Who should the USMNT start vs. El Salvador?

USAvsSpain (ISIphotos.com)

                                                                      Photo by ISIphotos.com

The U.S. men's national team's crucial World Cup qualifier vs. El Salvador is just four days away and it is time to start thinking about the starting lineup head coach Bob Bradley will turn to in what is shaping up to be a must-win game in the tight CONCACAF qualifying race.

Defensive standout Oguchi Onyewu is out due to yellow cards, meaning the defense will need some adjusting, but Bradley will also have to consider the options in midfield and at forward, where a disappointing performance against Mexico last month might have him considering a few different possibilities.

At forward, Charlie Davies, Jozy Altidore and Brian Ching vie for two slots, though Clint Dempsey could also be considered. In midfield, Landon Donovan, Michael Bradley and Dempsey are safe bets, leaving Ricardo Clark's central midfield spot a position we could see Benny Feilhaber or even Kyle Beckerman occupy on Saturday.

So what lineups could we see Bob Bradley go with? Here is one possibility:

—————–Charlie Davies———-Brian Ching——————

Landon Donovan—————————————Clint Dempsey

——————Michael Bradley——Benny Feilhaber————–

Jonathan Spector———————————–Steve Cherundolo

——————Carlos Bocanegra——Jay DeMerit——————

———————————-Tim Howard—————————-

So why this group?

I know Ching's inclusion will garner the most questions, but I'll make this one disclaimer: If Jozy Altidore is fit to start, he should start. There are still some concerns over Altidore's match fitness, and with the match being played at altitude, having him start might not be the best decision. You'll recall how effective he was coming off the bench against El Salvador in San Salvador. That sort of role may work best for him here if he's still not fit enough to start, though his form in England certainly makes him starting a possibility, even if he's someone who can only give you 60 minutes at altitude.

If Altidore's still not 90-minute fit, then Ching gets the nod, and while he didn't have a good game against Mexico, he's still a veteran holding forward who helps create chances for others and draws fouls.

One player who will definitely start is Charlie Davies, who is on fire in France and is coming off his one-goal effort vs. Mexico. With the way he's playing, it's tough not to see him scoring at least once against El Salvador.

In a game where the Americans will look to put the pressure on the visitors' defense early, Feilhaber is the better bet instead of Clark, in central midfield. Feilhaber has been on fine form with AGF Aarhus and his creativity should open things up for the quartet of Davies-Ching-Donovan-Dempsey.

One other midfield possibility would be to have Stuart Holden get the nod on the right flank, with Dempsey moving up top. Holden's probably still a more likely option off the bench, but if Bradley liked the energy he saw from Holden on the wing (something Dempsey hasn't always delivered), and if he wants to see what Dempsey can do with a full game at forward, we just might see this variation (which is actually the one I would go with if Altidore couldn't start).

In the back you have Spector at left back, which might seem like a bit of an experiment but Spector has been playing left back for West Ham in recent weeks, which could give Bradley enough confidence in him to use him there. If not, Jonathan Bornstein will get the nod, with Bradley needing to decide between Cherundolo and Spector at right back.

Central defense is set, with Bocanegra and DeMerit getting the nod.


What lineup would you like to see the USA use vs. El Salvador? Hoping for a Davies-Altidore tandem up top? Want to see Stuart Holden get a start? Like the idea of Feilhaber getting the nod?

Share your thoughts below.

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

151 Responses to Who should the USMNT start vs. El Salvador?

  1. Fireman451 says:

    I like your line up Ives with one exception. Ching OUT, Jozy IN.

    Jozy is match fit and is competing for a game day and starting roster spot everyday with Hull City. Most MLS players don’t have that pressure to push themselves; I give the nod to Jozy.

    I like both players and expect both to make the WC squad, but I’d rather see Jozy and Davies. These guys are young, strong and full of confidence coming out of their South African and recent club performance respectively.

    (SBI-If Altidore’s fit, he starts. I think that’s safe to say, but considering he has yet to start an EPL match for Hull, I’m not sure how you can assume he’s fully fit, especially when Phil Brown mentioned his fitness as an issue as recently as a week ago.)

  2. japan says:

    I’m a Ching fan but I also don’t think we need him this game. We’ll have majority of the posession on their side of the field so we don’t really need him to hold the ball up.

    I also wouldn’t mind having Bornstien over Spector because Bornstein is more naturally suited going forward but I wouldn’t mind Spector.

  3. Rory says:

    Start Casey over Ching. Casey can wear down the central defenders and then bring Altidore on in the second half to expose them.

  4. A.S. says:

    Question: given his Michael Bradley’s run of poor form for club (benched) and country (awful game vs Mexico – unable to retain any possession), is ther ANY chance he doesn’t start? To my mind, given the number of midfield options we have (especially if Landon and Dempsey are given midfield roles rather than as forwards), Bradley should not be an automatic, no-questions-asked starter.

    (SBI-He’s the best central midfielder in the pool by a wide margin and that’s why he’ll start. And explain his “run of poor form” for country? His last two national team games before Mexico were Egypt and Spain in the Confederations Cup, two matches he was great in. He didn’t play well against Mexico but neither did anybody but Onyewu and Howard. Bradley did look much better once Feilhaber came into the Mexico match.

    As for his “run of poor form” for club. He played 45 minutes two weeks ago and was subbed out for tactical reasons (replaced by a forward in a match the team was losing), and then reportedly was suspended for the next match by the head coach. Does one bad match (and half at that) constitute a run of poor form? Not really.)

  5. go usa says:

    This game may be too important for experiments but Robbie Findley can be dangerous. The pairing of Findley and Davies up top would be scary speed.

    Also, it’s clear that Donovan is our best field player, yet somehow does not thrive when confined to a particular role. Since the US gets so much practice playing with 10 men, maybe Donovan could become Libero with instructions to “find the game”.

    Also, please no Deuce. He’s been a one-man-turn-over machine lately.

    Is it too late to replace Coach Bradley?

  6. harry says:

    Ching loses the ball and does not draw fouls for the US, just like we saw against Mexico-Ching draw fouls for the other team. Mexico was the test for Ching, him being invisbale makes you wonder how much slower he is even gonna get reaching 32. I’ll be ok with a Ching vs El salavdor as a sub…………but vs T&T its all about the Altidore-Davies combo.

  7. Brian says:

    I think that is the lineup we will see with the exception of Jozy in for Ching. Jozy may not be fit for 90 minutes, but I believe he will get the nod for 60 minutes and then Bradley could bring on super sub Findley.

    I completely agree that Benny should get the nod over Rico in this game.

  8. Fireman451 says:

    Ives, you’re right I was assuming Jozy is match fit (should’ve written as such). Jozy has looked good in his club appearances and I have to believe fighting for a spot on the field with an EPL side is worth some fitness compared to being an automatic starter in a league that has a whopping 24 roster slots per club.

    Though i kinda like Rory’s suggestion (if Jozy doesn’t start), Casey up top to break down ES physically and then bring in Jozy to keep the physical component up with the added benefit of speed.

    (SBI-The fact that Altidore still didn’t start for Hull in league play despite his great debut should tell you that there just might be a reason for that (which it seems is because he’s still getting fit). Altidore didn’t go through the full pre-season with Hull so he’s still working his way to that level fitness-wise, so when you take that, and include the altitude in Utah, that’s why I can see Ching or Dempsey as the alternative up top.

    As for Casey getting the nod over Ching, I don’t see it because Ching’s the better passer and hold-up player and is ever bit as physical as Casey. That said, Casey has had a great year in MLS and is in good form.)

  9. gmonsoon43 says:

    Another reason to keep Clark out is that he is carrying a yellow, if he is kept out against El Salvador he will for sure be available for T&T where we will need more defense.

    I can handle a Ching start if it means Jozy starts against T&T.

  10. Tolik says:

    Ives, I like your second comment the best. With Holden in (and Jozy coming in later for whoever looks tired) the line up is more aggressive

    —————–Charlie Davies———-Clint Dempsey——————
    Landon Donovan—————————————Stuart Holden
    ——————Michael Bradley——Benny Feilhaber————–
    Jonathan Spector———————————–Steve Cherundolo
    ——————Carlos Bocanegra——Jay DeMerit——————
    ———————————-Tim Howard—————————-

  11. Michael says:

    I’m looking forward to seeing Spector on the left and Churundolo on the right. I’m not sure Boca is the best solution to the question of who is best to play left back. He just seems awfully slow and if matched up against someone speedy he is bound to catch a card or two.

  12. Strider says:

    I doubt Michael Bradley will be on the bench. His mindset is so similar to the coach (surprise) and his work rate is so high that I don’t know that BB will give him up. Although he has struggled a bit lately, he has been one of our more consistent players during this qualifying cycle as evidenced by his 4 goals and involvement in both offense and defense.

    It would be nice to see more possession in the midfield though and Benny should be an asset there. I still hope we get Castillo into the mix in the near future (October camp?) as a left back option.

  13. montana matt says:

    Please no Ching! He just doesn’t have what it takes at the international level. I’d much prefer Jozy, but if he’s not fit then give the 2nd forward spot to Dempsey. Even slow-mo Casey is an upgrade over Ching. When is the last time Ching scored a goal for the Nats? Seriously, I’m wracking my brain and can’t think of one. Did he score in the Gold Cup?

  14. David says:

    Ching’s only usefulness, ever, would be to come in while we are ahead and help to waste time, track back, win fouls. Its preposterous to suggest that Jozy and Davies shouldn’t start up top.

