USA vs. Paraguay: The Pre-game Tailgate

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The U.S. men's national team heads into tonight's friendly vs. Paraguay searching for its first win of 2011, but also searching for the right combination of players as the team draws closer and closer to this summer's Gold Cup.

Tonight's friendly (8pm, Fox Soccer Channel) should provide a showcase for some talented youngsters who impressed in Saturday's match against Argentina. Juan Agudelo and Timmy Chandler should both feature against Paraguay.

LP Field is expected a good crowd for the match, with more than 23,000 tickets sold as of late last night. Fans from across the country have converged on Nashville for this rare game in the South.

Here is my Fox Soccer preview on tonight's match, which should offer us a good luck at some new faces, whether it be as starters or second-half substitutes.

Here are some more observations as we draw closer to game time tonight:

Oguchi Onyewu didn't train on Monday and was apparently nursing a hip strain. The injury could rule him out for tonight.

Benny Feilhaber has not trained with the team since joining camp from AGF Aarhus. He picked up an ankle injury in his final game before the break.

Tim Howard wasn't at training on Monday, but is expected to be with the team for tonight's match.

Bob Bradley discussed Mixx Diskerud and Tim Ream on Monday and stated that both had struggled a bit to adjust to the advanced speed of play in a first-team camp, but that both had made progress.

Bradley wouldn't confirm whether Juan Agudelo would be starting, but it sounded like a good bet.

Based on availability and Bradley's comments, here's a lineup we could see tonight:






The field at LP Field was in excellent condition and with rain expected in the forecast, the match should be played at a fast pace. 

When asked about returning to Nashville, where he scored a hat-trick two years ago, Jozy Altidore said the city is a lucky place for him and agreed that it might be the country music, joking that he listens to Johnny Cash. 


Going along with the German invasion of the national team theme, Clint Dempsey was asked if he would be learning German soon to help communicate with his new German-born teammates. "I might have to get Rosetta Stone," Dempsey joked.

While nothing is official, and there's still plenty of time left before the Gold Cup squad is chosen, it sounds as though Juan Agudelo would miss the Under-20 World Cup if he joined the senior team for the Gold Cup. 

That's all for now. Please feel free to share all your pre-game thoughts and opinions in the comments section below, and be sure to check in for SBI's Match Night Commentary tonight from Nashville.

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68 Responses to USA vs. Paraguay: The Pre-game Tailgate

  1. MemRook says:

    @McFadden’s in Nashville and lots of AO members already here getting ready (our drink on) before the game! Can’t wait so pumped!!!

  2. bottlcaps says:

    #/bitch mode on*/ Why is this not on basic cable? Stupid bball! /*bitch mode off*/

    Bornstein??? Nooooooooooooooo!

  3. Petaluman says:

    Looking forward to today’s match. Got into work early so I could get home in time (west coast). Go Nats!

  4. chris says:

    I hope to see Lichaj at some point.

  5. Benjamin says:

    Would rather see an experiment with Chandler on the left and Lichaj on the right than see Bornstein again.

  6. Taylor says:

    i’d rather see Spector at center mid and let Boca stay on the left, Bornstein always puts me on edge, i don’t feel like dealing with that all night

  7. Mark says:

    Any chance the studio crew will be speaking with you at halftime Ives? I caught a segment you did with Wynalda during an MLS game, so wondering if that will translate over to USMNT games as well.

  8. jess says:

    Start Ream!

  9. zettsyuk says:

    I want to see one half with Bradley-Jones in cm and one half with Edu-Jones in cm all in a 4-4-2.

  10. Scott says:

    /reply mode on*/why doesn’t your cable provider have FSC as a basic cable channel? It’s a pretty standard channel for a random March friendly to be broadcasted on. Take it up with your cable provider or buy a satellite dish/reply mode off*/

  11. ThaDeuce says:

    Why have you replaced Edu with Jones in this projected line-up? Not having Tim Ream in the line-up today makes sense after Bradley’s comments. However, I saw nothing on Edu or Jones, so I am wondering why the change from yesterday’s projected line-up.

  12. seth says:

    I bet the tailgate food at a southern tailgate is out of control. Ives, let us know how it is.

