Who should the USA start vs. Grenada?

Freddy Adu (ISIphoto.com) 

                                               Photo by ISIphotos.com

Who should Bob Bradley start vs. Grenada?

Doesn't have the same ring of importance and urgency as "Who should Bradley start vs. Spain" or "Who should Bradley start vs. Italy", but that doesn't mean Saturday's CONCACAF Gold Cup opener against Grenada isn't important for its own reasons. And it doesn't mean we shouldn't seriously think about the starting lineup Bradley will call on.

So what eleven players will get the call at Qwest Field on Saturday night? Here's one possible group:

Projected Starting USA lineup vs. Grenada







It's tough to know how well players are doing in camp and who is working with who, but I could see this group. Chad Marshall is someone who could definitely get a start (and someone who I would start) but I don't think Bradley called in Jimmy Conrad to ride the pine. Goalkeeper is a toss-up between Robles and Perkins, though Perkins is actually the one who has previously started for the national team.

As for the seven players added to the USA Gold Cup roster? I haven't heard that any are with the team in Seattle so we won't include them here.

One player who I rate highly, and who has a bright future as a darkhorse selection is Toronto FC rookie Sam Cronin. He's still young, but has the skill and top-notch work rate that could earn him a quick ride up the national team depth chart.

Will Adu really start? It seems like people are assuming he will, but what if he doesn't? While Bradley saw plenty of Davies at the Confederations Cup it would make sense to want to see Davies partnered with Ching. If that's his forward tandem, and he decides he wants a stronger twosome in central midfield, Adu could be the odd man out. That being said, I think Bradley can justify needing two defensive-minded central midfielders against Grenada, regardless of whether Shalrie Joseph plays or not.

Now it's your turn. What starting lineup would you like to see vs. Grenada? What do you think of the lineup above? Are you anxious to see Freddy Adu start? Hoping Kenny Cooper get the nod?

Share your thoughts below.

This entry was posted in CONCACAF Gold Cup, U.S. Men's National Team. Bookmark the permalink.

68 Responses to Who should the USA start vs. Grenada?

  1. LJ says:

    If Adu can’t play against Grenada (or at least he thinks he can’t) he needs to stop dragging him all across the world and giving him false hope.

    S–t or get off the pot. Play Adu or stop calling him in.

  2. SuperChivo says:

    I wanna see Freddy!

  3. Sg says:

    Adu. Torres.

  4. I really hate playing the CONCACAF minnows, but what can you do about it?

  5. julio says:

    I don’t get why Sacha is on this squad, the guy has been horrendous for a year and a half now. Why do we keep being patient with him? If it wasn’t for that one good game earlier in the year where he had a hat trick the guy has been a non factor for the US. Yet Torres does not get a good look or consistent look?????? Something is not right here.

  6. Ted says:

    I don’t see him playing a diamond, even against a weaker opponent. Seeing Adu (the only player a diamond really benefits) play that position doesn’t really mean much. I would think Bradley would rather give him some time in a position that he might actually play at some point in the future, not one in a formation Bradley has shown no desire to use.

    I think we will see the 442. I think Adu will play on the wing (especially considering recent comments that he’s enjoying playing out there and has been playing there in training). Holden is obviously a stater. Defenders figure themselves out.

    I’d like to see:

    Ching Davies
    Rogers Beckerman Holden Adu
    Pearce Conrad Parkhurst Dolo

    Realistically, Pause will probably take Beckerman’s spot.

  7. dman23 says:

    I know this is off topic, but the more and more I look at the 2006 WC roster the more I’m not suprised we didn’t have a good showing. Player for player for the probable 2010 roster is much better, Gold Cup is even getting me excited.

  8. dman23 says:

    Hopefully we’ll see the 4-4-2 just so these player can get aclimated to the formation that seems to be the best route for the US

  9. Champe says:

    I’d rather not ever see Ching play in a national team jersey ever again. I’d prefer giving Cooper a look up front with Davies. I’d also rather not see Cherundolo play. I’d prefer almost anyone. I’m looking forward to seeing what Holden can do — I think he’s going to have a real good tournament.

  10. Barry U says:

    I would like to see Cronin get a run. Would he take Pause’s spot in your line up Ives. Also, Colin Clarke getting some time is something I would like to see. Cooper up top would be interesting. Chad Marshall needs to get some run here.

  11. Gary says:

    Put Cooper in with Adu and Davies — we already know what Ching can do.

  12. Tim Pramas says:

    Last Gold Cup the US played an almost entirely different lineup in the first and second games because of fixture congestion. I would save a slightly stronger team for the Honduras game played on the other coast a few days later and a less experienced team in the Grenada game.

