Who should the USA start vs. Spain?

MichaelBradleyXavi (ISIphotos.com) 

                                                                             Photo by ISIPhotos.com

Beat Spain.

Two words, one seemingly impossible task. Not just for the U.S. national team, which faces the European champions on Wednesday (2:25pm, ESPN/Univision), but seemingly for any team these days.

So how will the Americans pull off an upset? The better question is how will the United States measure up? Will the U.S. team push Spain for 90 minutes, as they did in last year's 1-0 loss to Spain? Or will they make costly mistakes and lose badly to another world power?

The U.S. team could choose to bunker in, 'Park the Bus' if you will, as Iraq did in losing 1-0 to Spain last week, but that approach wouldn't really tell us much about the United States and its ability to play its own brand of soccer well against even the best of competition.

Expect the Americans to field a lineup with its share of attacking options, but also with a solid defensive foundation. In fact, there isn't much reason to believe we'll see a lineup much different from the one that beat Egypt, 3-0, on Sunday.

So who will the United States start vs. Spain? Here is one possible lineup:

USA Projected Lineup vs. Spain






While Jay DeMerit has been very good playing in place of Carlos Bocanegra, you have to go with Bocanegra if he is healthy. It should not be forgotten that the Bocanegra-Onyewu tandem did very well vs. Spain last year, with Bocanegra helping contain Torres while the Liverpool striker was in the game.

Now, if Bocanegra still isn't recovered from his hamstring injury then you stay with Demerit, meaning we could see the same starting lineup that beat Egypt.

So why not Bocanegra at left back and DeMerit in the middle? That move wouldn't be too bad, although you wonder how smart it would be to have Bocanegra testing out his recovered hamstring on the left flank against Spain's speedy wingers in space. No, marking Torres and Villa wouldn't be easy, but marking them would provide different physical tests.

What other changes could we see? It's tough to imagine any other moves. The Bradley-Clark combo worked so well vs. Egpyt, making Jose Torres and Freddy Adu extreme longshots. Benny Feilhaber has been the midfielder off the bench and the safe bet to get the call if Clark or Bradley couldn't go for some reason.

Here is one lineup I wouldn't mind seeing:





Why this group? Altidore has had his moments, but hasn't produced the chances you would want for the minutes he has gotten (That said, I do think he would be a handful for Spain's centerbacks). This lineup puts Dempsey closer to goal and puts Donovan and Davies in space, where their speed can go at Spain's somewhat vulnerable flanks. You also put together Bradley, Clark and Feilhaber in central midfield, where they just might work well enough together to slow down Spain's creative midfielders.

The U.S. lineup is relatively easy to call, especially compared to the Spain lineup, which has many more variables. It's a safe bet that you will see Torres, Villa, Fabregas, Xavi and Xabi Alonso, but the back four has plenty of variations and there are several midfielders who can slot in with the aforementioned quintet. Here is one potential Spain lineup:






No matter who Spain starts, the key to slowing them down will be cutting off passing lanes and tightly marking the dangerous forward tandem of VIlla and Torres. The Americans contained Torres last year, but Villa didn't play in that game. If the U.S. team can stay organized in midfield, and disciplined in the back, we will have a very competitive game to watch, much like last year's meeting.

For those of you wondering, here were the starting lineups the last time these teams met a year ago:

SPAIN 1, USA 0 (June 4, 2008): The Lineups



——————-E. Johnson——————–


E. Lewis————Adu—————Dempsey






The United States did well against Spain to create some chances and defend well, but the Spanish will be employing a 4-4-2 this time around that will provide a much tougher test for the U.S. back-line.

One thing the Americans must do is attack on the flanks and force Sergio Ramos and Joan Capdevila to defend. Pressuring them means limiting Spain's flank options and forcing playmakers Xavi and Fabregas to get around Michael Bradley and Ricardo Clark in order to create chances. That might seem like a bit of a mismatch, but last year Bradley and Maurice Edu held up very well for about 70 minutes before finally being worn-down and pierced by a beautiful Xavi run.

The U.S. team would do well to look closely at last year's meeting and realize that it will face a very similar Spain team on Wednesday, while the current U.S. team is stronger than last year's group. That, coupled with Sunday's victory, should give the Americans enough confidence to make Wednesday's semifinal a more competitive match than some might expect it to be.


Now it is your turn. What starting lineup would you like to see the United States use vs. Spain? Think the USA can pull off the upset? Excited to see how the American stack up against the best team in the world?

Share your thoughts below.

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130 Responses to Who should the USA start vs. Spain?

  1. stencom1 says:

    Your right about playing Boca wide with a recovering injury…wouldnt be smart…everything else looks about right….

  2. Dan says:

    I would keep the same lineup that we had versus Egypt. Demerit was excellent and deserves to start.

  3. Anthony says:

    Would it be a good idea to have a recovering Bocanegra in there, center or back? I’d have to think it might be too much at once.

    And, Ives, a 4-3-3? That didn’t work last time that formation was tried, did it?

    (I’m feeling way too cynical. HELP! :) )

  4. Chris says:

    I would consider putting Guzan in goal instead of Howard. He looked very good against Egypt, and for some reason Howard does not look as sharp right now.

  5. Murphy says:

    I think unless Boca is 100% they should stick with DeMerit. Hamstring injuries are tough to recover from and we don’t want to waste a sub early on an injury.

    I almost forgot about Edu. After his year in Scotland he would have been great to have out there in this tournament–much better than Clark or Kljestan. That injury really hurt us I think.

    Stick with 4-4-2 and as long as they play like they did vs. Egypt this will be a game instead of a blowout. And remember, Spain is on a long unbeaten run–they have to lose some time, right?

  6. Athan says:

    We all forget that the whole reason the US created chances last time against Spain is because Adu was running the show. He played some lovely soccer on that day, but of course for some odd reason he will never see the field tomorrow!

  7. Max Zeger says:

    The lineup we will see:






    Lineup I’d like to see:





    Alas, We all know Bob will stick with what worked against Egypt, and I expect us to be thoroughly outclassed. All I want though is for the US to play with some passion, and see what happens. We can beat Spain probably one out of twenty times, and this could be that one time. It’s a one game elimination, and that is all it takes.