  13. ThaDeuce says:

    me too…or Ream in the middle and boca on the left….anything reasonable.

  14. Big Chil says:

    It’d be nice to see Hahneman between the pipes for all the work and travel he does with the national team to be #3. Give Timmy a rest, give Marcus a reward.

  15. CroCajun says:

    Is it really that hard for Lichaj or Chandler to play LB? These guys are professionals.

    If I’m wrong somebody please educate me.

  16. Kevin says:


  17. montana matt says:

    I’ve never understood the Bornstein hate. Sure he’s no Ashley Cole or Gareth Bale, but he’s not terrible either. Unlike Bocanegra, Bornstein can at least get forward, run with the ball, and distribute decently. Granted, Bocanegra is better defensively, but still, Bornstein is no slouch.

  18. Dennis says:

    I like Bornstein, but, he has shown that too often he has a mental lapse that can lead to bad things when he is playing in back. He is probably a better midfielder or even forward than a pure defender.

    I worry about him being in back, but he will take chances to get forward, something Boca does not bring to that position, except on set pieces. Will this work better than say Ream in the middle and Boca on the left, we will probably not get a chance to see that so will be left wondering.

    OTOH, mental concentration must be something that Bradley and Bornstein have talked about and you would think that 90 minutes is not too long to hold a thought.

  19. Mike says:

    Maybe in time they could…but even though they are professionals, they are very young, developing professionals. Also, to my knowledge they have never played that position in a competitive atmosphere.

  20. Goalscorer24 says:

    CroCajun, I think it is tough because if you are not left footed, how do you make that left footed cross into the box when you are attacking? But I hear you, I don’t want to see Bornstein either!

  21. seth says:

    hey ives, off topic but soler has said NY will sign a #10 by April 15. Have you heard anything about this?

  22. Goalscorer24 says:

    Montana, Bocanegra is a much better defender. Plus Bornstein has not even been playing left back recently in Mexico.

  23. Paul C says:

    Prior to the WC he was terrible going both ways (no pun intended). I’ll give credit where credit is due though, he showed up in South Africa.

    Should be interesting to see if his game has progressed or digressed since going to Mexico though.

  24. Goalscorer24 says:

    Would rather see Ream in the middle and Bocanegra on the left.

  25. joe says:

    I would too, but it isn’t going to happen.

  26. montana matt says:

    I buy that Boca is a better pure defender, but in the modern game it is just as important that fullbacks contribute going forward (Boca only gets into the attack on set pieces). I also realize that Bornstein hasn’t been playing much in Mexico, but unfortunately, he’s probably the best true LB we have. Might as well support him.

  27. Phil says:

    I respect JB’s work ethic and his willingness to play in that position, (I think he started off as a midfielder).

    However I’ve always felt like he was only the best of a series of bad options. While it’s clear that past candidates for that position can’t hang at the international level, he seems to just hang on by his fingernails. There is this sense of panic in him, and it is evidenced by how much needless running around he does, how often he is put out of position, and (most importantly) how opponents know that he is the point to apply pressure.

    If you ask me what the best LB alternative is, I’d say Boca, but sadly his days are numbered. Even if he is currently in shape to get us through the Gold Cup, he certainly will hang it up before Brasil, so in many ways it almost doesn’t matter what folks think as JB will be in the mix for the slot, unless someone like Heath Pearce really lifts his game.

    Post Boca, I would be curious to see Lichaj or Chandler give that side a shot, either in training or in a friendly, if for no other reason than to give us a little more depth in that position. Either that, or try a back 3 with a very mobile libero/DM than roves in front of the back line. With Gooch Goodson and Boca sitting in the back three, Spector, Cherundolo, Jones or Edu could fill that role. This would also allow Chandler to play as a winger

  28. RedLine55 says:

    It’s also on Telefutura, one of the Spanish language channels which is on most all basic cable packages, maybe you get that one.

  29. TommyH says:

    Boca also scores a few on corners.

  30. montana matt says:

    Exactly. If it were easy you would see Brazil start Dani Alves at LB and Maicon at RB (or vice versa).

