradley saw enough from Heath Pearce against El Salvador to want to see him go up against the Dutch. It's probably more likely that he'll come in as a substitute.
What lineup would I like to see face the Dutch? Here's the group I'd be interested in watching:
I'm torn between Edu and Torres in this group, but think Bradley-Edu is a better match-up against the Dutch and Edu hasn't had a look in so long that I'm interested in seeing him start. Torres could be a halftime sub in this group.
Who would you like to see start? What do you think of the above lineup? Think the Americans can get a positive result in Amsterdam?
Share your thoughts below.