  8. Josh says:

    Keep in mind that we’re not beating Spain, and it becomes clear that it’s (finally) time for Dempsey to sit. Also, if Boca’s ready to go, why not push him out wide and keep Demerit at CB? The question is Boca’s fitness if he hasn’t trained in a week or so…

    The one other concern is lack of midfield depth. Donovan and Bradley work hard, and when they’re playing box-to-box they put pressure on the opposing midfield, but how much do they have left in the tank? Spain’s been cruising to victory, so they’ll be better rested, and if either Donovan or MB has tired legs, Bradley NEED to be ready with a quick hook. That said, who can really step up in their place?

  9. Ulrich says:

    None of your lineups take into consideration the many games played in roughly 10 days. Bradley may not have used his bench yet, but if he ever is going to it’d be now – even he will realize it.

    And to say Altidore hasn’t been effective as he could have been is a farce; he would have scored in the last game had an Egyptian arm not gotten in the way. If anything, Altidore has suffered from not receiving anything close to good service from the midfield, and he’s taken a beating from opposing defenders. More likely than not, Altidore was subbed early not because he was ineffective, but because his legs needed to be saved for this game.

    Will these lineup changes be made, who knows, but Bradley could use fresh legs: Pierce for Bornstein, Torres/Adu for Dempsey. The rest can stay the same.

  10. japan says:

    same line up as Egypt would be fine with me. Please no 4-3-3 or 4-5-1.

  11. philip says:

    I too say to stick with the 4-4-2 and leave Boca on the bench even if he is fit. The question for me, really, is whether or not Davies played himself into the starting 11 alongside Jozy?

    I could see a 4-4-2 with Clint and Jozy up top and Landon and Benny on the wings, albeit Benny pinched in and Spector given free reign up to hit another one of those beautiful crosses.

    The question of the day though will be whether or not Rico can have the game of his life. It is a tall order, but something tells me that we have just the sort of team that could frustrate Spain if they don’t get an early goal, causing them to become impatient, fussy, etc…

    But then again, when was the last time we were good at not giving up early goals?

  12. green says:

    “We all forget that the whole reason the US created chances last time against Spain is because Adu was running the show.”

    Not all of us. Also, many of us didn’t forget that Bobo pulled him at the half, and then lied about why.

  13. David says:

    Give Guzan another start. Reward success with playing time. Yeah, it wasn’t Italy or Brazil but he kept the clean sheet they needed. Also stick with Demerit. He was in the Prem when Watford was promoted and can stick with Torres just as easily as a possibly injured Boca can. Didn’t see last years game but all I hear is Adu gave them trouble. I say give him a shot then. I like the idea of Dempsey up front instead of Altidore. He looked the most comfortable up there last game then in any other position in the tournament.

  14. Michael F. - SBI Mafia Original says:

    It’s not a coincidence we did well against Spain lat year and Adu started. Wake up Bradley.

  15. Modibo says:

    Wait a second… last year we had EJ up top and we didn’t score? How are we ever going to put points on the board this time ’round?!?

    I like keeping DeMerit on the field and Dempsey off. I also like having more creativity in midfield but I understand keeping Bradley and Clark in the middle. I know that Torres is in Bradley’s doghouse, but I’d like to see him on the field – for Dempsey maybe? I know, I dream…

  16. Pat says:

    Stick with what got you there. I think they only change we’ll see is Howard in for Guzan.

    Having said that, I’d rather see Dempsey closer to goal than he has been playing. Seems he’s only interested in the attacking third, so might as well stick him there.




  17. mike ruze says:

    He will not start Davies again. He only did it out of desperation. Despite the good result from having two real forwards on the field he will go back to his conservative self.

    I really think hell start Connor Casey instead of Davies.

    The only thing we know for sure is that Junior will start and play 90

  18. Isaac says:

    People who seem to think that they no more about the US National team than Bob Bradley does, listen.

    Are you the ones spending timing training with these guys day in and day out? Are you the ones who see their habits on and off the field? Maybe Bob Bradley is benching them because of their performance in the training camps and sessions rather than their play off the field (or lackthereof Freddy Adu).

  19. seamus says:

    It’s gonna be a 4-5-1 no doubt. The US will struggle to create any chances. Donovan and Dempsey will be on the flanks and pinned back helping Bradley–Clark–Feilhaber disposses the Spanish midfield. Benny can’t go 90 so expect to see Sasha late in the match. Altidore will be on an island all day. Gooch and Demerit will play valiantly but ultimately be made to look like statues. It may only finish 1-0; the scoreline will flatter an inept US attack.

  20. matt C says:

    Dempsey’s best position is as a withdrawn forward where his dribbling can produce brilliant results and his mis-Qs and losing the ball don’t hurt as much. Start him up top with Altidore and put Benny at right mid. Benny, demps and Landy can interchange as well. I think Pearce is a better “defender” than Bornstein but it’s not a slam dunk by any means.


    spec demerit gooch pearce

    benny clark landy




  21. patriot71 says:

    Will BB really start Dempsey at outside mid once again after his atrocious abilities at dropping back to defend? Not to mention his give-aways in our half of the field? Man, I hope not! I thought that was the reason BB pushed him up front in the second half.

    Stupid question as I honestly don’t know that much about Davies. Could you push Davies back to the outside mid position and push Dempsey up to the striker position? I don’t know if Davies can defend but he definitely has the wheels to get up and down the field.


  22. rg says:

    Modibo – What’s even funnier is that EJ actually had scored on a play that was turned back as offsides….and if I remember correctly, it was through a great Adu ball into space.

  23. Rossi is Judas says:

    I think if the United States is going to win this game, they will have to be of the mindset that they’ll win 4-3 or 5-4. Hoping to win 1-0 won’t work against Spain. Line up I’d like to see:






    If the circumstances are right, bring Altidore off the bench to give the Spanish defense hell. Davies can run them ragged from the start with his pace.

  24. Isaac says:


    Davies can play as a winger in a 4-2-3-1.

  25. EA says:

    I was wrestling with lineups in my head last night while I was running.

    I think we’ll see one of two things:

    The same lineup that STARTED against Egypt. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it, right?

    The same lineup that ENDED against Egypt (minus Casey for Altidore, of course.) 3 central midfielders (Bradley-Clark-Feilhaber), Dempsey and Altidore up top, and allow Donovan/Bornstein to provide the width on the left, and Spector on the right.

    Right now, I’m leaning toward the latter, and thinking that clogging the middle may be the best idea. The downside, is if we get spread out too much in the middle, with the outside backs cheating up. We’ll be getting carved up like a Thanksgiving turkey.

    Either way, it’s going to be a challenge.

    Biggest game since Italy ’06.

  26. Blokhin says:

    I see a 4-5-1, or more of a 4-1-4-1, with Clark sitting in front of the back four to clean up anything that gets through the midfield


    enough players to string together a counterattack, but definitely packing in the middle to stifle Spain’s midfield…otherwise, they will shred us down the middle

  27. MAES says:

    BB’s crutch line-up, cause he has no tactical mind, so he will stick with what worked and put Howard in for Guzan as the only change from the Egypt game:






    Not that I’m not comfortable with that line-up, but fatigue will be an issue, and will ultimately play a role in this game against the US. Lineup I’d like to see:






    Deuce, 20 mins of run for Jozy, to run hard and create some new looks for the Nats off the bench.

    Bornstein,for Boca at some point as well for fitness reasons

    Torres, for Adu if he does not come to play at halftime or at the 60 minute mark

  28. Johnny says:

    at least we will beat b afana bafana in the third place game

  29. Barry U says:

    All i want is a good performance from the squad. What does that mean? I would like to see us attack and not sit in a shell. Put pressure on Spain early on and let them know they are in for a tough game. No stupid plays that could lead to stupid calls going against us. Basically smart and hard playing all over the park. We have two games now againts good teams and bunkering down is not what you want to practice is it?

  30. Marmaduke says:

    I still think, for this tournament, Dempsey should not start and instead be the first sub off the bench. He looks tired right now and I think we’d see more of what we need from him in a second half than we have in full 90s.

    And I’m with Anthony and others, the 4-3-3 scares me a bit. Although maybe it was just gong a man down that was our biggest undoing…and the boys seem to be getting the hang of the officials in SA.

  31. green says:

    “People who seem to think that they no more about the US National team than Bob Bradley does, listen.”


    Fans are giving their opinions, after being asked what they think. . . on a soccer blog.

    You know, I always thought we were applying for the soon to be vacant position. 😀

  32. John Glosson says:

    “People who seem to think that they no more about the US National team than Bob Bradley does, listen.”

    After I saw “no” instead of “know,” I stopped reading.

  33. jpc says:

    While I have been crying for Feilhaber and Torres in the middle, and would still like to see it; you really can’t deny that last game was the best US lineup so far, and I don’t think now is the right time to continue tinkering w/ these lineups:







    -Torres- First off bench for Clark (if he gets a yellow, pull him, b/c another is definitely coming)

    -Feilhaber- First off bench for Dempsey (very tight leash, 45 minutes to prove he’s gonna work hard and not make stupid turnovers)

    -Adu- First off bench for Davies (or Altidore)

  34. Isaac says:

    I just think we’re going to need a better defensive presence







  35. AdamTheRed says:

    If our defense gets carded to hell and back we could have some issues with South Africa.

  36. somebodycall911 says:

    La Furia Roja will infiltrate the U.S. camp and take no prisoners. To the USMNT: may the “illuminati” be with you. [Laughs discretely]

    Donovan is an Army of One. Howard is just too vulnerable in the back.

  37. Angel says:

    I think if we move Dempsey to the left top and pair him with Altidore and bring Adu to the right wing. I hope to see Torres and Benny in the field also. I know I know that this never going to happen and I guess I will be waiting until the Gold Cup see all those three together or maybe see a young team. This is my lineup against Spain



    ————–Bradley——–Feilhaber —————



  38. Angel says:







  39. Dan Gleesack says:





    Freddy MUST come on as a sub at the very least!

  40. Jose A. V. says:

    I like this line up:





    then sub in Benny for either Bradley or Clar,

    the only concern with this line up would be fatigue.

  41. Kevin says:

    at least we will beat b afana bafana in the third place game

    Posted by: Johnny | June 23, 2009 at 09:48 AM

    Wait….I may make myself sound stupid, but i didn’t know that there was a third place game in the confederations cup. Tha tis good news if it is true because we will have 2 more games to play in that case and maybe Bob will give the Adu’s and Torres’s of the world a full 90 in that game!

  42. Pepe says:

    In general, I agree with keeping the same basic lineup that played pretty well against Egypt. However, 8 of the 10 players will be starting their 4th game in 9 days. Clark is on his 3rd. I worry about fatigue.

    It still boggles my mind that Bob held onto a sub against Brazil. Not that would have changed our fatigue worries but it couldn’t have hurt.

    And Jozy wasn’t subbed out last game to save him for this game as he left while we were still on 2-0. I do believe he was subbed due to fatigue versus poor performance though.

  43. Jose A. V. says:

    This USMNT squad is better than the one presented last year. so its going to be interesting how these guys respond.

  44. CSD says:

    Play defensive, clog up the midfield and hope for some luck on the counter. Play the game to win and I don’t care how it looks. This is against the best team in the World in form that wants to win this tournament. There is no bigger test available.

  45. Tolik says:

    To: Isaac

    1. It’s a discussion on the soccer discussion blog. Why are you here? Not to discuss?

    2. BB criticism. Do you know any country where coaches are not criticized? Share with us, please. I think its a good sign that we believe that we reached that level when to fall to Brazil is not enough, we want to “fall with style”. :^)

    3. Do you think there is no grounds for BB criticism? He made no mistakes? It was plenty: it was very clear to us unwashed, that Beasley is not in a good form until BB finally! had to pull him off himself. Same applies to Sacha. Dempsey scored a goal after being a liability for 2.5 games. I am happy for him and for us, but maybe Torres would not be such liability. It took injuries to 2 players and a horrible performance by a third one to finally! see Spector. He deserved a serious look up a long time ago. Same applies to Demerit. I happened to like all the players I criticize above. But if you are out of form or tired, you should sit. How many games did EJ played producing nothing until he was benched? Did Adu or Torres receive a 1/10 of same benefit of the doubt? Cooper had a very good form last year but was not called. I’ll let somebody else to say if he deserves it this year, I did not see him enough.

    4. I am sure a good performance during training is important. But there is another factor. Did you notice how calm under fire are the best world players – no rush to get rid of the ball, know what to do next, etc. Did you notice who are our most calm-under-fire players? Spector and Torres. I know they are not world-class-Brazilians. Do we have any?