    We can not play with two CDMs against teams we are expected to beat. Against Spain or Brazil, fine, but against El Salvador?? Absolutely not. If any two of Bradly, Clark and Beckerman are on the pitch at the same time, we will be endanger of having ZERO offense and will probably tie or lose. Feilhaber or Torres must start, and I’d prefer to see both of them start together after Bradley and Clark’s dismal performance against Mexico (not to mention the fact that Bradley was removed at half two weeks ago and didn’t even make the bench last week in Germany) – Bradley is out of form, and if Coach is going to be consistent, that means he doesn’t play until he regains his form. If you absolutely must have a CDM, then I’d go with Clark, although against El Salvador, why should we not have 70% of the possession (i.e. put in Torres and Feilhaber).

    I’m worried about DeMerit and Boca paired together in the middle…

  15. Bob Bradley For Life! says:

    It is amusing to see Brian Ching penciled in as a starter. Perhaps our journalists are still under the spell of the magic Ching worked down at the Azteca?

    Ching aside, Ives’ line-up is reasonable.

    One thing has not changed however: Jose Francisco Torres should be getting serious minutes for our squad.

    Bradley’s failure to get him into the side up to now is a major coaching error. Just like Bradley’s wrong-headed reliance on Kljestan and Beasley were major and obvious errors.

    As for Charlie Davies — the kid has to start.

    Thought experiment: Imagine Brian Ching does not get hurt mid-summer. Do you really think Davies gets all those minutes at the Confederations Cup? Do you really think Davies would have started (and scored) at Azteca?

    Seems to me it is another case in which injury forced Bradley’s hand.

    Without the injury, the story would have been: “Davies is unproven” and “Davies does not have enough national team experience.”

    The story for Jose Francisco Torres is somewhat similar. Except that while Benny Feilhaber was out all last season Torres started for a very good team. Now, after missing pre-season for Pachuca, Torres is back in the starting line-up…

    (SBI-The lineup is the one I could see Bob Bradley using. I didn’t say it was the lineup I would go with.)

  16. Jose A. V. says:





    Ching= I am a Houston fan but i am done with Ching as a Starter

    Brandley= Hasnt been playing well he should be benched

    Demerit= Should give Marshall a chance on this game.

  17. RAW says:

    We need Jozy upfront rather than Ching. Jozy appears to be in good health and doing well overseas.

  18. David says:

    Did someone actually suggest that Conor Casey should start? Are you effing kidding me? The guy is horrible and slower than molasses.

  19. PetedeLA says:

    Ives… I love how you are basically the focal point in the background in the post Mexico match interviews.

    There you are chewing your gum like you were Beasley’s pigmentally challenged uncle.

    On a more serious note: your line up looks good. Of course, I don’t really see what Clarke has done to warrant the bench.

    What about Junior coming off the bench for a change? He hasn’t played for 2 weeks.

    (SBI-Neither has Onyewu but you wouldn’t bench him if he was available would you? As far as Clark goes, it’s a combination of things, from Feilhaber being on a really good run of form to Clark probably being a better option vs. Trinidad & Tobago.

    As for the post-Mexico videos, I was oblivious to the camera. If I realized it was there, I probably wouldn’t have been chewing gum like a bored baseball player.)

  20. Why Bob Why says:

    Nothing is preposterous when it comes to Bob Bradley…

    As usual, expect another terrible decision from him in starting the Ching.

  21. Rossi is Judas says:

    I will be a line-up that none of us will think of because Bob Bradley likes to do things that don’t seem to make much sense. And you can be sure to expect some bizarre substitutions, if he decides to use subs at all.

  22. MVK says:

    Why not just start Jozy and then move Dempsey up top when hes is gased and bring Holden or Feilhaber in (whichever isnt on the field) or bring in Ching if we have a lead? Seems like a better role for Ching

    Bradley is automatic with Edu and J. Jones not avalible

  23. Matt says:

    Ives is probably right with his projected lineup. I’m not sure if Ives is correct in having BB favor Benny over Rico in the middle. I would start:





    If Jozy wears down, sub in Holden and put Dempsey up top. Along with Holden, I would like to see Torres and Clark as possible subs. Odds are that things will need shaking up for T&T based on yellow card accumulation.

  24. Har says:

    +1 to Tolik. I like that lineup.

  25. These Colors Do Not Run says:

    “Nothing is preposterous when if comes to Bob Bradley…”

    The above sentence sums it up.

    The man gave us Kljestan, Beasley, and Velvet Toes Casey in the Confederations Cup.

    He gave us Ching for 60 minutes and Altidore for 15 down in Azteca.

    Bradley dithers about making Spector a starter — even though Spector is an obvious choice and is acquitting himself well for West Ham.

    And up to now, Bradley won’t play Gringo Torres — one of the tidiest players we have and a fine passer of the ball. We are talking about a kid who has been a regular starter on one of the best teams in the hemisphere, who went to the world club championship…

  26. Fire BB says:

    why anyone would consider any forward pairing other than jozy/davies is beyond me. jozy, even if not fully fit, is about a billion times better than ching (who is awful) and casey (who is even worse). dempsey is not a forward, he is an advanced midfielder. slot him in on the wing and let him stay forward to create.

    it’s time to take out clark and insert some creative flair in the form of feilhaber. bradley and landycakes fill out the midfield.

    the backs should be the same as in south africa with bornie filling in on the wing. boca is slow as balls and brings nothing to the table. he shouldn’t be captain. give the band to howard in goal, he’s much more deserving.

  27. RK says:

    Jozy did go 90 a week agao in Hull’s cup victory — and 30 as a sub in the last two weekends in the EPL. I would bet he is match fit — but still might be exhausted from 3 games in a week and all of that travel.

    I like having Feilhaber in to start, because the match is at home. Get off to a quick start instead of sitting back.

  28. The Beard says:

    Jozy is the future!

    I like the strategy of starting Jozy and pulling him for Feilhaber/Holden and moving Dempsey up top about 65-70 min in.

  29. Phillip says:

    ————- Davies ————————– Altidore ————-
    —————————— Feilhaber —————————–
    ————- Donovan ————————– Dempsey ————-
    ——————————– Clark ——————————-
    —- Spector ——- Bocanegra ——- DeMerit —— Cherundolo —–
    ——————————- Howard ——————————-
    Generated by link to notunusual.net

  30. Matt says:

    Jozy is the present. Start him Bob.

  31. It makes sense to not include Torres as an option. You know, the guy that plays against this style of football in his day job.

    Somehow, Holden should go ahead of him in the depth chart.

  32. SCRL says:

    Move Dempsey up front with Davies. He’s more comfortable in that role with the Nats and his club. Put Holden on the right instead and his ability to possess and cross the ball will give us much more width, something that has been lacking at times this summer. Bring on Jozy as a 60th min sub for whichever forward is having a tougher game

  33. matt C says:

    I’m with Tolik on this one. Put the Deuce up top with Davies and put Holden at right mid.

    Altidore’s been living of a suitcase for a month and has crossed the Atlantic like I go to and from work.

    Bring Jozy on as a sub for dempsey or davies.

    At this point, i also like Benny in the middle instead of clark. Brings more to the match.

    Then after Jaundice boy a/k/a Bradley, gets his standard yellow card, we can bring on clark or beckerman to shore up our 2 goal lead.

  34. gus bus says:

    if beckerman or ching play, im going to vomit. as other people have said, its not like hes the only option for forward if jozy isnt match fit…put dempsey up top. we need speed on the flanks to deal with el salvador…if we shut down the flanks, we shut down them. also i dont think theyll do much bunkering, a draw doesnt help them, they need a win. hello counterattacks! but theyre still tough defensively, which is why feilhaber/torres needs to play so we can break them down and stop that whole “never having possession” thing.

  35. PetedeLA says:

    I don’t really get the argument about “Oh…poor widdle boy… so much travelling.”
    I’m sure Jozy’s been looking forward to these moments for years. It’s not like he has to fly coach. Don’t you guys remember when you were 19? If he’s ill, that’s another thing. If not… unleash Altidore!!!

  36. Matt says:

    Our defenders will be much less likely to blindly boot it up the pitch if we have Benny or Paco to play the ball through.

  37. Will says:

    Here’s what I’m hoping for…

    Altidore – Davies
    Donovan – Bradley – Feilhaber – Dempsey
    Bornstein – Boca – DeMerit – Spector

    Subs (hope the game dictates these):
    Torres for Altidore, move Dempsey up top and Donovan to the right
    Clark for Bradley or Feilhaber, whichever is more gassed or playing the worst
    Holden for Dempsey, tuck Donovan behind Davies

  38. A.S. says:


    I will politely disagree with your notion that Michael Bradley is the US’s best central midfielder “by a wide margin”.

    As for his form for club, Gladbach has played 4 games, and Michael hasn’t played 90 minutes in any of them. In the first game, he was subbed off at 70 minutes (for another midfielder) after Gladbach had just collapsed and given up a 3 goal lead. In the second game, he didn’t dress due to Landon’s swine flu. In the third game he was subbed off after 45 minutes in a game in which Gladbach was getting killed. And in the 4th game he didn’t dress due to, what, insubordination? I don’t think that’s great start to the season for him.

    As for country, let’s not forget that, before his horror show against Mexico (and I put a lot more blame on the central midfield than you, since that is the area that lost the possession game), he marred his performace in the Spain game by picking up an idiotic red card in the dying moments.

    Let’s just say that, for a long time now, your opinion of Michael Bradley has been a lot higher than mine has been. I am very much looking forward to Jones’s addition to the team to upgrade central midfield.

    (SBI-So you’re saying the red vs. Spain was a legitimate call? Really? As for Bradley’s status in the pool, who are these midfielders in the current pool who are better? You’re saying that you don’t think he should start. Who, in your mind should be starting ahead of him right now? And I gave plenty of blame to the midfield vs. Mexico, or did you not read my ESPN review of the match? Bradley didn’t play well in that match, but neither did six or seven of his teammates. Should they all be benched now?)