    Shalrie Joseph isn’t playing in the tournament because of a knee injury. Grenada packs in numbers behind the ball and looks to counterattack. That is how it finished second in the Caribbean tournament to qualify. The US can field a more offensively minded lineup, perhaps a 3-5-2 or 3-4-3, against what is likely to be a 4-5-1 or 5-4-1 alignment from Grenada.

    The US is only carrying seven defenders on the original 23 person roster, one reason might be because the team plans to play with a three defender formation in the Haiti and Grenada games.

  13. Anthony says:

    put in Santino!

  14. Gabe says:

    what’s with the hate for dolo and ching? bizarre.

  15. Champe says:

    I’m not hating on Ching. He’s plenty effective against weaker competition and would do fine against Grenada. But he’s very limited and too slow to play the only kind of style that really works for us against all but the weakest teams — hard tackling, followed by speedy counters through the central midfielders. We can’t possess, our outside backs are too slow to get up the field and back, and we don’t have any wingers. So if you ever want to see anything happen from the run of play, it’s going to be quick counters through the middle of the field, with our fast attacking midfielders occasionally running wide to open the break. There’s not much room for Ching on a counter attacking team.

  16. Ted says:

    Tim: When has Bob ever started with three in the back, even when playing a team that’s going to pack in? Not once, to my knowledge. Not even against Barbados.

    Besides, a 3-5-2 is a lot of the time more defensive that a 4-4-2 is anyways.

    Three in the back isn’t happening.

  17. Champe says:

    Cherundolo is just boring, small, and has little plus side, in my opinion. We have some better outside backs in the national pool and I’d like to see them.

  18. Brian says:

    Campe, you have to high off your azz if you think Ching isn’t our best target forward. That may be sad news but its the truth, Ching will be starting in this tournament and next year along with Davies. Altidore will be the first off the bench if need be next year. Cooper won’t even be on the roster.

  19. Ted says:

    @Champe link to youtube.com

    Second goal.

    Counter attacks aren’t just about speed.

  20. Dave Clark says:

    Conrad was on Seattle’s sports radio station and said that he wasn’t likely to play much during the tournament due to an injury that he’s carrying. I can’t recall the injury, but it would seem like this match is the least likely to have him play.

  21. Champe says:

    He is our best target forward, I agree. i’d rather not play with a target forward if our midfield can’t hold the ball and we don’t have any real strong midfield finisher following behind to pick up layoffs. and we don’t possess well or have that type of finisher. We can’t keep trying to play mid 80’s english football against good teams. If Ching starts in the World Cup we’ll be 3 and done. Depressing, but true.

  22. kanu says:

    If the point of this tournament is figure out who can round out the world cup roster, then we need to play the same shape we were playing in south africa.

    I’d like to see Ching and Davies get some run together, as it is very likely they will be play together at some point in the world cup.

    Holden should play in the Donovan role, and Adu in the Dempsey role, both running at guys through the middle of the park with overlapping backs providing the width. Rogers will also get an opportunity in this slot.

    Beckerman, though I don’t think he’s really in the mix for a roster slot, can play the two-way Bradley role pretty well, and Pause or Cronin can hold.

    I think the 4th center-back roster slot is up in the air (Califf is not getting any younger), and Parkhurst and Marshall should get serious looks in this tournament.

  23. Murphy says:

    Robles over Perkins

  24. froboy says:

    conor casey was an alternate in 2006 and so was Tony Meola, funny stuff

  25. Champe says:

    Ted —

    Very true. But a target man rarely helps a fast break and never leads one.

  26. SR says:

    Let’s see this:






    In all honesty we need to play the ones who are the future of the team. With exception to Conrad, the rest of these guys have a legit shot at playing in a WC in the future. BB needs to take this roster in a new direction, let the young guns develop some chemistry and see what they’re made of. PLease no Sacha.

  27. Josh says:


    Agreed. For the system we play, Ching fits. I’ve never seen Cooper show any ability, let alone the inclination, to play as a target forward. If he can’t do it in the GC, then he shouldn’t get any more callups, b/c anybody that slow will just get smoked in the int’l game.

    Ching and Dolo are here for veteran leadership, and I imagine Bradley will try to play at least one or two int’l veterans in each match in order to provide leadership and stability to what is otherwise a young, untested group. However, as many have noted, Ching and Dolo are known quantities, and I hope Bradley will use this Gold Cup to let the young’uns get their feet wet.