  31. Phil says:

    Pardon the ignorance, but I have a follow up question: I know that all players favor one foot for shooting and crossing, but aren’t most top-flite players ambidexterous? Perhaps this was an ignorant assumption on my part….

  32. Scott says:

    I never said anything about Johnny Chimpo… did you mean to reply to the dude above me?

  33. radi0head says:

    i wish this game wasnt on fox soccer, terrible quality of broadcasting

  34. Raff says:

    I’m just glad they seem to be starting Agudelo!

  35. montana matt says:

    Yeah, sorry man. That was directed at bottlcaps.

  36. Eurosnob says:

    ThaDeuce, I am with you regarding Jones/Edu. Not only Edu played better than Jones last week, but he is also younger (24) than Jones (29). If the main goal is to start building the team for the next world cup in 2014, Edu should get the start unless BB views Jones as a clearly superior option or wants to get another look at him in 4-4-2.

  37. joe says:

    For short passes, definitely. Most are pretty good with their weak foot shooting as well, given that they have a little more time and space. But When it comes to the accuracy of a good cross, while covered, on the move, most aren’t going to be able to do this with their weak foot.

  38. RedLine55 says:

    it’s on Telefutura, as well, which is sometimes much better and HD if available.

  39. Luke says:

    “with more than 23,000 tickets sold as of late last night” This is kind of discouraging considering the stadium capacity is almost 70k. I know Paraguay is not as glamorous as Argentina but going from almost 80k in NYC market to 23k is a huge letdown. Way to step up Nashville! Maybe this game should have been held in California, Texas, Florida or Seattle.

  40. ThaDeuce says:

    SBI, Explain your flip-flop!!!

    Is it because Ives posted this yesterday and someone else today? If that is the case, then speak up!

    “Here is who I see Bob Bradley starting vs. Paraguay:

    There are only three changes from Saturday’s starting lineup, but I can see Bradley wanting to see this group play together. It’s the same unit, except for Tim Ream in place of Oguchi Onyewu, that played the second half against Argentina.

    I think we’ll see more substitutions in the second half, when players like Jonathan Bornstein and Mixx Diskerud can get into the lineup.”

  41. joe says:

    That’s not the goal, though. The goal is to prepare for the Gold Cup.

    All three CMs played like garbage the first half. Edu and Bradley looked better in the second. What’s to say that Jones wouldn’t have done the same had Edu not been taken out? I think it was a product of the formation.

    It looks like an educated guess to me. MB is going to start, regardless, so they have to find out which CM works best with him. They gave Edu a shot the other night, so Jones will probably get his shot tonight.

  42. joe says:

    Huge difference between a Saturday night and Tuesday night. Also, more people are going to travel to see Argentina.

  43. Luke says:

    I agree. I know the game I really wanted to go to. You would think the people in charge of scheduling games at US Soccer would know this too. I would think the last thing they want is for a game to be played and shown with only 1/3 of the stadium full. Not to mention that they are losing out on untold amounts of revenue. This is why it would have made alot more sense to put this game in Southern Cal, Seattle, Texas or Florida.

  44. Brock says:

    Way off base – The atmosphere in Nashville will be great. LPG Field actually looks and sounds great with 25,000+ in attendance. You’re getting a much better crowd on a Tuesday night in Nashville than you would in any of the other places you mentioned.

  45. jh says:

    i think we will see BB use his bench more than he did against Argentina (only two subs used i think?). This game as a feel of a polish up for the Gold Cup as well, but out of the three matches that were set to take place prior to the Gold Cup (argentina, paraguay, and spain) it would seem like paraguay is the side that BB will just experiment with a little bit and not be so concerned with pushing for a result. Therefore, I think that you might see a good starting side, with lots of changes at half, such as mixx, lichaj, ream, and I hope the young GK as well.

  46. Primoone says:

    I just read your piece and saw the US game for a second time…”Bradley” and “Played well” should not be used in the same sentence. Because if that is the case then everyone in that midfield played well as well as everyone in the defense and everyone who played up top. The only person that played well was Howard. Don’t mistake a few tackles and ball chasing for playing well.

