MMCB: Americans set for Dutch Test

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The U.S. national team's upcoming friendly vs. the Netherlands is less than three days away now and we will soon learn just how far certain players have come in their progression as players with just three months to go before the World Cup.

Don't be fooled. Wednesday's match is about the performances of American players who haven't been regular starters, not about some statement the team itself needs to make against the Dutch. A good team performance is still one of the goals for the Americans, but the notion that this friendly's result will have grand meaning and earn some respect for the United States is a stale premise, particularly when the team is missing several key players.

That's where the value in this match lies, in seeing how players who haven't been starters respond to the opportunities Bob Bradley will give them. We all know who the U.S. team's top players are, who the proven veterans are, but the next generation of talent needs to be battle tested and we needed to see how they'll react when facing top international talent like the Dutch possesses.

Players such as Maurice Edu and Stuart Holden will have their chance to show that they're more than just stop-gap options for injured players, but capable starters who can deliver when given the opportunity. Jonathan Bornstein will have the chance to silence the remaining critics who still aren't sold on him as the top left back option. DaMarcus Beasley will have the chance to show that he's worthy of being brought back into the fold.

That is what will ultimately be the true measure of Wednesday's match, how the aforementioned players perform in what will essentially be their best chance to show they are ready for an important role at the World Cup.

There are signs that suggest some players are ready for the opportunity. Edu has re-established himself with Glasgow Rangers while Holden has impressed in recent starts for Bolton. Both should be given the chance to start vs. the Netherlands and how they do will go a long way toward determining whether or not Wednesday's match is a success for the United States.

If players such as Holden, Edu and Beasley step up and make the most of this chance, the United States should deliver a worthy performance against a difficult foe. More importantly, it will show U.S. coach Bob Bradley and U.S. fans that the team is deeper than we realized and better equipped to deal with potential injuries to key players.

And if they crumble against the Dutch? If none of the aforementioned players steps up it will serve as a harsh reminder that the United States still doesn't have the depth to offset injuries to players such as Clint Dempsey and Oguchi Onyewu. A bad loss won't necessarily mean the United States is doomed for the 2010 World Cup, but it will certainly mean that American fans need to start praying that injured regulars Dempsey, Onyewu and Charlie Davies can recover in time to not just play in the World Cup, but carry a heavy load.

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237 Responses to MMCB: Americans set for Dutch Test

  1. EDB says:

    I still don’t think Beasely did enough to warrant a call up. He had 1 nice month then went out injured again.


    Beasley’s give away against Brazil in the Confed Cup should be enough to keep him off the field forever! Atrocious

  3. Rainstpub says:

    I am really interested in all the call-ups, warranted or not. All have the ability and have the potential to help this team in SA.

    Gods know that the only players from the last game that can help are Ching and Borenstien. Most will come from this game.

  4. michael wright says:

    Hardly a reason to keep him off the NT, I suppose landon should never play for everton again either since he missed that sitter yesterday or ever be able to take penalties for the USMNT since he missed in the MLS cup???? Your logic is flawed.

  5. Josh D says:

    To be fair though, his nice month consisted on quite a few goals and fantastic appearances that showed he has it in him back to get back to his best. And who else would we have seen? Bring Rogers? Davis? The US based players had the last two friendlies, this is about our A Team and European players.

    Still not bought by the idea that Adu was left behind because of a calf problem. He made the bench over the weekend. He didn’t see time but nor did Beasley and Johnson – both on the squad. I feel Adu has burned some bridges along his way and it’ll take some hefty performances to find his way back into Bob’s team.

    I disagree that this isn’t a test to see how we compete against the best. The team still shouldn’t be “gelling” together, after 4 years in charge if Bob hasn’t gotten his players to do that 3 months because for the World Cup, he won’t ever.

    This about taking out one or two creaks and bringing the team together and see how we can compete. Yes we’re missing some key players but that’s no excuse because come June, if those players aren’t back, these are our starters. I think we rely too much on the injury card – this is who we have, they’re the best the US can offer and we need to have faith in our boys that they’re ready for June. If this does end in disaster and the team plays terrible, it’s a sure sign that all of Bob’s fiddling and trying out 70+ players was a bad shot.

  6. Murphy says:

    Yeah we will see how Bornstein fares against top quality competition. I hope he plays well, but don’t make any excuses for him if he doesn’t. I still don’t think it was a coincidence that the US played so well at the Confederations Cup with Bornstein on the bench. If he doesn’t play well individually then I hope Bob takes this into account and puts Spector in on the left.

    I think Edu and Holden could have a strong game. I really liked Edu before he was injured and I think he should be on the team for the World Cup if healthy. Ives could have added a few sentences to that paragraph on the recent success of Edu and Holden in Europe on the recent top quality competition faced by Bornstein.

  7. ZacIndy says:

    I think Ive’s second paragraph will need to be posted every couple of minutes during the matchday commentary. I look for the Dutch to put it on us this trip, only becuase I look for Bradley to tinker with the line up and formations quite a bit

  8. Chuck says:

    I still would like to see Jose Torres get the starting nod but after Mo’s display this weekend I think we’ll see more of him. I also want to see Bradley try a 4-5-1 formation as we are really lacking another forward to play alongside Jozy.

  9. Erik says:

    Who writes this muck?

    “Jonathan Bornstein will be able to silence the remaining critics who still aren’t sold on him as the top left back option.”

    He will be able to silence his critics? Are you serious? He’s a serious liability and nothing has changed that perception for me. If he gets roasted for a goal or gives an unimpressive performance, then what? Has he silenced his critics or does he just keep getting thrown in there because he’s an MLS boy?

    (SBI-Erik, you’re entitled to your opinion. Bornstein will be tested by the Dutch wingers so we’ll see pretty clearly how much he has grown as a player. I’m not saying Bornstein will play well. I’m saying he’ll have his chance to show that he can play well against a tough opponent. If he struggles badly then I’m sure we’ll get a chance to see Heath Pearce, or maybe Spector on the left, with Frank Simek playing on the right in the second half. Either way, the game is a great test to see where Bornstein really is. I know some, like yourself, think he’s awful. I happen think he’s improved quite a bit since the summer and think his critics are simply turning a blind eye to clear improvement. He’s still not Patrice Evra, but he’s better than he’s being given credit for being.)

  10. Erik V says:

    Usually the Dutch are not that motivated during friendlies (even at home) so I do think the USMNT has a chance to end with a good result.

  11. afrim says:

    beasley did well for rangers about a month ago before he picked up a knock. Beasley at 70% of what he was is still a heck of a lot better than Rogers looking at the ground and delivering blind crosses in the box

  12. EA says:

    I’d actually rather see Pearce than Bornstein. We’ve seen Bornstein for most of the last year, after he took over for Pearce in late 2008.

    We’ve seen Bornstein when he’s in good form. Pearce played a fantastic game against El Salvador, and should be given the opportunity to push Bornstein for that LB job.

    This also would have been a good test for Ching and Kljestan following their performances, but I guess there’s only so many minutes to go around in the game.

  13. Josh D says:

    Sorry for the typos: among others this should read “after 4 years in charge, if Bob hasn’t gotten his player do gel 3 months before the World Cup, he never will”

  14. Erik says:

    I would rather play an attacking formation and go for it. However, this is the US National Team with 2 defensive mids and who can only score on the counter attack or on set pieces.

    Torres will not get the start as he will dump Edu/Clark/Bradley in there. Too bad we’ve never had a top CAM in our team.

  15. Murphy says:

    No I actually hope Bornstein plays vs the Dutch so we can see how he fares vs competition outside of CONCACAF.

  16. montana matt says:

    The main things I will be looking for are:
    1. How well we cope without Gooch. DeMerit and Boca are good, but Onyewu is definitely a level above them in my oppinion.
    2. How well we maintain possession. Is keeping the ball something Bob Bradley even emphasizes? Or will we park the bus in front of goal, try to absorb wave after wave of Dutch attacks, and maybe hope to catch them on the counter? I fear this will be BB’s approach, and if so, it’s cause for some concern. If we allow the Dutch to attack all day, they will certainly punish us.

  17. mikeandike says:

    Beasley was awful before that give-away… ost fans were clamoring for him to be taken off the field. That play was just a turd on top of a turd cake

  18. war says:

    Ditto. If you can’t handle weiss, robben and sneijder are going to own you.

  19. michael wright says:

    But remember fans were also wanting Dempsey taken off just as much before he started scoring left and right. I wouldnt write beasley off especially if youve been following his play back in november/december before the injury

  20. war says:

    Too bad it won’t be re-aired…

  21. obxfly says:

    It would be good to see how Pearce does against the fast Dutch wings. I also would like to see Torres play.

  22. Aaron in StL says:

    I know this is asking a lot, but I’d really like to see us create at least 2 goals from the run of play (if we score at all), and not just set pieces. Even if we allow 10, I just really would like to see chances created and finished.

  23. says:

    What does MMCB mean?

  24. RoryD says:

    Will the US be wearing their new kits for this match?

  25. the guy says:

    Edu offers so much more then Ricardo Clark when healthy so I hope to see him.
    However, it is also important to let Torres build off his performance in the second half of the Costa Rica game where he really made the difference and provides some more attacking from a deep lying position. He seemed to combine with Bradley well.

  26. Eric says:

    That was the low moment for the US in the Confederations Cup and the reason to this day I do not trust Beasly on the this level. Beasly blew in the World Cup and Confederations Cup and has had injury after injury. I’ve seen him on twitter more than ive seen him on the field. I think that one Premier League game is slightly different than a game US V Brazil.

  27. Brett says:

    Monday Morning Center Back, I think. It’s a play on “Monday Morning Quarterback” which is a weekly NFL column written by Peter King (I think).

  28. By that standard, Everton fans should feel the same for Donovan’s “howler” yesterday.

    Beasley when healthy is one of the most accomplished American players in Europe. How we forget, he is the only American player to make it to a Champions League semi-final. We want Beasley to be healthy and playing.

    His giveaway at the Confed Cup had more to do with not being match fit than lack of technical or tactical ability. He still has a lot to contribute.

  29. michael wright says:

    im assuming they’ll be wearing the black jerseys, but who knows

  30. Agreed, Torres should start and the US should be offensive early on (shades of Claudio Reyna IMHO)…Edu should come on as a sub when we need to hold the score and be more defensive minded. As long as Edu can hold the ball somewhat instead of just longballing it aka Ricardo Clark….Mexico and Brazil where we couldnt hold the ball for more than a few seconds comes to mind….

  31. John Locke says:

    You sir need to learn how to disagree with something or someone without sounding like an a-hole.

  32. blokhin says:


    What do you think of this potential US WC roster breakdown, in terms of players you’d eagerly replace with a better option versus some who are pretty crucial to our success and are top-notch:

    Players who bring mostly positive attributes to games against top-flight competitition: Donovan, Howard, Onyewu

    More good than bad: Dempsey, Davies, Bradley, Holden, Altidore, Spector, Feilhaber, Torres, Cherundolo, Demerit

    About the same good and bad: Clark, Edu, Beasley, Bocanegra

    A desperate stop-gap measure because we have no one better: Bornstein, Eddie Johnson, Ching

  33. Ted Sheckler says:

    Awesome, another match that Torres won’t play more than 5 minutes. And yes, Bornstein is terrible.

