Photo by Michael Janosz/ISIPhotos.com
By IVES GALARCEP
MEXICO CITY– The U.S. Men’s National Team is preparing to play in a stadium where they have never won a World Cup qualifier, a place where only one other team has ever won a World Cup qualifier, and they are ready to face a crowd of more than 110,000 anxious Mexican fans that will turn Estadio Azteca into an imposing cauldron.
Despite all that, you don’t get any sense of pressure from the U.S. team on the day before Tuesday’s vital World Cup qualifier between the United States and Mexico. A confident bunch of Americans have made their way south following Friday’s epic and snow-covered victory against Costa Rica, and the message is clear. With three points in the bank after Friday, the Americans are not the ones really facing pressure on Tuesday.
“Look, let’s be honest, the pressure’s on them,” U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley said of Mexico. “The pressure for them, at home, at Azteca, to come out and not only play a good game, but to win, is huge.”
Mexico has just two points from two matches so far in the final round of qualifying. They dropped points at home by tying Jamaica in February, and squandered two points when they saw a two-goal lead evaporate in the San Pedro Sula head against Honduras. Anything short of a win will likely leave Mexico in the bottom half of the qualifying standings after three matches.
That frightening reality has put heightened expectations on the Mexican team heading into Tuesday. For Mexican soccer fans, losing to the United States in Mexico is unacceptable, but with qualifying off to a shaky start, the stakes are even higher.
“This is their life,” said U.S. forward Herculez Gomez, who plays in Mexico for Santos Laguna. “There is no Hollywood here. There is no NFL, no MLB, no NHL, NBA, NASCAR, any of that. It’s football. It is what they breathe and die for.
“When their national team plays the whole country stops,” Gomez said. “I think externally they have a lot of pressure on them. They know the importance of this.”
The U.S. team enters Tuesday’s match confident, not only because of the Costa Rica win, but also because of the team’s stigma-reducing 1-0 exhibition victory against Mexico at Estadio Azteca last August. That win, coupled with their impressive first half in the 2011 Gold Cup Final, and their strong start in the last qualifier played between the two teams in 2009 (which Mexico rallied to win after trailing early)
“If we can take things that we’ve done well against them in the past, whether it’s in 2009, or the positives from the (2011) Gold Cup Final, whether it’s the win here in August, and use some of those things I think there’s a real chance for us,” Bradley said. “If we can start well, if we can show them early on that now we’re going to close them down, that we’re going to make the game difficult for them, that we’re not just going to sit so deep and let them have the ball the whole time, I think then that it will start to put them under pressure.
“At a certain point there’s a chance the crowd could turn on them and so, look, we have to understand the situation and know that there will be big pressure on them to come out and play a good game from the start, so we have to know how to deal with that.”
The Americans played a very defensive-minded game in holding off Mexico, 1-0, last August, but any concerns about the Americans bunkering on Tuesday seemed to be put at ease by comments from Bradley, who believes the U.S. can go toe-to-toe with the high-flying Mexicans.
“By now when you look at the development of our team, I think we’re ready to come here and play them on even terms,” Bradley said. “I think we did that in August. I think we did that in the (2011) Gold Cup Final.
“Obviously you win one game and lose the other, but the point is when you look at our team, when you look at our players and our growth, I think it’s important for us to come here and feel like, while they’re a good team and we know they’re going to have the ball at times, we have to know how to deal with that and be tactically organized and disciplined at those moments.
“At the same time, know that there’ll be opportunities for us to have the ball and put them on our terms in the way that we move and keep the ball.”
Michael Bradley, leader
loved all of that article
Pretty much off topic, but commentary from Egypt-Zimbabwe match
presently tied :
75 Knowledge Musona silences the home crowd with a thunderous right-foot volley after holding off a challenge from central defender Mohamed Naguib.
75 GOOAAAAAAL FOR Zimbabwe!!!
74 Salah goes close again with a curling shot from just outside the area. Egypt are firmly in control of the game.
70 Egypt are throwing everything forward! Salah squanders another opportunity, his powerful shot from close range hitting the woodwork after a bursting run. Zimbabwe’s defence is torn apart.
