Top Stories

Projecting lineups for the upcoming USMNT friendlies

  USALineupVsAlgeria (ISIPhotos.com)

The U.S. national team's longer-than-planned hiatus is set to come to an end soon, with match-ups against South American powers Argentina and Paraguay looming. Bob Bradley hasn't really had a chance to field a full-strength team since last summer's World Cup, but will now have a chance to see just where his team stands less than three months before the CONCACAF Gold Cup.

Rather than ask which players will be called in when Bradley names his squad for the upcoming friendlies, let's consider the lineups we might see against Argentina and Paraguay. You have plenty of variations in central midfield, as well as at forward. Truth be told, there are any number of options for Bradley to consider, and we may not truly know until late May just what group will be the most likely eleven to lead the charge at the Gold Cup.

Will Bradley start Jozy Altidore up top, or will he turn to Clint Dempsey at forward rather than midfield? Should we expect a 4-2-3-1 formation, or might we see the return of the 4-4-2? What centerback tandem will he turn to?

Let's consider all of these questions with a close look at what options Bradley could employ when the United States faces Argentina (March 26th) and Paraguay (March 29th):

PROJECTED USMNT LINEUP vs. ARGENTINA

——————–Altidore————————–

Donovan———–Holden—————-Dempsey

————–Jones——–Bradley——————

Bocanegra—Onyewu–Goodson——Cherundolo

———————Howard————————-

Some thoughts:

Will Bradley really start Altidore and Michael Bradley even though neither is playing regularly now for their clubs? Yes, it's a safe bet. Michael Bradley will start, though Maurice Edu has made a strong case to be considered. Altidore is recovering from an ankle injury, but if he's healthy, he should start. If not, Bradley could turn to Dempsey up top, with Alejandro Bedoya wide, or perhaps Edson Buddle up top.

The rest of the squad is pretty straightforward, and yes, this is the lineup I think we'll wind up seeing in the Gold Cup if everyone is healthy.

Now, onto the next match:

PROJECTED USMNT LINEUP vs. PARAGUAY

———————Altidore————————

Donovan————Holden—————-Bedoya

————-Bradley———Edu——————-

Loyd——–Onyewu——Goodson——–Lichaj

———————Howard————————

Some thoughts: 

Carlos Bocanegra and Steve Cherundolo are both in their 30s and in the midst of tough races in their respective leagues, so I can see Bob Bradley letting them both return early to their clubs rather than having them play multiple international matches. This will give Bradley a chance to see some different fullbacks. I have Zach Loyd and Eric Lichaj in the lineup. Loyd impressed against Chile and I can see Bradley wanting to take another look. Lichaj has had some struggles in England in recent months, but I still see him getting the call, though Jonathan Spector could very well get a nod. Jonathan Bornstein can't be forgotten, but I'm wondering if his lack of minutes, particularly at fullback, will cost him.

In central midfield, Maurice Edu has played well enough to merit a game and he'll get it here. If Bradley decides to give Holden a rest, we could see a 4-4-2 in this match, with a potential Altidore-Buddle pairing, but Holden's young and fit and can handle two internationals. Bedoya gets the nod for me and the fact is he hasn't had the chance to really play with a fully first-choice squad since coming on as a sub in the Netherlands friendly a year ago. This will be his chance to show what he can do with better players around him. Dempsey can use a rest here.

Tim Howard is listed here, and you can understand wanting the starter in goal when you're trying new fullbacks. Brad Guzan is getting regular games for Hull City so getting him a game isn't as pressing a priority. That said, he should get some minutes in one or both of these friendlies.

So what other players could we see? Tim Ream is someone who could play, but if Bradley sends his veteran fullbacks home I'd find it tough for Bradley to use Ream and two new fullbacks. I would expect to see Ream get some minutes. Those hoping to see Timothy Chandler will probably have to wait a while longer. Word is he does have a USA passport, but he still needs to go through a process to be cleared to play for the United States, so this month is probably a bit early to get a chance to see the exciting right-sided player.

Young guns Teal Bunbury and Juan Agudelo look unlikely to be ready to play. Bunbury is recovering from an elbow injury while Agudelo has been battling a groin injury. That could open the door for some veteran forwards like Buddle, and even Herculez Gomez, as well as Chris Wondolowski.

What do you think of these lineups? Which players are you hoping to see? Which players do you not want to see?

Share your thoughts below.

Comments

  1. what would be more interesting to

    watch is players like mike grella,

    matt taylor and freddy adu get

    a chance. their playing well right

    now and all recently

    scored nice goals.i would like bob to

    give buddle another chance…

    would be good for a late sub.

    Reply
  2. No Jozy …Please!