  34. jig says:

    you’ve lost me. How is it a bad thing that we’ve been struck by the injury bug but Bob has called in a lot of younger players to see how they do? That seems like good foresight to me and makes him look pretty smart if in fact Demps, Gooch and Davies dont make it back for whatever reason.

  35. alexandria says:

    How can you say him trying out players was bad? Then we would have never seen Holden, or Torres or edu. All of these guys got their chance because of Bob. And do you think Arena would have pulled beasley for playing badly in the confederations cup? I think not. BB has done a good job, I don’t fear this dutch team, they choke with better options more than we do. Its time for the players to step up and want to be apart of the tournament. You only get so many chances, its now or never.

  36. JC says:

    I would like to see Torres get a start but we need Bradley and Edu as 2 holding midfielders against offensively gifted teams. Although, I would like to see an all out offensively oriented midfield against an opponent before the WC to see what it would be like….

  37. Barry U says:

    Anybody know how many of the Dutch team was on the Olympic team? The US played rather well vs. those guys if I am not mistaken. I see Babel in the picture above is he in the squad for wednesday?

  38. montana matt says:

    Can we put to rest the idea that certain formations are inherently either attacking or defensive? I see this theory posited all the time on SBI threads. Formations are neutral, and a 4-5-1 can be just as offensive as a 4-4-2. It’s all about whether a team has an offensive or defensive mentality. I’m with Chuck, I’d like to see a 4-5-1 with Edu, Bradley, and Torres all starting in the center of midfield since we don’t really have a suitable strike partner for Jozy right now.

  39. MasterPo says:

    I agree, I’m really hoping Torres gets substantial pt after showing his ability to hold possession. He prolly won’t since Bob will go with a 2 striker set, leaving Jr & Edu in the center-mid, but I’m content with Edu, only if Torres gets at least 30 in the 2nd.

  40. alexandria says:

    So what back is going to b able to contend with the speed of sneider or robben? It sure as heck isn’t going to be bocanegra, and spector isn’t fleet of foot either. We need someone with pace to be able to contend with the runs off the wings, Borenstien has been playing excptionally well seeing how he is still in preseason form. Plus the other left backs pearce MLS, Simek Championship, seems to me they all play on the same level.

  41. B1879 says:

    New aways will be worn per US Soccer Blog.

  42. Will says:

    Agreed Ives, Bornstein has shown solid improvement which isnt recognized by people constantly looking for reasons to bash him. I’m looking forward to seeing how he deals with the Dutch wingers on Wed.

  43. TheUglyYank says:

    You said it, brother! I’d even settle for some nice combo play in the final third and a decent Shots On Goal stat.

  44. KP says:

    Couldnt disagree more. Adu has had plenty of chances, both in training and in games. He played AWFUL last summer when given the opportunity to play against second tier competition and looked lost. He’s too small, his speed doesnt become as much a factor at the top international level and he seemingly refuses to put in the defensive work required. I think the US (and Bradley) know they arent good enough to play favorites or ignore people who “burn bridges.” Besides, which player from the fwd/mf level should Adu replace?

    This game isn’t about “gelling,” and Ives’ post said nothing about that. Missing players is not an excuse but a situation to be dealt with. This is gaming learning how to deal with those injuries and other potential injuries. The idea is like Ives said, we know who most of the starters will be. This is a great test to see where of some of the younger guys and bench guys stand against top level competition, and finding out which people fit certain bench roles for the world cup squad.

  45. Jon says:

    Everybody- “Just like team pursuit speed skating!” clap clap clapclapclap. Maybe not…….

  46. A Guest says:

    Push Gooch down a category, I should think.

  47. ADD says:

    I’m sorry, I couldn’t get past your first paragraph after my ADD kicked in.

  48. JesseVentura says:

    I agree completely. Clark is a huge liability! Even after his red card in the Confederations Cup, he was still trying tackles… and making stupid fouls instead.

    Watch for Bornstein ball watching and our offense struggling to score.

    3-1 Netherlands.

  49. Randall says:

    We have two very good attacking mids, we just choose to play them out wide. It’s all about balance in the formation. Sure, against Trinidad or Bermuda we could probably just throw everyone forward and not worry about defense, but not if we want to beat teams like Holland, England, Spain, Brazil…

  50. supergrandefilms says:

    for the world cup, my current line up…


    field the best talent, clog the middle defensively.

  51. ThaDeuce says:

    Rooting to lose until BB is fired.

  52. Zach says:

    I agree with you that this match should NOT be just another evaluation of players. The World Cup is 3 months away, we need to stop trying to “figure out” who the 23 will be; that *should* more or less be figured out by now. Netherlands has GREAT players and we’re kidding ourselves if we don’t think part of this match will be evaluating how USMNT stacks up against a European power. This isn’t like the friendly against Denmark, this is the big boys who will be playing for each side. If the US crumbles and loses by 2 or 3 goals, you have to start to question what type of success — if any — we will have this summer.

  53. Randall says:

    I have a very bad feeling about a Bocanegra/DeMerit centerback pairing against the Dutch.

  54. alexandria says:

    What coach doesn’t emphasize possesion? Honestly, look at Chelsea, they play with Lampard and Mikel in the center, two forwards up top, speed on the wings and they press out of the back, same kind of set up as the US team, when they play teams that like to hold possession and dance on the ball they let them they sit behind the ball and squeeze the more creative team and turn the game into a physical bought, and attack on the counter, its an effective method that AlOT of coaches use, I think for our team our best strategy should be to come out attacking put the dutch on the back foot and match their intensity, we need to be smart with our possession, but like anything it doesn’t matter how long we posses the ball if we don’t create scoring opportunities.

  55. Jonathan says:

    Let’s just be frank… Bornstein sucks— Can we move on?? Spector>Castillo>Bornstein=Pearce… This is fact, if it weren’t for MLS and USSF politicas Bornstein would be sitting. Seeing Bornstein on the field actually makes us more of a footballing nation; we are letting politics and bias get in the way of evaluating football. Once and for all let’s cut the crap, he’s garbage.

  56. VictorM says:

    What does MMCB stand for?

    (SBI-Monday Morning Center Back. A take on the old American football term “Monday Morning Quarterback”.)

  57. Erik V says:

    Here’s the list of players selected for the games against the US. Not sure who was on the Olympic team though.

    Ibrahim Afellay (PSV), Ryan Babel (Liverpool), Mark van Bommel (Bayern München), Edson Braafheid (Celtic), Giovanni van Bronckhorst (Feyenoord), Eljero Elia (HSV), Orlando Engelaar (PSV), John Heitinga (Everton), Klaas Jan Huntelaar (AC Milan), Nigel de Jong (Manchester City), Dirk Kuyt (Liverpool), Joris Mathijsen (HSV), André Ooijer (PSV), Arjen Robben (Bayern München), Stijn Schaars (AZ), Wesley Sneijder (Internazionale), Maarten Stekelenburg (Ajax), Rafael van der Vaart (Real Madrid), Piet Velthuizen (Vitesse), Ron Vlaar (Feyenoord), Michel Vorm (FC Utrecht), Gregory van der Wiel (Ajax) en Demy de Zeeuw (Ajax)

  58. Bobeto says:

    I dont have a problem that Bradley has to decide which players he should take to SA. All the teams are trying to figure this out…I have a problem Bradley still doesn’t know if these fringe players can play at this level.

  59. wilyboy says:

    That, and the fact that he has a habit of having a decent run of form going into major competitions, say, the ’06 World Cup and Confed Cup, and then absolutely blowing it because he has lost his confidence. I hate it when people say “he’s so experienced, he just needs his confidence back.” He got his confidence back, and lost it again! And then did it again, and then got injured! Find someone else who’s more reliable, and make him the UNDERDOG.

  60. Bobeto says:

    I think Bornstein is one of the better of the worse but I dont think he can read the game well enough as a defender at the International level. These players either turn him in and out or just fly by him…If the center defenders support him to the outside I am worried he can’t cover back in the middle…

  61. Zach says:

    That’s what I’m saying. The fact that we still have little idea who the top 23 will actually be is a little alarming. It should be a little more set in stone than it is now. I understand that we have injuries, but — except for the players replacing those who are injured — this really should be our best team out there, seeing how it fares against a top opponent. Sounds like it’s not gonna be that way though.

  62. gistus says:

    Out of the players for the match only Babel was on the Olympic team.

  63. wilyboy says:

    I’m still shaking my head that Bedoya and Torres aren’t really being considered. IMO, Bedoya showed well enough against Honduras for a smart coach to say, “Beasley, this is the bar over which you must jump. Yes, I KNOW you’ve jumped higher in the past, but could you at least try?” I’m all for a healthy, confident Beasley at the World Cup. Not so much starting Magical Thinking at left mid.

    Torres deserves to play a half against the dutch, if he can’t get playing time with all the people currently injured, then Bob is guilty of considerable waste.

  64. golfstrom says:

    “Edu offers so much more then Ricardo Clark when healthy so I hope to see him.”

    Huh? Where do ppl make these things up. Edu hasn’t been in a nats uniform in almost 18 months, my last memories of which are him crashing upfield and constantly giving the ball away. But since you probably haven’t seen him play in that long, he must be better than who we have. Mainly, I get annoyed at ppl constantly putting down Clark, a good player who is the best pure d-mid in our pool by far and good enough to be signed by the current 7th place team in Bundesliga.

  65. Paul says:

    The one guy we ned to see more of before the WC is Torres. The Dutch game is a perfect opportunity for him and for us to see his creativity. I would like to see a line-up like this on Wednesday:


    Torres Holden

    Donovan Bradley EDU

    Bornstein Boca Demerit Spector


  66. a says:

    So, can we have a whole week of pictures of Holden against teams in orange?

  67. ThaDeuce says:

    I thought it was interesting that Ives made no mention of Torres in this article. It seems after Mo’s performance yesterday Torres has been forgotten again.

    I don’t know who I think should start, it is a tough decision, but I think Torres deserves consideration. It does not seem like Ives thinks so anymore. OR he doesn’t think Bob Bradley thinks so anymore.

    (SBI-Zach, my man, do I need to mention every player in every article? I’ve written enough about Torres in the past week to make it clear that he should get a look. Nobody is forgetting him. That said, I don’t see him starting. I do see him getting his 30 minutes or more.)

  68. golfstrom says:

    Castillo? that’s funny

  69. Bobeto says:

    I would also like to see a possession game from the Americans. One touches will create a chance of open shots.

  70. Aaron in StL says:

    My favorite type of cake.

  71. Sammy Gupta says:

    How many subs will be allowed for this match?

    Will it be the normal 3 or will we get the chance to showcase a few more of the players with something to prove (bornstein, edu, pearce, EJ etc.)

  72. fubar says:

    Monday Morning Center Back

    And let’s see Frankie Simek!!!!

  73. Bobeto says:

    I am sure they will be in their new jerseys. I think thats why the introduced the away jerseys, first…What do you think of them…I like them!

  74. Again, if you are going to use that standard, then Donovan should be kept off the field too. He also goes through fits of confidence as well.

    Beasley is contributing to Rangers this year and getting stronger. We should be thankful we have him.

