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Who will the USA start vs. Guadeloupe?


As the United States prepares for what can be called a must-win game on Tuesday night against Guadeloupe, there are some serious questions about just what lineup Bob Bradley will turn to in a match the Americans can't afford to lose, and really can't afford to even tie.

After sticking with the same lineup against Panama that beat Canada, only having shockingly worse results, Bradley will have no choice but to make some lineup changes to A) get some fresh legs into the lineup and B) find a combination that performs better than the squad has performed over the course of the tournament.

Will we see wholesale changes? Not likely, but you figure Bradley will have to insert three or four new starters to infuse some energy, some offense, and also to rest some players with the quarterfinals in mind.

So what lineup will Bradley turn to against Guadeloupe? Here's one possibility:



Some thoughts:

As much as Bob Bradley rates Tim Ream, it's tough to see Ream starting after his outing against Panama. Oguchi Onyewu seems to be a bit of a mystery man because you figure if he was in a good place form wise he'd be starting. He also been the only reserve not even warming up at halftime of Gold Cup matches, which makes you wonder just how far down on the depth chart he is.

The central defense needs some stabilizing and Carlos Bocanegra can do that. Eric Lichaj is ahead of Jonathan Bornstein on the left back depth chart so he gets the nod.

Central midfield is an area of serious uncertainty. Jermaine Jones started off well against Panama, but began to fade in the second half and then threw a pretty unfortunate tantrum as he left the field when he was subbed off, yanking his jersey off and throwing it. Not exactly the thing to do when the team has a ready-made replacement in Maurice Edu.

Bradley could also go with Sacha Kljestan in central midfield for more offensive punch, but we'll go with Edu to start and Kljestan to get the call out wide, though Bradley could definitely go with Alejandro Bedoya on the right wing.

It should also be noted that just because a player doesn't start vs. Guadeloupe doesn't mean their tournament is over. With the quarterfinals looming this weekend, Bradley could choose to rest some starters in order to get them ready for the quarters (as well as to get fresh legs in the lineup)

These moves mean Clint Dempsey plays up top with Jozy Altidore. This tandem has worked well together in the past and there's no reason to think they can't create some magic together. 

Now, if you're wondering what lineup I would use against Guadeloupe, here is the squad I'd trot out to win the match: 



This is a very offensive-minded group and one capable of getting the job done (and also a lineup I could see Bob Bradley using). Guadeloupe can be broken down defensively, and this group can move the ball and pass well enough to crack Guadeloupe's defense. I know, Canada managed just one penalty kick against a 10-man Guadeloupe, but Canada's lineup had zero offensive punch. Bedoya and Kljestan provided instant energy and sharp passing. Bedoya is clearly playing at a high level and is good enough to find success against Guadeloupe.


What do you think of the projected lineup? Do you prefer the squad I would start? Which players would you like to see get the start against Guadeloupe? Which players DON'T you want to see start?

Share your thoughts below.


  1. I think it is best he stays away from the “American Game” as it’s days are numbered. In light of Claudio’s and Hugo Perezs’ development program, the 4-3-3 is coming hard and fast starting at the Youth national level trickling to all youth development organization affiliated with US soccer. In that formation, there will be a need for more than one highly technical ball distributor.

  2. Nice numbers from Grant Wahl on his new column today backing up my assumption on the Arena comparison. Talk about timing!

  3. thoughtful and rational post. Agree with #1. On Paco, I wish he would come play in the MLS to get more tuned to the American game. I really like him, always have. #3 is well said, tho Ream played his way out of the lineup and not further into it, yes? Also agree with #4 and #5.

    Benny is another player we are missing, a guy who has subbed in and created, a guy the team relied on in that role…who is that player on this team? Klestjan has been given that role the last few games, and has played better for the USMNT than in the past, but we miss Stu. Fred Adu needs some run; does he get it tonight?