  39. Bob Bradley For Life! says:

    1. I agree with “Fire BB”: Bocanegra is slow and very limited. He cannot be a starter at outside back. And he should not be an automatic starter in the middle. Tim Howard should be the captain.

    2. The horrifying thing about Ives’ line-up? I could totally see it happen. Would not be surprised to see Bradley tap Ching as a starter. (Point taken Ives — you are giving us what Bob Bradley might do not what you would pick.)

    3. It is not too late for Sunil Gulati to replace Bob Bradley. But Sunil has already told us there will be no changes. Sunil also noted that US Soccer has the luxury of working in a relatively low pressure environment.

    4. It seems to me this creates an opportunity for journalists: To raise the bar in our discussions of the squad and US Soccer.

    5. I don’t know about the rest of you, but I think the time for us to get a world class manager was yesterday. Do you really think a manager with Bob Bradley’s track record and qualities is acceptable?

    6. If Bob Bradley’s not good enough, shouldn’t journalists and supporters let Sunil Gulati know that he is accountable? Shouldn’t the conversation also be about what is required next time?

  40. Bob Bradley For Life! says:

    Also to A.S. — spot on as regards Michael Bradley.

  41. brandon says:

    Jozy and Davies must start at forward because THEY SCORE GOALS. This is a home game, we’ll be all over El Salvador, we need our killers in the box, not a donkey!

  42. RK says:

    BB4L: I think managers are overrated…

  43. USA #1 says:

    I tend to think that the Casey bashing is reflexive, rather than informed. His form for the Rapids is excellent – both finishing and setting up teammates. Personally, I’d like to see what he could do with a start and I expect that between the two games he may get one if, as Ives suggests, Altidore is not match fit.

  44. tom v says:

    my manifesto on michael bradley.

    a midfielder who makes too many stupid tackles and fouls to be considered a makelele/mascherano type defensive midfielder, but one who doesnt have the skill, vision, or technical ability to be a possession/attacking midfielder like xavi alonso, etc.
    so he’s a tweener. the problem with a tweener is if you play him with a pure DCM like clark, we cant hold possesion – see pretty much any US game in the past 2 years for an example of how we dont have any possession. but if you play him with an ACM like player, someone like feilhaber or even donovan in a diamond formation, you don’t get enough defense and have too many fouls. now if we had another player that was a tweener like MB, than they could play together, since we don’t, we need to try some other options.

    maybe i’m wrong, but ive played and watched the game for a long time now and the combination of an possesion player with a defensive player in the midfield is just Soccer 101. why can’t we follow that?

    i’m not saying clark/edu/torres/feil are better players than bradley. in fact, that’s almost an unnecessary question, because w have to think about combinations of players. for example, cesc for spain is one of the best players in the world, but in euro 08 spain played either him or xavi, never playing both at the same time because pairing the two, even though they are two of potentially top 5 midfielders in the world was stupid tactically.
    in my mind, our midfield has to be some combination of edu/clark/jones/bradley + feil/clark/donovan/demps (obviously if it was donovan/demps it would be more of a diamond.
    i rue the day when we see a jones and bradley CM pairing, which i know will come. both are great players, but itll lead to a lot more long balls and a lack of possession.

    MB is now struggling for time on a low level team in the bundesliga. a league that apart from the top 3 or 4 is along the same lines as the scandanavian leagues or even mexico…so feilhaber? torres?

  45. Yossarian says:

    Ugh, the blind haters are back in force after being shut up for a couple months following the Confed Cup. You guys are like Pavlov’s dog. You see the word “Ching” and immediately tab down the the comments and start blubbering, “Ching..wahwahwah, Ching, blahblahblah.” So many of you obviously didn’t read the whole article where Ives said, “I’ll make this one disclaimer: If Jozy Altidore is fit to start, he should start.”

    Big Phil (Jozy’s coach), himself, said that Jozy’s not match fit yet. If Joz can only go a hard 30, you can’t start him b/c if you sub him out at 35, you lose the whole fresh legs off the bench vs tired legs advantage. A starter needs to be able to go at least 60 hard and I doubt Jozy is there yet (much as I’d love to see him go 60).

    Who would you rather see? Casey? Come on, now. You can’t slip Lando in there, b/c that makes Davies the target forward, a role he’s not suited for. You could put Deuce there, but he hasn’t played a target role for a long time and it’s really not his best attribute. It might be worth a look only b/c ES isn’t that big, and it would be cool to get another look at Holden or Torres in a big spot.

    No matter how you look at it, though, the options are not that great and Ching isn’t nearly as bad as the haters make him out to be, but I’m not going to bother lecturing yet again on that subject. If you can’t see the qualities that make him a valuable player, you need to watch closer and educate yourself.

  46. JK says:

    —————————Charlie Davies——————

    Landon Donovan——-Stuart Holden———–Clint Dempsey

    ——————Michael Bradley——Benny Feilhaber————–

    Jonathan Spector———————————–Steve Cherundolo

    ——————Carlos Bocanegra——Jay DeMerit——————

    ———————————-Tim Howard—————————-

    Not necessarily a 4-5-1, but more of a 4-4-1-1 with a player like Holden will release Donovan and Dempsey alot more on the wings. We dont’ have real attaching Fullbacks so lets not pretend we do. The the Triangle of Bradley, Feilhaber, and Holden in the Midfield we can work the ball through the middle with three of the most technical players this country has. Dempsey will be there in the box to make up for no real target forward, and lets face it we don’t realy have a target forward.

  47. Judging Amy says:

    Ugh, the blind haters are back in force after being shut up for a couple months following the Confed Cup. You guys are like Pavlov’s dog. You see the word “Ching” and immediately tab down the the comments and start blubbering, “Ching..wahwahwah, Ching, blahblahblah.” So many of you obviously didn’t read the whole article where Ives said, “I’ll make this one disclaimer: If Jozy Altidore is fit to start, he should start.”

    Big Phil (Jozy’s coach), himself, said that Jozy’s not match fit yet. If Joz can only go a hard 30, you can’t start him b/c if you sub him out at 35, you lose the whole fresh legs off the bench vs tired legs advantage. A starter needs to be able to go at least 60 hard and I doubt Jozy is there yet (much as I’d love to see him go 60).

    Who would you rather see? Casey? Come on, now. You can’t slip Lando in there, b/c that makes Davies the target forward, a role he’s not suited for. You could put Deuce there, but he hasn’t played a target role for a long time and it’s really not his best attribute. It might be worth a look only b/c ES isn’t that big, and it would be cool to get another look at Holden or Torres in a big spot.

    No matter how you look at it, though, the options are not that great and Ching isn’t nearly as bad as the haters make him out to be, but I’m not going to bother lecturing yet again on that subject. If you can’t see the qualities that make him a valuable player, you need to watch closer and educate yourself.

    Posted by: Yossarian | September 01, 2009 at 11:21 AM

    Props. Completely and absolutely true.

  48. Bob Bradley For Life! says:

    RK: Perhaps managers are over-rated. The players play the game. The player pool is what it is. Etcetera.

    But, for my money, Bora made our squad better than the sum of the parts. Similarly, Guus H. did something special with Australia and South Korea. And while the jury is out, Capello seems on course do something Stevie MacLaren could not — with the same raw material.

    Shouldn’t this be the aim for US Soccer?

  49. Matt says:

    I see the merit in your argument USA #1. Casey’s club form probably earns him a call-up in my opinion, but nothing more. Altidore and Davies is our top pairing, no doubt about it. Donovan and Dempsey are better forward options than Casey though, especially with our ability to sub in the likes of Clark,Feilhaber,and Torres if Lando or Deuce must move up top.

  50. A.S. says:

    Thx BBFL. Although I’ll say that I am fairly comfortable with BB, given the team’s performance at Confed Cup, even if we have underperformed in qualifying so far.

    Also, let me amend my comment above to say that, in the Mexico game, the central midfield had a lot to do with the failure to keep possession, but the backs also have to shoulder their share of the blame – they need to link to the midfield rather than just clearing the ball.

  51. Judging Amy says:

    MB is now struggling for time on a low level team in the bundesliga. a league that apart from the top 3 or 4 is along the same lines as the scandanavian leagues or even mexico…so feilhaber? torres?

    Posted by: tom v | September 01, 2009 at 11:20 AM

    Wow. Just saw this. Bundesliga apart from the top 3 or 4 teams is Scandinavian level? Haha. Also, you seem to think the Scandinavian leagues are better than Mexico’s domestic league. You’ve never stepped on a soccer field other than to line the field for your son’s youth team game have you?

  52. brandon says:

    Who cares if Jozy starts to fade after 60 minutes, against T&T he was tiring after 60 minutes but he still put in goals in the the 71′ and the 89′ minute.

  53. Robert says:

    Ching and Bradley will start. It is unfortunate but true. Also, Dempsey at midfield until late in the second half if needed. This game is about scoring a lot and early.

  54. Blokhin says:

    I’d like to see Ching actually be able to hold up the ball and draw fouls, unlike at Azteca, where he fouled and had the ball bounce off his lead feet…

    Seriously, how much longer do we have to put up wtih this b.s. about Ching being a superior ball-winner in the air (not against Mexico), holding up play and winning fouls?

    I’d love for him to actually show this on the field against key opponents and not just used as a throaway line to justify his inclusion in the line-up every time.

    Every time we have to talk outselves into why he deserved to get the start, over a superior-talented forward, who can change the dynamic of the game…

    The marginal difference between Ching’s and Altidore’s ball-winning and hold-up play, is not worth keeping Altidore’s clearly superior speed, finishing and creativity on the bench…

    When it comes to drawing fouls, Altidore drew his share in the Confed Cup, IMO, so that’s a wash between the two….