    Robbie Rogers, Freddy or Holden can not replace a fit, experienced Beasley on the field.

    Why there is so much hate for the guy is beyond me. As I said, Everton fans are probably questioning why Donovan missed a sitter yesterday and got in the way of an important pass?

    Again, if you are going to use that standard on Beasley, the same should be used on Donovan as well.

    It is foolish. I want them both fit and healthy come June.

  75. TimN says:

    Yes, there are a few key guys missing, namely Clark, Oneywu, and Dempsey. However, the guys that are on the roster are going to need to be able to step up, not only for this game, but in the future. I’m not sure of the Dutch roster, but this close to the WC, we can assume it will be at least close to full strength.

    Torres, Holden, Edu, and Goodson are players I’m very interested in seeing how they perform, as well as Johnson. All of them may have to be relied upon this summer. Probably I’m most interested in seeing what EJ can do, as I’m more concerned about our lack of depth up top than at LB, the position where everybody else seems to ruminate on.

  76. Josh D says:

    I’ll use this to address the others : )

    Testing out players is critical and I have said that before. However, trying out 70+ players (here’s to the Casey’s, Rimando’s, Wynne’s, Beckerman’s, etc who we already knew what they would offer) with a third of those not national caliber is a waste of time. He’s flip flopped his choices between Class A players (Donovan, Gooch, Dempsey) and C players (mostly from MLS) which was a waste of time.

    If we have to play friendlies with third stringers, at least let those third stringers be the next generation (here’s to Pontius, Tino, Shea, Gonzalez, Wallace, etc).

    Trying out new players is fine but when it comes at the cost of a team coming together, we have a problem. The first team should be put together and have been for the past 2 years (it’s the same group of guys). The second string should still not be proving themselves and we should have an idea who they are and get them playing with the team.

    Bob has had four years to prepare for the World Cup and I am not convinced the team is put together yet which is something I worry about.

    There has to come a time when a coach lays out his Plan A Team and when he has a Plan B Team and spends a year or so developing them with the odd newcomer here and there.

    We don’t need three full teams to bring together one. We need A. a clear, tactical way of playing and B. the players who can fit in that tactical formation. Your best team is rarely filled with your best players but your players that play the best in the way you want to play. See Heskey with England.

  77. Bobeto says:

    I like the aggressiveness of Clark but also worry about his reckless and bad timed tackles. I was hoping his Euro experience would help that part of his game. I have watched Edu in Scotland and he sometimes disappears in midfield. I would like to see a half for each on Wednesday.

  78. ThaDeuce says:

    You sir, are a football GENIUS

  79. ThaDeuce says:

    and quite the patriot

  80. Arkie says:

    I just hope Beasley can come back to form instead of dogging him and saying he can’t. He has played great for club and country, and yes he’s not always consistent, but imagine how helpful he would be if he is on form? Maybe he can even give BB one of his designer diamond ring so he finally looks as well to do as other managers.

  81. Josh D says:

    Which “younger players” has he called in? Pontius who we never saw? Same with Gonzalez? Perhaps Wallace or Shea or any of the others who really came out and performed last season? How about the guys playing in the lower leagues like Grella?

    The only reason Davies got a proper chance at the national team was because Ching was injured. The fans were shouting for him to get a chance months prior to that.

    Bob plays trusted players, not youth. You earn your strips in the School of Bob by playing in MLS (doing your service to your home country), going to a few of his camps and if you’re lucky, see 15 minute of playing time, and then follow the team around without playing time and finally you earn a chance to sub and make a difference.

    A young age and playing abroad are not on Bob’s Happy Checklist.

  82. Aaron in StL says:

    I like the idea of Torres in an advanced position (his impact on the defensive side will be minimal), but don’t really see Donovan on the second line of the midfield.

    It’s unfortunate that our NT coaches haven’t found a way to get a kid with the skill of Torres into the lineup.

  83. Salty Dog says:

    I really wonder what the conversation would be here if someone like Klinsman were the coach today. I doubt if he’d have any better options than what BB has today.

  84. Josh D says:

    Which is what I was trying to say in my first post : )

    He’s brought in 70+ players in his reign and has experimented far too much to the point of we’re still preparing our team 3 months before the tournament.

    Other teams aren’t still finding their 23 players, they’re tweaking them and pulling rust off the team by consistently playing the top players.

    Half-time for Bob was in his third year where he needed to have made decisions. We have never had enough injuries to our team for us to use our third stringers yet we consistently field a team or insert them into our teams.

    We have our A team, B team, MLS team, and no youth team. I’d rather have seen us play E.S. last week with youth and get taught a lesson then drag out a game with has beens, should never have beens, and could of beens who have made their home in MLS.

  85. gryn says:

    The Dutch didn’t give up a single goal at home in the entirety of World Cup qualifying. I don’t think it’s realistic to go in expecting 2 from the run of play.

  86. Bobeto says:

    I hope Bradley uses the formation he wants to use in SA and not just change it to meet the players he has in camp. It’s time to start putting players in their correct positions and needs to stop experimenting. I hope that means 2 strikers.

  87. B1879 says:

    I’m not a fan of the huge white sash. I understand the design connection with 1950 but it’s pretty loose if you ask me. It does improve a bit if I think more continental soldier than beauty queen.

  88. Aaron in StL says:

    Possession is great and all, but really it’s just making the most of the time you do have the ball. Too often we just dink the ball around and once we get to the final third lose it too quickly.

    Hopefully Jozy and Landon can be dangerous in setting it all up.

  89. Erik says:


    I am not expecting Bornstein to be Patrice Evra. I also don’t happen to think he’s an “awful” player, but I don’t think he is at a good enough level for the World Cup. Running fast to cover your mistakes does not cut it. And when you are playing against Honduras and El Salvador as the most experienced player on a C team, of course you will look good…

    I’ve said previously that the US team needs to move away from “fast and fit with great heart” to a more technical, accomplished player who knows spacing and how to read a game. That is not Bornstein.

    (SBI-II’m not hearing your solution or alternative. All I hear is what Bornstein isnt. Also, Bornstein’s ability to read a game defensively has improved considerably over the past six months. He’s much less “chicken with his head cut off”, which he could be accused of being a while back. He’s not the finished product by any means, but he’s getting better and proving to be a better alternative than he was last summer. That’s not enough for some folks who can’t get past his poorer performances and now refuse to acknowledge his improvements (Mind you, I was in the ‘Bornstein can’t cut it camp’ at one point, but started to see very tangible improvement where others chose to continuing harping on his past failures and overemphasizing perceived mistakes).

    He’s improved and we’ll see just how much on Wednesday. If he’s a train wreck I’ll be the first to say it’s time to consider someone like Heath Pearce, but if he plays well I’ll be curious to hear your reaction.)

  90. Chris in Belfast says:

    So, this means you want a three and out in June?

    I happen to think Bob will take a job elsewhere after the World Cup is over.

  91. Mig22 says:

    I suppose that this game really is about evaluation of players. It’s a shame this game is the first of the big tuneups because the Dutch would have been a great test for a final squad.

    Evaluations can now begin regarding starters. That’s what’s important. We won’t get all the answers this week but will begin to see what BB is thinking.

  92. ThaDeuce says:

    I like the fact that everyone is still fighting for a position on Bob’s A Team. Everyone knows who the defacto guys are, but nobody assumes they can’t lose their place. This keeps everyone playing hard and working together.

    I think a problem in 2006 was complacency. Bruce chose his guys and stuck with them through thick and thin….

  93. Erik says:

    Bocanegra is too slow… Spector is too slow. Playing the game though isn’t always about speed but space and positioning.

    I play every weekend in a rec league and came up against a very fast team last night. Fast doesn’t mean anything if you can close down and cut off angles.

  94. Chris in Belfast says:

    That doesn’t sound like a good plan at all. There’s no width, unless you want Donovan and Dempsey to push wide up front. If you do that you leave Jozy alone in the middle, which isn’t something he’s shown that he’s good at. Mo and Rico don’t cross well, so you’d be asking our not fast outside backs to get forward to put crosses in, which will leave our middle vulnerable like it was in Costa Rica. Plus, can Boca cross?

  95. kar says:

    Out of curiosity, does anyone know how many potential top 23 / starters the Netherlands is missing due to injury?

    Offhandedly, I know Van Persie is still out . . .

  96. fischy says:

    I think that counts as jibber-jabber. What MLS and USSF politics do you mean? That’s an accusation that sounds almost fraught with meaning — but, actually it’s meaningless.

  97. Bobeto says:

    I truely believe he would have Adu on this squad and we would know if Torres belongs or not plus a look at some players that have a desire to represent the US but have not been contacted (like Williams-Germany)and a few others that we lost because Bradley wasn’t showing any interest. Even top teams like Germany or Italy are always looking for the best they can get and with their depth, they really dont have too.

  98. fischy says:

    Monday Morning Quarterback is an expression that goes back decades.

  99. JesseVentura says:

    why do you reply to your own threads?

  100. fischy says:

    How dare you counter glibness with facts and logic? You, sir, clearly, do not understand the fundamental ass-hattery of internet opinionating.

  101. fischy says:

    Push Davies up, if healthy.

  102. montana matt says:

    In answer to your question, I don’t think BB emphasizes possession at all. He prefers to play very direct, counter attacking football which caters to the US’s athleticism, but not to our technical abilities, which have improved by leaps and bounds in recent years. Instead, it seems like US defenders always lob long balls down the pitch with the hope of finding Landon or Jozy on the run, and they rarely look to play it short. BB usually trots out two destroyers (despite his success in as an attacking mid at Herenveen, I don’t buy the argument that Bradley Jr. is a CAM) and we rarely look to slow the game down via maintaining possession through short passes on the ground.

    I’m not sure what point you were trying to make with your bit about Chelsea, but they’ve not been been playing with two forwards up top. They’ve been using a 4-3-3 with Drogba at CF, and Anelka and either Malouda or Cole out wide. Not that it matters, but Chelsea’s style, while certainly effective, doesn’t enjoy a reputation for being particularly aesthetically pleasing. In fact, quite the opposite is true. They have a reputation for playing 1-0, grind out results, boring, counter attacking football. Not a style I’d like the US to emulate, although let’s face it, I’d obviously be quite happy if we have success playing this style of football.

  103. fischy says:

    I think you need to get out more. Humor. Sarcasm. Irony. Expose yourself to them. They will make your life much richer.

  104. A.S. says:

    I am less interested in the evaluations of the players than in how our *known* A-team – Landon and Bradley and Boca and Jozy – will play together. It’s been a few months since the end of qualifying, and I don’t think they were playing great even then.

  105. Salty Dog says:

    The US is not deep..

  106. Dave says:

    blah, blah, blah…

    we’re stacked at midfield…BB needs to find another forward to go with Altidore. The problem is I highly doubt it is any of the ones he’s brought with him…

    cunningham and findley have made nothing of their chances…and Eddie (God love him) is such a re-tread I just don’t think he’s got the chops because he hasn’t played enough. Maybe, if the WC was next year, and he had an entire Greek season + under his belt, maybe a different story.

    Depending on how the game with the Dutch goes, BB will likely need to go back to the US and put the players into a 4-5-1 and go with that in the WC. Don’t tell me we can put Donovan up top or as a withdrawn forward because its a crutch to stick with a 4-4-2 that way.