  28. Domogoj Gotovac says:

    Start Robles. I think we’re all curious to see if he’s the real deal

  29. JoeW says:

    First, with Grenada likely to pack it in (and also play some direct soccer) I think that means:
    –you definitely start Ching (if he’s healthy and fit) because we may have to loft a lot of balls into the penalty area given tight space.
    –you seriously think about Adu as an A-mid because we’ll get the ball further up the field.
    –you probably play a 442 (which in Bradley’s system allows the outside backs to get forward and cross the ball).
    –you need outside mids who can track back (because on a counter the defense can quickly lose shape unless the outside backs track back to fill gaps).
    –if you start Adu than you need a holding mid/D-mid with legs and quickness because Freddy isn’t going to win you any balls. As a running mate for Adu, I prefer Beckerman over Pause b/c I think Beckerman can win the ball and then serve it to Freddy (allowing him to play higher up the field) than Pause who’s more of a pure destroyer.
    –you almost certainly start Marshall and probably Parkhurst. Marshall because he’ll be strong in the air. Parkhurst because he’ll read the game well, clean up the messes and help cover for holes that emerge from a new defense playing together and from reacting to counters.

    Second, we play a lot of games in a short period of time. A lot of guys (especially those on the Confed cup side) are badly jetlagged. I didn’t even think Torres was even on the squad–didn’t he publicly say he’s been playing nonstop for 1.5 years now and needs a break and is happy for the rest?

  30. ryan noel says:

    I’ll never understand this site’s (and its readers) affinity for all things Brian Ching. The fact that we are considering Brian Ching, a striker who can’t score, a lock to start is really, really sad.

    Does anyone think we’d have done better at the Confederations Cup with Ching in the lineup? We’d have been beaten worse.

    Ching doesn’t belong on the international level.

  31. harry says:


  32. Brian says:

    I can’t get over why so many people love Cooper, I think the guy is a great MLS player but isn’t going to amount to anything on the international level ala Taylor Twellman. And when we talk about “style” of play what style do the Americans play? We only have the players to play a 4-4-2 right now, we aren’t as good as the top 10 teams and may not ever be, but our spirit and athletic abiliy could carry us to the quarterfinals next year. Ching, Davies, and Altidore are our best forwards in my opinion. I don’t know who will be the 4th on the roster next year.

  33. Rufus T. Firefly says:

    I would play Quaranta either in place of Davies or Adu in your projected lineup. He could play well off of Ching and has the vision and skill to change the point of attack quickly. He also has a cannon of a shot.

    If Grenada is playing Joseph in MF, he will grind Adu into paste, just like he did in MLS.

  34. TimN says:

    I think this is the kind of game that you play Adu in. It’s relatively meaningless in the grand scheme of things, but at the same time allows Bradley to get a look at him in a tournament setting with something on the line. If Adu gets the nod, he needs to make the most of it. He’s not really lived up to all of his hype, and it’s time for him to prove he can be productive on BOTH sides of the ball if we wants a future with the nats. As the old addage goes, “Don’t tell me how good you are, show me.”

  35. Champe says:

    Brian —

    I don’t love Cooper either. I’d rather roll the dice with Jozy and Davies from here on out — neither of them being traditional knock it down, back to the goal, target men. But Cooper can finish and I’d like to see him play in this tournament. That’s it. not saying he’s the answer to any vexing question. But he deserves a shot — Twellman got one.

  36. harry says:

    Ives i love your lineup except i would have Clark instead of Pause. Ad i think Clark would do a much better job offering protection for Freddy…our general/playmaker

  37. Randy in CA says:

    I personally want to see what Adu can do. I haven’t seen too many games where he has been a factor, or even played. It would be nice to see Torres as well, but flying halfway around the world can leave you a little drained. I can understand why BB only has those guys on a “emergency” basis.

  38. Chris says:


  39. kofix5 says:

    Adu ADU!
    adu Adu ADU!!!

  40. harry says:

    Randy its a shame as people can tell you when Adu is in his best form and plays……..he makes a clear statement that he is our best US prospect ever. Example would be vs Spain,England, Argentina……. and vs Holland in the Olympics. Lets just hop he avoids going back to Benfica for bench time and heads to his Dutch or Spainish Clubs that are interested in him that give him playing time.

  41. Titus says:

    I think we should take a sink-or-swim approach with Freddy. Let him earn a spot:

    —Optional GK—

  42. kofix5 says:

    Adu and Clark in the midfield are first option for me but Pause or Beckerman look good as subs or starters if Clark needs more time to regenerate.

  43. EDB says:

    I think with pause they could play a diamond. He is used to covering a ton of ground. I would also like to see the diamond because it allows Bradley to see a change in tactics if needed, and there is no reason we need to play 2 holding mids against grenada

  44. Metrostar 4 life says:

    Start RObles, take pause out and Ives lineup then looks pretty decent

  45. michael says:

    I will take your Pause/Perkins and raise you a Beckerman/Robles.

    Everything else seems to make sense. Hopefully Adu does a good job. He should be motivated to produce.

