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Who would the USMNT have started vs. Egypt?

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The political unrest and dangerous conditions in Egypt led to the cancellation of Wednesday's friendly between the United States and the defending African champions, but that doesn't mean we can't think about what could have been.

We'll never know what lineup Bob Bradley would have gone with against the Egyptians, but we can speculate. Would he have given Jozy Altidore the nod, or would he have left him behind to tend to his transfer move? Would he have called on Michael Bradley one more time, or let him spend time with new club Aston Villa?

Here is the starting lineup we think Bradley would have turned to against Egypt if the match had been played:


—————————–Clint Dempsey——————————–

Alejandro Bedoya———Stuart Holden————–Benny Feilhaber

—————–Jermaine Jones—–Maurice Edu————————

Bocanegra——– Onyewu————- Goodson———– Cherundolo


So who is missing and why?:

Landon Donovan had spoken recently about wanting some more rest and potentially skipping the Egypt match so he's not called in.

Altidore and Michael Bradley are with new clubs so Bob Bradley passes on calling them in so they can have a chance to integrate into their new surroundings.

So why doesn't that apply to Onyewu? The big centerback has been with FC Twente for a few weeks, and has already played two games, so he's more settled in and Bradley couldn't have been blamed for wanting to see him, particularly with what projects to be the first-choice back-line.

Jermaine Jones also has a pair of games with Blackburn under his belt, which is why he gets called in, but if Bradley wanted to keep him with Blackburn, Bradley could have turned to Sacha Kljestan, who is seeing more playing time with Anderlecht.

Maurice Edu had been injured recently, and working his way back into the Rangers lineup, but we think he would have gotten the call, with Bradley looking to see how Jones and Edu worked together in central midfield.

As for who else would have been called in? There are any number of options. Here are nine:

David Yelldell, Tim Ream, Eric Lichaj, Frank Simek, Zak Whitbread, Sacha Kljestan, Mixx Diskerud, Edson Buddle, Juan Agudelo


What do you think of this lineup? What lineup would you have wanted to see the USA face against Egypt?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. Never heard of Chandler?

    Have you heard of Steve Cherundolo? One of the best US players at the 2010 World Cup? Not flashy but smart, steady and reliable.

    Chandler is the latest guaranteed sure fire “Cherundolo successor” anointed by the rabid USMNT fan base.

    Other have included sure fire stars like Spector, Lichaj and now Chandler with several more waiting in the wings.

    He is an American player who along with Boca, MB and Dempsey has had the most consistent recent long term success in Europe.

    Still Cherundolo sure does get treated by the US fans like like something you find on the bottom of your shoe after a walk in the dog park.

    Got to love US fans.

  2. Plato, Aristotle and Pythagoras were not eligible to play for Greece.

    There was no Greece at the time so no one had Greek passports. FIFA rulesstipulate you must have a passport for the country you are representing.

    No passport, no cap.

    Howver, since it was just a Philosophers exhibition game they could have played. It just wouldn’t have been sanctioned by FIFA. Not really a problem since FIFA didn’t exist at the time.

  3. He had his chance in 2008.

    Then he hurt his ankle badly enough so that he never was the same again and eventually left Sheffield Wednesday for Carlisle in League One , a division down. For a while it was feared he mightbe done. Apparently he is doing well now at Carlisle but right back is pretty crowded for the USMNT.

    And no, he isn’t a left back.

  4. “Torres shouldn’t be forgotten – be an excellent time to give him time as he hasn’t had much this season.”

    Interesting logic.

    A USMNT player, who it seems is not injured is getting less time at his club. The seemingly logical assumption would be that he is not playing well enough to warrant playing time.

    So what should BB do? The US has many midfield candidates. So you want him to reward the one candidate who is not playing well. I guess that makes a lot of sense. Whatever happened to earning playing time? It’s not as if Torres is a proven regular who needs help getting sorted out. There is every reason to think he’ll never play for the USMNT again.

    I should mention that I like Torres a lot but if he doesn’t do better at Pachuca why should the US cap him? While we’re at it might as well call in Anton Peterlin, Jeremiah White or Lee Nguyen. They haven’t been playing well or much either lately.

  5. For the most part, I agree with you. But I’ve never liked the “You guys couldn’t do any better!” argument. I think it’s fine for people to disagree with a coach — or any skilled professional, for that matter — without possessing thet ability to do their job better. (Admittedly, some fans do think they could outcoach BB, but they’re just delusional.)

  6. That I’ve never even heard of Chandler and that I somehow doubt Gyau or Boss have received meaningful minutes with their club teams (let alone be doing so well that they demand inclusion into the senior team with guys like Feilhaber who performed excellently at the World Cup) I think shows Bradley knows what he’s doing.