  107. Bobeto says:

    What I am saying Aaron is that player for player we cannot compete with a team like Holland or England but when I say possession I mean moving forward with 1 touch passes plus give and go’s. We do not have the skills to control the ball for a long period of time but if we can use some quickness that might make up for it.

  108. fischy says:

    Wow. Those were two awesomely long sentences. Most of us try to express no more than one or two thoughts in each sentence, but you dare to break away from such conventional forms of expression. Bravo, sir!

  109. ThaDeuce says:

    Everyone from Bob to the casual observer of the A Team has a good idea of the top 23. The problem is some people are injured (Davies) and we do have to search for the best replacement (in addition to altidore and ching, who do we bring: EJ, Cooper…who comes in, we are not that deep up top and this is what he is working on) when normally it would be a given, some people are just coming into form (EJ, Adu, Beasley), and it would be hard to say that we should already know where they stand (you can’t just count out beasley because he was not in form a year ago. If he gets in form now, he should be on the team which is why we are still looking at him), and some people are just now making a case they belong on the line up and not the bench (holden, edu) which now makes us wonder about starting holden on the wing and dempsey up top instead of ching up top…a year ago this would not have been considered. See, our players are constantly changing. This is not FIFA video game where they stay the same barring injury. Players get better and worse constantly, and we want the best team in July, not last year. So I think it is great that so many players are just now showing up strong and making a last minute push, it makes us better and decisions harder, and is the reason decisions still have to be made.

    Decipher through that chunk of text if you can. : )

    The top 23 is known by all
    1. Howard
    2. Guzan
    3. Hahneman
    4. Onyewu
    5. Bocanegra
    6. Demeritt
    7. Spector
    8. Bornstein
    9. Cherundolo
    10. Pearce
    11. Goodsen (who we just decided in the last few months over Marshall, and who a year ago would have been Califf—Rosters are not static case and point)
    12. Donovan
    13. Beasley (if he has a good game, worth it to give him another look? Having watched him in form for years, I give an overwhelming yes)
    14. Adu (For most of our A Team games he is usually on the bench and possible but rarely used super sub–we will see what happens)
    15. Bradley
    16. Edu
    17. Clark
    18. Torres (we have so much depth, he may not get a chance to show he can start…if we had more time and more A Team frindlies to tinker, we could know by now… I would argue Bradley has made the most of those games and we have uncovered a lot of talent, Torres just may be the unfortunate one who ran out of time)
    19. Holden (just now showing he can start)
    20. Dempsey
    21. Altidore
    22. Ching
    23. Davies (if healed) If not, then who? (maybe EJ) This is another reason why we are tinkering.

    This was off the top of my head, I thought I would have to go back and edit, but this was my first shot. Since I could get it pretty close like that, I’m pretty sure we all have an idea about our A TEAM and it is pretty much settled upon, so I completely disagree.

    We do need to find out if Adu or Feilhaber will make it…Will Feilhaber get healed… Will Davies get healed… etc. etc. before the world cup. Will Beasley be back into starting form, or do we have to have Donovan on the left. Is Edu back in form or do we have to find a weaker player? Is Torres ready?

    This is why we play these games.

  110. ThaDeuce says:

    A couple points.

    Last week we had no option to bring in our A team. They could not get off their club teams in Europe. Bob made the most of the situation and gave some players like Ching, Pearce, and Goodson a chance to break into the A team again. Also other players like Marshall got looks in camp and obviously did not impress. Also Gonzalez got a look and was dismissed so he did get some time for the next round, though this is the one that matters now.

    We did have our team pretty much set up but injuries have shaken it to sh!t.
    2 years ago Beasley was starting left wing, Edu and bradley were starting middle, and Donovan was starting forward. Beasley fell out of form and Donovan has stepped it up and replaced him. Edu got injured, so Rico replaced him.

    Rico got hurt, so feilhaber replaced him.

    Feilhaber got hurt, so now what?

    Edu is healing back up…but what do we do when Feilhaber heals back up, he was awesome too. Rico wasn’t bad as well.

    Because of injuries and because bob bradley brought in so many fringe players, gave them ample opportunity to prove themselves and grow on the USMNT, we now have a lot of players who can play A team, therefore we have decisions to make right now that before we wouldn’t have had these options.

  111. Jason says:

    We have no youth team? Yet we could put this lineup all made up of players age 25 or younger (caps in parentheses).

    Guzan (15)

    Spector (23) Marshall (10) Bornstein (24)

    Edu (11) Bradley (40)

    Holden (11) Adu (15) Rogers (10)

    Altidore (23) Davies (17)

    Find me another team in the world that can field a legitimate lineup of players 25 or younger that all have 10 or more caps.

  112. ThaDeuce says:

    another player who was on the A team before for sure was Pearce. He fell out of form and bornstein came in. Now they both are looking competitive. Should bob have just stuck with pearce? Should he just stick with Bornstein now? Or should he be giving them both a shot this late in the game to prove who should start??? I say make them duke it out on the field and in camp, the best man wins! Its not too late for this, its great. They push each other, get better.

  113. ThaDeuce says:

    Gosh thats a long comment…I hope you don’t delete it Ives, I think I make a good point.

  114. Bob Bradley 4 eva! says:

    I see it very differently.

    Edu has had various injuries, so no real complaints there. Holden has also been brought into the side in a reasonable fashion.

    But Charlie Davies got his shot when Ching went down injured.

    And Torres has scarcely gotten a look. Even though he is one of the very best passers in the player pool and far superior to, say, Sasha Kljestan.

    As for Bornstein — would any premiership club consider starting him?

    Thought experiment: Suppose Bornstein was on West Ham’s books, would he start at left back over Jonathan Spector?

  115. Freddie Footballer says:

    I’m looking at a few position battles:

    Central Mid: Edu vs. Torres – I think Bob should give each at least a half, he already knows what he has in the younger Bradley.

    Left Back: Pearce vs. Bornstein – Jonny has the inside edge but Pearce looks hungry to get back into the mix. Does Bob play Spector there as well?

    Forward: Findley vs. Johnson – I can only imagine the response on this site if one or both of these guys scores.

    Formation shuffle: Does Bob go with Landon as a withdrawn forward and put Beasley and Holden on the wings to start? Probably more likely that Landon is on the left, Holden on right, EJ or Findley start up top with Jozy.

  116. ThaDeuce says:

    I did not write the top part, I was responding to his lame comment. He copied my name and posts junk.

  117. ThaDeuce says:

    I agree. I don’t think it could be any better.

  118. These Colors Do Not Run says:

    I completely agree.

    With these columns it is not easy to parse where the line between Ives’ opinion and what he thinks Bradley will do is.

    My opinion? It is wonderful to see Edu playing and scoring. But the player we have been needing to see for our national team is Torres.

    Torres will not be a savior. Torres is physically small. But he has vision and passing ability — which we are desperately short on.

    I will be disappointed but not surprised if Edu goes over Torres. But then I am a diehard who is consistently disappointed by Bradley. (Note: I don’t hate on the man — I just find him disappointing in team selection, substitution, and tactics.)

  119. Bobeto says:

    I think your “spot on” with that line-up. It makes too much sense so I don’t expect it to happen…but it should.

  120. ThaDeuce says:





    At Half Time:

    ———–Altidore——Eddie Johnson———-




    That is what I’d like to see!
    No one gets stood up, and everyone who needs and deserves a look gets one. As good as it gets.

    February 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM

    I stand by it!

  121. These Colors Do Not Run says:

    So Erik is getting a bit hot under the collar.

    But Erik is right on target.

    Bornstein looks far out of his league in high level international football.

    A thought experiment has already been suggested:

    Imagine Chivas and MLS put a ribbon around Jonathan Bornstein and sent him as a present to West Ham.

    Do you think he would start at left over Jonathan Spector?

  122. Bobeto says:

    Chris…thats exactly what we need to do against these top teams. If you remember the Confed. Cup, we closed down the middle and let them run the wings…I think thats our best bet and to counter offensively every so often. We cant compete one on one wing play.

  123. ThaDeuce says:

    I take back the bottom line up to make one change. Keep holden on, take out Ej, put donovan up top at half. That way we get to look at that too.

  124. These Colors Do Not Run says:

    I completely concur.

    I am actually quite a fan of Edu. But I don’t think Edu offers much at all in terms of passing or maintaining possession.

    And thing is Michael Bradley will and should play.

    Mikey is one of our best players. And yet he too is not a very good passer. (I’ve seen the nicely weighted through ball of a couple weeks ago, I’ve seen him play live for the national team, I’ve seen him play live for Borussia.)

    We need to see if Torres can step in. Torres has the potential to significantly improve the side. Torres is also a joy to watch.

  125. wilyboy says:

    How are the two comparable? Donovan hasn’t been injured in my Memory and has had the best solid YEAR of his life. An off day for him is not scoring a goal against a worthy opponent. How is this comparable to Beasley playing 4 games for Rangers and looking like his old self? Beasley has off MONTHS!

    I’m feeling MAJOR bias here. Everyone wants Beasley healthy and fit, but he never is. He can get injured at any moment, he could lose confidence (and HAS) at any moment. What’s your point?

  126. Erik says:


    I’ll make you a deal. If he starts, which I think he should against Holland, and plays well… I will be the first to come here and eat crow. I haven’t seen the improvement that others like you have and I do watch every minute of every US game, no matter which team is on the field.

    As for alternatives, I am not sure the US has a very good one. I haven’t seen much of Castillo or Simek (although he played well in the 2007 Gold Cup)and am not completely sold on Spector playing left back. I think he’s better on the right with those dangerous crosses.

    And you are right, I cannot get past some of his poorer performances because they came in games that were higher level, not just friendlies.

  127. wilyboy says:

    Oh, and it’s not hate. Just extreme, and deserved, disappointment. The US can do better.

  128. the guy says:

    To the commenter who said that Rico is head and shoulders above edu. At some point we need to recognize the next step in evolving as a soccer player. Rico offers zero in possession or offense. He is not a holding mid, he is a boot it MF. He is a very aggressive tackler and defensive player which has a place, but cannot compare to the attributes an in-form Edu brought before his injury (not in USMNT games, but at the end of the SPL season) and has shown in his appearences since returning. His passing is much stronger. Clark has yet to see the field and has not played since the MLS season ended. Frankly, if he does not get serious PT I dont see how he can play over Edu and Torres (assuming Edu gets more time).

  129. Bobeto says:

    You may not like the sash but how cleaver of Nike to bring back the look of the jersey that we beat England in…I bet this was a last minute adjustment when Nike found out we were playing England. I am not a big Nike fan, but never doubted their intuitiveness.

  130. bryan says:

    i actually agree with what he is getting at. which is that Bob likes to call in players like Beckerman instead of players like Pontius. this is NOT good. When we have these friendlies against Honduras and El Salvador, I don’t want to see players who clearly won’t make it to the World Cup and probably won’t even play an A team match again. I want to see young prospects. Yes, you have to get a good mix of players like Conrad in there as well, but for the most part, I want to see our young MLS players in there.

    In fairness, Bob has given some players that look. But not enough. It amazes me that we have not see Wallace, Pontius or Omar G. yet. These guys should have been playing against El Salvador…not Sasha or Beckerman.