    How many more poor touches, bad passes, squandered goal scoring chances, terrible decision making, shanked crosses, missed open nets,stupid fouls, etc. do we have to see before BB and most US fans realize that he is not, nor will he ever be , the answer.

    Please don’t tell me that he’s still “young” or that he’s “the best that we have”.

    I say now is the time to find a “younger” replacement.

    We can certainly find someone who can score more goals than him if that player has as many excellent chances as Jozy has had.

    GO USA!!!

    Reply
  3. 1) I just don’t see Dempsey being a forward with Jozy, maybe Dempsey by himself. 2)Having Holden wide right just because of his crossing is a disservice to his all around game. 3) Gooch and Goodson are too slow of a pair, BB has always gone with a combination of a 6’4 and a 6’1 CBs a tower and a distributor.

    Reply
  4. heres my line-up for your hating pleasure. ives, i agree with your front four its going to be neat to see holden playing central for the nats.

    ————jozy————

    –ld——-holden—–demps-

    ——edu——–jones——

    -boca–gooch–ream—lichaj-

    this jozy hate is too much, the guy draws fouls like a champ and his touch isn’t as bad as people hyperbolize. he is the best we have. he is getting better. the pedestal for agudelo/burnbury/bedoya that our always-crappy announcers build up is way over the top. bedoya’s touch is bad in a way thats not going to get over the hump. agudelo needs time for the u23’s where he can really dominate and think above the game.

    i think lil’ bradley will be back but it sure would be nice if we went with the two great guys seeing regular time at that position.

    last game was ream’s first start right? outside of one extremely bad give-away, i thought his distribution was a revelation. center back distribution is a valuable thing and we haven’t seen alot of it before.

    lichaj is an animal. fast, strong, quick, and hes great about getting into the attack.

    torres is great and needs to find somewhere to play more, i would love our team with him starting.

    mixx was goofy as heck last game but i’m curious to see more of him.

    Reply
  5. Agree rather not. Him w/ Torres are playing horrible with Pachuca. There are other options. Kid has gotten his chance and hasn’t capitalize. That season was a fluke.

    Reply
  6. Seriously no one playing in Mexico right now should play for the USMNT. Some are not playing (Bornstein) and others are playing horribly (Torres and Gomez). Let’s give Lloyd a chance at LB with Bocanegra and Spector as alternatives. Even Pearce.

    Reply
  7. How many more poor touches, bad passes, squandered goal scoring chances, terrible decision making, shanked crosses, missed open nets,stupid fouls, etc. do we have to see before BB and most US fans realize that he is not, nor will he ever be , the answer.

    Please don’t tell me that he’s still “young” or that he’s “the best that we have”.

    I say now is the time to find a “younger” replacement.

    We can certainly find someone who can score more goals than him if that player has as many excellent chances as Jozy has had.

    GO USA!!!

    Reply
  8. I couldn’t agree more.

    How many more poor touches, bad passes, squandered goal scoring chances, terrible decision making, shanked crosses, missed open nets,stupid fouls, etc. do we have to see before BB and most US fans realize that he is not, nor will he ever be , the answer.

    Please don’t tell me that he’s still “young” or that he’s “the best that we have”.

    I say now is the time to find a “younger” replacement.

    We can certainly find someone who can score more goals than him if that player has as many excellent chances as Jozy has had.

    GO USA!!!

    Reply
  9. I’ve been saying that about Jozy for a long time.

    It seems all I ever do on this site is critisize Jozy…nothing personal but I want what’s best for my team and I think he’s had ample time to break out, with all the great service he gets and all the opportunities that he’s squandered.

    ALL THE WAY USA!!!

    Reply
  10. I agree. He’s a developing into a strong hdimng center forward, one who can hold the ball up and draw the free kick. It’s what he did at the WC. while his finishing was suspect, it marked a big shift in his playing style and soccer IQ in my opinion. with Dempsey and Lando roaming behind him he could be a very dangerous setup man.

    I think that a lot of folks who kvetched about his play in SA were expecting him to be less of Ibrahimovic and more of a Villa style forward–not that he’s either before everyone jumps down my gullet.

    Reply
  11. Do we have a guy who can break an opposing defender down?
    Do we have a forward who can receive the ball and score?
    Do we have a defender who can shut some one down?
    Finally, do we defend really well as team once we lose the ball?
    No x4. I think coach bradley knows just how limited a talent pool he ha. why he chooses to send us bombing down the field leaving ourselves open to counter attacks is beyond me. Prove us wrong usmnt…..

    Reply
  12. I don’t know if we are referring to the same thing.

    Jozy wasn’t really involved in Buddle’s one real scoring attempt in the Algeria game. What were you talking about?