  55. BK says:

    If Bob Bradley starts Ching again, I think it’s going to initiate the end of his time as manager of the USMNT. The growing tide of discontent that supporters are voicing about what Ching brings (or doesn’t bring) up front is rapidly rising, and Ching fails to produce, again and again. For those who say Ching has scored goals for the USMNT, the goals he has scored lately are off of set plays and cheap “accidents” like the ball that went in off his shoulder after he missed it with his head a few matches back… I can sort of forgive Bob for what he’s been trying to do with the experimentation (different lineups and assorted confusing tactics), but this isn’t the Gold Cup, this isn’t a friendly… This is must win territory, and when you must win, you mustn’t play Ching up front. He’s had his chances, he hasn’t performed, and it’s Brian’s time to go. If Bob wants to follow suit with lineups and tactics that don’t work, so be it…

  56. Blokhin says:

    I don’t think that Jozy’s game is flawless at this point, but I believe that his presence increases US chances of scoring a goal, versus Ching…and that’s any forward’s #1 job.. if it wasn’t, he’d be called a midfielder…

  57. Andy says:

    I was simply going to say, “Ching out, Jozy in” but I see that’s aready covered…

  58. ChingsPapa says:


    Not only was it off his shoulder, but the defender put it in.

    Ives are you suggesting we play the emtpy bucket formation with a boxx-to-box mid and an attacking mid?

    Or are you just so used to using that formation?

  59. green says:

    Here’s what I want to know. . .

    WTF ESPN? You can’t air the games on a channel most people have? Classic? Really!? When will you ever figure it out? F U Disney!

    Did that slime ball J. Warner speed up Zamora and Samuel’s eligibility for T&T? Kinda seems like he did. Can you say desperation? I hope we knock ’em out next week and Jack has a coronary, finally ridding the world of one more crook.

  60. Mingjai says:

    I’d like to see Torres start at the top of a diamond midfield to distribute the ball among Davies, Altidore, Donovan, and Dempsey. I’d rather have Spector on the right instead of Cherundolo, but he’s better than any of the alternatives on the left.








    My subs would be:

    65′ Feilhaber for Altidore (Dempsey moves up top)

    75′ Holden for Torres or Dempsey

  61. Super Sub says:

    I love the Altidore/Davies pairing. I also like the idea of Findley coming off the bench in the second half. His energy and pace has been shown to wreak havoc on tired defenses, especially at altitude.

    Having said that, the second half sub moving Deuce from right mid to forward worked like a charm in South Africa.

  62. Mig says:

    @A.S. I gotta go with Ives on MB. Of the players in this national team right now, Bradley is the best central midfielder. I think we agree on that? If ‘by a wide margin’ is the question, I guess that’s a matter of the definition of ‘wide’. Assuming a full choice, who would you choose to put in that position?

    Edu? not playing, just returned from injury, plays in Scotland which is < Germany. Clark? MLS Jones? Maybe, but he’s coming off injury too Beckerman? MLS Add that Torres, Benny, and Holden aren’t exactly ‘get stuck in’ middies and what do you do? You play Bradley every single game, right?

  63. Felix says:

    I like your lineup, Ives. Even though I’m iffy on starting Bradley Jr. I know this is probably a pointless argument, as he’s one of the first names in the lineup sheet, however; his form so far with the USMNT in the past couple of games and with Borussia Monchengladbach has been poor, to the point where he was benched. I don’t know if I’d start him in that instance then. I’d probably go with a Feilhaber/Clark CM tandem to start.

    I agree with your Altidore argument. If he’s match fit, start him, if not go with Ching.

    Finally, I can see Bornstein starting as per his callup to this set of qualifiers. I wouldn’t mind seeing Spector at this level playing LB.

  64. tom v says:

    judging amy. i’ll leave aside the unnecessary and flat out wrong shot at me because you make a decent point. in my mind, not starting for a team (and to an extent even starting) at the bottom of the bundesliga is comparable to getting playing time in mexico or in scandanavia. i realize that probably wasn’t clear. my point was simply that ive never bradley been sold on bradley, obviously numerous coaches havent been sold on him either. he didn’t get the big move many US fans hoped for after his goals in holland, he could bump up to a better club after helping his team survive relegation, and even he were starting now he’s still on a relegation likely team in a league that top to bottom is pretty weak. as i said, the bundesliga has a huge discrepancy from top to bottom. my point was not a critique on the bundesliga or praise for the other leagues, but simply that when looking at club form and league difficulty torres and feilhaber should be considered comparable players and not second tier to the guaranteed starter of bradley.

    the guy’s got heart and is a good player, but as i pointed out he’s not a good fit for the US team tactically.

  65. green says:

    the guy’s got heart and is a good player, but as i pointed out he’s not a good fit for the US team tactically.

    Um, bigger, stronger, faster IS our tactical approach. :-]

  66. Mig says:

    @A.S. I agree with you that there was plenty of blame to go around at Azteca when considering the 18% possession we managed (yeah, hyperbole but only a bit).

    In any case, I will disagree with Tom V’s remarks about too many fouls and too many giveaways by MB. The fouls and cards are getting less frequent as his game matures and I don’t see him giving the ball away much. I don’t have a bias one way or the other but I think the guy’s pretty solid at distribution….if there’s someone to distribute it to.

  67. j says:

    Ching hasn’t done anything. He’s got to go.

  68. Joamiq says:

    montana matt: Seriously? Ching has five goals in qualifying and scored in the Gold Cup as well. Perhaps you should rack your brain a little harder before posting.

    Yossarian: Thank you for the rare intelligent comment on this site. If Jozy is fit, I’d definitely want to see him and Davies start, no doubt. But if he’s not, Ching is a solid option. By the way, I love how Ching criticism has gone from deriding his ability to draw fouls by saying “all he does is fall down” to denying that he draws fouls at all. Ching is good for at least one (often two or three) free kick from a dangerous position in 95% of the games he plays.

  69. SonicDeathMonkey says:

    It is amusing to see Brian Ching penciled in as a starter. Perhaps our journalists are still under the spell of the magic Ching worked down at the Azteca?


    No, they just know how Bob Bradley thinks.

    In the past, while Ching wasn’t the best choice, there really wasn’t that many other options. Now, things are different, and with Chings injury during the Confed Cup, that became evident. But BB is nothing if not stubborn, and he’ll most likely roll Ching out to start. It’s sad, but I think Ives’ predicted lineup is accurate.

  70. BellusLudas says:

    CASTILLO!!! Jones (injured???)

  71. Fan Futbol says:

    Obviously Davies-Jozy if Jozy’s fit; Davies-Dempsey up top (with Holden or Torres as the fourth midfielder) if Jozy’s not fit. I know we were all upset about the end result of the Mexico game, but I think Holden looked quite sharp when he came on. And Torres is in form at Pachuca. Both men would do well.


  72. Chamo says:

    Going off what A.S. said way earlier, Ives, Bradley has had a rather poor run of form for Gladbach. Even if the game he was subbed off at halftime was tactical, the first game of the Bundesliga he was very poor, and while I have missed the following matches, hearing that this form continued doesn’t surprise me.

  73. A.S. says:

    Mig – look, with Edu and Jones out, sure, there’s less competition for Michael Bradley as the “best” center mid in the pool. But I don’t know that I’d put him clearly ahead of Benny. But once Edu and Jones get back from injury, I don’t think there is any way to say Bradley should be an automatic starter, especially when he is not in form.

    One other unrelated point to throw out there – is there no chance that Bob Bradley starts Bornstein at left fullback and Spector at right? I really like Spector at right back – we scored two goals in the confed cup off his superior crosses.

  74. CT says:

    I think the point of not starting someone who is suspected of not being match fit is that you can never tell how the substitutions may go. If you already are playing someone who can’t go the full 90, then you’ve wasted one of your substitutions and you’re left with only 2 discretionary subs. We’ve all seen games where there’ve been 2 injuries in the first 45 minutes. If that were to occur would you be happy knowing that you’re probably going to have to leave your not match fit player on for the full 90 if you want to go either defensive or offensive in the last 30-20 minutes of the game.

    We can argue all day if Altidore is fully match fit. None of us knows for sure. But if I were B Bradley and I suspected that Jozy is not fit for 90, I’d start someone else.

  75. Rooch says:

    I’d start Jozy, otherwise, the team pretty much picks itself with Gooch suspended.

  76. Joey23 says:

    We get it guys, you hate Michael Bradley. A.S., you’re a regular Bradley basher so it shouldn’t come as a shock that as soon as his form dips a bit you make him out to be a train wreck. Not predictable at all that.

    Jones is legit and will start when he’s eligible, but are we really sold on Maurice Edu? Let’s see him play a good game for the national team before we say the guy is on par with someone like Jones and Bradley.

  77. MaestroD says:

    Chamo, I watched Gladbach-Bochum on GolTV and don’t remember Bradley standing out as having a bad game. Gladbach couldn’t deal with Stanislav Sestak, that wasn’t on Bradley. If anything, Bradley looked to run out of gas, which is why he came out of that match, but Bochum’s comeback wasn’t Bradley’s fault.

  78. fan4usa says:

    This is a game that Jose F Torres should get the nod instead of Benny. He needs game time at international level, and he, like Benny, can help control the mid field more. Then use Benny as a sub for either Jose or Bradley – depending on flow of the game and performance of each.

    No more quick balls from defender to strikers, please! Take more time in the middle.

  79. Fire BB says:

    “No matter how you look at it, though, the options are not that great and Ching isn’t nearly as bad as the haters make him out to be, but I’m not going to bother lecturing yet again on that subject. If you can’t see the qualities that make him a valuable player, you need to watch closer and educate yourself.

    Posted by: Yossarian | September 01, 2009 at 11:21 AM”

    actually you’re right about one thing, namely that ching isn’t nearly as bad as the haters make him out to be… He’s much worse. He is lazy, lacks any vision or understanding of the game, commits idiotic fouls, has an awful international strike rate and, despite being a large oaf, is rather average in the air. jozy, even at 60%, is the far superior option. If you can’t see his lack of quality you need to remove your mls-tinted glasses, watch closer and educate yourself (possibly by watching some proper footy/players for instance).