69 Abou-Treika almost adds the second!! He side-foots a low cross from Shedid but his effort narrowly misses the target.
68 Egypt seem determined to double their lead and put the result beyond doubt.
65 Egypt coach Bob Bradley makes his second substitution. Zamalek forward Ahmed Eid replaces Ahmed Elmohamady.
64 Hosni Abd-Rabou finally ends Zimbabwe’s resistance, his right-foot free kick sails over the wall and into the net after striking the hand of Arubi, who is finally beaten!
64 GOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL FOR EGYPT!!!
Game ended Egypt 2 – Zimbabwe 1
really looking forward to tonite’s match. I truly believe the first goal will determine the match. if USA scores first or holds Mexico to a zero deep into the match they might nick a result.
Having said that I’m no dummy, odds are Mexico gets a 2-0 or 2-1 result. Odds are also good that this newly minted and rather green back line gets badly beaten at least once, so I hope that we don’t hear the mindless keening tomorrow if and when these things happen.
I’m hoping for a 1-1 or 2-2 draw.
Mexican, living in Mexico here. Bradley is right, the pressure is on the Mexican side. If Mexico is not winning before the 60th minute, the Azteca fans will start to put even more pressure, and if Mexico is not even generating goal chances early in the game the fans will be mad. Mexico just need to score in the first 20 minutes to feel comfortable, if they do, and the USMNT just put the bus in the back the game could finish 4-0 but if the USA attacks then Mexico is in trouble. This is a crazy Hex.
I’ve grave concerns about Cameron’s foot speed heading into tonight’s bout.
Yeah? I guess so, now that you mention, if he’s on the right side. For a CB he’s pretty fleet of foot. Personally, I’m more concerned about Goodson if he’s starting in the middle. He is much slower and Big Geoff has stood up well against some of the fastest left wings in the world in the BPL whereas CG doesn’t see many world class burners at Brondby.
Respectfully disagree with MB and others. The idea that we went toe to toe with Mexico in August is a complete myth. We won and it was great but we totally bunkered it up. We had no choice. We were playing a b team against a really good Mexican side.
With the lineup thats being suggested I don’t see us going toe to toe with Mexico. Its a very athletic lineup suited for counterattack. I expect 30% possession tomorrow. Our U20 lineup went to to toe in possession with Mexico in Mexico. Our U23 dominated Mexico in possession in a friendly last year. I believe we could put a lineup that could go toe to toe with Mexico at the senior level. However, I dont think it will happen. Hoping for good counterattack and some solid goaltending by Guzan.
As some have said, we have to frustrate them early. That means commit numbers to pressure the ball from our own half, and play a methodical passing game as we slowly advance the lines forward. No long ball and chase unless there’s a serious opportunity to counter. Play it smart for at least the first 20 minutes. After that we can take the game to them.
If we win 2-0.
Mexico City will burn.
that result must be a garden, because I dig it…
One thing for sure, whenever Chicharito advances as far as within 10 yards of the US box, someone better pick him up and stay on him like white on rice. If we can neutralize him, the job gets a whole lot easier.
I’m all for playing anti-footbal in this one. Don’t let el Tri get anything going and wait for the counter. The longer the game stays at zero the better I like the US’s chances to pull an upset.
I say don’t “sit back”, but if we want a result in Azteca, we must start out cautious. Although there midfield is not as strong as it once used to be, there attack from the outsides and goal scorers up front are extemely capable of giving the US fits. I agree we must attack, but we first must “weather the storm”. The Mexico fans are pissed, just go trolling on the websites you will see. They are ready to turn on that team at the sign of any performance that isnt dominating. Stay close in the first half, limit the chance and run at them in the second half after the Hispanic Panic has set in.
