Who should the USA start vs. Mexico?

  USAvsPanamaStars (ISIPhotos.com)

With their ticket to the Gold Cup Final on Saturday booked, the U.S. men's national team can now focus on Mexico and selecting the team that will knock off their arch rival when the sides meet at the Rose Bowl.

Bob Bradley has not been afraid to shake things up, as we've seen by his decisions to sit Landon Donovan for two straight matches. As tough as it may sound, Bradley's decisions on selecting a lineup to face Mexico aren't all that difficult.

The defense is set, having recorded three straight shutouts since Bradley shofted Carlos Bocanegra to centerback and started Eric Lichaj. Things get a bit more interesting in midfield, but given the performances delivered on Wednesday night against Panama, the squad for the final seems like an easier one to predict.

So who will Bradley start? Here is the lineup we see taking on Mexico:


Some thoughts:

Landon Donovan will NOT be coming off the bench against Mexico. Donovan is a big-game player, a renowned Mexico killer, and Sacha Kljestan's disappointing showing against Panama makes the decision even easier.

Alejandro Bedoya has shown far too much energy and attacking quality to not start against Mexico. With him and Donovan on the wings, The United States has the pace to match up well against Mexico.

Juan Agudelo did more than enough to remain the starting striker in the preferred 4-2-3-1 formation.

Freddy Adu was outstanding as a substitute against Panama, but nobody should be expecting him to start. He's perfectly suited for his sub role now, and gives Bradley a good attacking option off the bench. That's something the team needs even more now that Jozy Altidore is out for the tournament.


What do you think of this squad? is it the lineup you would like to see against Mexico? Think this team can beat Mexico?

Share your thoughts below.


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147 Responses to Who should the USA start vs. Mexico?

  1. Adam says:

    Agree with the lineup. I think the three guys off the bench will be Kleistjan, Adu, and Edu (in no particular order)

  2. RK says:

    Adu Adu Adu
    Adu Adu Adu
    Adu Adu Adu Adu

  3. RK says:

    whoops, one extra Adu. Take Howard off.

  4. JOB says:

    There are no other options for a starting 11 against Mexico. There needs to be speed on the flanks to match up with their wing play and with Bedoya/Donovan/Dempsey being able to interchange anywhere across that higher 3 in the midfield it cause cause havoc for the Mexicans.

  5. derek says:

    i don’t get it though was anyone even half expecting donovan to sit the first 45 minutes AGAIN against panama? As good as most all of BB’s decisions have been this tournament I don’t get it.

  6. Jamie Z. says:

    Yep. This one’s a no-brainer.

    Keep the attacking trio of Donovan, Dempsey and Bedoya fluid and keep the Mexican defense on its toes. We’ve got Adu as a potential impact sub and Edu can shore things up, if need be.

  7. kimo says:


    In total agreement.

  8. CSD says:

    I prefer Landon off the bench and I think that is the best option for the USMNT going forward into the next World Cup. He peaked in SA is not a 90 minute national team player anymore. He is better in the second half when the match has opened up.

  9. AME says:

    +1 Freddy for FIFA President!

  10. JamesC says:

    Maybe in 2014, although I don’t agree. But in the Gold Cup final Dononvan is still one of the best players on the team.

  11. NateinSF says:

    I agree to a certain extent but we have no depth. If Holden and Altidore were healthy then you have more options. At this juncture we do not.

  12. luke says:

    I remember when I had my first beer

  13. Farcyde says:

    Could also suit them to shift into a 4-4-2 with dempsey moving up top. The one thing I dont like about this is Bedoya on the right side where Donovan has shown some good moments (a la the winning assist vs Panama)

  14. RS says:

    Looks about right to me.

  15. Bill says:

    You realize that he is only 29, right?

  16. GCScots says:

    More than ever, Mexico now Fears the Adu! American Pele!

  17. Todd Hollingshead says:

    Ives, I think we all agree that this is the only feasible lineup. One thing I wanted to throw out there: Why didn’t Bradley use his 3rd sub last night and give Jones a little rest by bringing on Edu after the goal? Jones looked pretty tired by the end.

  18. chris says:

    Pure speculation, but it would not surprise me to hear on Sunday morning that Donovan had been nursing some kind of nagging injury throughout the tournament. My guess, too, is that he starts Sat.

