USA vs. Ghana: A Look Ahead (& Who should start for USA?)

USA vs. Ghana: A Look Ahead (& Who should start for USA?)

U.S. Men's National Team

USA vs. Ghana: A Look Ahead (& Who should start for USA?)

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USAvsAlgeria (ISIphotos.com)

Photo by ISIphotos.com

With the Group Stage behind them, the U.S. men's national team can now focus on trying to make a dream run to the World Cup final a year after making a dream run to the Confederations Cup Final.

Standing in the way at the first knockout round hurdle is Ghana, which happens to be the same team that eliminated the United States in the 2006 World Cup. This time around, both the USA and Ghana are better teams, but we won't know until Saturday whether the Americans have truly closed the gap on the 'Black Stars'.

Ghana comes in having finished second in Group D to Germany, with a stingy defense and an offense that has managed just two goals from the penalty spot.

You will be able to find my preview on the match, as well as a feature on Jozy Altidore, later today on FoxSoccer.com. For now, here are Five Keys to USA-Ghana.

One key to the match will be what lineup Bob Bradley decides to trot out against Ghana. Here is a lineup I could see the Americans using on Saturday in Rustenberg:

USA Projected Lineup vs. Ghana

————–Altidore————–Dempsey—————-

Feilhaber——-Bradley———Edu————-Donovan

Bocanegra——Onyewu——DeMerit——–Cherundolo

————————-Howard——————————

Why this lineup? The Americans don't want to lose the possession battle and this could be the best lineup to keep that from happening. Dempsey can slide between second striker and attacking midfielder, giving the Americans a third man in the middle at times. Moving Dempsey up allows Bradley to start Feilhaber, who has been solid in his two recent substitute appearances.

Now, if Bradley decides he's got enough faith in Michael Bradley and Maurice Edu or Ricardo Clark to handle themselves against Ghana's three-man central midfield, and he wants to start out attacking as the USA has the past two matches, we could see this lineup:

—————Altidore————–Findley—————-

Dempsey——–Bradley———Edu————-Donovan

Bocanegra——Onyewu——DeMerit——–Cherundolo

————————–Howard——————————

This might actually be the more likely lineup, with Findley working hard to pressure the Ghana back-line with his speed, while also dropping back to support the midfielders when he can.

These lineups are obviously contingent on Oguchi Onyewu being healthy and ready to play. Onyewu is said to be at around 90 to 95 percent so he should start, meaning Jonathan Bornstein goes back to the bench after an admirable performance against Algeria.

What lineup would you like to see against Ghana? Do you like the USA's chances of exacting revenge for 2006?

Share your thoughts below.

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