1st half: as much as I hate it go with 2 Def Mids and w/o Jones that leaves Beckerman
2nd half:go to a 4-1-4-1. Gomez and Shea work hard enough on the wings to cause their outside backs fits with their work rate. Let Dempsy roam around up top looking for space and hope Jozy can hold up the ball for any 3 of the before mentioned attackers. When we are on the attack Edu has to find space where he can be used to keep possesion when the attack bogs down.
I think the three DM line up would be completely counter productive, it would leave the wings wide open for their dangerous wingers to run up and down unopposed.
We look great as a team when we pair someone with Bradley that has primarily defensive responsibilities. This allows us to keep Mexico honest and not completely pin us down in our own half.
we have no Hollywod here but we have telenovelas
Well, I thought that was funny.
Love the bravado – “we’re not sitting back.”
But, tactically, I kinda wish we would sit back… The pressure is on Mexico, and if we can frustrate them with a shell for a while, some great counter opportunities may open up. If we try to play the straight up, we’ll get our chances and they’ll get theirs. Their finishers are better and our defenders are suspect. Low probability for a result.
If you pressure them on the ball that will frustrate them, not if you bunker. When you bunker you give them time on the ball and then eventually they will pick you apart.
It worked for us against Spain. It worked for us against Mexico in Azteca less than a year ago. The Italians made a living with it for decades.
Pressuring up field for 90 minutes at Azteca altitudes? Don’t see it. As soon as we start delaying a half step (around 22 minutes in, when the adrenalin wears off and the smog wears on), they start passing around us, and they find a ton of space on our side of the field.
+2. I don’t want to be negative but I’m concerned about Mexico’s counter attack if we are pushing too far up the field. We need to be very careful with the ball. No give aways. Try to keep possession and be patient waiting for the good opportunities to finish.
Orozco-Fiscal has just been added to the lineup. No way he plays being added this late. Is it possible that Juergen is just taunting Mexico?
Honestly, that was a part of my thought process.
i think it all depends on how Goodson and Gonzalez and Edu/Beckerman absorb the pressure. Someone suggested O-F as right back which would allow Cameron to shift center as well…
More pressure is on them, no question, but this is the biggest match of the cycle for us. It is our measuring stick. Honduras, El Salvador, Costa Rica…they have an unorthodox way of playing against us that sometimes works. Mexico at Azteca is the only true test we face. It is our one chance (in the region) to beam with pride and show the world we are “on the level”.
I definitely would like to see 4-2-3-1 ,press high and push the attack. We know we can hang a couple goals on Mexico, they know it too. It will come down to the last 20 minutes…can we sustain the high work rate required to keep them from nailing us on the counter. I really think JK will push it…in a wide open game. Same line up as last time except Edu for JJ and Corona at right mid in place of Zusi.
We will need a dual DM setup and we have the players despite Jones not available. Dual DM’s put pressure on the wings AND the middle. We need some speed on the wings to help take pressure off of the Defense and keep Mexico unbalanced. There are not any real surprises on both sides. Both sides know and have seen lots of each other. It will be the players making the difference in the game. If the US can put some players with speed and can beat players 1 vs 1 like Shea, Beasley, Corona, and some others, we can stretch Mexico catch them off guard. At some point I would like to see Corona and Boyd get some game time. Mexico has not seen much of them.
Corona plays in Mexico, on the team that just won the league…I’m pretty Mexico has seen plenty of him.
Knowing what we now do about Klinsmann’s training methods, it would be best to start the squad that has the most experience playing together.
I thought the speed and size of Jamaica gave Mexico fits. I’m looking forward to seeing what Jozy can do.
Jamaica played extremely organized and compact against Mexico. I watched that game. The entire team would shift at the same time when a ball was played to a different part of the field like left and right. Jamaica looked complicated to play against, but it was all a very simple game plan by Jamaica. Simple and effective. Jamaica was like 1994 Brazil.
On the defensive side.
Jozy won’t play a big role. His muscular frame requires way more oxygen than the average player, oxygen that won’t be available for consumption because of the smog and thin air.
