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What is the best USMNT starting lineup?

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After the pair of recent U.S. men's national team friendlies, it is tough not to think about what exactly is the strongest possible lineup Bob Bradley can field.

Bradley won't be needing to field a full-strength squad until next summer's Gold Cup, and the next possible chance to catch a glimpse of the strongest U.S. team will be next March (after Bradley admitted he would leave key players behind for the November friendly vs. South Africa).

Given what we saw this past week, what exactly is the strongest U.S. team possible? The reality is there aren't likely to be too many variations at this point. That could change considerably between now and next summer, but for right now the pool of players who merit serious consideration for the best possible U.S. team is relatively small.

So who makes up the best possible U.S. team right now? Here's my take:







So who missed out?

Clarence Goodson played well enough to this week to make you think he will be making a strong push for a spot, but I see Edu continuing to develop at the position.

And yes, this is the same lineup, except for Landon Donovan, that tied Poland last Saturday. This is true, but you have to figure Edu will improve as he plays more at centerback (or Goodson steps in) and Onyewu gets some games next year (a move away from AC Milan seems inevitable if he continues to ride the pine). With Edu and Onyewu sharper, and Donovan on the left instead of Feilhaber, this lineup could be pretty potent.

What do you think of this lineup? Which player is missing from the squad that you would include in your Best Possible Starting XI?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. i agree that bradley is an automatic starter and ender over edu only because the father is the coach. better player than edu? I don’t think so.

  2. it appears edu is taking the blame from you all. edu is the point of discussion. edu is an excellent midfielder. if bradley and others play the position they were supposed to, there wouldn’t have been confusion. everyone had a role to play. because edu gave away one ball should not subject him to bad plays. in poland’s game bradley was constantly giving away balls. no one commented on that, rather he was rated above edu. think of what your decision, this is my preferred line up, period.


    Dempsey – Bradley – Donovan

    Jones – Edu

    Bornstein – Boca – Gooch – Dolo


    Drill this line up, let them get used to each other, USMNT will get a positive result, coming 2014.

  3. you can’t just use two friendly games to make a decision like that. new people who comes to a team always tries to prove a point. you guys started like this during world cup. there was much ado about torres and clark. every player is a good player. bradley cannot overtake edu, neither jones. think of convincing the coach to experiment with his child the way he did with edu or even pair up edu and jones. coach had never tried edu with someone else in the midfield. the son should not be a fixture like fixtures in the new homes. edu is a firm midfielder in his own style. think back world cup SHAQ.

  4. Ives I think Donovan and Demps should switch.

    My starting eleven:


  5. Buddle





    I think when Pontius has recovered he deserves a shot too. And bring in Torres and Gonzalez to get more looks.

  6. Lorenzo,

    Altidore scored his first 6 goals in his first 9 games.

    Since then he has scored 4 goals in 23 games.

    He has definately fallen off his early pace.

    Since April of 2009 he has scored a whopping 4 goals…(this is a player who plays up top and recieves some of the most promising passes from the likes of Donovan and Bradley etc.)

    That’s 4 goals in the last 18 months!

    Please don’t compare him to McBride, a player that was very consistent.


  7. I too believe that the 4-2-3-1 formation best fits the players we have in the pool at the moment. In My opinion Best IX as of right now:






    2nd IX (Subs):






    A lot can happen over the next 4 years. I expect others to make a serious push to be included in the top 22/23.

    Defenseivly Tim Ream, Geoff Cameron, Heath Pearce, Kevin Alston, Sean Franklin, & Hopefully someone can step up at Left Back.

    Midfield Bobby Convey, Eddie Gaven, Mikkel Diskerud, Sacha Kljestan, & Brek Shea.

    Forwards: Charlie Davies (Hopefully). This is where Bob needs to be spending a significant amount of time and effort finding/develping a series of potential candidates.

  8. It doesnt surprise me that this coaching staff would try to convert players from thier natural positions to fill some holes. Usually, coaches will search their player pool and find the right fit. However, having an inexperienced player in the defense is playing with fire.

  9. Yes I watched him in HOUSTON…he was great for HOUSTON. He is what HOUSTON needed at that time. There wasn’t an ounce of what Holden was offereing on that HOUSTON team so it worked out well for HOUSTON.

    Torres, or a torres-like player would best fill that need…Holden has a great delivery, utilize that to get some crosses in out wide. His skill is underutilized in that CM role.

  10. Really Warren? His coach loves him because he is creative? I was under the impressions he likes the American because he is quality and has that never say die attitude. And there was no transfer fee associated as well as being country-mates.