  46. cbr says:

    i dont get the Cherendolo hate around here..the guy is a viable back up to Spector. I’d like to see Bradley just toy with the idea of perhaps putting Dolo at LB or RM

  47. jpc says:


    Bugs Bunny inspired this lineup, from the classic looney Tunes episode where he played every baseball position, and even struck a guy out in one pitch… I expect Adu to do the same

  48. ThaDeuce says:

    holden, robbie rogers, and adu, is this a top model contest or our USA midfield!?

  49. Kaveman says:

    The only change that I would make is Beckerman in Pause out. The rest of the lineup looks good.

  50. dman23 says:

    by the end of the tourney ADU has 20+ goals easily

  51. Jose A. V. says:







    MARSHALL is a must because he is real good on the air.

    CHING should be used against Honduras.

  52. Jose A. V. says:

    No PAUSE he got schooled by a 18 year old from Tigres at superliga.

  53. alex says:

    Holden and rogers should replace bease and sacha forever they are faster and have better work rates . You guys complain so much about ching and our system we play, Ching is the missing link he holds up so well and he’s deadly in the air would have helped on those set peices and releived pressure in the CC. He’s better than cooper because he’s consistent, cooper can’t figure out if he’s a forward or a winger.

  54. goalscorer24 says:

    I like your line up. Either way I would like to see Adu.

  55. Texas 1836 says:

    I’ve asked this before and haven’t seen an answer posted.

    What’s the latest with Chris Seitz? I would’ve thought he’d be higher up the potential Keeper ladder.

    Is he injured? Has he been sucking wind in the MLS? What’s the deal?

  56. Rich says:

    — Davies Cooper —

    Evans/Clark Adu Beckerman/Pause Holden

    Pearce Parkhurst Marshall Cherundolo

    Since it is Grenada, I think BB holds off on his #1 team until game 2. This one give a chance for some of the maybe’s to start.

    That said I think you have to start Adu and Holden every game.

    I want to see how Clark and Davis do. Rogers is a known quantity.

  57. Jason says:

    Ives, I like your linenup, with the exceptions of:

    1) Pause. No way he deserves to start in front of Beckerman or Cronin or Evans.

    2) Marshall for Conrad or Parkhurst.

    3) Maybe switch Holden & Adu.

  58. ThaDeuce says:

    On midfielder José Francisco Torres:
    Bob Bradley: “José has had a very, very busy schedule with his club team and in discussions we felt that it was important that he have a little bit of a break before things start up again. When we look at all the different factors, certainly the idea that next summer, players will be coming right from their clubs into training camp that leads into the World Cup. You have to make very difficult decisions about whether a player can go a couple years without a break or there’s a need in some cases for a player to have a little bit of a break now before he begins an important stretch.”

    I take back everything I’ve said about Coach Bradley and the Jose Torres situation. I bet we see Torres in Mexico…The Gold Cup doesn’t matter, he has already proven himself obviously, and doesn’t need the Gold Cup as a proving ground.

  59. Kevin says:

    Start Quaranta! He’s better than any of those midfielders!

  60. Bryan says:

    Ching and the words “best forward” shouldn’t be in the same sentence. Ching is perfect for the Gold Cup with no Confeds Cup on the line…but he is, at best, a sub for the World Cup. Love the guy, but he isn’t that good. His MLS stats this year are a JOKE.

  61. liam hood says:

    i want to see landin donovan in the line up!!!!!!!

  62. primoone says:

    ————El Guzano————





  63. Juan from L.A. says:

    I like your line-up Ives…really like it…I’ll be there tomorrow with the father in law wearing a chivas jersey and the wifey…

  64. madmax says:

    ………Beasley, Califf, Conrad, Pearce…………
    …..Bornstein, Pause, Beckerman, Klejstan…..

  65. plug 713 says:

    Here’s the starting line-up I’d like to see the USMNT use. It is very young and largely untried, but Grenada will provide just enough competition to give them a test. I believe that Heath Pearce has played himself out of contention as a starter for both club and country. Michael Parkhurst is very smart and reads the game well. I would like to see how he handles the LB position.







  66. Steve says:

    Dear god – Rodgers and Pearce in the projected 11? More like a Z team.

  67. EA says:

    “I’ll never understand this site’s (and its readers) affinity for all things Brian Ching. The fact that we are considering Brian Ching, a striker who can’t score, a lock to start is really, really sad.”

    USA leading scores in WC 2010 Qualifying
    5 – Altidore
    4 – Bradley, CHING, Dempsey, Donovan

    You were saying?

    If “The Internet” were to be believed, Adu, Torres, Cooper and Zak Whitbread could beat most international teams 11 v. 4.

    You folks really should step out of the basement (or off of FIFA ’09) and get some sunshine out in the real world.

    In the same vein, I’m pretty sure a 30 year old right back, with 50+ caps, that has captained the Bundesliga side he has been with for the last 10 years might… just MIGHT have a place with this team.

  68. Keith G. says:

    I would go with something like this: