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Who should the USA start vs. Mexico?

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With their ticket to the Gold Cup Final on Saturday booked, the U.S. men's national team can now focus on Mexico and selecting the team that will knock off their arch rival when the sides meet at the Rose Bowl.

Bob Bradley has not been afraid to shake things up, as we've seen by his decisions to sit Landon Donovan for two straight matches. As tough as it may sound, Bradley's decisions on selecting a lineup to face Mexico aren't all that difficult.

The defense is set, having recorded three straight shutouts since Bradley shofted Carlos Bocanegra to centerback and started Eric Lichaj. Things get a bit more interesting in midfield, but given the performances delivered on Wednesday night against Panama, the squad for the final seems like an easier one to predict.

So who will Bradley start? Here is the lineup we see taking on Mexico:


Some thoughts:

Landon Donovan will NOT be coming off the bench against Mexico. Donovan is a big-game player, a renowned Mexico killer, and Sacha Kljestan's disappointing showing against Panama makes the decision even easier.

Alejandro Bedoya has shown far too much energy and attacking quality to not start against Mexico. With him and Donovan on the wings, The United States has the pace to match up well against Mexico.

Juan Agudelo did more than enough to remain the starting striker in the preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

Freddy Adu was outstanding as a substitute against Panama, but nobody should be expecting him to start. He's perfectly suited for his sub role now, and gives Bradley a good attacking option off the bench. That's something the team needs even more now that Jozy Altidore is out for the tournament.


What do you think of this squad? is it the lineup you would like to see against Mexico? Think this team can beat Mexico?

Share your thoughts below.



  1. I know this is bias of my dislike for Sacha, but despite some DECENT play from the ex-Goats star, he still loses the ball very VERY easily & yes he had a nice pass vs Guadalupe that Deuce should converted but that wasn’t exactly the easiest place to finish, Bedoya on the other hand, he got robbed of like 4 assists with Dempsey alone lol

    In any case, I think I would rather see Jonathan Spector come in and play midfield, if he can do it in the EPL or in the FA/Carling Cup against the likes of Man United & SUCCEED then I think he can handle the MF of Pablo Barrera who was his teammate at West Ham & knows him somewhat but got more PT than Barrera, Andres Guardado who had a horrible season he started he didn’t do much (This Gold Cup may have saved his stay in Spain. Valencia may sign him), & of course the holding MF of Israel Castro former of Pumas & Gerardo Torrado who I will predict will earn the 2nd or 1st yellow for Mexico beating out Marquez lol

    Hell I think we should use 3 defenders on the bench Ream, Gooch, Bornstein then Edu, Adu, Kljestan. No Wondo, no Rogers too bad Jozy is hurt otherwise no Sacha either!

    We might need people who can A) Keep possesion and B) GET the ball back. Ream can do this, so can Spector and Adu & Edu are also options! Gooch might be needed if Mexico starts attacking the wings with crosses! Just my 2 dollars (Long post)….

  2. Altidore???

    Haven’t you noticed that we are a better team without him starting?

    Please, no more Jozy in the starting 11 when he comes back from injury!

  3. The USA sires tons and tons of athletes. Most of them go into sports other than soccer. That’s what people don’t get when they say things like this– the US’s “soccer population” is a fraction of that of, say, Germany (let’s not even go into Brazil, which is almost as heavily populated as the US to begin with), even though the overall population is higher.

    Take Dustin Pedroia, raise him in a country which pretty much does nothing other than play soccer, and I bet he ends up being Javier Hernandez or better.

  4. Sorry, can’t agree. He looks creative, has been moving around, being a playmaker, making assists.

    I wouldn’t be opposed to moving Dempsey up with donovan on the left in a 4-4-2

  5. I’d like to see one change from what Ives discusses. My attacking midfielders, left to right:
    Dempsey, Adu, Donovan

    Bedoya has looked smart, but where is the production? I would expect Adu to be subbed out early in the second half. Adu looked creative and confident in his 20 or 25 minutes, and provided a definite spark. Given the consistently slow starts by USMNT this tourney, I’d rather see that spark early. Donovan also is a playmaker, and best from the right. Keep Demsey on the left. Ideally, later in the game with the lead, sub in more possession-minded players.

  6. Agudela and Kljestan come off. Donovan plays high with Deuce, no target striker. Spector and Bedoya play the wings, the rest remains the same. Spector, Lichaj, Bedoya and Dolo give plenty of outside speed to contain Gio and Guard. Now Michael needs to recover from a terrible game to keep it close. Torrado and Jones receive red cards to open up play.

  7. I keep seeing this pop-up and if I’m coming to hard its at the repetition not you. Bradley, Jones and Edu do not belong on the field at the same time. They are all much too similar players. I would argue Edu is the most defensive of the three and that Jones and Edu both only add minimally to the attack. Jones has been showing more up top though so maybe if you pulled them upfield a bit it might work. My problem is there is nothing being started in the midfield with these three. Edu isn’t particularly exciting going forward and Jones and Bradley are only the slightest bit better. It just doesn’t make sense to put all 3 of them in, especially at the expense of a player who can create our attack. I could see the argument to finish out a game but not to start one.