    5. After giving BB a benefit of the doubt up until now, I don’t anymore. I am sure he will stay through 2010, but I wish for a higher class coach.

  46. ELAC says:

    Don’t start Beasley, Connor, or Sacha. As a matter of fact, don’t play them at all.

    After Feilhaber, bring in Adu and or Torres.

    If we lose, bring out the kids and throw them in the fire.

    Estados Unidos cabrones!!

  47. patriot71 says:

    I can’t believe how many people are putting Dempsey at outside mid in their line-ups. Did you not see his total lack of defending as well as all of the give-aways near our own goal?! Not just against Egypt either. He’s an opportunistic player, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. But you’ve got to keep him up top and not in a role where he’s needed to really drop back and defend. Spain’s midfield is proably the best package out there and we’ve got to be able to drop back to take pressure off of our back line.

  48. whatagame says:

    How about we hire a European coach and he plays this incredible new formation where just Torres and Adu take the field by themselves! Only problem is that we have to find a European coach who would want to start Adu…apparently there aren’t any in Europe.

  49. Freddie Footballer says:

    I don’t know what Adu needs to get some minutes in this game. He did very well going at Spain last year. we need to keep some possession and we need to see Adu and Torres get some PT here, at least in the second half.

  50. Xander Crews says:

    Reading this entry made me want to puke. We beat an undermanned Egyptian side and now you people think we’re going to be able to handle Spain? Please divulge your source for your mind-altering hallucinogens for the rest of us, please…

    I expect us to bunker in, lose 1-0, and have Baby Bradley once again spout off about how great of a job they did. I can see Bobbo playing for penalty kicks, though someone better inform him that Landycakes can only kick once.

    This team has played well exactly twice in its last seven matches (the wins over Egypt and Trinidad). Every other game has been a debacle. I’m thinking recent history will be the indicator of future performance in this case.

    Spain, 3-0. And then the flip-floppers will be back to calling for change instead of glorifying one good game.

    And for the love of God, would our guys shut their cake-holes and let their play do the talking? Hell, they’re lucky to be in the spot they’re in, yet you’d think they ran unbeaten through their group….

    link to soccernet.espn.go.com

  51. Jeff says:

    Monaco would have probably been undefeated last year if Adu had played. And if they had snagged Torres on a transfer – Look Out!

  52. Angel says:

    are you freaking out your mind, The reason that European Coach had players that lit bit much better them Adu, and the USA don’t have any. I haven’t see a guy who is calm and technical than Adu. There are only few and those are Feilhaber, Donovan, Dempsey, Torres thats all.

  53. Joe B. NYC says:

    Well said Tolik. I also was a big Bradley fan. Other players need to get a chance. The EJ, Beasley & Sacha stuff really annoys me. But Adu, Torres can’t get 1/10 the chance these guys get. I do like Clark however. He needs to be bit faster, but I’d rather have him with Bradley on the field. The lineup I’d like to see:





    Dempsey can come on for Adu in the 2nd.

  54. BossTweed says:

    I think he’ll keep the lineup that scored goals in the middle of the game; that is:





    I’m not sold on Feilhaber being totally ineffective on the flank. He’s not a traditional winger that will beat people to the sticks and cross it, but neither is Dempsey. He’ll cut toward the middle of the field and play some good balls in the middle. Furthermore, I see his passing skills in tight spaces playing well with Spector on the flank who WILL run the sticks and cross it.

  55. Joe B. NYC says:

    Oh yeah, with El Guzano in Goal. Let’s give Timmay a break…

  56. Josh says:

    I’m fine with a clogged central midfield, because Spain’s midfield is second to none (including Brazil). Let them play their short passing game and they’ll absolutely kills us. Xabi Alonso in particular is great at those perfectly weighted through-balls from distance, and our CBs are NOT quick enough to turn and run with Villa/Torres.

    With Spain it’s really a “pick your poison” scenario. But if we can force the ball out wide and have their wingers cross it in, we at least have a chance b/c our CBs–Gooch especially–are so good in the air. Again, no guarantee that Torres won’t burn us anyway, but I think it gives us a better chance.
    I just can’t agree with those posters who think we need more attackers. Our attackers are serviceable, but they’re not on the level of our opposition. While I wish the US was good enough to stop playing a counterattacking style, if ever a game called for it, this is it. The US needs to clog the middle and wait for chances to counter with our speed.
    If we fall behind, THEN bring in Adu and Torres, but their defensive shortcomings will be exposed against a team like Spain. Same with Dempsey–he needs to sit unless we’re behind and have a chance to equalize late.

    Here’s my lineup: Howard
    with the idea that Spector’s crossing ability will let him make overlapping runs, allowing Feilhaber to tuck inside and distribute when we have possession (but Spector’s gotta be alert about getting back early). I hope the game has slowed down enough for Clark that he avoids another dumb late challenge, but his speed and range will allow him to cover for Spector and Feilhaber if they push up, and he can get out on a counterattack and shoot from distance.
    Donovan can handle himself out left, but Bornstein MUST do a better job of getting out and covering overlapping runs on the flank (I thought he did poorly against Egypt, and if Boca’s healthy, I’d just as soon he get the start at LB). Davies gets the start for his speed on the counterattack.

  57. Joe B. NYC says:

    OK. I like Boss Tweed’s lineup a little more…

    But with Guzan in goal.

  58. Turtle says:

    It’s interesting that we will probably ahve only 4 (or 5 if Boca starts) of the same starters as we did just one year ago.

    The team BB started that played Spain 1-0 would have us all going bonkers today.

  59. smorebs says:

    Ideally I would like to see Torres and Adu play but, I don’t think they start. I agree with BossTweed’s lineup with Davies, Adu, and Torres the likely subs for Altidore, Dempsey, and Feilhaber. I wouldn’t mind Sasha coming in possibly for Clark or Feilhaber but, I would rathre see Adu or Torres in this type of game.

    Also, those who would not start Jozy, you are insane. He has the most experience in this lineup with Spanish style football and should match up well with the Spanish back line. The big problem for Jozy is getting on the same page with Lando and Duce. If/when that occurs, the US should be able to strech the field more and create better chances.