  80. hockeymot says:

    Best possible line up. This gives US the best four defenders on the field, in positions they’re all good at. Feilhaber compliments Bradley almost perfectly in the midfield. And at forward, Ching and Altidore is the only possible switch. Right on Ives.

  81. A.S. says:

    Sorry – the Michael Bradley discussion is probably getting a bit tiresome (at least my comments), but I noticed that Ives responded to my second comment above and I just wanted to add the following. Yes, I think the red card in the Spain game was legitimate – harsh, but within the bounds of the referee’s discretion. And, yes, I saw your grades for the Mexico game, Ives – you gave Michael Bradley a 5 (i.e., average); I think he was poor in that game, as was the rest of the midfield. Finally, look, I would probably start Bradley and Benny in this game too, since this game is so crucial and perhaps we don’t want to experiment. I just don’t think he should be an automatic given how he’s playing – if he doesn’t play well, I would play Holden or Torres or Clark against T&T.

  82. Matt D. says:

    I’m thinking this:

    GK: Howard
    RB: Spector
    CB: DeMerit
    CB: Bocanegra
    LB: Bornstein
    RM: Dempsey
    CM: Bradley
    CM: Feilhaber
    LM: Donovan
    ST: Ching
    ST: Davies

    Ives, I think that Ching is the choice, and that, yes, Altidore is a great sub at about 60, 65 minutes for Ching. I think Spector was great at RB in the Confed Cup…West Ham have been playing him on the left be he’s a better RB. I also like the speed of Bornstein on the left.

  83. These Colors Do Not Run says:

    Tom V hit the nail on the head:

    Michael Bradley is at present a “tweener”. He does not have the composure, technique, or brain to be a midfield fulcrum. But he likes to get forward and is not — right now — well-suited to a role as a defensive midfielder.

    He’s a very good player. His knack for showing up in the box at the right time, trailing the play to bag goals, is a great asset for us.

    But the way he plays now makes it hard for him to combine with a player like Benny or Gringo Torres.

    Against better teams, we need a player who can pass. A Bradley-Clark pairing will not cut it. Having seen Jones play a number of times, I don’t think a Bradley-Jones set-up will give us what we need other. (Incidentally, on recent evidence Jones is significantly better than Michael Bradley.)

    It will be interesting to see what coach Bradley does. Will Mikey be asked to play a somewhat more defensive role? Will we get Bradley-Jones? Will Torres finally be given some time? Is Michael Bradley an automatic starter even when Jones and Edu come into the squad?

    Personally, I think Bob Bradley will make bad coaching decisions.

    But I love the team and live in hope…

  84. ChingsPapa says:


    Is that equivalent to all the possession he loses or attacks he stops?

    He has 5 goals in qualifying? Really? Like toatl qualifying? So, the 2 against Barbados(1 of which was scored by Pablo) are included?

    Give me a break Ching is garbage as a striker. I bet you also think he had an assist on Holden’s goal in the GC.

  85. SoccerJohn says:

    I’ll be really disappointed if Ching starts again anytime soon. The MNT will not reach its full potential with him as a starter. If Altidore’s not fit to play 90, let’s see what Dempsey can do when paired with Davies and see what Feilhaber and Holden can do in the way of midfield possession.

    Davies – Dempsey

    Donovan – Feilhaber – Bradley – Holden

    Spector – Boca – Demerit – Dolo


  86. Mig22 says:

    @A.S. I didn’t think your comments on MB are tiring at all. I didn’t think Tom V’s were either. I might disagree but you guys make valid points. As to auto-starter, just in this pool of guys. However, you’re right. If he has a lousy game, switch it up vs. T&T. But in a home game vs. El Salvador, the team probably will look very good.


  87. goalscorer24 says:

    Ho Bocanegra and DeMerit pair well in the ccenter back, as they have not played together in that set up. Don’t want to see another botchy defensive showing like the last time Gooch was out against El Salvador.

  88. RLW2020 says:

    i like the middy blitz!

  89. SoccerJohn says:

    I meant to add this: Clark’s got to go, too. He’s another player who simply can’t factor substantially into a team that wants to compete in the WC knock-out rounds. Happily, Maurice Edu and/or Jermaine Jones seem sure to put an end to that.

  90. Holden in……has to be. We need someone who can hold the ball in midfield. Torres would be great as well.

  91. timF says:

    Ching is terrible. Please stop putting him in your lineups. We would be better off playing a three man central midfield if we are gonna have a player who doesn’t score goals but is supposed to do the “little things”.

  92. Ives says:

    A.S., your points are always intelligent and well-reasoned, even if I don’t always agree with them.

  93. zongzap says:

    I also agree that MB is not the “best by a long shot” midfielder. However he will start as long as BB has anything to say about it.

    I strongly suspect BB will start as many of his usual group as possible. That includes Boca, Dolo, Sonny Boy, Ching, Clark and Dempsey.

    It takes him forever to change his mind.

    I have always felt BB was not the right man for this job and Sunil is lining up behind him. That puts the two of them in the same boat. If we bomb regionally (a loss here could do it) then they both might have to go. Sunil should never make the statement he made about BB because it’s now locked them together

  94. Late breaking fitness news: Donovan has recovered from Swine Flu but Michael Bradley is still suffering from a bad case of nepotism.

  95. Yossarian says:

    Fire BB,

    I generally don’t watch MLS, so your clueless slur is way off the mark (big surprise there). Apparently you don’t watch ANY football, because you clearly don’t know what you’re talking about. Lazy? Ching’s workrate is the main reason why BB keeps going to him. His rate is much, much higher than Jozy’s at this point in his career. He is constantly backtracking to help the defense and perpetually getting the tar beaten out of him as he contests everything in the air. This is not to say he should start over a fit Altidore, who has skills and physical abililty Ching can’t dream of, but his workrate is unquestionably higher.

    It’s fine and just to criticize his limitations – he’s simply not a world-class athlete and doesn’t have the prototypical size/ speed you want in an international level target man. Critiquing his workrate and effort, however, is simply asinine. I think you just watch the highlights and don’t actually tune in for the whole game. I can’t think of any other explanation.

  96. brian says:

    Can we change Ching’s name to Brian “I’m still a veteran holding forward who helps create chances for others and draws fouls”? Is it possible to mention Ching without mentioning that he holds the ball well? Myabe the fact that we feel the need to explain what he does everytime his name is mentioned should tell us something about his play.

  97. I watched Ching when he played here for San Jose. He is unquestionably a great team player and a really nice guy, always fantastic with the fans. He is also unquestionably not international caliber.

  98. Jorge says:


    I have never questioned Michael. I have always thought that the kid is talented. Now, his father and the clown running the US Federation, well, that’s a different story.

  99. madmax says:

    Beasley and Kjlestan on the wings, with Ching and Casey up top.

  100. tom v says:

    as much as people think (probably justifiably) that i am a hater, i actually don’t think ching is a bad move. would i do it? no. do i completely understand why MB might start him? yes. it’s a logical pairing to have a target player with a speed striker. i still like jozy-davies better, but ching-davies still makes some sense to me.

    on a side note i’ve found the discussion on ching and bradley to be pretty interesting, serious, informational, and without any unnecessary nonsense.

    ..and finally i think MB has great potential, and he brings heart and attitude that we desperately need sometimes. just at the moment, i think he shouldn’t be a definite starter. which he undoubtedly is right now. to me our biggest problem is our center midfield and our inability to control possession, so that’s why i think MB’s CM selection is the most important heading into WC 2010

  101. Yossarian says:


    You said: “But, for my money, Bora made our squad better than the sum of the parts. Similarly, Guus H. did something special with Australia and South Korea. And while the jury is out, Capello seems on course do something Stevie MacLaren could not — with the same raw material.”

    Bora is a stopgap extraordinaire, not a make a run at winning the World Cup type coach. He’s also not about playing attractive football, any more than BB is. He does whatever it takes to get his team to the WC. Do you really think the 1990 team played more attractive football than the current one? Bora’s star is also on the wane as he is 66 years old and failed in all his recent stints at Honduras, Jamaica, and Al-Sadd. He’s just not an attractive option at this point.

    The other guys you mention: Hiddink and Capello would never come here. They make far more money than we’d ever pay and they’d demand more power than Gulati (I suspect) would ever permit. Any truly world-class coach would demand to run the show and I don’t think Sunil would ever allow that to happen.

    I think your barbs directed at BB are grossly misplaced. Considering his talent pool and the limitations he’s under with the absurd US scheduling, rules, and developmental system, I think the man’s done a fantastic job. Yell at Sunil Gulati if you’d like, but I can’t see how BB deserves much flack, here. I was against him at the start, but the team is playing well, scoring during the run of play and playing a dangerous, counter-attacking style that has beaten some teams that we never, historically speaking, have challenged before. I just don’t think you’re being realistic.

  102. Dlovell says:

    Ching will start b.c. Bradley wants to go with experience and a guy who can run all night. As Ives has said, Altidore does not seem to be match fit. Who would you rather having coming on in the 65th minute to run at a tried El Salvador defense, Jozy or Ching?

    Bradley is a nice young player with talent but as someone else said he does not truly fill either role in CM. He is not good enough on the ball to possess and not good enough to cover the field as the sole holding mid. The U.S. best technical combo in the middle will be Jermaine Jones and Benny Fielhaber/Gringo Torres in South Afria. But one of those guys will not start b.c. of Bradley Jr. and that is a shame IMO.

    As far as the line up goes, and I am Ching/Dynamo fan:



    Spector – Demerit–Bocanegra – Dolo



    60th – Holden for Jozy (Dempsey moves to FWD)

    70th – Ching for Davies

    75th – Torres for Clark if we are behind, Torres for Bradley in we are ahead.