Smog won’t be that much of a factor at the time and temp they’ll be playing at tomorrow night as when they played during the day.
They should have been training in Flagstaff to get the right altitude.
You don’t have to go far from Denver where they were to gain a couple thousand feet in altitude. Maybe Klinsy had the boys running in the hills. Let’s hope so.
yep in 4 foot deep snow…
Of course it’s a factor. A huge one. I hear it will be especially bad bc there has been no rain recently.
Just because it’s harder to see at night doesn’t mean it isn’t still in the air.
They had a week in Denver, so they will be much better prepared than in the past.
DF during Semana Santa is pretty empty (much of the city goes to visit family elsewhere…or simply to Acapulco to party). The smog will be less of a factor tomorrow than any other time of the year.
I’m sure there will be an influx to the city for the Hex qualifier against the USA. It’s a pretty big game and I think Mexicans get excited about it.
Nobody expects the USA to win so there is absolutely no pressure to go-ahead and take the game to Mexico. If we lose, of course there will be the usual crowd who wants to fire Klinsmann, but that’ll all die down quickly as most of us realize that we have little chance to pull out a result.
Get out there and have a little fun. Who knows, maybe we can surprise some people.
It’s WC qualifying, so there’s inherent pressure on all nations. However, all of the pressure is on Mexico.
-They’re at home
-It’s the US
-They’re 4th on the table
Their bags of urine and vomit cups are primed and ready. Whether they throw at US players or their own players if they go down and lose, pressure is squarely on Mexico.
They also have canned urine labeled Tecate and the vomit cups are simply refried beans
I like the talk about the personnel can match up with each other and go toe to toe… But is it true? Can someone who knows the Mexican player pool break it down for me? Where are we stronger, where are hey stronger? From what I know our gk’s are better. Both d’s are suspect, ours just a little bigger. Their wingers are better. Their forwards are probably better as well. We probably have more steel in the midfield, they have more creativity. We used to win with intangibles, and I hope we hold an edge there as well. Coaching….. Depends on the day… Thoughts?
Mexico has much better wingers: GIO, Guardado. Attacking close with Jozy/Clint vs Hernandez. Midfield wise Mexico is in turm oil because we have good but inexperienced players so in my opinion Bradley is much better than anyone Mexico is going to put out.
Defensive wise Mexico isn’t too bad but there isn’t a set back line. The goalkeeper position is much closer than what you think. Since I have been watching soccer there have always been several goalkeeping options for Mexico, idk why most of them go to Europe but they are certainly good enough.
*don’t go to Europe
If GK is so close why do they keep going back and forth between keepers? Something important to remember about tomorrow is that Mexicos two CB’s are suspended due to card accumulation.
Just because the two Mexican Goalkeepers are close to each other doesn’t mean they are farther from Guzan. Ochoa is the reason his team has avoided relegation and has been featured in Ligue 1’s best 11 several times. Corona is the goalkeeper that carried Mexico to the Gold Medal.
If you truly think Guzan is that much better then you are mistaken. =]
Oh and only one Mexico CB is out. Moreno is still playing and is the better of the two.
For the record I am not saying Guzan or Howard are bad either.
I understand that the two goalies are close together, but generally speaking when you have one GK who has been playing really well you dont switch him.(Howard and Guzan are close in ability but we have stayed with Howard because he has been very solid for us). I was in no way saying their keepers were not capable but to me, it is sketchy when you are constantly changing keepers and your manager has said that he has been looking at 2 other keeprs besides the two that you have mentioned. I truly think Guzan is better(much better can be debated, even though I never stated I believed Guzan was much better), IMO if he was Mexican you guys wouldn’t constantly looking into your keeper pool and would be El Guzano would be between the posts.
Godiazul, thanks for your insight. Not convinced on the gk opinion, but I will keep an open mind.