  60. milkshake of despair says:

    Bob’s quote about why Dempsey remains in the game was something like “he provides flashes of brillance”. It’s interesting what’s not being said. Bob is agreeing here that Dempsey has been lazy and disappeared. It’s a subtle way of calling out Dempsey. Let’s hope Dempsey gets the message….

  61. Fan Futbol says:

    We all forget that the whole reason the US created chances last time against Spain is because Adu was running the show. He played some lovely soccer on that day, but of course for some odd reason he will never see the field tomorrow!

    Posted by: Athan | June 23, 2009 at 09:12 AM

    Athan’s 100% right. We played Spain well last year in the first half when Adu was on the field. For those of you belittling Adu — did you or did you not see the Spain friendly last year?

    Spain is so good on the ball — and thank God Iniesta is injured — that playing two D-mids and bunkering down just means it will take them a little longer to score. We cannot beat Spain if we simply hope to intercept their passes and make heroic tackles; we must increase the length and quality of our own possessions. Adu is a guy who can do that. One of the many pieces of evidence of that is…the last Spain friendly.

    BTW: if Kljestan comes on in this game, at any time, BB is absolutely out of his mind. It will be like playing with ten men.


  62. whatagame says:

    Hello Angel,

    Thanks for that erudite response. Not sure what it actually said but it sure seemed passionate. Glad ou enjoyed the joke.

    Respectfully yours,


  63. seamus says:

    I’m sorry but I think you all are dreaming if you expect Bradley to play only 4 midfielders(or 3, Ives, you’re lost my man!).

    The US is so clearly overmatched in the midfield that you simply MUST play with 5 in order to avoid being shredded.

    If you were an international coach would you rather lose 1-0 or 2-0 by clogging the midfield or lose 4-1 or 5-1 but play more open?

  64. Johnny says:

    If ain’t broken don’t fix it!

    Keep it exactly how it was on Sunday. This team needs to build a consistent chemistry!

    The USMNT is no longer in full on crisis mode but they do need to show us that they can play two good games in a row.

  65. Logic says:

    Xander Crews, amen brother.

  66. yeahright says:

    maybe if jose torres is on the field, spain will get confused and will pass it to him…

  67. it ain't broke... says:

    I say keep the same line-up from the Egypt victory. No sense replacing DeMerit with Bocanegra at this point: seems risky to Boca’s health and DeMerit has performed beyond expectations.

    However, I think Dempsey should start only if he’s in a purely attacking role.

  68. Roberto says:

    I’m starting to get really tired and annoyed at these formation posts and the same usual questions.. Where everybody shows off their coaching savvy and their cute little diagrams with nicknames like gooch, dolo etc. Cut it out now!! It’s getting boring. Here’s my formation;

    Gk; Balls
    Defense; balls
    Midfield ; balls
    Forwards: balls
    I want a formation like this on a consistent basis and not just against Egypt
    The great teams in the history of this game know about this; Argentina Brazil Germany Etc. Now Spain is starting to learn this too

  69. jpc says:

    I would like to see Dempsey not on the wing, I’m just not sure who else we could possibly put out there, w/out fear of some fatal miscue based on the fact that Adu and Feilhaber are not wingers by trade, and simply haven’t had enough playing time to be counted on at the wing against Spain for 90 minutes…

    Dempsey makes me want to pull my hair out, but I think we are past the point in this tournament where we can be replacing him with guys who don’t really play the wing…

    My greatest fear is that Bradley will look down his bench for a Dempsey sub, and see one wing player, and his name is Demarcus Beasley… sounds like the beginning to a really good horror movie, or comedy

  70. Isaac says:

    I just think that Bob Bradley is being criticised for losing matches that not many American or European coaches have won. The Costa Rica match was one no American has won, Italy and Brazil…come on…..I know there were some bad decisions but he wasn’t exactly working with his best XI.

    I understand BB has had some suspect choices(ESPECIALLY sitting on that final sub in the Brazil game) but he’s had a lot to deal with. Injuries to Hejduk, Ching, Cherundolo, Bocanegra, and suspensions to Howard( missed El Salvador) and Bradley( missed Honduras). The fact that the injured four weren’t in any of the group games didn’t exactly help Bradley.

  71. T says:

    Ives, I usually agree with you but this time I feel that you’re wrong. Bob does not need to try to outcoach himself and switch to a 4-3-3. It’s time to stick with the 4-4-2. It’s what we’re comfortable in and frankly, we’re pretty good at it. Let’s see how it goes.

  72. BlueWhiteLion says:







    I like Torres in there for his style of play against Spain. Depending on his defensive focus, we might be a bit exposed on the left, tho. But This formation gives us good linking possibilities on all sides.

    Adu subs in for Dempsey.

    I Also considered BENCHING Dempsey. Hopefully his goal and playing up top will be the motivation he needs for his style.

    Feilhaber can sub in for Rico, with Bradley dropping back and Feilhaber going more forward mid.

  73. Angel says:


    When I say Freaking out of you min I hope you didn’t take it in a bad way. but the
    one thing tho is that we want the best for our national team and all I want is that we show a good football and a good show. That is why sometime I get really upset with Bob Bradley, don’t get me wrong BB is not a bad coach is just don’t have that style and something that is really missing on this team. Do you know what I mean.

  74. Pat says:

    “I don’t know what Adu needs to get some minutes in this game. ”

    Play more than 100 minutes a year with his club.

  75. patriot71 says:


    Ummm….I think Whatageme’s first post that started this was meant as a joke. Read it again.

  76. tokick says:

    I’m not an Adu fan (yet), but since he had a good game against Spain last year and Dempsey is tired, why not play with the same line-up as in the Egypt game, but replace Dempsey with Adu? Dempsey can come in 2nd half if Adu is not in form or can’t generate the attack.

    And why assume that Howard should automatically start? In some of the goals that he’s allowed recently, he looked to be too far off his line.

  77. Joe B says:

    guzan over howard

  78. Josh says:


    We’re not Spain (hell, we’re not even England). A lineup of pure “balls,” as you put it, won’t cut it against a top-level team. Otherwise SPL teams would win the Champions’ League every year.

    And if you’re tired of our speculative lineups, then go post somewhere else; this isn’t the site for you.

  79. Isaac says:

    Just a question. If we DO play Dempsey and Altidore up top who would be the target striker? As far as I know both of these guys are used to playing off of a target striker. Dempsey would play off Twellman for the Revolution, Ching for the national team, and Johnson for Fulham. Jozy would play off Ching for the MNT, and Angel for the Red Bulls. They both seem capable of it.