  7. Thinking about this lineup-that-could-have-been sure beats the PES2010 simulation of the match I played on my PS3 yesterday. Although seeing Charlie Davies back on the field is great, even if his name in the game is “Chandayan”. Damn licensing issues. But I digress…

    Interested to see if Dempsey can continue his goal-scoring streak as a striker for the USA. Seems likely to me that he’ll have a chance against Argentina.

    Not understanding the Bedoya-bashing. I admittedly may also have a man-crush on Bedoya, since every time I think of him I inevitably think of the Lady Gaga song.

    Not so sure on Goodson. I’d think Lichaj would get the nod, over him, or maybe even Ream to acknowledge his solid performances in his last few games with the nats.

    In case anyone was wondering, the match would have ended 2-0 in favor of the USA, at least according to my PS3.

  8. I’ve been surprised at the backlash against Bedoya after the Chile game. I thought he looked good, though better in the second half than the first. He looked more and more determined to make an impact as the game wore on, and created some of the USA’s few good chances near goal. Aside from Mix and possibly Dax, he struck me as the most influential player of the match (leaving out subs Agudelo/Bunbury). What are other people seeing about Bedoya that I’m missing?

    I hope Ives is right and he gets more looks in the future.

  9. Petrov is playing horribly right now. The Villa fans are calling for a change. He has lost a step and does not have the motor necessary of the position anymore.

    With that said, everyone seems to think Michael Bradley’s move was great for him, I don’t feel the same way. Call me a pessimist, but I envision him merely getting some sub minutes and an occasional start. Unless he really makes the most of his first few appearances, I would not be surprised to see him languish on the bench and sent back to Germany at the end of the year.

    I am a huge MB fan and truly think he and Holden are the future stars of the National Team and I really hope I’m wrong and he shows his class in the EPL, but I just don’t see it happening on that team, this year. Too many variables working against him.

  10. How about Mubarak? He’d be in the area and something tells me he’d have aptitude to be another d-mid option. That boy really has a knack for squashing creativity.
    Too soon?

  11. It’s really a shame this game couldn’t go ahead. It would be the only time a US friendly draws the eyes of the world. ESPN surely wouldn’t mind the huge ratings and attention the game would get from those who otherwise wouldn’t care.

  12. I agree and disagree at the same time. Petrov is playing very well for Villa (I think he’s a little injury prone). Bradley has to compete against some other solid mid-fielders (downing, reo-coker, makoun)…..but then again are they solid?

    Villa has given up a boatload of goals. It sounds like they need some kind of mid-field destroyer. I don’t know that they have a mid-fielder on their roster that fills that bill better the Bradley.

  13. Definitely. Furthermore, I consider myself a USA “supporter”, not just a fan, and not because I’m a eurosnob. But because I like the connotation supporter has with actually getting behind your team, players and even
    coaches, and yes for me that means BB.

    That said, I’m not against critiquing decisions and having rational conversation about his choices; i.e. Clark as you pointed out. But I choose to be less of a negative voice and rather show my undying support of aforementioned coaches and players etc. Besides, you never know who is reading this, especially on SBI since Ives himself has said players etc read his site. I’m just sick of all the negativity is all I’m saying. I want them to know we got their back!

  14. You know what, you’re right. It probably is better to pull from guys playing in the MLS, Belgian and Norwegian leagues?!? If Arsenal thought he was good enough at one time the guys needs a look. I’ll take consistent minutes on the ball and in games any day before I pluck some guy who struggles to get minutes in “better” divisions.

  15. I remember when McBride and Reyna used to get trashed online by fans, too. Until I get signed to a big coaching job–a move away from my sofa–I don’t see a point in thinking I know more than Bradley outside of the rare, really stupid decision that didn’t pan out (See Ricardo Clark in World Cup).

  16. Yeah… that attacking third is goin to be as effective as Beasley at Left Back. It’s green and very experimental. That formation calls for some creativity…and if you don’t have creativity, you better have some speed and quite frankly, that quartet lacks both with the exception of Dempsey in the creativity department.

  17. I wish USSF would schedule a friendly against a quality oponent, and let the fans decide a lineup with a poll or some sort of voting system. Then many of these self-professing experts can watch their selections get badly beaten by a well-coached team. Say what you will about BB, but I honestly believe he does the best he can with what’s available to him; many fans will never be satisfied no matter the result, unless we win every game 5-0 and win every world cup. What I’m saying is, I doubt many of you could do much better. Honestly. And I gaurantee half of you couldn’t handle the pressure BB sees everyday from irrational fans and “experts” alike. It’s not as easy as it looks, y’all.

  18. It seems like half the time I read Diskerud’s name, it’s spelled “Mix”, and the other half it’s spelled “Mixx”. Pretty minor, but out of curiosity, has he confirmed one or the other?