  131. bryan says:

    dude, he didnt have any kind of run before the Confeds Cup. he was on the bench but Bob called him anyway. Bob probably shouldn’t have started him due to lack of game over 2 years.

  132. Erik says:

    It’s funny that people think I’m hot under the collar or are calling me a an “a-hole.” It’s hard to judge emotion by what is typed on a screen.

    I have watched the US team for years and years now and while our team is getting incrementally getting better, we still lack some of the basic fundamentals of the game. With the population we have, the immigrant community and the huge on the ground support for youth sports, we should have better players than we do.

    Does anyone remember the controversy with the US Women’s team? How coaching and management was stifling creativity? I think we still have that on the Men’s side. We play a very specific system which isn’t even a system game to game as it changes.

    Brazil, England, Holland etc all play their own brand of football… what is ours?

  133. bryan says:

    “I just find him disappointing in team selection, substitution, and tactics.”

    I agree.

  134. kenny_b says:


  135. Bobeto says:

    Fischy, you dont have a thought of your own, you just like to sit back and critique everyones post? Look back at all your comments if you don’t realize it.

  136. freelancer says:

    Wow Josh D! My head is hurting trying to comprehend your long winded posts! As much as we all would like to be “flies on the wall” following Bob Bradleys interaction with certain players, we are all stuck with entrusting him to make the right decisions for South Africa…If not we’ll all know soon enough come June.

  137. Josh D says:

    I meant youth team as in the teens and under 23 who would play with the men’s team. Think Walcott for England or Rossi for Italy. Those players are already on the men’s team – however, we don’t bring in the youth to mix with the already established.

    And any major team can form a team of 25 and under. Portugal’s would include Nani and Ronaldo. England would have Rooney, Milner, Young, Hart, etc. It’s not too difficult you just forget their players are so young because they are brought into the system at a young age and given time to mature at a young age so that they develop better. Manchester United started a 17 (I think he is now 18) year old RB in Rafael. Think how much better this would make him. Yes it takes patience but the rewards of giving a youth a chance far out ways it.

    I’m talking about the transaction from a u-23 player (and younger) to the men’s team. We generally (though it is changing with younger US players playing and starting abroad) wait until they are in their mid-20s when we deem them “mature enough” and that puts us at a huge disadvantage with developing international players.

  138. Josh D says:

    I apologize but I don’t see any merit in your post. Myself and others are having an intelligent conversation on Bob’s team selection without any ill feelings. I’m sorry you don’t like my posts, feel free to skip them, I promise not to be offended…

  139. madmax says:

    I believe Bradley will see in camp why Ej, Beasley etal are not playing significant minutes at their clubs. But will he understand it?

  140. Josh D says:

    I hope he doesn’t ether because it adds to the conversation which extends this blog post longer..

    I would agree but then offer the point of: If we know our 23 and the 5 or so fringe players you keep as back up in case injuries take their toll, why do we play an international friendly with C team players who aren’t going to make an impact on the US team when it was a perfect opportunity to test out the young MLS players who would greatly benefit from being given a chance and would grow into the international players we need them to be come 2014.

  141. The Punisher says:

    I love how the convo about left back turns into a diatribe over the failings of the U.S. soccer system. It’s all a bit overly idealistic and based in nothing rational. The whole “with our population and our resources” theory is tired and inaccurate. Perhaps if you were born in China you’d be on the Chinese message boards railing on about how a nation with a billion people should be able to win a World Cup.

    We all get it Erik, if the nation’s soccer were run by people as smart as you and has knowledgeable about soccer as you the United States would be a world power with one or two World Cups. Isn’t that it?

    All I read from you is how nobody is good enough. How can you sit here and have an honest conversation about the national team when you actually think the USA should have a world-class talent at every position, and since we don’t, everyone we have is trash.

    With fans like you, who needs enemies.

  142. alexandria says:

    Ok, so your saying we don’t need three teams, but we do, we need depth, we have guys at varying levels right now and guys that have played well who deserve a shot at getting looked at, Most of the friendlies are not on fifa days so how can he call in guys like grella or wycombe, he can’t. Pontius didn’t get a shot in the last game, who cares he got to go to camp he found out what that next level is and now he has something to use as a benchmark for what he wants to accomplish for next year,How many before the season would have thought pontius would play as well as he had? To say that guys shouldn’t still be vying for a spot makes your argument a little weak in the fact that those guys pushing for that spot will push the guys ahead of them to be at their best, I don’t think Bob has tinkered as you say with the squad we can all name are starting eleven, what he is trying to do is to find the needed depth at the positions where we have injuries and where are starting players might not beable to hold down the fort for 90 minutes every game. This does not mean he doesn’t know his team. When you listen to other people talk about playing the US the things they say are they are strong, physically fit, a fast team and tactically sound and very tough to break down. You guys complain about bobs tactics because they aren’t flashy and what have you that does not mean the team is not tactically sound just because they do not play the way you want.

  143. montana matt says:

    I can’t stand the christmas tree formation, and this line up in particular looks like a recipe for boring, defensive football. A three man midfield consisting of edu, bradley, and clark, plus, boca at LB? We’d be lucky to score a single goal.

  144. freelancer says:

    I agree, Beasley has been basically out of form since 2002 (except the shot vs Italy with McBride off sides and a few games with Rangers) and has lost a step or 2. His game is predicated on speed only, without that he’s useless….he is also oft injured and way to fragile!

  145. Josh D says:

    Torres is a far better holding midfielder over Bradley and Edu. That’s where Torres excels.
    Bradley – a creative passer/shooter.
    Edu – breaks up attacks
    Torres – controls the tempo as he does for club

    I want to see:

    Playing a 4-5-1 isn’t defense, it’s smart. Our midfield is notorious for giving up the ball cheaply, we have to close them down in the middle or Schneijder will have a field day with them and Robben will rampage down the side. Cut the duck off at the head and the head of Holland is Schneijder.

  146. montana matt says:

    A job elsewhere, i.e. Chivas USA, or whatever that club will be named come July.

  147. alexandria says:

    Charlie was always on the radar, and he took advantage of an injury, so goes life. This happens to countless players.

    As to Torres, he is smooth on the ball, but like most players in Mexico, he can get knocked off it very easily, even he has admitted he needs to get used to the more physical style of play something he doesn’t see in mexico that much, but he is a player that I see replacing feilhaber and getting his chance to make a point in this freindly.

    As to borenstien, I think Hull, Bolton,Wigan,Birmingham,Wolves, would all love to have someone like Borenstein, Hell if Andy Dawson can play left back in the prem then borenstien can too.

  148. Erik says:

    What is with the personal attacks? It shows the immaturity level of the people on this blog. When did I ever say I was smart enough to run US soccer? When did I ever say our players were not good enough? Answer, never.

    We are talking about one position on our roster that is lacking, ie: Left Back. And one player in particular in Jonathan Bornstein.

  149. Josh D says:

    “they say are they are strong, physically fit, a fast team and tactically sound and very tough to break down.”

    With that description we must be one of the best in the world!

    Our tactics are the same and do not change – half our problem. I.e. when Brazil’s tactics failed their whole formation changed and they crushed us because we didn’t know how to do the same. Against Honduras, after the red card, we looked like sitting ducks because Bob hadn’t considered a plan B.

    Soccer is about playing to win – I could care less how they do it. We don’t have flashy players, who cares, what I do care about is seeing a team that is organized and tactically prepared for the challenge.

    I’ve seen our middle exposed every single game and recently we have been broken down every single game. El Salvidor could of ripped us a new one with better finishing.

    Name me “Bob’s tactics” please – tacticS being plural.

  150. Micah King says:

    If Jones was healthy and playing would you put him in the top 23 and take someone out. That is an big IF. I love your list, because Casey is left out !!!!!!!! XD

  151. Jason says:

    Oh, so you mean like the US did with Michael Bradley (18 when he got his first cap under Arena), Altidore (first cap 18), and Adu (first cap 16).

    As for your English example, the team called up by England for their game against Egypt has only Rooney and Downing who are 25 or younger and have more than 10 caps. I’m not sure how you can claim that players who have 7 caps (Young), 5 caps (Milner), or 1 cap (Hart) are so much more integrated than the US examples I cited.

    As for Portugal, Nani and Ronaldo are two of the three player for their friendly this week that meet the criteria I set out, Almeida being the other.

    The notion that the US does a poor job integrating youth is not supported by any fact, it’s just in your imagination.

    Yes, or course, any nation can put together a team of player 25 and younger. Try putting one together for another country with ONLY players that have 10 caps with the senior team, I think you’ll find that you’ll fail with any other team that qualified for the World Cup.

  152. Micah King says:

    Sorry for the typo. I forgot to put an question mark, instead of an period on the first sentence.I keep doing that, lol.

  153. Thank you!! I totally agree with that statement about Rico…I pray he gets better, but damn, no more longballing!! Geez, I thought we were passed this stage!! Sometimes ok, but you see what happens in games when we do it constantly…

  154. Micah King says:

    In the 2006 World Cup USA did not look confident at all except for the Italy match.

  155. Isaac says:

    I’d go with this:






    I have no doubt Torres is a talented player, but what we should look for is to get in and out of the attack as quickly as possibly, quick, creative interchanges between the attacking players, and providing service for Jozy. This lineup should be able to do that. We pretty much know what Torres will be able to offer because we see him week in, week out for Pachuca. Beasley, on the other hand, appears sparingly for Rangers, and hasn’t played for one or two months now, but when he did, he played well, showing better touch, passing, and tactical awareness than we’ve seen from him when we WAS on form.

    Torres could play where Holden is and Holden play where Beasley is, leaving DaMarcus on the bench, but I think this lineup will be able to cope better defensively and has good ability going forward. That’s what I think the USA will need to beat the best teams in the world; two-way players who will do well on both sides of the ball.

  156. ThaDeuce says:

    Because that is for later this year starting in August. It is not likely, but could be the case that Feilhaber, Clark, Edu, Adu, Bradley, Holden, Torres ad Jones are all out for the World Cup, won’t you be glad Sacha and Beckerman got good looks this year? Even in 4 years, those guys are still young enough to get better and make the team…so maybe these players are the next generation and this generation so to speak. How old is Sacha?

    I will say this, I see your point in regards to Cunningham vs Pontious, but again that is for August. What if EJ sucks, altidore gets injured, and davies never recovers? Obviously Bradley has judged cunningham to be better than Pontious which will be good for this world cup. In august, i think we can bid Cunningham farewell.

    Bradley is completely focused on this round, and I think that is the right thing to do. 1 World Cup at a time.

  157. Slyboy says:

    You keep using Shea as an example…are we talking about Brek Shea or Shea Salinas?. Being a SJ fan, and having watched Brek Shea play alot, i really do not think either one of those warrants a call up at this point.
    We have absolutely no idea if Gonzalez or Pontius performed well in those camps. We don’t have that many options..and i don’t think calling some bench player from the English 3rd division can be used as an example of talent oversight.

  158. SBI Troll says:

    Yes! A 4-5-1 and 4-3-3 are almost the same thing. It uses the same personnel, its how you deploy them is what counts.