  103. primoone says:






    I think Dolo gets the start ans Spec to the left. I dont think Bradley trusts Bornstien too much. In light of gooch missing out…Boca gets the stopper duties.

    Midfield posession will be key to this match as the two teams like to sit and wait for a counter. So both teams will be trying to pull each other out of their respective halves. I have a feeling that a crafty MF will be inserted. Not certain if its torres or Benny. Benny has been getting more minutes as of late so my gut feeling is with Bradley opting for Benny.

    The point is going to josi and davies…no explenation necessary.

    I see Holden and ching coming on as subs with maybe a 3rd sub going to rico


  104. Yossarian says:

    Dlovell: I think it’s certainly an interesting debate. USMNT has had its greatest success with 2 holding mids, so I suspect we’ll see both MB and JJ together at the start, softening up the opposition with crunching tackles and BF/Stu/Torres off the bench. That has been a prolific strategy. Eventually, I’d like to see more of a #10 type paired more extensively with a holding mid, but BB does not trust those players yet defensively. MB is still very young, and he’s shown an impressive nose for goal as well as decent distribution, so he’s definitely capable of providing some offensive capability, esp if he keeps developing. I wouldn’t write him off as a pure holding mid just yet, though I certainly see your point.

  105. Isaac says:







    After subs…







    Why didn’t you mention Jose Francisco Torres, Ives? He’s on form, fit, and getting minutes. I don’t expect him to start over Feilhaber and Clark( or Beckerman for that matter) but considering the aforementioned and how well he did in a substitute role the last time against El Salvador, I don’t really see how he doesn’t get some sort of playing time between now and Trinidad and Tobago. Even if we’re losing, Torres has been with the USA in that kind of situation, against the same team.

  106. jpc says:

    – I would like to propose a lineup going forward, b/c I’m not sure our teams talents are really ideal for a 4-4-2. Please feel free to rip it to shreds.


    – For me, part of the idea in this lineup is realizing that Boca has N0 offensive ability at Left Back, BUT he’s probably too important to leave on the bench. This allows our 3 CB’s to play exclusively on defense. We have 3 talented CB’s, lets utilize them
    – it also allows our wing backs, Spector and hopefully Castillo to play more offensively, which is honestly more their strengths when compared to defense, especially Castillo. This formation requires them to cover a lot of ground, which I think both can do, as they regularly like getting forward playing as fullbacks currently. Spector is very smart and supplies great crosses and through balls, and needs to be included more offensively. Castillo by his own recognition is really a winger, rather than a wing back, but the few times I’ve seen him he looks really talented offensively. Ditto w/ Bornstein and especially Wynne, who are better going forward and covering ground than they are as technical/tactical defenders.
    – in the midfield I think it gives more touches to our 3 most creative players, Donovan, Dempsey, and Feilhaber. they need to be involved in EVERY offensive possession.
    – Michael Bradley? I think he could be an excellent wing back, as he covers a ton of ground, or be the first sub for either donovan or Dempsey. The fact that I don’t have him starting isn’t an indication of how I think of him, b/c I think he’s fantastic, and there will be time for him every game, depending on what is needed. He’s a luxury to have as a multi-dimensional player
    – JF Torres? He and Feilhaber should be fighting it out in my opinion to see who starts? whether we play the 3-2-3-2 here, or a 4-4-2, one of these guys needs to start. We cannot continue to play w/ 2 DCM’s like we have been, it may prove to give us the odd result against a Spain, but in the long run we need to be more progressive in our soccer, and that means playing w/ at most 1 Defensive midfielder. If we are as ambitious as the USSF tells us, then our style of play must also be ambitious

  107. Blokhin says:

    I’d ask Bradley one question: “at what point this summer did the U.S. play its best attacking soccer?”

    The answer better be: “vs Egypt, vs Spain and vs Brazil in the CC final”

    Guess who started at forward for us in those games? Altidore-Davies

    USNMT attack was just fine with Jozy giving his all for 60-70 minutes before being repalce by Feilhaber…

  108. PGS says:

    I don’t agree that MB is in a “poor run of form,” but for the sake of argument let’s assume he is.

    So what?

    Who are you going to put in his place? Who has his workrate, defensive bite, and ability to put himself in the right spot going forward? Not to mention, in many ways, he is the heart and soul of the team.

    I don’t give a rat’s ass if he gets a questionable card here and there— it’s the inevitable byproduct of playing like his life depends on the outcome of the game (and that’s what American soccer is all about).

  109. Blokhin says:

    why should Brian Ching replace the forwards who started during our best attacking soccer stretch in memory?

  110. chillpill says:

    I’d go with this:

    —–Davies – Jozy—–



    Figure Holden subs in around 60th for Jozy and Deuce goes up top.

    If Boca’s going to be the guy at LB, this is a chance to see if Marshall is for real.

  111. PGS says:

    crazy strategy suggestion…


    this is a home game and a must win! If we cannot control a home game, at altitude, vs el salvador, we don’t deserve to make it to South Africa.

    also I’m traveling all the way out there and i want to see some goals.

  112. We don’t know who the best central midfielders are because Michael Bradley always gets the nod.

    Torres got 1 half in Costa Rica. Then, BB puts his boy Kljestan in his place. I don’t think we have seen Torres since.

    If Torres was given the same opportunity to develop as MB has been given, I think our best MF would be Torres. He is a far more technical player who is comfortable with the ball on his feet.

    Everytime I watch him play, I want more. But, Bob keeps taking him away.

    The kid plays in Mexico, yet he is not out on the field against the guys he plays against week in and week out. Chances are, he also knows how to play in the altitude. But no, Bob will not play him. He puts Holden in instead.

    If you wanted possession in central midfield during the Mexico game, it seems you should have put the player that knows how to hold onto the ball and buy time.

    We don’t need that kind of player, we have Michael Bradley.

  113. Andy says:

    While Jozy didn’t start against Wolves, he did play the full 90 in their Carling Cup game on Tuesday. Plus, you must admit, International games aren’t played at the same pace as EPL games. Based on the fact that we need to score goals, I think it’s Jozy and Charlie up top.

    One interesting approach, and the only way I see Holden starting, would be to put Dempsey in midfield, at the top of a diamond with Bradley behind him, in front of the back four. Dempsey drifts to the middle when he plays wing anyway while both Donovan and Holden are capable of staying wide and being effective out there. IMO, this would be a dangerous attacking formation.

    Still, I expect Ives’ lineup with Jozy instead of Ching.

  114. Jorge says:


    You funny. We all know that “Attack” and “Bob Bradley” don’t go together in the same sentence. :-)

  115. Diego Pereira(eu amo Fluminense!) says:

    Sick and tired of Ching as a starter when we have better.

  116. ThaDeuce says:

    YES, Altidore over Ching OR the variation that puts Holden out wide, Dempsey up top, and NO Ching. Our talent is just too good for Ching to start right now. Yes to Feilhaber over Ricardo Clark, and Yes to Spector at left back!

  117. Yossarian says:

    Just to piss everyone off, BB should clone Ching and post the following lineup:







  118. CT says:

    All the Torres lovers overlook an important fact: Playing in Mexico, Torres is accustomed to a style of play that is different from the prevailing USMNT style. As witnessed in Azteca, the Mexicans like to bounce the ball around a lot (seemingly endlessly) and then suddenly either strike with a through ball to a cutting runner or blast a shot unexpectedly.

    With the exception Torres, the USMNT has no players who play that style. Like it or not, the US style is more direct and physical and is really developing a reliance on quick counter attacks. Torres is like a swan at a duck convention and I think Bradley has realized Torres is mismatched with the other players. To me, that explains his lack of playing time in crunch matches.

    Playing the 1 swan with 9 ducks doesn’t convert the ducks into swans, it makes the swan irrelevant.

  119. Kljestan gives the ball away too much. Please, please no Sasha.

  120. Tim from Texas says:

    Why is it necessary to always start two forwards? I’d rather have another midfielder on the field then Brian Ching, which is what probably should be employed, given the fact its arguably are deepest position. Good tacticians should know how to diversify their strategy.

    I wonder if we’ll soon be seeing an Eddie Johnson call up. I’m curious what an Eddie Johnson – Charlie Davies combo would look like. This is something I’d hope to see soon after we qualify.

    Also, call ups for Jemal Johnson, Jeremiah White, Edgar Castillo, Jermaine Jones and Mikkel Diskerud

  121. G in Humboldt says:


    Interesting formation. I kind of like it.

    I think it has a problem in that we would need a very strong #10 in the middle with excellent ball control and passing ability to connect the back to the front and who would slow down opponents play down the middle. I don’t think Benny is ready for that yet. Maybe Jones when he’s available?

  122. Steve knows best says:





    Bring Davies on to replace Duece at the half at the earliest.. Ridiculous that Cooper contnues to behind Ching…cannot wait to see what Jones and Castillo bring to the table. and YES TORRES!!!! The most technical player in the camp and he doesn”t ever see the pitch??? FIRE BB

  123. Isaac says:

    why should Brian Ching replace the forwards who started during our best attacking soccer stretch in memory?

    Posted by: Blokhin | September 01, 2009 at 03:30 PM

    Because they’re also the two forwards who started during our worst defensive game since the Copa America.

    We’ve only been able to hold the lead in half the games Charlie scores in. One of the games in which we couldn’t hold the lead was against Trinidad and Tobago which I suppose is excusable considering it was our B+ Team at best. Both games in which he scored and held the lead were against teams we SHOULD be beating anyways: Grenada and Egypt( although they were on a DAMN good run of form). The fact of the matter is, we sacrifice too much defensively against better teams with Charlie on the field, and the main reason I would have him and Ching starting is because we need someone to help a little defensively. Ching is a lot smarter on the ball than Charlie is and doesn’t lose possession easily, which is a relief for a defense that could use any help it can get with Onyewu gone.