No problem. =]
and its nice to have a debate/discussion with a mexican fan who doesn’t take every sentence as an opportunity to tell us how bad we are and how bad we are going to get beat bla bla
Two of the starters in the back line are out due to card accumulation and they aren’t that deep there. If we didn’t have so many injuries, we would probably have the advantage. As it is, it is probably a wash.
I think there is going to be pressure on both sides. Time against Mexico and Mexico out for blood vs USMNT.
Its going to be a good game. =D
Stop with the “Michael Bradley” captain talk. We get it.
Michael is going to make a fine Captain but it’s not his time just yet. This could very well be Dempsey’s last WC cycle and has a few more.
His time will come but it’s not right now. Until then? He’ll continue to be the leader that he is and a leader in which many of us see a future captain in.
…but for the love of everything holy, stop with the “Michael Bradley should be captain” posts every article about him now.
“This could very well be Dempsey’s last WC cycle and [Michael Bradley] has a few more.”
Amen, Old School. I posted the same up above, but is now stuck in moderation. Dempsey is the captain, not MB.
Gotta love the moderation.
It’s probably best to stop complaining about moderation. It isn’t going away and that benefits all of us. Every now and then a comment takes a little more time to post, I’d much rather have that than spammers or trolls running wild.
Except it rarely prevents those things and appears to have no rhyme or reason.
Yeahhhhh… moderation bites….. I promise you I will be exercising none during tonight’s match and aim to get absolutely pissed. The only thing that remains to be seen is whether or not I will be celebrating or drowning sorrows.
I agree on Dempsey, Bradley and moderation…
Old School, I wasn’t saying that Bradley SHOULD be the captain. When I hear him talk, he talks like a natural born leader. We know he will get his time at some point in the future. The point of the conversation was that the captaincy will be good for Dempsey and the USMNT because it will help Dempsey elevate his game even more so because he will be commanding respect from all players on his team, and with that will be an added sense of responsibility to be active, involved and will cover a lot of ground for an entire 90 minutes. Not just scoring goals which we all know he’s very good at! I hope that makes sense. I agree that Dempsey will make a great captain. Bradley will get his time someday down the road, but right now Dempsey benefits more from having the armband than Bradley.
Edu-Bradley in the middle, press the defense early, give the ball to Dempsey and Jozy. Lets go!
Everyone has echoed the need to start the match off well early. No early goals will be huge, and once that crowd turns against them, hopefully things will start to.. snowball.. into our favor.
I can see 5 defenders and four defensive midfielders.
JK will make Bunker Bob look like Brazil from the 70’s.
Michael Bradley is wrong, the pressure is on both teams. The U.S. cannot get a negative result in Azteca, a win or draw is the best scenario. Unlike previous World Cup Qualifications in this region, many teams have improved (Honduras,Jamaica,etc..) and they have to find wats to get points on the road in tough away environments. Mexico knows they have the upper hand playing at home, and they will definently want to put this match to bed in a convincing fashion.
obviously every team has some pressure in some games. But the formula for success in the Hex is win your home games, and pick up points on the road. If Mexico doesn’t win tomorrow, they will have had 2 home games and zero wins. That pressure, in addition to the rivalry of USA v Mex in the Azteca, is far greater than anything the USA is facing.
I do not want to see the U.S. come out and play defensively tomorrow. If we do, it will show that they are overwhelmed by the task at hand and it will give Mexico all the time and space to get into rythm. So when the Americans don’t have possession, everyone needs to be defensively alert and close down any space for the Mexican playmakers to exploit. Also, just winning home games isn’t going to be enough,I need to see consistent performances. Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, and Panama are more than capable of beating the U.S. at home if they don’t play seriously.
In recent history it has taken 15 pts to qualify, if you win all 5 home matches thats 15 and while the rest of the HEX is stronger, the US should be able to get some type of result at one of the 3 remaining away matches after this
? The US has qualified for the last 5 world cups without getting a result in Mexico and while your point is noted that the teams in the HEX have improved, that doesn’t mean those teams have improved enough to be considered more of a favorite to advance than Mexico. Because of that the expectations for the US in Azteca remain the same in that there are no expectations for the US in Azteca. Here’s a question, how can Michael Bradley be “wrong” like you say when he is talking about which team(ONE OF WHICH HE IS ON!!) is feeling more pressure going into tomorrow? You are speculating on the life that he is actually living.When you pair his statement with the fact that big bad Mexico has only two points in two matches it should be obvious to everyone that the pressure is on Mexico. You think Bradley is wrong? If the US wins Mexico might fire their manager and it will a huge national story, if Mexico wins their fans will be happy but they will also say that they should have won regardless. Its a WCQ of course there is some pressure, but the level Mexico is feeling is far greater than the pressure the Yanks are feeling.
the US is sitting good in the table with the number of draws that have occured…the pressure is clearly on Mexico after dropping 2 points against Jamaica at home in the first game.
As a Mexico NT fan I have to say that this could work, but then you have to worry about keeping this up for the entire match because Hernandez is too good at making you pay for any mistakes.
Also, Mexico is extremely good at beating over attacking teams because of their quickness up the flanks (Hence their good record against Brazil). So, sometimes the best weapon is a good defense, e.g Jamaica at Azteca, because we don’t have anyone to run up the middle (WE NEED VELA).
Where is Vela these days when he is not at the disco?
When not at the Disco he is leading his teams to a champions league stop. While at the Disco idk, =]
Who will slot in for the Maza since he is suspended this match? And who will be captain? Also I saw Nilo is out as well, does that mean Salcido will slide over to LB? I thought Nilo looked horrible vs Honduras but there arent too many LB on the squad. I like the US chances with half of Mexico’s starting def and captain out for this match. Adds to the pressure Bradley was talking about and makes it a good match for the US to attack the makeshift backline.
Yes, Salcido will more than likely slide on the LB and for CB its between Ayala or Magallon. The captain will be Ochoa, Im still confused about that. Also, the spot left by Salcido will probably be picked up by Herrera or Molina.
I see. Salcido is slower than Nilo I believe, but he is so crafty, I expected Salcido to be captain…..Magallon always seems a little suspect to me, he is solid but sometimes makes some rash challenges. Herrera is the highly rated young midfield player? I am a US supporter and a casual follower of Mexico so I may be wrong on some of this. How do these moves make you feel?
All good points.
There are two kinds of pressure. There is internal pressure which all competitive athletes put on themselves and then external pressure.
Well certainly, in a WC qualifier, as highly competitive athletes, both sides will have internal pressure to win the game, but when it comes to external pressure? Please. Due to the vastly different soccer cultures within each nation, there is simply no comparison. In Mexico, soccer is at the absolute apex and central focus of mainstream culture and the national team is at the top of the soccer food chain. It is THE sport… front page headline, top story news and fodder for every gossip rag. The nations greatest heroes and celebrities are footballers. Expectations build pressure. Let’s compare shall we? Most hard core US fans hope to win this game, but don’t expect to and would deem it acceptable if we make a good showing… would be absolutely elated at a draw and an all-time highlight to win.
Dempsey could walk off the pitch wearing his jersey in most US cities and once outside the shadow of the stadium, enjoy a nice dinner in public completely unmolested or unnoticed. Mexico’s u20s couldn’t get away with this, let alone Chicharito.
Sad but true… soccer in the US is a fringe sub-culture. Not only do most people in this country not care about the outcome of tonight’s game…. they don’t even know it is being played.
Sorry, but when it comes to the national team, our players don’t have a fraction of the outside pressure the Mexicans do. Add the results of the last 2 matches and the fact thast this is a home game? It will be fever pitch. Hit ’em early and they will be feeling it big time… very vulnerable. Let them get atarted and they will be rabid.
Too many words. Simply needed to say: If Mexico loses… it will literally be viewed a national tragedy. If the US loses? To a miniscule minority, it will be a disappointment…. to the vast majority, completely unnoticed.
And let’s be honest. For most of us who care even, we’re HOPING to win in Azteca, not EXPECTING. A loss is more a disappointment because it means listening to Mexico fans boast until the rematch, not because we think we had 3 pts in the bag and lost them.
Much more pressure, of every kind, on El Tri. Which, historically speaking, has been a bad thing for them. Not a team that handles pressure well.
Hope this means we see a double pivot formation rather than 3 Dmids, it just hasn’t been working for us. Our formation against Honduras wasn’t good for anything, it didn’t even clog up the midfield. Start Edu and Bradley in the center, and they’ll know what to do.
I think tomorrow’s game would be a good game to get a guy like Joe Corona on the field. Put him high up the field and let him use his youthful, naive energy to run rampant.
I have a weird feeling Jurgen is gonna start Beckerman to pair with MB…
There have been rumblings of a Kljestan sighting..
Well, yeah…he’s with the team.
Is ‘double-pivot’ the ‘nice’ name for the ’empty bucket’?
That’s an excellent question.
The words “empty bucket formation” aren’t used with anything but a 4-4-2 with two Dmids, with the wingers providing most of the creativity. We won’t be playing the empty bucket formation. We will be playing (at least) two dmids, hopefully in the same 4-5-1 we saw against Costa Rica. The reason that is would be a double pivot is the use of Dempsey as more of a free role player rather than a out and out striker.
Empty bucket is two defensive mids? I thought the belief of Bob Bradley and his system were 2 TWO-WAY midfielders.
Feilhaber, Holden, Torres, Kljestan… defensive midfielders? No. Two-way midfielders.
It was mostly Feilhaber and Bradley, and they were definitely potent enough offensively to be considered two-way midfielders. It’s not Mo Edu and Danny Williams out there.
Nope. Mostly Feilhaber? Holden? They weren’t starters.
If Feilhaber is starting next to Bradley, it’s not an empty bucket, because the presence of someone like Feilhaber means that there is a playmaker- something in the bucket. If the two central players were 2-way, it would be a classic 4-4-2. This is different. The responsibilities of the wingers and the central players is quite different.
The whole idea behind it is two holding midfielders (we saw mostly Bradley, Clark, and Edu) sitting deep. Torres was kind of a grey area, but even he tended to sit deep to orchestrate (or such as he did).
The fact that Bradley can contribute offensively and sometimes make forward runs does not change what his role was under Bob Bradley- a holding dmid.
Should say Feilhaber and Holden were rarely starters, and that Feilhaber is not by nature a holding midfielder.
Of course Feilhaber was a starter, that was the whole system Bradley started with. Bradley and Feilhaber, hailed as the next Reyna and O’Brien. I remember there were articles about it.
In my opinion I WILL NOT consider Feilhaber a defensive midfielder. Nor Torres or Kljestan.
Yes Ricardo Clark and Edu played a decent amount too, but that is when Bradley couldn’t count on Feilhaber. He was using what he had at his disposal.
The way people talk O’Brien and Reyna were defensive midfielders. Anything less then Maradona would be a defensive midfielder, dear lord.
O’Brien and Reyna were not defensive midfielders. I’m not sure who would imply that.
The fact is that Feilhaber didn’t stick around as Bradley’s midfield partner for very long, the first Gold Cup was about as far as that went. About half way through his tenure, Bob decided on an empty bucket formation which he used throughout qualifying, the Confederations Cup, and the World Cup itself. Feilhaber famously entered World Cup matches as a substitute for a forward, not replacing either of the two Dmids.
I didn’t say Klejstan was a Dmid, and Torres can be best described as a deep lying playmaker.
The use of dmids over two way midfielders has become more common in recent years, I’m not sure what your argument is.
I agree. Don’t come out in bunker mode because the Mexicans wil pick this US team apart. Come out and put pressure on the Mexicans higher up the field. Work hared as a unit, move the ball around and attack when given the opportunities.
The Mexicans love to play with the ball. So the US needs to go out and take what they love which is the ball. Do that, and Mexico will falter.
Definitely agree. Mexico doesn’t want to dump the ball forward and chase after it. They want to keep it on the floor, move it around, and find channels. We need to find a way to put pressure on them high up the field and mark them tightly. I think if we can do that, in the 2nd half, their fans will turn on them and they will begin to lose focus and play dirty.
Looking forward to the match tomorrow. I like Bradley’s comments. I still think of him as the USMNT captain, but perhaps giving Dempsey the armband will give him a bit of a boost throughout the qualifiers. I hope we attack Mexico and go at them. Put the pressure on them, in their own half instead of letting them build up from midfield. Should be an entertaining one!
agreed, Bradley doesn’t need the armband, he’s clearly the vocal leader and his attitude seems to be the one other players look to. Dempsey really just leads by example, which is fine too
I agree with you Taylor in that I think Bradley doesn’t need the armband because I feel he has always been one of the most consistent players on the USMNT. I think a player like Dempsey could use it because he doesn’t seem to “show up” to every game so perhaps this will light the fire in him during WCQ.
Dempsey has scored 7 goals in the last 8 games for the US. I’d say that’s pretty good for someone who “doesn’t show up.”
Sorry, “doesn’t show up” was a bad phrase used. I love Dempsey and think he has been great for the USMNT, but even when you listen to Bradley speak, you just sense the guy is a natural born leader. That’s what I like about Bradley. I think Dempsey getting the armband is a great thing because I do think he will be active, even more, in games because he can drift in and out of a game from time to time, and I think the armband will make him be active and involved more and more throughout each game. I hope that makes sense. My comment was no slight to Dempsey, in fact, I do think him getting the armband is more beneficial to the team because it could help Dempsey take his game to an even higher level. A level that would be even more recognized on the international stage than Donovan.
Respectfully disagree, Christian. Clint Dempsey is a great player scoring more than half of our goals and a tough guy with massive fighting spirit and he commands the respect of not only the younger guys on the team but also the veterans and everybody on the team likes Clint and feels comfortable with him. Plus, and most importantly, Klinsmann obviously trusts Clint enough to make him his captain.
Make no mistake: Clint Dempsey is the USMNT captain, not Michael Bradley. Dempsey did an outstanding job leading the team against Costa Rica and I know he will do a great job in Mexico City. Cannot wait for this game.
Equally respectfully disagree with Biff. But I think it will be good for Clint, so good for the team right now.
I definitely see your point here and if you read my comment above I’m not saying that Bradley should be captain over Dempsey. In fact, I really like the idea of Dempsey being named the captain. All I was saying is that I feel like the team will benefit more with Dempsey getting the armband because he will take his game to a higher level, a more consistent level (other than scoring goals because he does score so many important goals for the USMNT). Him getting the armband will, I truly believe, inspire him to be even more active in games for the entire course of the 90 minutes. I hope that makes sense. I agree in that Dempsey will make a great captain!
Dempsey is the Captain and his team mates are glad of it. Me too. There are two people I can sense feel as strongly about team USA as I do: Dempsey and Donovan. Edu, too, but he is too cool to show it. Howard, obviously. That is just how I feel about it, not necessarily how it is of course.
I think deuce is absolutely the best choice at this time. My cynical take on the captaincy. I think JK views Jones and MB as leaders that are both worthy of being captain. He might even value MB a little more, but given the current team dynamic, might view MB as a polarizing figure, due to his youth and outspoken nature. And, I absolutely believe that Chandler’s waffling irritated the hell out of MB. I also think giving it to MB at this stage would be an affront to the older Jones and the players that value his presence and leadership. I think there is a good deal of respect and a healthy rivalry between Jones and MB. Probably the reason their previous play together was a little spotty. It wasn’t because they couldn’t figure out how to play as twin 6s…they were just too stubborn to support each other. Picking Deuce as captain takes all the pressure out of the situation and allows everyone to come together under a vet with presence…and it definitely elevates Deuce’s play, because it’s all about the one thing that drives his game…respect.
Very well put. +1