The World Cup fate of the U.S. men's national team will be decided in a few hours as the Americans prepare to take on Algeria in a World Cup group match that will determine which Group C teams advance to the World Cup second round.
It's still early in the morning in the United States, but I know American fans are already up and getting ready for today's crucial match. Make this your place for all pre-game discussions leading up to my Live Commentary, which will launch about an hour before the match (when lineups are announced).
I'll be providing some pre-match commentary so feel free to following along, and also share your own pre-game thoughts in the comments section below.
PRE-GAME-It's the back four I heard about earlier today. Another surprise is Herculez Gomez getting the start up top. To be fair, it shouldn't be a complete surprise because he brings more of a speed element to the forward lineup. It can be argued that Altidore and Edson Buddle are a bit too similar to play together as starters.
PRE-GAME– Here is the USA lineup:
PRE-GAME– We should be getting lineups in 20 minutes or so. At that time I will launch a new Live Commentary post so stay tuned.
PRE-GAME– What do I see happening today? I think the Americans buck their own trend and actually score an early goal rather than give one up. I'm calling a Clint Dempsey goal in the first ten minutes.
PRE-GAME– For those who don't know the scenarios, the USA reaches the second round with a win, but could also qualify with a tie if England loses or if England ties and doesn't score two more goals than the USA.
The USA can win the group with a win and an England win if England doesn't win by more goals than the USA does. The USA can also win the group with an England-Slovenia tie if it wins by more than a goal.
Does your head hurt yet?
PRE-GAME– So what lineup will we see today for the USA? If Onyewu starts, we could see this group:
IF Onyewu doesn't play, here's what we could see:
I had Maurice Edu in my projected lineup yesterday, andcould still see him getting the call, but if there are concerns about the health of the back-line then I can see Bob Bradley going with the more defensive-minded Clark to help solidify things in the middle of the field and provide support for the central defense.
PRE-GAME– It's a beautiful day here at Loftus Versfeld Stadium. The sun is out, it's a warm day and a beautiful day for soccer.
PRE-GAME– I don't think having Bocanegra play in central defense should come as a surprise. The Jay Demerit-Clarence Goodson centerback tandem hasn't looked great and Bocanegra's leadership in the middle could be key.
So why Bornstein over Jonathan Spector? Spector's form has dipped quite a bit at the tail end of his season at West Ham and he didn't look great in the send-off series. Bornstein also has the speed to deal with Algeria's fast attackers. Of course, he still has to avoid the catastrophic mistakes he's been prone to make in the past year.
PRE-GAME– There is some early buzz that Oguchi Onyewu may not start today. If so, we could see Carlos Bocanegra in central defense and we could see Jonathan Bornstein at left back. I know that thought will scare the crap out of some USA fans, but it is a possibility apparently.
Not sure what the deal is with Onyewu, but it is worth nothing that if the United States wins the group it could play on Saturday. I wonder if Onyewu would be able to play on a Saturday on just two days rest.
PRE-GAME– Good morning folks. We're less than four hours away from the big match. I've got some lineup buzz I'll be sharing shortly.