    A 4-5-1




    or 4-3-3





  159. alexandria says:

    And thats my point about Chelsea, it doesn’t have to be pretty if you win. We have to play match ups and until we have a dominant cam like reyna was we will play with hybrids in the middle, Both Bradely and edu are adept enough to move the ball and build the attack.

    Now the long balls out of the back, look whose back there. Which one of those guys do you think has the skill to pass out of the back? Its not abot whether or not BB wants them to hold posession, he’s on the sideline, its the guys on the field who must execute the play and I don’t think our cb’s have the quality to pass out of the back. JMO, I think as that position evolves it will get better but with onyewu and bocanegra, I just don’t see it happening

  160. ThaDeuce says:

    I think we would have to give him a look in the two warm up games prior to South Africa…That is if he is healthy and starting and playing really well. That goes for any player in our pool though. But to be brought in that late, you have to be spectacular. I would say the same thing about Freddy Adu reaching his hype. Scoring every game and doubling in assists, we would have to give him a really good look at starting for the USMNT before the world cup. Eddie Gaven could light up the MLS if they don’t strike and get brought in. The final selections haven’t been made, players are not static, and that is why I think it is good to constantly re-evaluate your team and keep them competing for their spots.

  161. montana matt says:

    SBI Troll, you are the man, and I totally concur.

  162. madmax says:

    Agree, the Beasley supporters cannot deal with the reality that Beasley does not play for a reason (injury, form), and he will not be reincarnated with wishful thinking.

  163. ThaDeuce says:

    Omar was brought in this last camp against El Salvador and dismissed. My guess is that he did not impress as much as Marshall and Goodsen did.

    Kljestan is 24 and so will be available for selection next world cup if he improves… I would consider that a relatively young mls player.

    Then think that Bradley is 22, Edu is 23, feilhaber is 25, torres is 22, and clark is 27 and it is not unheard of for players to play when they are 31, we still have a young pool of American midfield talent covered. I hope Bradley and Edu are around for a long time. Then You also have players like Adu getting lots of looks, and Altidore starting….I think Coach Bradley has done an excellent job in bringing young players into the fold and planning for the future.

  164. Micah King says:

    Dang Bryan you BAM!!! Hit Erik hard with that one!!!!!!! XD

  165. Micah King says:

    It is okay Erik everyone has there own opinions, like what Ives said. Just like I think Rogers is an good player, but tons of people on here trash him and talk bad about him each and everyday, like he needs to go back to college soccer or something. He gets trashed the most on here. When I do run across someone that trashes him, I try to state my opinion without attacking anyone.

  166. ThaDeuce says:

    strong defensive form, numbers behind the ball, using the wings to counter attack, putting numbers in the box when we have the ball, high pressure from just beyond the center midfield all the way to goal when we don’t, pushing opponents to the outside…that is the sort of stuff i usually see.

  167. Zach says:

    I agree Bradley has done an excellent job of bringing SOME young players in, but he definitely picks favorites (Sasha for one). With our well-documented struggles to supply depth at forward, why was Pontius not featured at all in the last two friendlies? Where was Quaranta? I still stick by my point that Bradley tinkers *too* much with players who should never see the field in a meaningful US game (Cunningham, Casey, to some extent even Beckerman for the near future) and not enough with young players who will make major noise in future cycles (Pontius, et al).

  168. Zach says:

    To piggyback onto my posts, can someone tell me Rodney Wallace’s status in terms of gaining American citizenship? Last I heard, he was in the process of acquiring citizenship? I can’t remember but he’s from Costa Rica right? Just wondering if anyone knows the latest on him. Would love to see him as a wing back in the US system.

  169. ThaDeuce says:

    I can almost guarantee you that if Torres played in the MLS he would have started against Honduras and El Salvador, and that Adu would also have gotten into camp and saw some time on the field. In those cases, you could almost say not being in the MLS hurt their chances to see playing time.

    However, they will more than likely still make the A USMNT, which is something most of those players from the Honduras and El Salvador games cannot say. When the A Team does come around, Torres and Adu are still behind players like Edu, Clark, Holden, Dempsey, Donovan, and Feilhaber…It just has not worked out for them this cycle, but they still might get a shot.

    That is why Sasha got more looks than Torres in those games…He plays in the MLS and was on break.

    Since Torres is better, that is why he is being called into this big boy game on Wednesday, not Sasha….who do you think Bradley values more?

  170. phil says:

    The only point of contention I have here is that Bease had a strong month and he gets a call. EJ has a strong month and he gets a call. Adu has a strong month and he’s ignored. That’s a very strong statement that I think we navel-gazers can’t ignore

  171. ThaDeuce says:

    no but thought experiment for you: if cherundolo is hurt and your two best left backs are pearce and bornstein, then what is your problem when one of them has to start?

  172. Micah King says:

    See Erik, afrim I think Rogers does his job. He just to needs to get more experience against better quality national team opponents, like Uruguay, Serbia, or Greece, and get a little experience against high ranked teams like Holland, Spain, or Brazil. He has only had experience at senior level with cup cake teams except Denmark and I guess Slovakia too. He just need to work on not field goaling the ball when he is up close.

  173. montana matt says:

    To an extent, I’ll concede your point that we have to make do with what we have, but still, the US really has no excuse for playing unattractive soccer, since we do have a number of quality, technically talented players. And while I do agree that winning is what’s most important (obviously!), I do think that simply playing long ball can effectively stall our teams development and prevent us from reaching our true potential. Additionally, I really do think we have a special player in Torres. I think he can capably fill the same role which Reyna filled under Arena, and which Xavi fills for Barca, that of controlling our teams distribution. His vision/skill are unparalleled on the USMNT, and we need him on the field at all times, preferably with both Edu and Bradley Jr. playing with him in the center of the pitch.

  174. phil says:

    BTW here’s my wish list first half lineup. 3-5-1


    –Boca DeMerit Spector–

    —— Edu Torres——

    -Donovan Bradley Beasely-


    Rather than bunkeingr in and countering, I think the should retain possession as much as possible through Torres and Bradley. Free LD and Bease up to roam and run. Jozy is holding forward. It’ll hinge on Torres setting up shop in the attacking half, allowing LD MB and Bease to spend most of their time in the attacking third. Edu would serve as the transition man and first line of defense.

  175. ThaDeuce says:

    but this is tough because it is the first time Edu could start in 9 months because rico is out, it is the first time holden must start because dempsey is out, and it is the first time EJ may start in a long time because Davies and Ching are out. Also onyewu and cherundolo are out.. That is a lot of new stuff going on, so I am glad we have these games and this 3 month break to get them prepared in case people don’t make it back in time for the world cup. all of that is a new development…who can plan for that any better than bob has done? They still have to get looks at starting for the team.

    6 of 11 usual starters are out this game due to injury…and still we have a solid team because of bradley’s hard work preparing our B teamers instead of “young players for next cycle.” To be honest this team feels completely like an A team to me, which is exciting and a huge compliment to bob because it isn’t if you look at the injuries.

  176. Josh D says:

    But those countries have already set their team in stone – there’s no need to shuffle in youth. Any way, I’m talking purely about opportunities like the games against Honduras and El Salvidor where we chose to play the likes of Casey and Beckerman over the young MLS players who are our future. And to what purpose? (by the way each of those English players would tear up their US equivalent in age)

    We played the C team over the future A team who could use the run about to learn about the national team.

    What does playing in that friendly do for Beckerman? Nothing. He had his shot and isn’t good enough. What would it have done for Pontius? It would of given him a taste of the “high life” and gave him an experience that at 21 would of made a huge difference to him and the outlook of our team. It would of inspired him to train harder to get to the starting XI. Shoot, maybe it would of set off a spark that saw him score 4 goals and he would heading to Holland. Fact is we will never know because Bob only bleeds in tried and true. What youthful player has Bob thrown in (though I will give him Jozy)?

    It’s almost as if we are hiding our best young MLS players from the international spotlight in case big bad Europe comes and steals them away.

  177. ThaDeuce says:

    Good point.

  178. ThaDeuce says:

    Beckerman, one could argue, was actually getting the chance to make the bench for the World Cup this year, something that could happen due to injuries and a stellar showing. I do not know if Pontious is quite ready for the bench in a World Cup. Maybe next cycle, but is it really hurting Pontious to wait 4 months before replacing Beckerman??? 1 World Cup at a time please!

  179. Josh D says:

    Those are far too many if’s – it’s like me saying “If the US team all died in a plan crash, through team C, would we send the Women’s team to South Africa?

    Fact of the matter is we have two full teams ahead of those that played against El Salvidor and Honduras. Most of those (Beckerman, Casey, etc) have played enough international games where they know what to expect and having played one more international game is not going to suddenly make them better then the C squad.

    However, for a Pontius, Omar, Shea, etc, that cap that was otherwise useless for 3/4s of the guys out there, would of set in motion a readiness and determination that would benefit the team for years.

    Being 19-22 is not “too young.” Age doesn’t make a difference, it’s maturity and confidence. The only way to build those into a player is by giving them the opportunity. We keep our players “too young” by waiting until we need them and playing them until then NOT preparing them beforehand by letting them get a runabout in an otherwise useless game.

  180. war says:

    4-5-1 with altidore will never work. Look at Hull. I dont want our d loaded with lefties, it’s unbalanced( demerit, boc, born/pierc, as well as 2 left footed CB’s (I’ll yield to it though) so I say:





  181. ThaDeuce says:

    I will agree with you on one point which had not occurred to me…Why not Quaranta? From what I remember he had a great run with a close to A team last year…Did he not look much stronger than Cunningham? I don’t remember. I hope someone can honestly enlighten me on that one.

    Casey has done well for the USMNT. Cunningham did well in the MLS, again, for this world cup, not the next. Pontious will get plenty of chances after July.

  182. Micah King says:

    I agree with you, it is good to re-evaluate before that hard decision on who to bring to SA.

  183. Josh D says:

    But those players we are bringing in is from a B team NOT the C team we played against El Salvidor and where it would of been fine to see what the younger guys can do.

    Under your umbrella of choices, if Gaven does exceptionally well he can make it to South Africa. Well if Pontius outdoes him 15 goals and 8 assists, he still wouldn’t go. Why? Because of his inexperience at the international level which is a real pity because that’s what it comes down to. Whereas you have a guy like Dax who is never going to a World Cup but has international experience and gets into the squad over a player who will be there in 4 years.

    Pontius out played a Gaven and Rogers last year but because of his perceived “youth” (read inexperience) he isn’t given a chance. Whereas “older” (more experienced) players are getting chance after chance after chance with no improvement to their ability to play the game.

  184. Erik says:

    Hey Micah,

    I am one not too impressed with Rogers as well, FOR NOW. I think he has good upside and is still young enough to learn it. He has a heck of a cross and a good shot and you can’t teach those things. The one area he needs improvement on is really just his reaction times and getting rid of the ball quicker. Otherwise he’ll be fine.

  185. Erik says:

    Too bad I can’t see the beautiful post – I am sure it was worth reading…

  186. Joamiq says:

    You are absolutely correct on this. Sometimes I feel like we’re better off just giving the ball to the other team and trying to counterattack. Making safe, easy, telegraphed lateral passes does not break a defense down.