  8. Back 4 and keeper are set. I would stick with the Bradley/Jones partnership ahead of that. And then a trident of attacking midfielders. Bedoya, Donovan, and Adu. Dempsey alone up top in the hold-up forward role. Agudelo has done well so far, but I think he is better used as a sub.

    I know it seems drastic to start Adu, but I think it is important that we put in a wrinkle that Mexico won’t be able to prepare for. Kljestan just hasn’t looked worth a spot while Adu and Bedoya both have.

  9. Dempsey has an ego too – so it was doubly nice to see him giving credit to Donovan and Adu. Not that Dempsey doesn’t deserve to have an ego – he does – but still, pretty cool to see. Good team chemistry builder there.

  10. It was so clear to me, especially in the 4-5-1 set, that we need more skill players like Adu. Adu can turn on a ball. Saha and Bedoya have more trouble in that area – we are right now a team of players who are good in transition, but who lack the higher level skills to play in tight spaces a la Spain/Brazil, etc. Adu has skill on the ball, giveaways or not. Aguedelo has a lot of variety in his game as well, and Dempsey. Everyone else is fit and fleet, but even Landon has trouble when not on the flank. Hate to say it, given his record, but we need Adu.

  11. I disagree…there’s just no way we should be stifling Adu by putting him in a formation as pedestrian as a 4-4-2.

    Adu Adu Adu
    Adu Adu Adu
    Adu Adu Adu Adu

  12. Jones is a beast and a classic 6…he roamed forward against Panama because they stayed in their half…send Stu forward and let Jones play Whitey Bolger in midfield.

    Let me put it this way, whom else in the 11 would you have on your side in a dark alley.

  13. When have the US sat back in a “bunker” this tournament?

    If the US saw the Honduras game they will come out very “physical”.

  14. Holden is not a winger

    You are assuming Holden, coming off of a serious knee inury comes back as good as he was.

    All knee injuries are different but it’s a lot to expect Holden to be right back to his best next saeson. I hope he proves me wrong but the year after is more reasonable and he’ll be pushing 28 by then.

  15. You are right that Donovan is much more effective when he is playing on the right (or centrally). When he plays on the left he gets the ball a lot less (and we hear complaints about him ‘disappearing”) and is a lot less dangerous. Take this season for example: For LA he had 0 goals and was saying he “didn’t care about scoring” and then Arena moved Becks to the middle which freed up LD to the move to his natural right side. Within 5 or 6 games he was leading the league in scoring.

    Not sure what the solution is – Bedoya needs to be on the field. One possibility is Dempsey left, LD center and Bedoya right since we are playing a 4-5-1 which means LD would have defensive cover.

  16. Donovan has been a very honest interview and pointed out how motivated he gets by having to sit out.

    I realise you think BB to be an incompetent moron but whether there was a physical reason ( injury? fatigue?) or a mental one (staleness from a long season, burn out) it was obvious Donovan was not “right”.

    So BB took the pretty ballsy move of risking elmination with his best player allegedly fit and sitting at least part of the game on on the bench. And replacing him with players most of you, going by the majority of the posts on SBI, felt were should never ever wear as US shirt again (Sacha) or were big disappointments that only Ives liked (Bedoya).

    Most of you would not have done that.

    And that move appears to have paid off.

  17. I wouldn’t read a BB-LD feud into it so much as Donovan’s historically been one of those players whose confidence affects his play (remember “Landycakes” against Ghana in ’06?). My guess is that Deuce was just trying to get Donovan’s confidence up for the final; god knows the US will need it.

    Deuce also gave some significant props to Adu as well. It was good to see; too often in soccer the goal-scorer is running toward the sideline instead of giving props to the player who made the goal possible.

  18. I agree. As pleased as I am to see Adu’s re-emergence in the USMNT picture, his ability to go at game pace for 60-70 min is not known by anyone but the coaching staff.

  19. ——-Agudelo——-


  20. I don’t think Adu is ready for even 70 minutes of soccer vs Mexico. Have him on the bench if we need an offensive spark in the 2nd half.

    Agudelo is the best option at forward as it allows Dempsey to come in behind the forward and fill the gaps whether he plays in the center or on the left.

  21. Adu showed more than anyone of the bench or starter besides donovan and dempsey!!! He is Hungry and an Inspired player can be dangerous!!!

  22. ————Timmy———–

    3 subs: Bedoya, Kljestan, Edu.

  23. Well, you are right that Duece went out of his way to give credit to Donovan, but this alone does not mean that there’s a feud brewing between BB and Donoval, Deuce could have just been a great teammate. As for BB, whatever his motivation was, BB took a risk by not starting Donovan and it paid off. We are in the finals and Donovan has fresh legs and perhaps a chip on his shoulder to prove that he should be carrying the team.

  24. Bedoya is where Stuart was 2years ago and that’s a good thing.
    Eventually, the will probably both be out there with Holden moving into the middle.


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