  19. Hard to see (other than Clint), who scores in that lineup. I don’t personally rate Feilhaber, and it seems that Euro coaches don’t either. Bradley sees him in practice, so we’ve got to trust him. Still, I’d rather have Dempsey on the Right (but drifting to the middle as always) and then put Buddle at Forward. He’s the most in form striker we have right now. (and in-form on two continents)
    Alternately, move Holden to the right and move Spector to central midfield. As crazy as it sounds, he has more goals this season than Jones, Edu, Holden, Altidore, and maybe Bradley(?–I have no idea how many times Bradley has scored).

  20. This is a bit of a downer for someone who was looking forward to this game.

    Anyway, agree with the lineup. Props for sticking Feilhaber in. I have my fingers crossed that he’s going to make an impact this cycle and become more than a good sub. I feel like Spector might have gotten a call-up, though–if anything, for LB while Lichaj is second to Cherundolo at RB (does Bocanegra have the pace for LB anymore? I like him, but I have my doubts).

  21. Ives – I think you would have been close with your choices. But I could also have seen Buddle alone up top & Dempsey as either LM/RM. More interesting to me would have been who else would have gotten called in/subbed on.
    Burnbury & Agdelo @ Striker
    Mix & Sacha (?) @ wing midfield
    Lichja, Ream, Chandler (?), Loyd/Bornstein (?).

  22. john Q, I’m with you. The Bedoya ship has sailed for now. He’s looked good in the shirt once, for my money, against Holland. He has been poor since the Holland friendly. Not average, poor. We can’t say he needs time with the first team in arguing for him, because then why shouldn’t we apply that standard to every player that has stunk it up with the B team? Franklin, for example.

    I get it, Bedoya is a winger, and we don’t have a lot of wingers in the pool. We do have plenty of people that can play wide though. Feilhaber, Holden, Dempsey, Donovan have all played on the wing and have shown degrees of success at high levels. Can’t Diskerrud play on the wing?

    Point is, Bedoya has shown, for me, no real flashes. None. He shouldn’t be exiled, but he should be a fringe player until he finds better form.

    (SBI-Diskerud hasn’t shown the work rate to be an international winger. That was the talk coming of camp so he wouldn’t get the nod ahead of Bedoya. I would say Bedoya looked bad against Brazil, but so did plenty of others. The Chile game was as much about him not getting the ball as him doing things badly. I thought he put in a ton of defensive work and when the subs came in we saw more of what he could do (like him setting up Agudelo on the play that led to the PK). You can go ahead and write him off if you want. I’d be willing to bet he gets more looks.)

  23. Seriously, let’s see the young guys again plus those we haven’t seen in awhile like K. Cooper, C. Davies, and J. Torres. Maybe we can play a domestic Mexico team…that would be awesome.

  24. Under what assumption? Bradley doesn’t offer Villa really anything more than they have now – maybe a bit more grit. But to think he’ll become an automatic starter in a month’s time during his first time in the EPL with a coach who doesn’t have time to wait for players to get bled in is asking a bit much.

  25. really? You think league 1, the third division in england is something to be ringing bob bradley about. Nope! I mean dont get me wrong I’m happy Frankie is doing well and getting lots of minutes but call me when he starts playing some MEANINGFUl minutes

  26. Have to agree john… Under those same circumstances Ives you could say Brek Shea could get a call in – both extremely talented, both bombed their first few chances.

    I think you’d put Dempsey in the midfield and keep trying our young strikers (toss Buddle in there too).

    I also think Sascha deserves another chance and Torres shouldn’t be forgotten – be an excellent time to give him time as he hasn’t had much this season. Playing in the middle of a 5 man midfield (two either side and two in the back) would utilize his skillset better than any opportunity he has had thus far.

    (SBI-Sorry Josh but if you really think Bedoya was as bad in his appearances as Shea then I guess we’ll agree to disagree. I do agree on Kljestan getting a look, but Torres is probably on the outside looking in until he’s back to playing regularly in Mexico.)

  27. FW: Thomas Paine. Common Sense attacking self-righteous, opportunistic, and damn effective.

    SS: Dwight Eisenhower. WWII + infrastructure. Tends towards right to receive from FDR.

    LM: Ben Franklin. Flamboyant, but effective, pushes the game but can get lost for periods…

    CM: Abe Lincoln (Captain) and George Washington… midfield generals with great personnel relations.

    RM: Sitting bull. Opposite field of Jackson (bad chemistry). Solid in defense but with a panache for brilliance in attack.

    LB: Andrew Jackson. See Indian campaigns and New Orleans.

    CBR: MLK. Despite being a goal-pacifist, has the “fierce urgency of now” when pressed. Organizer for the defense.

    CBL: Edward R. Murrow. Doesn’t attack, but will stand any offense straight up. Also, I’d like to see you get something past him.

    RB: FDR. Advances smartly, but defends well too. Makes up for gaffes.

    GK: Brevet Lt. Col. George Armistead. War of 1812, Battle of Baltimore, Ft. McHenry. The man can take a shellacking.


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