  187. ThaDeuce says:

    It really isn’t. Edu just got over an injury and could be still vulnerable, Rico is currently injured, Jones is currently injured, Feilhaber is currently injured, Dempsey is currently injured, if all of those guys don’t make it, our center mid depth is something like this:
    Bradley, Torres, Holden, BECKERMAN, SASHA. Now, do you really think it is crazy to give them some playing time?

    How stupid would you feel if Bob Bradley didn’t do it and those injuries and more happened?? This is the World Cup and I would rather not leave anything to chance.

    As for the forward situation, EJ is not regarded in very high esteem right now, Davies is not a lock to recover, Ching is currently on injury watch, and Altidore could get injured (it would not be a surprise with all the other injuries). Because we are not deep at striker, I think it is most important we don’t bring in weaker players for the next cycle when we need to be focusing on this one.

    Again, 1 World Cup at a time, Pontius can wait till August and get plenty of the attention you think he needs, and Omar did not impress in the recent camp (he did receive a call up).

    We brought in Bradley at 18 as Jason said, he has done well. We brought Adu in earlier, and it may have been too young for him. Coach Bradley is doing just fine with his job preparing for this World Cup. Wait till August. I see your point, but wait till August.

  188. Murphy says:

    The solution is to play Spector on the left and Cherundolo on the right. Just because Bornstein is faster it doesn’t mean he’s better than Spector. And Spector may be great playing balls in from the right, but he plays in England on the left, so he can’t be terrible. And Bornstein does not play great balls out of the back.

  189. montana matt says:

    3-5-1?! Ha! Get out of here with your 3-5-1! This is the most ridiculous suggestion I’ve ever heard for two reasons: 1.) There are only 10 players playing with a 3-5-1. 2.) Even if you meant a 3-6-1, you’re still focking crazy. USMNT Coach Steve Sampson used it in a WC and people still trash him for it. I can’t think of one (not even one) quality team that uses only three defenders.

  190. Josh D says:

    Ok that’s one tactic: Counter attacking. When that doesn’t work – what’s our plan B? How did we change this tactic when it completely failed against Brazil? How do we adapt to a game and when was the last time we did it?

    And our middle gets eaten alive, our “center midfield pressure” is non-existent.

  191. ThaDeuce says:

    No, Gaven was just an example for “that goes for any player in the pool.” If Pontious lights it up, I mean really lights it up, then I would say bring him in for Turkey and Czech. Why wouldn’t any coach want their best players… But he did very well in MLS last year, and he still isn’t breaking into our C squad, so I doubt Pontious will. But if he did play super spectacular, then he should be given a proper look, but that would mean that he has grown into twice the player he is today in 3 months..I just doubt it would happen.

    It seems to me that you really have a edge to grind that pontious did not get more USMNT playing time. Again all i can say is wait till after this world cup and if he continues to grow and perform well he will get more looks.

    I do think you may be making a mistake assuming that Pontious is automatically going to be on the team to make it to the World Cup in Brazil in 2014. A lot can happen, a lot can change. Pontious may not get any better than he is now, he may get worse…or lots of players may get better faster… or he may be our wayne rooney, you never know, but you cannot say he is a lock over 4 years from now. Its best to prepare for this world cup with players we know we might need. This cycle maybe mccarty showed more promise than pontious in camp. I don’t know, Bradley does though. I do think he was given a chance…maybe he blew it? I doubt it, I bet he gets more chances, after South Africa.

  192. Jason says:

    Let’s look at the logic of your statements:

    1) “those countrues have already set their team in stone” – isn’t this an argument for testing youth? If you know who your team is going to be, why not give some guys some time? If you’re still trying to figure it out, don’t you need to see the people competing for those spots?

    2) “those English players would tear up their US counterparts” Yes, that’s why they got called up to the national team. The closest that the US has gotten are players like Adu and Altidore, and they got called up too.

    3) take Pontius over Beckerman. So instead of having any defensive midfielder in the lineup, we should have taken a 22 year old with no caps who can play the same position as three older players fighting for a spot on the World Cup roster (Casey, Cunningham, and Ching), a 24 year old fighting for a WC spot (Findley), a 22 year old with 10 caps fighting for a WC roster place (Rogers), a 23 year old with 7 caps (Gaven). While Beckerman may be “C” team, none of the players that Pontius would have been competing against are.

    4) Pontius was called into both camps, unless you were there and can argue otherwise, him not making the roster is probably a sign of the way he was playing.

    5) Players who are younger than Pontius is now when Bradley gave them their first cap:













    Here’s the list of players that had a couple of caps under Arena, but received there first cap under Bradley at a younger age than Pontius is now (caps under Arena in ()):

    Spector (3)

    Bradley (2)

    Adu (1)

    Gaven (2)

    Now, call me crazy, but I see Spector, Edu, M. Bradley, Torres, Feilhaber, Rogers, Altidore, and Davies being contributors through the next World Cup cycle.

    Just because he did choose the one guy that you like, doesn’t mean that he’s not doing what your asking him to do.

  193. Josh D says:

    I’m talking Brek Shea. And I’m not saying his play warrants going to SA but again, and this point seems to be missed today, it did warrant a call up to play against El Salvidor for the simple fact that 3/4s of those players are players who have been in the system as a C team player for years and playing in one more friendly does not benefit them in the slightest. However, for a future US player like Brek Shea, it can be a career changing opportunity. A taste of the big life, a taste of playing against the best, a chance to see bigger than they currently are.

    Why bother playing the C team? In case our A and B team gets injured? Highly unlikely and in that case, why don’t we have a D team.

    It’s “talent oversight” because at the ages of 19-22 they are just as talented as your Dax’s or Beckerman’s or Wynne’s whose talent isn’t enough to move them up to the next level.

  194. ThaDeuce says:

    I don’t think you are really making much since anymore. What are the tactics you are talking about? I don’t remember our midfield tandem of Bradley-Edu, Bradley-Clark, or Bradley Feilhaber ever getting eaten alive. Usually they make strong defensive plays and are able to force teams to the outside.

    How do we change tactics when it completely failed against Brazil? I mean, maybe we just got outclassed by Brazil… Maybe we just did not have an answer for Maicon. We are not the only team in the world to lose a game to Brazil. I don’t think this loss can be attributed to “Bob’s lack of tactics as a coach.”

  195. ThaDeuce says:

    30 minutes would totally be cool with me.

  196. Josh D says:

    1. – Only guessing at what you’re meaning. If a team has it set in stone 3 months before the start of the WC, you play them to get them to gel properly together (you don’t see England or Spain playing around with their formation.

    My comment of playing youth relates to the issue of playing a useless friendly where we play the C team players (El Salvidor) where it would do no harm to the US if we gave those youth an opportunity.

    2) – That statement was to counter one that said “who else could field a youthful team like that” and I was showing that England could and any other of the bigger teams. And of those they could play, they would be better. But that’s the fact of the moment, player to player, we can’t compete with the upper tier but as a team we certainty can.

    3) – Rogers, Cunningham, and Gaven are C team players. They aren’t relied on or make an impact on any meaningful international game (at least in some time). I keep using Beckerman because I’m trying to stay consistent. I like his energy and thought was one of the brighter players last week. And why do those strikers have an opportunity to play in the World Cup over Pontius (again just as an example, he represents other youths)?

    4) – Nope. I can only base it on his play during last season, against those same players, and how he competed and shinned against most of them.

    5) – Again, not using Pontius specifically but that is a fair list. However, getting a cap and really given a chance are separate things. See Torres – should have far more caps but hasn’t gotten the chance.

    Finally, Pontius is used as a representative. I could just as easily throw in any number of names. I thought Omar would be given a few minutes of playing time.

  197. Bob Bradley 4 eva! says:

    If my two best left backs are Pearce and Bornstein — I naturally have no problem with one of them starting! And I will cheer who ever suits up!

    But based on what I’ve seen of West Ham, Spector is a better left back than either.

  198. golfstrom says:

    hopefully the dutch will go 3-3-2 to counter

  199. Josh D says:

    But if all you’re doing is preparing Pawns in case of a massive crisis, does it really prepare Beckerman (as an example) for the World Cup if he plays against a B team El Salvidor.

    Under your notion of let’s keep as many people fit as possible for the national team, would it not have been better to bleed in more youths for a bigger pool of “what-if” players? Why not get everyone prepared? Beckerman has been in and out of the national team for a few years, he already knows the drill. He’s off the conveyor belt of a US national team player. Might as well get someone else on it ready to go for that injury crisis.

    Weakness is a perception because they don’t have a cap. It’s like saying a child is weaker because the others have already gone through puberty (metaphorically speaking). That kid who has gone through puberty is seen as the better player because he’s faster and stronger. So he gets put on a travel team where he receives better coaching so he gets put on continually better teams with better coaching. Whereas the other guy who lagged behind in puberty gets stuck in a muddy hole. It’s a self fulfilling prophecy.

    Much like: Player A is better because he has more caps. It’s a game of experience and confidence. You have to give the experience.

  200. seanie blue says:

    What a load of B.S. this article is! Onyewu is a write-off for this summer. So what about Demerit and Bocanegra in the middle? Cam they deal with the Dutch in the air? Every goal coming from the right by the Dutch will show that they target Bornstein and run right past him; he’s got speed but not international class instincts. Who will Edu and Holden be feeding the ball to? Eddie Johnson? That’s USL-level soccer he’s playing in Greece! If the USA goes down 5-0, why can’t we do what the Ivory Coast has done, and bring in a Hiddink for a few months? If that’s good enough for Drogba, it’s good enough for Donovan. It’s amazing that the media will not put pressure on Bradley senior and Gulati. Why? Is American soccer that fragile that bringing in somebody with skill is too threatening? Jesus. Bring in Kevin Keegan and let him fire these guys up; Bradley cannot do it, and his credibility completely washed away in the last year of squeaking past Central American small fry. We need two goals. If we lose 3-2, fine. But if we get blanked until the 89th minute when Eddie Johnson sprints out for a consolation marker in a 4-1 drubbing, then this game matters a lot more than Ives thinks. This is the biggest game for the American team in several years, much bigger than the Confed B.S., which nobody but the Americans cared about. How many Spanish players went to S.A. to go to Kruger park and snap shots of elephants and lions? We lost 3 games down there. Bradley has nothing to show for the past two years in critical contests; what will he show us now?

  201. Josh D says:

    Pontius is just a name to represent youth. I grew tired of writing some of them out and putting “etc.” : )

    Saying for the future is merely to say they are in a group labeled the most skilled of their generation so in 4 years at age 26ish, they will be hitting their prime and we will rely on that generation. A generation I feel is currently in the shadows of a few guys who need to step aside.

  202. JT says:

    Some disagreements about the above formations: Not to focus strickly on Donovan, but Donovan seems to play best when he has a forward directly in front of him to play off of. Also, in a 4-3-3 formation, I think a player like Freddy Adu (not necessarily Fredd) would fit in best in the right forward position. Similar to Messi’s role with Barca in that formation. Holden plays best when he is in the midfield, distributing, keeping position, and making crosses. Holden at Right forward in the 4-3-3 formation does not make sense to me.

  203. So which is it. . . ? says:

    “Can we put to rest the idea that certain formations are inherently either attacking or defensive? I see this theory posited all the time on SBI threads.”