  4. what? we can only wish for that at this point in Jones’ USMNT career. He’s shown those qualities exactly once in the uniform, vs. Canada, and it made a HUGE difference.

    he’s needed to play like that, but if he doesn’t, he helps no one out there and deserves the pine

  5. RS, you suck. youre a perfect example of someone who thinks that the more negative that they are the smarter that they sound. youre a regular troll… under a bridge… with warts and a club and a dumb sounding voice listing games out of context. us soccer is getting better and i, for one, am really happy with where we are compared to 15 years ago.

    let me solve your problem since this is such a burden for you – stop watching and stop posting.

  6. As far as the line up tonight, Kljestan shouldn’t even be on this roster must less the pitch. He is to straight foward and not creative at all on the ball. Edu should be with Bradley in the mid pitch. To be honest I did not like this roster from the start. We need more inspired play period.

  7. If Canada loses the U.S. is through (2nd by head to head and goal diff). That could make a difference in the lineup choice. If Canada wins, the U.S. advances on a win (2nd) or tie (3rd).

  8. Jones and Goodson were our best players against Panama and both got benched. I wouldn’t be surprised if either or both got benched against Guadalupe. Remember, Bradley likes to go with his “boys” so I would expect Ream and Boca in the back with MB and Sacha in the middle.

  9. Where are the 22 and 23 year old players, think Rongen. This was his 2007 U20 side.
    U.S. U-20 MNT Roster
    GOALKEEPERS (2): Brian Perk (UCLA), Chris Seitz (University of Maryland)
    DEFENDERS (6): Quavas Kirk (L.A. Galaxy), Ofori Sarkodie (Indiana University), Nathan Sturgis (L.A. Galaxy), Julian Valentin (Wake Forest), Anthony Wallace (University of South Florida), Tim Ward (Columbus Crew)
    MIDFIELDERS (6): Freddy Adu (Real Salt Lake), Bryan Arguez (Miami, Fla.), Tony Beltran (UCLA), Amaechi Igwe (Santa Clara), Danny Szetela (Columbus Crew), Jonathan Villanueva (Virginia)
    FORWARDS (6): Andre Akpan (Harvard), Josmer Altidore (N.Y. Red Bulls), Robbie Rogers (SC Heerenveen), Johann Smith (FC Bolton), Preston Zimmerman (Hamburg SV), Sal Zizzo (UCLA)
    It’s much deeper than just B Bradley. Klinsmann refused the job because he needed to correct the above youth development to be successful.

  10. I would leave one of Bradley or Jones out, simply because of the yellow card factor. I would also consider sitting Jozy for the same reason.

  11. In International soccer coaching job safety it’s usually, ‘what have you done for me lately.’ With that said, Bob is very deserving of still being the Nats coach. He doesn’t advance to the Finals of the GC, then we’d have a legitimate issue. On the tourneys that matter, he’s done is job. You can’t argue w/ that. Could his moves have been better (repeatedly included R. Clark in the WC, Not bringing Buddle or Gomez to this year’s GC, ect.) – yes. But when the important sh*t is on the line, Coach Bradley gets results. How can you possibly argue about results?

    + Qualified for 2010 WC

    + Won 2007 GC (even though literally 1/2 of the goals scored were Donovan pks)

    + Runner-up 2009 Confed. Cup

    + 2010 WC Group Winners

  12. At least one of these wins was in Honduras, where Honduras thrashed Mexico 3-1 in the WC qualifying. It might not be Azteca, but it is not an easy place to get a W.

  13. Good point, but Guadaloupe would have to beat us by 2 or more goals for us to get eliminated – it’s a very unlikely scenario. I know that Ream struggled big time against Panama, but he did OK against Canada so he could conceivably start next to Goodson. The there is a benefit in continuity with centerbacks as communication and knowing each others tendencies are critical for CBs. On the other hand, BB might trust Boca not to pick another cheap card.

  14. Respectfully, I disagree and your last point (a very good one by the way) helps explain why it is a coaching issue. The problem is two-fold. First, if we know that we lack skill and will only use stamina and athletisism to defeat opponents, shouldn’t there be tactical adjustments to help offset this so we don’t get exploited early? Once we see the game turning, then we can open things up more. Secondly, part of the job of a coach is to have his players motivated and in the right frame of mind at the start of games. Admittedly, this is relative; however, there does appear to be a disconnect here as we are regularly flat (save Canada match). Lastly, I do not recall this being an issue with Arena. His player pool had about the same amount of talent and type(s) of players. Overall, I do agree with you that it is a mostly a player issues; however, Bradley does share some blame.