  80. primoone says:

    If you dont like it….change the channel.

    I have a gut feeling Boob rewards the same cast that won the last game. However, I do feel that Demps-Altidore-Gooch need to rest. We are not advancing beyond this soo why not take the oportunity to try some new players? If not in a starting capacity then maybe 2 half-time subs and 1 final sub later in the 2nd half. In any case Win or lose, the key is to get better, gain valuable experience for the younger players and make it competative.







  81. Rastafari says:

    Save Davis for the sub.. Although Dempsey is one straw away from breakin it for me I say start #2 up front with Altidore and see where that gets us. Thats all..

    Spain have yet to see the pressure were gonna apply..I see a tie game after regulation

  82. patriot71 says:

    Before I get pounced on, let me start out by saying that I am a huge Adu fan and I see tons of potential in the kid.

    That said, are you sure you want him playing against Spain?? I ask this because he obviously hasn’t been playing much at all at the club level and we all know that BB hasn’t been playing him for the USMNT. Isn’t anyone a bit weary of putting in a player that has to be rusty playing against the #1 team in the world?

    What am I missing here?

  83. Angel says:


    Bob Bradley is not the only coach to deal with injuries or player missing game for either been comulating yellow or get red cards. Please that is the saddest excuse. That is why you need a coach that can do the right Subtitution or lineup and good team on the field. We have good players that can provide a good show and can play its matter of putting them where they can do their job and give the best of them.

  84. Jacob A. says:







    I put Dempsey there because I don’t like any other option out there, other than Davies, but I don’t know if his defense is stingy enough to do that job, and I believe that that goal may have gotten a little bit of “Deuce’s” swagger back, and provide him the confidence and energy he needs to be who we need him to be.

    Also, because I believe nobody else has yet:

    link to youtube.com

  85. tonytdc says:

    let boca come back to the starting lineup vs south africa. no need to put him out against spain off injury when demerit has done well. also, i say start davies up front to have a speed aspect to our front line to force spain’s defense to spend some energy as well. now i know it won’t happen, but i would like to see torres, b/c of his skill on the ball and ability to maintain possession under pressure, mixing it up with xavi and fabregas. not the best way to clamp down on the spain attack, but do we really think clark is going to shut down xavi for the entire 90?

  86. cwa20 says:

    go usa!!!!!!!!! were gonna beat spain 2-1. i know all of yall will think im crazy for saying that but just wait, youll see and then you will all think im a soccer genius.

  87. tonytdc says:

    and the 3 subs to allow for change of shape/tactics/energy whenever appropriate – feilhaber, clark, adu. if the tactic works but torres isn’t up to it, sub in adu. if the shape and tactic don’t work, sub in clark for torres. if davies isn’t having the same impact as last game, sub in feilhaber with dempsey moving to forward. if it gets ugly, sub out donovan and dempsey for feilhaber and adu and let the young guys have some fun and run at the big boys. might as well be entertaining and an experience for the younger guys.

  88. Angel says:

    I think that Dempsey want to play at top and score goals. If I was Bob Bradley I put him close to the goal and pair him with either Altidore or Davis, either one will do fine with me. That way we can have Feilhaber or Adu play the right wing. on the middle have Bradley pair with Clark or Torres and on the left Donovan so if bornstein is playing the left Donovan can help him on defences like it did against Egypt. Or maybe have Bocanegra on the left and Oguchi and DeMerit Central and of Course Spector on the right. Like I say before Come USA give a good show and show the world that we too have and can play good football. I know we all here like to play the Coach but Bob Bradley better bring it this time and give us a good show and our guys play with heart and passion. Plus it won’t killed them playing a good soccer and maybe get scout it by other team in La Liga or Seria A. remember this a stage where a lots of people are keeping an eye and got drafted to better clubs. PS Altidore is time to shine now that you have a new Coach in Villareal and Peligrini is not there since there are rumors that Rossi it may leave and Franco too.

  89. Isaac says:

    Here’s another question…what happens when the host nation wins their region’s tournament. Like if South Africa won the African cup of nations. Would the runner up participate?

  90. Sg says:

    Theyre better off putting Adu, Torres, etc and seeing how the team plays against the best. After all the real games are next summer might as well find out what’s what.

  91. Turtle says:

    Tonytdc – “let boca come back to the starting lineup vs south africa”

    Do you really think SA will beat Brazil? I don’t see us playing SA unless that happens…lol

  92. MiamiAl says:

    at least we will beat b afana bafana in the third place game

    Posted by: Johnny | June 23, 2009 at 09:48 AM

    Who says??? Maybe we will beat Bafana Bafana in the FIRST PLACE GAME…;)

  93. Oranjebleeder says:

    I think set pieces are the key in this game. The Spain mids are not that big, and if we have one advantage, it is our height and physical presence.

  94. Adam M. says:

    The U.S. looked good for 140 minutes when it attacked against Italy and Egypt and looked awful when it defended for 140 minutes against Italy and Brazil. The bottom line against Spain is that U.S. players have to make strong runs deep into Spain’s defense while leaving the backline home to defend against the counter. I would pair Dempsey with Altidore since Dempsey can’t run much or defend, let Donovan do exactly what he did against Egypt, and give him Benny to look for his runs. Bradley and Clark (ugh) to hold, although I’d prefer Torres in this game in particular. Leave the back 4 alone and put Howard back in goal.

  95. Mike says:

    Does Bradley survive if Spain puts up a bunch? I guess it depends on your expectations of the U.S. next summer.
    link to bit.ly

  96. cf says:

    A link to some Adu highlights of the Spain game.

    link to youtube.com

    Since Bob is willing to gamble by giving other underperforming players a look I wonder when Adu’s time will come, probably the Gold Cup. Adu just better be ready to prove himself when he steps on the pitch. Perhaps then the Adu fan club will be able to better ascertain if they are still on target with their demands.

    The US plays a certain brand of footie and Adu should probably conform to it in order to first get some playing time in games that “matter.” With so much time watching from the bench I hope he has developed a notion of his teammates tendencies with a mind to capitalize on them instead of expecting others to play for him.

    For anyone on the USMNT its hard to create when others don’t know how to run off the ball and the first touch leaves much to be desired.