    Altidore and Davies might work for CONCACAF teams at home but we need more than that if we’re going to get anywhere. Scoring goals means nothing if we can’t hold a lead, especially a two goal lead; even if it is Brazil.

  124. Ted says:







    Then post subs







    just my strange little plan

  125. arkjayback says:

    Highlights of American players including Davies, Cooper, and Altidore scoring for their new teams: link to youtube.com

    The music is from YouTube sensation, Ronald Jenkees.

  126. 123 says:

    feilhaber must start

  127. Blokhin says:

    WOW…. so we shouldn’t start our best two forwards because after US scores (the forward’s primary job), US tends to give up those leads (the defenders primary job)? really?

    though it helps to have a forward playing defense, out of the ten outfield players, they are the last two who are expected to carry the burden of defensive play, their job is to SCORE and to constantly threaten the opposing defense- pretty basic soccer facts to me…

    your suggestion of starting Ching for this reason is akin to cutting off your own nose to spite your face…

    Getting a lead is a good thing, therefore the forwards who give us the best chance to get that lead should start…

    Then, 70 or 80 minutes in, we can bring in Ching to “hold-up play” or “win headers” or whatever it is that he does, outside of being a constant theat to score, which is what most forwards in most soccer teams around the world do….

  128. CT says:

    Tim from Texas:

    Think back to the other times in the last 2 or 3 years where the USMNT used 1 forward – in almost all cases it’s been awful and a formation that is unable to score at all. One of my great reliefs the last year or so is that the US has pretty consistently used two forwards. In my opinion we’d be much better off with a 3-5-2 than a 4-5-1 (but the 3-5-2 would be a complete failure if we were counting on Deuce tracking back and playing defense).


    Historically, when the US has been overwhelmed in the midfield using a 4-4-2 the answer is not to put in another MF – that approach cannot score any goals. Instead, the key has been for the forwards to track back and reinforce the MFs. Unfortunately, Jozy/Cooper/Casey don’t do that nearly as well Ching. Over the last few months the US MF has frequently needed the help. Think about it – how many times have you seen Jozy/Cooper make anything more than a token challenge in the US defensive half. The US is not good enough to have 1 or 2 cherry pickers waiting for the MF to bring them the ball.

    If you plan to throw the Mexico game in my face to refute my statement, keep in mind that the entire US MF was mostly playing within 10-15 yards of the 18 yd line – way too deep. That’s why Mexico had so much possession – they were using 5-6 players againt two in the 65-70 yards space from the Mexican goal. Had I been BB in that game I would have kicked MB and RC in the ass and told them to quit sitting in the defense’s lap and get out and make Mexico’s possession more difficult.

  129. Bob Bradley For Life! says:


    You think Bob Bradley has done a “fantastic job.” I think he has done a thoroughly mediocre job. Both of us know the constraints Bradley works under — scheduling, player pool, etcetera — so we are just going to have to disagree.

    My point is not that we should hire Bora today. Nowhere did I suggest that Bora’s teams deliver aesthetic football. Nor did I suggest that we could somehow prize Hiddink away from Russia in the near term — although I have had a back and forth correspondence with Sunil in which I promised Sunil flowers if Hiddink arrives in 2011.

    My point is simple. It goes like this:

    World class coaches get teams to over-achieve. Bob Bradley is not a world class coach — he is a mediocrity. His team is not impressing in qualifying and is unlikely to impress in South Africa. We deserve better.

    You think the team is playing well. The Confederations Cup was a great success. But in the main, I disagree. I don’t think the team has played particularly well under Bob Bradley.

    In particular, I don’t think the tactics, squad selection, or substitutions have been good enough.

    The details have been covered before: Davies only gets a chance when injury to Ching forces Bradley’s hand; Bradley plays Beasley and Kljestan when it should be apparent they do not belong on the field; Spector and Demerit get their breaks also principally because Bradley’s preferred players are hurt. Gringo Torres is repeatedly passed over — despite his excellent form last season for Pachuca and his rare qualities as an American who can pass the ball in tight quarters.

    I appreciate your comments — really. You don’t think I am being realistic. I think that mediocre coaching is not acceptable and that you are letting Bradley off easy.

    At the end of the day, we both support the team.

  130. ManicMessiah says:

    If you look at certain players Bob Bradley selects: Klestjan, Beasley, Bornstein- players that he coached at a club level. People say its playing favorites, but what it is is selecting people who understand what he wants from his players from a philisophical standpoint.

    Michael Bradley has lived the majority of his life under those circumstances. I can’t imagine there would be many, if any people who have a greater awareness of Michael’s strengths and weaknesses as a player than BB.

    And re: Hiddink, I know he is a good coach. BUT, If you look at the qualifying campaign, Russia qualified as much because England were really poor as Russia was really good.

    Then, at the tournament, they got destroyed twice by Spain, who Bob Bradley just beat (yes, I know its a different level of competition between Euros and Confed Cup). His big win was against the Netherlands, a country where he had considerable success as a club coach and national team coach, and understood the style of play and types of players the country produced, allowing him to gameplan them very well.

    He took the host country in 2002 to the semis, in a rare world cup (to that point) out of Europe or South America, which was an oddity for most of the favorites.

    (Having said all that, of course I would take him as manager of the US.)

  131. Adam in Irvine says:

    Jozy has more recent club and MNT success than Ching. He should start.

  132. harry says:

    I THINK ITS apparant that all the players who went through MLS or are in MLS right now are players who get multiple chances and or call-ups while the players who went the European development route dont get squat(even if the euro-way players are better)….as if bradleys somebodys muppet.

    lets take a look………….players from the MLS route(bob’s picks)= Kjlestan,Califf,Ching,Casey,Corales, Parkhurst,Goodsen,Bornstein

    Now the Euro-devoloped/ or Mexican league developed players

    who dont get any chances or it took forever for them to get chances even though they were always better or could be better if given a chance…..= Demerit,Spector,orozco, Charlie Davies, Torres,Jemal Johnson, Jeremiah White, Zak Whitbread….

    The Agenda is obvious.

  133. Jason says:

    Ives, I like your lineup, with the exception of Jozy starting for Ching.

    It’s a must win match, let’s go with our best players. I’d rather have Jozy for 60 and Ching for 30 than the reverse.

  134. Curtis says:


    This will allow Bradley, Donovan and Feilhaber to force a defensive line when needed, but also allow us to make chances going forward. We need to take it to El Salvador, and this will let us do it. This setup allows Dempsey to have a wide ranging role, the full width of the pitch to be creative, without a great need for him to defend — which he doesn’t do anyway. It also puts him a bit closer to the position he has been playing recently for Fulham.

  135. Jeff in Houston says:

    First off, I am glad to see our fearless leader get stuck in. Ives, thank you!

    The next great debate that needs a full airing is the outside backs situation. Bocanegra and Cherundolo are Bob’s historical/SA2010 cycle choices. But, I think Spector should start, period. No ifs, ands, or buts. Big question is, IMHO, which side – Left or Right. If you bench Dolo, fine. But I am still not sure that Boca is good enough at LB, epscially vs WC teams. So if you go with Dolo and Spector (he’ll be fine at LB…he’s there plenty in EPL), you are approaching the seriously ugly memory of France 98….Somewhere between a draw at Azteca (our only point ever) and March/April 98, Sampson and Harkes had it out, Harkes was out, the locker room spirit died, and we were the worst team in FRA 98. Our GER 06 team was poor, but not this bad.

    So, the dilemma is this. Is the Captain a lock? If Bob sees the need, could be bench his Captain and navigate the locker room, keep it focused, engaged, on his side?

    Big caveat: if Spector or Dolo are injured, then our D on the flanks will suck anyhow…..we are very thin here. Bornstein, uh, spare me. Castillo, don’t know enuff…and who knows if the powers that be even grant him his (& our wish).

  136. jpc says:

    G in Humboldt,

    I agree that in the formation that I present the lack of a truly gifted #10 is a problem; however, I think that is a problem in every formation, especially a 4-4-2, b/c if Benny (assuming he’s even playing) is having a poor game, its over, MB is not that guy, and from what I understand of Jermaine Jones he is just a more experienced version of MB. I think having Demps, Donovan, and Feilhaber all play a more central central role in a 3-2-3-2 gives you more options at who is playing in that #10 role in any given game, in case one is having a poor game…

    In honesty I think the biggest weakness we would have in a 3-2-3-2 formation isn’t the central guys, its whether or not our Wing Backs are really the type of guys that can do that type of running for 90 minutes reliably. And I don’t think that answer is possible w/out trying.

  137. the fly says:

    any body know the strenghts and weaknesses of El Salvador? No one has mentioned how the US matches up and how we can use our players to take advantage of their weaknesses and protect against their strengths.

  138. Mig says:

    Interesting about the high frequency of Torres-love on here. Is it just that he is a lesser known commodity. He has started 60% of Pachuca’s games, had a couple of other sub appearances, and is serviceable. He was OK when he played with the Nats, shaky with his possession, not physical enough, but showed skill. But to recommend him as a starter on the national team seems a bit naive. I hope he improves, starts playing 90 minutes for Pachuca more often, gets stronger. But he’s still pretty green, a lot like Holden, and isn’t really not there yet.

    Note: I’m a big fan of the kid’s. It’s not dislike.

  139. rana says:

    Tom v is correct that Boy Bradley makes too many mistakes, but since he has to play I would move him up and replace Dempsey who is just too lazy for my taste. I would bring in Torres and Benny to go along with Donovan and Bradley as my midfield. When the US has played poorly it is because the midfield does not control the ball or distribute well and is out of position on defense (I’m thinking of Dempsey who is off the TV screen and Bradley who is fouling someone to set up a free kick). Ching can hold the ball and pairs well with Davies. Ives back four is perfectly fine.