  15. I doubt you have watch Donovan much throughout his playing career to suggest that he should play in the middle. He is quick, fast, has above average touch, and good vision.

    He doesn’t play well in tight spaces because he doesn’t have the technique or individual ball skill like Dempsey or Adu.

    He tends to float wide to receive the ball because he has no dribbling skill. Usually he pushes the ball past the player and outruns them. Granted he is one of our best players, but he is a limited player and whenever he is given restricted space, he becomes invisible. Watch how he performed at Everton; he had to move out wide to receive the ball and use his quickness and speed to get past people.

  16. Firstly I’ll say that I favor SBI’s preferred line-up. It’s more aggressive, and will hallmark the strong suits of the players available. Do I think it will happen? No.

    As far as whether or not Bradley will be retained after the Gold Cup, unfortunately I think it’s very likely that he will. The USSF is VERY inbred, and the chances of them bringing in an innovative outsider like Klinsmann or LaVolpe are extremely low, mainly because they will not want to give up the the level of control that coaches like that are going to want. This stalemate has happened twice already with Klinsmann, and I think Klinsmann is probably done with dealing with Gulati at this juncture.

    One of the biggest problems with Bradley, aside from overly conservative tactics, is his continual selection of “favorites.” Obviously some players such as Timothy Chandler and Stuart Holden were not available for selection, but one has to truly question the players that were brought in…Rogers?? Ream?? How come no Whitbread or Gomez? Even at less than 100% I think Davies and DeMerit wouldn’t have been horrible selections either. Why bring in a clearly out-of-form Oneywu?? I could go on and on…

  17. I feel like we should do what we did at the World Cup – three midfielders ( Benny, Michael, Mo) who worked hard to cover for three attackers ( Landon, Clint, Jozy) playing higher up the field, and also helped us dictate the pace and play of the game. Like this:

    Kljestan shuttles between left and central midfield, exactly like what Benny did. Bradley plays box-to-box like he usually does well. Edu sits deep, even dropping between the center backs to allow the fullbacks higher up the field. Dempsey plays just off Altidore, dropping into the hole to link play and create. Donovan drifts in from the right, while Altidore is given license to come drift wide left.

    Essentially, it’s the same lineup that saw us play so well at the World Cup in the second half, with Sacha and Goodson in there for Benny and DeMerit respectively. That lineup allowed us to dictate play, and not only hold the ball better, but move it quicker, which was something we struggled with yesterday.

  18. 1. I don’t get the arguments of Kljestan versus Jones. They play different roles. This is more of a scheme A or B issue.

    2. The person I miss is Torres. I don’t think he aced every game. Overall I have been a B. Bradley supporter, but he doesn’t seem to know how to use Torres.

    3. I appreciate the testing of Ream. Not a good last game, but just throwing guys like him into easy friendlies doesn’t show us much.

    4. To me, the weak early goals against the USA often seems like they are trying to do a build-up (get yourself in the game at your pace) but this doesn’t work when the opponent steps on the gas. When this happens it makes the USA look they are doing warm-ups jogs.

    5. The guys I miss most are McBride and Beasley. McBride could tussle, pass and understood the game. The USA lacks someone like Beasley of old who could attack like a mad man and come back and play quality defense. Donovan has some of the defensive qualities–but not as aggressive–but he is missing that spark. Dempsey has more of the spark but lacks in defense.

  19. I believe this is the time we need to evaluate our sports programs, I mean, not only soccer wise but in every single sport the US is competing.
    Why am I saying this?, because we use to be the best nation at almost everything except soccer, we were maiking great improvements at soccer but know we are now failing at soccer and at almost everything else, look at baseball, Cuba is better, basketball, Spain and Argentina are posing a threat, tennis, we dont longer have the number one player in the world, Olympic games, well, China beat us, I was very into soccer because that is were we needed to be better, but know, I don´t know, it makes you wonder.

    Adu is better than Sacha, give the guy a chance.


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