    “It’s not very often you get someone of Stuart’s quality for nothing.

    “He’s a heart the size of a lion.”

    Not so sure Owen purchased him for his creativity.

    Central MF for Bolton-0 goals…couple assists off of set pieces. Again, Ive seen him play for Bolton…he runs a hell of a lot, defends well moves the ball…creative…I’m not buying it. Look, I’m not saying I think Stu is not class. What I am saying is that CM is not his best position and if it is not his best position then it doesnt benefit the team…get someone with more skill on the ball, higher football IQ to pull the strings.

  11. Unless and until Rangers decides that Edu is the CB of their future Bradley shouldn’t waste time trying to convert Edu to CB. I mean, Edu is a better soccer player than Goodson and DeMerit, but that doesn’t make him a better CB than those guys.

  12. Right now, I am not sure I would put Onweyu in there. He still looks too wooden and while his size and strength do help out when things are organized and he is among 6 to 8 players defending in the box, his lack of mobility makes him a liability when the US pushes forward and he gets caught defending counter-attacks. Goodson has the height to win headers, Demerit has the strength, I would probably choose one of them instead.
    I like Edu there because he can win balls, has speed and can release teammates with good passes.
    Bocanegra is likely too slow and at his age will not get faster, but he has a defenders mentality and will not get in too many footraces. Bornstein is still prone to mental miscues, but that can change with maturity (also it would help if he were stronger).
    Could put Dempsey in at forward in place of Altidore, and Feilhaber or Torres at midfield, but neither of those seem to possess the toughness to win balls routinely.

  13. That’s just flat wrong. He had to hold off Cadevilla, turn and fire. That was a heck of a goal.
    So many fans of this team are so impatient. The dude still isn’t even 21 years old. He’s got 10 goals in 31 games; not David Villa’s strike rate, but actually comparable to Brian McBride’s. And all anybody does is complain.
    And did I mention he’s not even 21?

  14. ——-Altidore——







  15. Frankly I don’t know why the facination for Gouch, he was never a good passer, how can he be getting the lion’s share of playing time for the NT when he can’t play for club. When he plays he usually either plays it long ball, completely bypassing the midfield, or passing lateral to either Goodson or Edu to find the midfielder. I like Goodson and Edu as it stands, maybe by next year the younger CBs may make some noise. as far a Jozy…who else do we have? he seems to be getting chance after chance to show and fails. Sorry, he is not a forward, he is an NFL player passing as a soccer player. enough said.

  16. excuses excuses…sounds like a reason to give the man a rest since the new bigger and better version of himself (jones) is in the house

  17. so’re not afarid to see Jones and Edu play alongside each other as dm’s right, since you know Mike will look better?

    Maybe dad doesn’t have same confidence in outcome or he would hve tried that – obvious test (Edu-Jone)

    Mike’s a fine young player….whose passing is not as bad a earlier, but is still several classes below Jones, the new big dog at dm.

    Mike and his fans need to adjust to that reality, and not be afraid of giving Edu a run-out.

  18. uber-defensive we may call the rally around MB crowd. since you’re into the name-calling thing if anyone dare question…playing 3 dm’s.

    Moving edu to defense because…the guy who actually LOOKS like a CB is named Bradley, and we want – what exactly?

    Edu’s won key games – ok, only for rangers, only in spl – but once back from injury he has been consistently solid, except when playing in that ridiculous ‘my boy wants to play so he will never sit’ 3 dm display.

    Anyway, when other players not named Donovan or Dempsey have had a rough spell, they get a rest. Mike is -obviously, when playing alongside Jones now – not in that automatic starter category.

    Holden is clearly the better cdm, but ok, he has the footskills to play acm or wide also, so leave him out.

    But is there any harm to trying an Edu and Jones pairing? And letting Mike test his skills shoring up the back line? As LB please?

  19. Sell out MB by having him sit esfor a game or even a few minut?? what is this,a national team or Mike’s dad’s team?

    At the moment, it is clear that an Edu – Jones DM pairing offers better ball control than…the alternative.

    Mike is a fine young player; except when he makes a bad pass and then has to (impressively to some) track back to prevent the disaster he almost created. Which happens a number of times per game.

    But noone’s dissing Mike and he may well be in the starting lineup in 2014; but at the moment he’s played himself into a bench spot, or try-out at LB.

    Though I could see Mike more as a CB of the DeMerit variety but with better foot skills than the original.

  20. the problem with 3 dm’s – you still don’t get it after that non-half of football?

    Here’s a hint – the dm’s all want to make the d plays, and get in each other’s way.

    1 maybe 2 dm’s ok; 3 is beyond redundant


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