  204. Dennis says:

    Interesting comments in response to Josh D. I guess more guys here are BB supporters than are BB bashers.

    I watched the second half of Pachuca’s loss this weekend and it is clear that Torres has a nice first touch, can hold the ball under pressure and can make great passes. But, it was equally clear that he is a weak tackler, his off-ball positioning needs work and he does not help the defense like Edu, Feilhaber, Bradley, Clark and Holden do. That said, those are correctable faults and I suspect he will correct them, but probably not in time to be a factor in S.A.

    Beasley has disappointed while wearing the US uniform for the past 18 months or so. One good game will not bring him into the fold, it will take a combination of what BB’s opinion is of Beasley’s mental readiness and Beasley actually playing well (and uninjured) for Rangers going into May.

    This really is a make or break situation for EJ and Findley, I expect only one to be in SA. I am not so sure the single game performance will be the deciding factor, but more how BB thinks either will affect team chemistry iin SA, that and of course, if one of them can light up the scoreboard consistently, he might get a trip.

    For Holland, there are a variety of starting lineups BB could try. Most of them use Howard, Donavon, Altidore, Bradley, Bocanegra, Spector as the core group to build around.

    If the goal is to see which forward Findley of EJ pairs better with Altidore, or to see which midfileders work together well, then it probably makes sense not to experiment in the back too much. That likely means Spector and Bocanegra on the wings and DeMerit and Goodson in the middle (I do not think the two of them have paired recently in the middle and need to see how they work things out).
    After that, if the goal is to start solid and not give up too much, Edu and Bradley in the middle with Donavon and Holden on the outside. Torres is a good attacking option and if Donavon is pushed to a forward position, expect Torres to get that spot. Of Course, Beasley is a possibility instead of Holden.

    At froward, expect Altidore and ? to start. ? = EJ, Findley or Donavon

    Who was left off? Adu, Cooper, Sasha, Rogers, Ching, Casey I suspect that that means BB has already decided the S.A fate of those guys, I think mostly no, except for Ching, but future developments might change things for a few of them.

  205. kenny_b says:

    I’m not entirely sure how Torres play with Pachuca translates into “we know what he has to offer” for USMNT.

    Torres needs a run with the starters also to see how he meshes with the team too.

  206. Erik says:

    Uh oh, the knives are going to come out for you now… You bashed Bornstein, how dare you. Maybe you will be called an a-hole and have comments deleted about you.

  207. Erik says:

    Jozy is NOT a holding forward.

  208. Erik says:

    I think Sampdoria do… ; )

  209. kenny_b says:

    I just don’t see Donovan starting up top at forward. That seems very unlikely to me. He is needed to create opportunities and to link up midfield with the forwards.

    Taking him out of the midfield puts too much stress on the other midfielder to create and hold possession.

  210. Not Ives says:

    No Freidel? opens up a spot. Isn’t he at least our 2nd best GK? 22 and 23 I think should be decided on current form … could BB add or subtract from his roster if injuries reccur for a starter or someone doesn’t heal to 100 percent? That is why I like Freidel as the 2 and maybe another ST? or Castillo? Or Herculez Gomez who should earn a shot on name alone but also seems to be in superb form. … got any clips IVES?

  211. ThaDeuce says:

    But in this situation Spector is playing right back because Dolo is hurt.

  212. Micah King says:

    Hey Erik whats up ? Rogers need EXP against stronger teams too. I think he would have came out better doing MLS for two seasons after college then going to Europe. I have met Rogers and I am friends with him on facebook he is an chill person. I hope he can make 2014. :)

  213. Hush says:

    I can’t wait for wednesday, this will test a lot of players on the pool and see where their at.

    I would have loved to have seen Castillo get a call up against the dutch. I think most Americans already know what Bornestein is all about. I think Castillo should have been given a shot against a techinicall squad like the Dutch. Castillo plays in a much more creative league with a lot of players who have great footwork & movement on the ball making it harder to defend than in the MLS. I think BB blew it on this one for not calling a guy who is very similar on defense to that of Bornstein, but with much better quality in going forward and avoiding pressure.

    Castillo for 2010!:)

  214. Erik says:

    I bet he’s one of the players in the mix. And I think you are right that he needs higher level opposition. I honestly think if he just passes the ball a slight bit quicker he will be golden.

  215. ThaDeuce says:

    I simply disagree with you.

    “Under your notion of let’s keep as many people fit as possible for the national team, would it not have been better to bleed in more youths for a bigger pool of “what-if” players? Why not get everyone prepared?”

    I did not say that notion at all. We have a pecking order. Sasha and Beckerman are on it, Pontious is not. They deserved to play. The game was as much a tryout as practice for them…Pontious is not ready yet, judged by his playing in the camps.

  216. ThaDeuce says:

    I’m getting tired of arguing the same points…I don’t think you really respond to what I am saying, just merely arguing in principle.

  217. montana matt says:

    Right, perennial Champions League and Serie A title contenders Sampdoria.

  218. montana matt says:

    I guess this formation might work defensively, but who would provide service from the left with this formation? Edu, and Boca? I guess my problem is less with the formation and more with the personnel supergrandefilms plugs into it. Besides the defenders, Jozy, and Bradley Jr. everyone else is being played out of position in his squad.

  219. Dan says:

    Quaranta is hurt.

  220. ThaDeuce says:

    Friedel is retired from USMNT. There is a limit to when he can add or subtract alternates, i bet FIFA website has the dates.

  221. ThaDeuce says:

    What is wrong? how serious/how long?

  222. golfstrom says:

    “Additionally, I really do think we have a special player in Torres. I think he can capably fill the same role which Reyna filled under Arena, and which Xavi fills for Barca”

    Did you really just compare Torres to Reyna and Xavi? The delusion toward Torres is reaching new heights. Torres = good young player, but news flash: Xavi >> Reyna >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>> Torres

  223. Joshedd says:


    Pure BS.

    Leave out the goalkeepers, who are fine and aren’t really worth discussing (though I’d rather have Friedel and Guzan than Howard).

    This team has two indispensable players, Donovan and Dempsey, in that order. Bradley comes in next just a bit below that.

    After them, every single US player is basically okay to average to crap and more or less replaceable. The standard is I’m talking about is international World Cup level, which after all is the point.

    Charlie is a great story but anyone counting on him needs to stop smoking illegal substances.

    DMB and Boca are veteran World Cup guys but both aren’t what they were and maybe are past their expiration date. Dolo is very experienced but mediocre. Spector is a slightly above average utility back. Demerit is an over-achiever who could well be exposed in the World Cup. Onyewu, at his best, was borderline and was bought by Milan because he was a bargain and they thought they could develop him, which they may well do. But, even if the rehab goes real well, the Onyewu you’ll see in SA will be just average.

    Torres looks promising but is seemingly frail and the Mexican league is not a good recommendation. There is a reason why very few of those guys do well in Europe. Holden was great for Houston but he is just getting his feet wet in the EPL and it remains to be seen whether there is anything there other than good hair. Benny is an inconsistent, never match fit and good for at most, 20-30 minutes. Jozy is mostly just potential and is probably a year or two away.

    The rest of the guys you can put on a table at a yard sale and maybe you’d get a quarter for the lot.

    Still, together they can make noise and they did at the Confederations Cup but that lineup hasn’t been together since then. 2009 was not a year for experimentation as most of the 24 games were must wins or games where Bradley could not get his first string together. So it seems those last tow or three games after the roster is announced will tell the story.

    This is a ragtag bunch and any coach who can take them as far as Bradley has is a good one.

  224. war says:

    I hope you guys dont text as long as you write here…

    Fact 1) Our Defense is notoriously slow, and the Netherlands probably know it.

    Fact 2) Jozy is our only forward who can play outside of CONCACAF and perform well. We need a forward who can pair with Altidore and score away from home against non-CONCACAF teams(what the whole world cup is…). 4-5-1 is a joke and hardly works for anyone.

    Fact 3) For people who talk about pierce playing in MLS and he’s good, etc. He played in Europe for years and came back after he fell out with his team.

    Fact 4) Onyewu, Dempsey, and Davies are coming back so the immediate need for cover is not neccessary so Findley should be staying home.

    Fact 5)It is unreasonable to pick a squad with so many out injured or coming back (Onyewu, Demps, Davies, Clark, Cherundolo, etc). Either he’ll name injured players on the squad which is a bit stupid(although they should be there), or he will fill it up with losers that shouldn’t be on the plane and then replace them later, which in itself is a stupid reason to pick now.

    Fact 6) If Bornstein or Findley play, they’re gonna get found out real fast. Albeit, our forwards and D will be found out, but these 2 will be far off the pace.

  225. war says:

    roll over and give up formation I see…

  226. ThaDeuce says:

    yeah, I think a lot of people were mad at Bradley that he started him at that time…Calling in old favors, sticking too much to old hats, favoritism, that sort of thing… However this time he is showing some sparks and ought to get a look. We can judge on this performance what to do in May.

  227. Jeremy says:

    This game is for Edu, for cementing a starting 11 spot in central midfield. Playing for Rangers has to count for more than whatever Feilhaber does these days.

    It’s also for Holden to get a spot as Dempsey’s backup, ahead of Kljestan and Rogers.

  228. Jon from Chicago says:

    Well if there is one thing I’ve gathered thru all of these comments is this…

    Theres a group here that will support B.Bradley no matter what he does. Usually the same group that will shout “We went to the FINALS in the Confed Cup, what do you want from the guy?!!”

    Theres a group here that because their choice for a new “fix” to the team wasn’t chosen, the rest of us are fools. These people usually shout “I can’t believe “Player X” wasn’t called up from the third tier of the Albanian League. Hasn’t anyone seen how hes playing!? B.Bradley is a fool.”

    And most importantly the ones that will support playing the SAME GODDAMN players over and over again with out giving players a chance to do something for the team. (Torres, Castillo=NO Bornstien,Sasha=Yes for sure) These people will support J.Bornstien even if he has a hat trick of own goals.

    Finally, Yes Edu had a magical game against the Rangers. High emotional game with a great performance says alot, but how quick does that cover Torres’s goal last week. So he gets the start? eh….as usual, Torres back to begging for 20 mins to show what ya got, maybe El Tri would have been better huh?

  229. bob = mediocre says:


  230. seriously says:

    torres also plays in the mexican primera, which is not a good place to play if you want to get minutes under bob

  231. ThaDeuce says:

    Wow Ives, I hope Bornstein knows you are betting your reputation on his performance against the Dutch. He could stand to make a lot of money! : )

    (SBI-How am I betting my rep on him? I said he’ll have his chance against the Dutch to show how far he’s come. I didn’t say he’s going to lock down the Dutch wingers and play like the best left back in the world.)

  232. Nolan says:

    Jozy is horrible. He’s only scored one goal in like 20 epl games! Why not try Torres up front? Where is Kenny Cooper?!

  233. Jon from Chicago says:

    Well, I fought this thinking but its becoming more and more of a truth. Sad part is I’ll take the Mexican Primera over MLS when it comes to skill and i’m die hard Chicago Fire…

  234. Jon from Chicago says:

    Torres wouldn’t work up front for many reasons. One thing we would miss is his ball holding skills in the mid…

  235. ThaDeuce says:

    okay okay. my bad in exaggerating. game time less than 24 hours away.