    Buddle, left all alone, headed on goal in the 68th minute on a cross from Dolo, but was not able get it past the keeper. I clearly remember thinking he would never get a better chance and I also remember thinking Buddle looked way out of his depth whereas Jozy looked far more dangerous in that game and was the guy whose cross led to Dempsey’s blocked shot that Donovan finally put away.

    Reply
  13. Buddle was a lone striker – during our last outing vs Brazil.

    In his defense, he had very little distribution set up for him.

    But Buddle is like Altidore in that both work best when paired with someone else. But Altidore doesn’t seem as inclined to serve up an assist to a fellow striker…

    So with that in mind, would it be too horrible to call Davies up to camp and pair him with Buddle or Altidore, if even for a half?

    Reply
  14. ALTIDORE IS TERRIBLE!!!! Everyone needs to realize this and get over him..Just like everyone got over the Freddy Adu hype. Altidore cannot control the ball, has no speed and never seems to find himself around the goal. Look at his club history..No one wants him and that’s why he keeps getting loaned out.

    Reply
  15. Keep up that kind of opinion and see how many people take you seriously.

    The Altidore hate is getting out of hand. He’s made mistakes, but he’s still young and he’s doing things that not even Brian McBride in his best days could do. Inconsistent first and finishing touch? Sure! What young player wasn’t inconsistent at his age? Not many young players were doing what he was doing at his age either.

    Reply
  16. Wrong – Jozy’s the one who zigged when he should have zagged on that “easy” goal scoring chance with Edson. I still love and forgive the kid, but get your facts straight. Er, opinions

    Reply
  17. Sorry Ives I cannot resist . Every time Bedoya takes someone own 1v1 he fails and gets the ball taken or kicked out from him, lol

    (SBI-Your one-man hate-fest for Bedoya is being a bit of a tired and repetitive drone. Did he steal your girl? Haha. Seriously though, you can’t resist a single chance to bash the kid. Makes me wonder why you can’t let it go ever.)

    Reply
  18. “The rules are the rules and if he is not playing for his club team he should not be starting for the US Mens National team. ”

    What rules?

    Reply
  19. Australia was a scrimmage. Just before the World Cup did you really think anyone from Australia was giving it their all and risking themselves so soon before it really mattered?

    Buddle looked in over his head when the games counted and blew an easy chance against Algeria.

    However good he may look now, he didn’t look that good in South Africa.

    Reply
  20. When the games really count, the USMNT will go as far as Donovan and Dempsey take it. Putting them both up top limits their ability to make things happen and take control of the game.

    No other US player is even close to those two when it comes to taking the ball and doing something dangerous with it.

    As for Jozy, you didn’t watch the World Cup enough. Jozy took a horrendous beating and created several important chances. Buddle came on against Algeria, looked completely in over his head and blew his one (easy) goal scoring chance. As a proven international,not an internet wonder,Jozy is way ahead of Buddle.

    Bunbury and the others are fine prospects but they have yet to prove they can handle a real international game where defenders act more like cornerbacks in the NFL.

    Jozy is the starting center forward because the US does not have a better one.

    Reply
  21. I think the bigger point is how successful (or not) Stu Holden is playing the Number 10. If he’s able to make the position his own in the same way Oezil has for Germany, then it can be a great system.

    To another point, I’m a Jozy fan, but he’s not getting regular playing time, so put Clint up there.

    I say play:

    ——–Dempsey——

    LD——Holden—-Edu

    –Jr/Spector-Jones—

    Boca—Gooch-Clark—Dolo

    Of course, there are some unorthodox changes in there. But all 10 except for Jr. are playing at a very good level right now. Clark was doing well at Frankfurt before his injury. For me, this is our best 11* with Tim. I know Edu doesn’t normally play on the right. But I’m sure he’d do fine. I’ll let Bob decide between his son and Spector.

    I’m not so crazy about Bedoya.

    Reply
  22. This is my ideal line-up (if only dreams came true…lol). Adu is the only one to effectly link-up with Altidore (U-20, U-23)

    ———–Altidore——-Dempsey——————-

    Donovan————–Adu—————Chandler—-

    ————–Jones——–Edu——————

    Bocanegra———–Onyewu——–Cherundolo

    ———————Howard————————-

    O well, that’ll be the day..so the next best thing:

    …………Altidore…….Dempsey………

    …Donovan….Holden…..Bradley……Chandler

    …………Jones……….Edu……….

    …….Boca……….Gooch……….Dolo….

    ……………….Howard……………..

    We got more midfielders than we know what to do with. Jones and Edu have a defensive mindset so why not try to control the area where we are strongest.

    Reply
  23. Ream is good for MLS only, not for the National team. The pace of the game will be too fast for him. A team is only as strong as the weakest link…..maybe off the bench but not for the starting 11.

    Reply

Leave a Comment