  140. dnyce says:

    No question about it, Davies and Altidore get the nod up top, however, if Jozy’s not 100% (which I have my doubts about), I like the idea of having Dempsey up top in his place. Mids would be Donovan, Feilhaber,Bradley, and I’d like to see Holden start (with Torres as a sub). Torres definitely needs to get some playing time with the MNT. On defense, keep Boca and Demerit as CBs, with Spector at LB, and Cherundolo on RB (although I’m not big on how he plays, he’s the default).

    On a separate note, I’d really like to see US fans come in big numbers to these matches, especially when playing at home. I know we’re a nation made up of people from all over the world, but man, let’s show some love to the US MNT. I was fortunate enough to be at Azteca (not in the US section), and hung the American flag (albeit, it was probably barely seen with the below corner section so close behind), but felt damn proud (probably similar sentiments opposing fans feel when hanging their flags at US home matches). The heart and passion just indescribable. I know some of you are out there, just hope we can get more fans to this point.

  141. clevlrocks says:

    I think your idea of Torres as a swan in a group of ducks might be a little too far fetched. However, I know what you are trying to explain and agree with underlying simile. Though, i think it is more important to focus on why we lack more creative players. This I feel lies on BB and Gulati’s shoulders. The players we have are talented and can play creative soccer when told to do so(like they do with their clubs). It is the typical USA is better attitude that prevents our soccer system from maturing. American soccer insists on being big (in size) and direct with the ball (very few connecting passes). So, I think the question that needs to be asked as well as answered is…Do we see other national and or club teams implementing the American style of soccer? No. Why? Well I think that answer is obvious.

  142. CrispyST3 says:

    It should be the same exact players you have in that picture except Cherundolo for Onyewu obviously, and maybe Feilhaber for Clark

  143. r.benjamin says:

    I dare think the best combo in 2010 might be Jones and Gringo Torres. Those clamoring for him to play (other than recognizing his Pachuca contribution) realize that everything changes when you can string together 2/3 short lateral passes in the mid field..and this is what Torres does. In those 5 seconds the defense re-organizes and the forwards make runs.

    I did not see Ching hold up the ball in Azteca. I saw him have a heavy first touch and give a couple of fouls. In that game we could have really used a hold it up target. For this game.. we don’t need a target. We need to take it to them.

    If Bradley chooses Bornstein (MLS) over EPL starter and Bundesliga starter.. I will yell at him again..

  144. Leonardo says:

    JPC said it best:
    ” If we are as ambitious as the USSF tells us, then our style of play must also be ambitious ”

    i like what JPC offered with the 3-2-3-2

  145. CT says:


    I disagree with the notion that the lack of creative players is attributable to Bradley and Gulati. Unfortunately, they get the players after the die is cast. But I think things are changing. The USSF is getting more involved in the youth program and I think the MLS youth academies are going to start producing good players for the national team.

    I just finished a 10+ year career as a youth soccer coach as my youngest is now off to college. In just that period of time, the quality of training for the kids has improved immensely.

    I think there is hope for the future. Though I hope it happens much sooner, I think that by the time the WC returns to the USA (2022?) the USMNT should be in position to have a realistic shot at winning the the WC.

  146. clevlrocks says:

    I agree that are youth systems are starting to improve. But my point was that we do have creative players. The current system Bradley uses does not showcase the full potential of our national team.

    I know the USMNT can string together passes and create goal scoring opportunities in that way. However, like any good player, most of the national team will play how they are told to play. Bradley says lets play bunker ball and hope for a counter or two, so that is what they do (if they want to play).

    This will work against lesser teams, and sometimes a 1 in 100 chance against world class opponents (Spain). But if we really want to be successful as a soccer playing nation. We need to be known for more than just playing with a big heart. Other teams have just as much heart plus the technical side of the game that lets you dictate pace. Once we gain that then I can honestly say we deserve our FIFA ranking.

    So, what I am saying is that Bradley coaches with caution. With this we can scratch our way into the WC. But we will go 3 and out unless Bradley starts to use his players and stop making them robots in a system.

    By the way. Is anyone else fed up with all the positive commentary surrounding US soccer. It seems when we do well all is praised. When we do bad all is praised. To me US soccer is like a communist country. From the top to the bottom everyone is only allowed to express a pre approved consensus on how the administration performed. The team never gets beat. They always did what they were suppose to, but did not achieve a positive outcome.

    I wish US soccer fans were as critical with the USMNT as they are with their favorite NFL or College football team. If that were the case, we would be ranked top 5 in the world.

  147. Rod says:

    How about this line up….




    Now, obvious reasons why davies and jozy should start have already been mentioned. Donovan has been playing with much more intensity in both National and MLS games. Bradley has been in a slump, but with such a great work rate, its hard to see him not starting. Although it would be nice to see feilhaber in the middle. Next, Torres hasnt got the time he deserves for being just a composed and creative player in the midfield. I just dont think clark is what we need initially in this game. maybe bring him on for fresh legs if were up. I could agree with feilhaber instead of torres too. and then holden over dempsey because i feel that he does not work hard enough for the national team consistantly. Most of you might say…well he scores when we need him to and is always there to make the big plays. I would agree with that, but he also wastes 60-70 mins on the field doing absolutely nothing, losing the ball in the middle of the park, not tracking back, and not creating nearly enough for other players as a player of his caliber should. There are few options we have with onyewu gone, but bornstein could be a choice of bradleys because of his recovery speed, due to the capable counter attack el salvador posses.

  148. cfig says:


    Posted by: jpc | September 01, 2009 at 03:25 PM

    jpc, I like this idea with the exception that I feel like it leaves us a bit defensively exposed. If I’m following you, you’re looking for Castillo and Spector to play more as wingbacks? I like the idea, but Feilhaber in the middle I think leaves us a bit exposed on defense with a lot of space between Benny and our centerbacks.

  149. CT says:

    clevlrocks wrote:

    “I wish US soccer fans were as critical with the USMNT as they are with their favorite NFL or College football team. If that were the case, we would be ranked top 5 in the world.”

    I wouldn’t wish the Houston NFL fans on my worst enemy much less the USMNT. With that level of negativity, the USSF would probably disaband.

  150. jimmygreaves says:

    “Interesting about the high frequency of Torres-love on here. Is it just that he is a lesser known commodity. He has started 60% of Pachuca’s games, had a couple of other sub appearances, and is serviceable. He was OK when he played with the Nats, shaky with his possession, not physical enough, but showed skill. But to recommend him as a starter on the national team seems a bit naive. I hope he improves, starts playing 90 minutes for Pachuca more often, gets stronger. But he’s still pretty green, a lot like Holden, and isn’t really not there yet.-Note: I’m a big fan of the kid’s. It’s not dislike.- Mig”


    In the US, among NFL fans, everybody loves the backup QB. Why? Because they see the occasional flashes from him and assume it will translate into full time. Meanwhile you see all the flaws of the starter and the grass is obviously greener. Hence all the love for players who are largely unproven i.e. Torres, Adu, all those guys who play in the lower English leagues or in the reserves, etc.

    Part of this is because the US talent pool is just not very deep. Look at all the players Argentina and Brazil can afford to discard. They’d all walk right into the US team. Meanwhile, the US has to win games. When I compare the professional resumes of the US players to other teams, I consider it a miracle the US does as well as it does.

    Not long ago everyone was madly in love with Heath Pearce. Everyone was blasting Bradley for playing his favorite Bornstein over Heath. After a few games Pearce is now as popular as swine flu. Torres is now flavor of the month. There will be a few new ones soon, just wait.

  151. “A veteran holding forward who helps create chances for others and draws fouls…” I thought for a minute that you’d confused Brian Ching with Brian McBride but then I realize you hadn’t added “scores goals”. Face it, Ching is good for MLS but just is not an international quality player. Bradley is the Terry Francoma of soccer – he sticks by his guys. Unfortunately, his guys just aren’t as good as the young guys can be.

    M. Bradley just doesn’t have the discipline or tactical awareness to play in the Spanish style 2-man fulcrum midfield that Bradley prefers, he needs a true holding midfielder playing behind him. He and Clark are a disaster together – it’s like they share one brain on defense and forget about any possession. The fulcrum needs an organizing presence to work well. Bob “Daddy” Bradley is in total denial about our leaky defending – it just isn’t good enough to concede 60% plus possession without consequences. Our style of play needs to change to suit our players, since we don’t have an effective target forward but we do have speedy counter-attackers. We need to set up to spring – that’s where all our goals this summer have come from, not from hold-up play.

    I think 4-3-2-1 is the best system for us to play come world cup time, with a central midfield of J. Jones, Bradley and Edu in the holding role. I know it sounds exotic but it amounts to dropping an ineffective Ching and adding a holding midfielder that allows Jones and Bradley to pressure as much as the want in midfield. It should create more counterattacking opportunities for for the 3Ds while giving enough defensive support in front of the back four to stop conceding from 30 yards out up top and to include a wingback like Castillo on the left. Spector can play more conservatively and tuck in when Castillo goes forward while Edu fills in behind him on the left to provide an easy option to keep possession and so we aren’t so vulnerable on the counterattack. I want to see Spector in the right back slot because he is most comfortable on the ball of our defenders, delivers a good deep cross for Big Clint and has enough size to protect the back post if Castillo does get caught up-field.

    For this match I think we drop Ching and push Dempsey up top with Holden getting the start on the right. Altidore can come on for Dempsey or Davies. Spector will probably start on the left and Dolo on the right. DeMerit and a toss up between I would to see Feilhaber or Torres get a shot but I honestly think we may see a midfield of Bradley and Beckerman, God help us.