  97. Andrew in tampa says:

    If my memory of the game against Spain is accurate, the spanish defense was very suspect to speed. EJ had a few chances- remember the cross at the start of the second half? And Adu turned a few heads in that game. We need a team that could play better possession, soak up the pressure and not just kick long balls.

    Also I think Ives assessment of Jozy is way off. Remember how he turned that defender in the Italy game? He still can do things none of our other forwards can. he is a threat every time.

  98. MICHOACANO says:



  99. Xander Crews says:

    I understand BB has had some suspect choices(ESPECIALLY sitting on that final sub in the Brazil game) but he’s had a lot to deal with. Injuries to Hejduk, Ching, Cherundolo, Bocanegra, and suspensions to Howard( missed El Salvador) and Bradley( missed Honduras). The fact that the injured four weren’t in any of the group games didn’t exactly help Bradley.

    Posted by: Isaac | June 23, 2009 at 11:24 AM
    Isaac, Isaac, Isaac… really? That’s the best you can do for sticking up for Bobbo?

    I’ll put it at its most basic terms for you: if Bobbo can’t handle injuries and suspensions, then he shouldn’t be the manager of a national side. Pure and simple.

    Yikes… Since when did not having Frankie Freakin’ Hejduk and Brian Ching turn into an excuse to play piss-poor soccer?

  100. Colin Ferguson says:

    …and the condescension award goes to the perennial winner, Xander Crews. Big virtual pat on the back champ.

  101. madmax says:

    Beasley at LB and Kljestan at CM.

  102. patriot71 says:

    A few more points on Adu:

    1. Yes, he played very well in our match vs. Spain.

    2. That match was 12 months ago.

    3. He hasn’t been playing much at all since then until now (he should have, IMHO).

    4. If the goal here is to actually put yourself into position to have a go at Spain, I’m not sure putting in a player that hasn’t been seeing much field time for the past 12+ months is that great of an idea.

    Again, not bashing as I really do like Adu but he’s got to be rusty at this point.

  103. Xander Crews says:

    What point of my argument was wrong? Apparently being condescending is the only way to get through to some people…

  104. goalscorer24 says:

    I would use the same line up as against Egypt, except perhaps use Torres or Adu instead of Dempsey. Perhaps have Dempsey sub in.

  105. Tom P says:

    Boca on left, Bornstein out, leave in Demerit.

    Must start Clark in midfield and tell him where Xavi goes you shadow. He is the only one with the wheels and grit to even slightly hamper their midfeld.

  106. Tom P says:

    yes- and as many said above

    Attack Attack Attack because Bora ball will only get you beat badly with our total lack of team defensive understanding at this point.

  107. Ken says:

    I want Dempsey to get rest, but that probably won’t happen, so he should start up top. He hasn’t been defending at all this tournament and he will get torched by Capdevila and Silva on Spain’s left side, putting way too much pressure on Spector. Guzan should start also. Howard hasn’t looked all that good any he should have to earn his starting spot. I want Demerit can win a starting spot from Bocanegra, who has been shaky lately. Onyewu has played so much better with Demerit than he ever did along side Bocanegra.

  108. clevlrocks says:

    I don’t know who BB should start, but i do know that fatigue is going to come into play. Egypt played two very spirited matches as well as the united states. But the USA was a little bit fitter and it really showed as Egypt ran out of gas. However, I was just on FIFA’s website and the stats showed that we had the top 3 players in terms of ground covered. Bradley, Dempsey, and Donovan all averaged over 7 miles a game. I imagine many more Americans were close to this number. This being said no Spaniard was even close to that number. This means they are moving the ball well and running less. I seriously hope BB considers all of his options because a tired team defending against a rested Spanish side is asking for trouble.

  109. JustinV says:

    Four guys who shouldn’t see the field tomorrow:

    link to soccernet-assets.espn.go.com

  110. understood says:

    i think it should be obvious to everybody by now that torres and adu arent getting ANY PT in this tournament unless A) everybody else on the team somehow gets injured in a training session or B) maybe in a 3rd place game if spain beats us…i wouldnt even be surprised to see klejstan used as a sub in this game…BB has clearly entered a defiant “I’m gonna show you guys” mode when it comes to torres and adu’s PT…also dont be surprised to see conor casey either…the only person im convinced bradley has learned his lesson on is beasley…oh well…im gonna watch the game and hope for the best cause bradley’s “way of doing things is set thank you very much!”…so why even waste the mental energy

  111. GJJ says:






    Demerit has done well, play Bocanegra in his natural position. Bornstein has been overmatched. I could see the back four across as starters in the WC and with a year under their belts, hopefully the ability to communicate and read each other’s minds will improve.

  112. WDP says:






  113. WDP says:

    60th minute bring on Davies for Adu

    If we need a goal throw Benny Feilhaber in for Clark and push Bradley back.

  114. Luke in NC says:

    I’m kinda curious about the possibility of an Altidore-Dempsey pairing up top to start, with Adu or Torres coming as a sub. Unlikely….but sounds like fun.

  115. DC96 says:

    Wasn’t that the same Boca-Gooch pairing that ran into each other while Xavi dribbled circls around them for the lone goal in that game last summer? Push Boca to LB and let Demerit keep the spot he’s earned. Idk if I like the idea of a LB i see sometimes struggling with MLS attackers going up against Spain’s.

  116. Bradley Sampson says:

    Just wanted to put on the record that Altidore was offside (about 2 yards) on the build-up to Lil Mikey’s goal, the 2nd goal, vs Egypt, fwiw. Of course, we were due a call after the 2 reds which weren’t reds.

    As to Lil Mikey and his punk mouth, I should point out that we are now playing 5 matches at the Confed Cup, and we will lose tomorrow, probably badly. There can be no draw in the 3rd place match. I am tipping Bafana Bafana, as we struggle against African sides.

    So, if that transpires, Lil Mikey, that’s losing 4 out of 5 matches, throw-in qualifying this summer and the upcoming loss at the Azteca, you and your Dad and the travel team will then end-up the summer campaign having lost 6 of 8 matches (losses to Los Ticos, Italia, Brasil, Spain, Bafana-Bafana, Mexico).

    Lastly, we were gifted the Honduras victory, just go to ESPN360 and click on that match, go to minute 60 and tell me what you think about the offside against Honduras right there.

    So, Lil Mikey, I can only conclude that the critics are right.

  117. Bradley Sampson says:

    Oh, thread killa, I guess….

    La Roja 5:0 Dad’s eleven

    Bafana Bafana 3:1 Donavan penalty

  118. Mike Z says:





    Dempsey looked much better up top and has not added much on defense when out wide. If Feilhaber is not playing well he is replaced by Adu (attaching midfield and slide Dempsey out to the right) or Torres (left midfield send Donovan out right). Let Boca recover fully before putting him back in, Onyewu-Demerit combo has played well.

  119. Luke in NC says:

    here’s to hoping for an awesome LD game boosting him into a transfer to a mid-table Lat Liga team or something.

  120. Mike Z says:

    @ Bradley Sampson

    The US beat Egypt, which last I checked was in Africa and the US beat South Africa the last time they played.

  121. Leonardo says:

    Heck ya I’m stoked we’re playing Espana!

    Key to Victory: Score early! Spain hasn’t scored any goal against a real team (i.e. not New Zealand) before the 15 minute mark. They rely on possession and build-up. Strike ’em early, hit ’em fast and hard.

    I’m really glad Iniesta isn’t playing. That guy is ridiculous on Barca. Xavi needs him to distract defenses. w/o Iniesta we can focus on shutting down Xavi (258 passes 89% completion rate).

    GO USA! I’m a believer!

  122. papa bear says:

    @Posted by: green | June 23, 2009 at 09:19 AM

    Amen to that. Bob’s decision to pull Adu was positively mind boggling. I refuse to even call it a decision as it gives it a sense that there was some actual thought involved. It’s a shame Adu isn’t in the greatest fitness right now as his game matches up against Spain better than pretty much anyone else we have. (as evidenced by his last performance against them. I have a feeling Torres would do very well also.

    There should be no circumstance in which Bocanegra sees the pitch unless he’s been 100% healthy the last 2 games and was simply being saved just in case we got to the semis. He is painfully slow. Fernando and Villa will carve his janky hammy to shreds.

    You can add me to the camp that thinks you are a bit harsh on Altidore, Ives. He’s has gotten ZERO service (what else is new?) If he was blowing chances left and right I would see the point but he is pretty much left to rot up top 90% of the match.

  123. ImaGoalMan says:

    Just wanted to put on the record that Altidore was offside (about 2 yards) on the build-up to Lil Mikey’s goal, the 2nd goal, vs Egypt, fwiw. Of course, we were due a call after the 2 reds which weren’t reds.

    ^^^^^^^^ Yeah I saw that but Jozy wasn’t involved in the play since it was a shot, not a pass to him. It was good officiating on that non-call.

    As to Lil Mikey and his punk mouth, I should point out that we are now playing 5 matches at the Confed Cup, and we will lose tomorrow, probably badly. There can be no draw in the 3rd place match. I am tipping Bafana Bafana, as we struggle against African sides.

    ^^^^^^^^^^And nobody would have expected us to win three out of those five games (Spain, Brasil, Italy). We’ve never won at Saprissa. Didn’t the Yanks beat the SA team in a friendly (in SA) last year? Aren’t you selling the USA a little short here? In any case you have an axe to grind. Now you’re counting losses in games that haven’t even happened yet. It reeks of bitterness.

    I can only conclude that you have your mind made up no matter what happens tomorrow and (most likely Sunday against SA). Analysis F-A-I-L

  124. Geoff S. says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Boca on the left if he is healthy. For me Bornstein hasn’t has his best tournament, and I question his ability to deal with top notch competition. Also, I’d like to see Adu get some time. I, too, remember his display from our last visit to Spain, and he looked impressive. I think Donovan will be very motivated for his first meeting with Espana, and I think he could be lethal for us tomorrow.

  125. Gary says:

    I have a different mindset. I want the soccer in this country to get better! I want us to be on a path to being a world power!

    But it cannot happen with the current people at the helm, … or clueless donkeys as head coaches. They truly do not understand the game!

    I think there is only one way for us to realize there’s something very wrong, and hence be forced to rethink our whole approach. That is, we need to get raped whenever we play the top teams. Just look at most of the comments here after our Egypt performance – all of sudden everything is ok again? And so many people stating that we can be competitive with Spain? Heaven forbid we end up losing by only one goal or even winning this game … then absolutely nothing will change!

    Spain, please do US soccer a huge favor and beat the living crap out of us! Show the blind people over here our true level!

    p.s. Ives: I hope we use your laughable 4-3-3, that would ensure a massacre!

  126. Well, how can you pick a line-up if you don’t know whether we will keep 10 or 11 players on?

    Assuming the rash tackles & resulting red cards are a thing of the past, I think defending the space from the 1/2 into the back 1/3 will be critical. Once Spain beats us with one of two passes and we’re chasing the play, they should be able to score.

    Not sure who is tired and how tired. It’s a problem not just of legs but of weary minds which make mistakes.

    I fancy a 4-5-1 with an aggressive front 4, something like this.






    I’d include Altidore if he looks fresh, because I think he can be a handful, which may open up space for the other attackers. Also, the man is coming up, I feel Jozy’s worth pushing for development purposes even if in a specific pre World Cup game it does not turn out to be the best choice. His development might make a difference in 2010

    Hoping for a good game

  127. TLewis says:

    I actually think several of you have it right…
    Spector’s ability to make attacking runs allows Benny to cut inside and combine with Bradley…
    I would like to see Adu get some time, because, as many have already noted, he has the ability to make quick, quality decisions and play some creative balls…
    Overall I’m comfortable going to war with the eleven guys I listed up there…

  128. Pandy says:

    If the US has any chance of getting a result against Spain it is playing Trap and Attack and you do that with speed. I like the idea of a 4-5-1 with the following players:






  129. royce says:

    same lineup as egypt match… given our recent performances, i’m not quite sure what we’ll see from the US today. hopefully everyone (including the coach) is ready from the time they arrive at the stadium. if this is the team we had in 1st half against italy, we will have a good match well worth risking our jobs today to watch. if this is the US from the brazil match and 2nd half against italy, i hope you’re watching from a pub with a generous bartender and a good excuse for not being at your job….

  130. William says:

    >>If our defense gets carded to hell and back we could have some issues with South Africa.
    Posted by: AdamTheRed<< Best post I’ve seen in a while. Hilarious!