  47. sef-one says:

    Really dude? What game were you watching? I made it a point due to the hate and the nepotism claims to watch Bradley closely- and I think he played really well, especially in the second half. Given the opponent well is a relative term, but IMHO, he played better than Jones and I think he did much better when paired with Edu.

    But, to each his own, and once again, haterz hate.

  48. KellerFan says:

    No worries, Telefutura is streaming this online, too:
    link to

  49. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    In addition to the difference between Saturday and Tuesday, and the difference between Argentina and Paraguay, you also have the difference between NYC and Nashville.

  50. Stephen Bunger says:

    I agree with you. But I don’t think Edu played well. I thought he pretty much disappeared in both halves. The only time i heard his name was when he had his shot go wide. But I guess he didn’t make any major mistakes either, or else we would have heard his name then too.

  51. GB says:

    I am in PORTLAND OR today and no place to watch the game tonight, anyone know a good place to watch it. either in downtown or around the airport

  52. beachbum says:

    in the first half, no one played well but Howard. in the second half, diffrent story. evidently you need a third viewing of the game to finally see what happened.

  53. MiamiAl says:

    I’d like to see what Spector can do in the midfield.

  54. JR says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing Bornstein get a run out as a left mid. It is still not at all clear who the backup to Donovan would be if he got injured. If Holden is going to be used primarily as a central player by Bob Bradley this cycle then the depth chart needs to be built anew at both right mid and left mid. Neither Bedoya nor Torres have really made a claim to playing time that Bornstein couldn’t overtake. Diskerud has occasionally been impressive, but he might be needed more as a forward for the U.S.

  55. Chris says:


  56. Tony in Quakeland says:

    Those kind of comments about Michael Bradley make me instantly stop reading. They tell me the poster cannot put aside preconcpetions and actually watch a game.

  57. Miguel says:

    Any idea if this will be available online?

  58. jh says:

    i wonder if Diskerud could be a Stuart Holden type player, one who is creative going forward with distributions and such and will work hard going back as well. I know he is creative, the question remains whether he put the leg work in defensively. If that is the case, then he should be brought along in that position for the sake of depth

  59. Sarcastic Steve says:

    Good one Chris. You sure convinced me.

  60. SBI Troll says: has a spanish feed

  61. Scott A says:

    Interested to see if Chandler can have another solid performance.

    Be loud in Nashville fellow USA supporters.

  62. Dinho says:

    Disagree. HDC would sell out. Although not as big as LPG, it would make for a better environment.

  63. Haig says:

    How long have you been following international soccer? 30k on a
    Tuesday night against a second tier opponent is excellent. The crowd is very boisterous, and LP Field is a good place to watch soccer.

    But there’s always someone who complains, no matter what the subject is, and I guess that’s you.

  64. Brock says:

    True – the HDC would have sold out just like they did for the USA vs. Chile match this past January…

    oh wait,

    that’s right,

    the HDC didn’t even top 19,000 on a Saturday night

  65. joe says:

    True, but there’s a difference b/n NYC, which the Argentina game was not played in, and any other city in the US.

    It should also be noted that tickets were not made available for much of the stadium in Nashville. I noticed this when the went on sale and thought it odd.

  66. Primoone says:

    Listen…never did I once compare Bradley to any one player that could have played better in that position nor did I mention anything about Bradley, nepotism or favoritism when being critical of Bradley Jr. Ok, you can say I’m a Bradley hater even though my comments did not reflect that of a Bradley hater however, now I get to say something about you. What I see is a Micheal Bradley jock-strap rider who completely gets their panties in a bunch when their favorite players warrant objective criticism thrown their way. Get over it already. You guys here can say the effort was good enough however, not me. Get over it already.

  67. Eurosnob says:

    Joe, the value of the Gold Cup is that the winner gets a spot in the Confederations Cup which is a dry run for the World Cup where you play strong teams in the host country. I agree with you to a degree that preparing for the the Gold Cup is the immediate goal, but a successful World Cup is the main goal. And, by the way, BB started Edu over Jones in Paraguay friendly and Tim Ream on the back line instead of Bocanegra so he is clearly geared towards testing younger players with WC2014 in mind.