  19. Richd3668 says:

    Agree with Ives starting lineup. When Agudelo gets tired in the second half move Dempsey to striker and Adu to central attacking mid where he can set up plays on both sides of the pitch.

    How about that? Freddy Adu lives!!

  20. Bagdad Bob says:

    It’ll be interesting who goes to the bench once Stuey returns from injury.

    I prefer Donovan going a full 90 but only when he’s committee:,hungry and aggressive.

    Say what you will about his on the field tactics but Bob has always been a good leader of men. It would appear he’s sending a message to Donovan and the rest of the team.

  21. Elliot says:

    No Wondolowski? I’m appalled.

  22. Goalscorer24 says:

    Game against Mexico is going to be tough, they look really good. I just hope the US puts pressure on them and does not sit back in a bunker. If we do that they will punish us.

  23. bryan says:

    i agree with this lineup 100% and that the subs should be Edu, Adu, and Sasha.

    i’m curious to know if Guardado’s ankle will be okay for the game. Also, what was Salcido’s deal asking to be subbed off last night?

  24. Black Flag says:

    Donovan, Dempsey and Bedoya will be the key. Howard will keep us in the game, for the 1st 20mins. When Mexico does what it always does, go after you for the 1st 20mins. They never change their game plan.

  25. Bagdad Bob says:

    I remember when that response was funny.

  26. chris says:

    Good question. Why not bring him in just on time-wasting grounds for the last 3-5? Maybe he just though Jones and MB90 had the midfield pretty locked up and didn’t want to take a chance upsetting the equilibrium? Maybe he was holding the last sub in case it went into overtime?

  27. josh says:

    +1 to the Steve Martin reference…

  28. Felix says:

    I’d go with this. Adu can be an impact sub off the bench. I am concerned with fatigue – but Mexico should have the same issue since they’ve had to play a lot of the same players as well and having to play extra time.

    If we’ve seen anything, its that we have to put pressure on Mexico and not give them time and space on the ball, good tight defensive pressure with help always near by will keep this game close. Also, Torrado and Marquez aren’t exactly spring chickens anymore, they are very susceptible to quick ball movements.

  29. Kevin_Amold says:

    Seems clear to me that Bedoya will be headed to the bench. He’s played well for us lately, but Stuart has to get a crack.

  30. Todd Hollingshead says:

    Hmmm. Good logic, Chris. It could be that he was keeping it in his back pocket just in case Panama equalized. I hadn’t thought of that. I was just thinking he should have at least used it to waste a little time. My major concern is I think Jones looked pretty wasted at the end. In fact most the starters have played a lot of minutes. interesting to see how that plays out Saturday.

  31. KNPonder says:

    Hard to see Bradley going with anything much different than what Ives has. I think Donovan and Dempsey could swap spots though. I expect that they will interchange during periodically the match. A Donovan and Agudelo combo could definitely pose problems for Mexico on the counter. Honduras played well against Mexico last night and I think that it showed some weaknesses. Honduras’ five-man midfield caused Mexico problems despite the fact that Castro was in the lineup to help Torrado. It looked like Honduras played a 4-3-2-1 and they did a good job of pushing Mexico wide (kudos to Suarez). I doubt that Bradley would go that route but it would be interesting to see the US use this formation and swap Edu for Bedoya. With that said, I don’t think it is necessary as long as Dempsey, Donovan, and Bedoya commit to working defensively, and I think they will.

  32. Good Jeremy says:

    No article on the Mexico game last night? Not scoring until extra time and whatnot? With that and the Guatemala game they are looking mighty mortal while we are starting to hit something similar to a stride…

  33. Since 82 says:

    I would rather see Dempsey up top for Agudelo. Slide Adu into the hole (vacated by Dempsey).

    Reasoning … I’m still concerned of our ability to move forward in a creative way (even if Donovan has replaced Kljestan) and believe that Adu’s efforts will be more fruitful (than Agudelo’s) and think that we could then sub out Adu (and bring Agudelo on for a 4 4 2) to finish Mexico off.

  34. josh says:


    Keep em’ guessing!

  35. GONATS says:

    That is insane. Even a “bad” game for Donovan (meaning he is not aggressive, because he rarely, if ever, makes big mistakes) is about the same as a good game for guys like Bedoya and Sacha. We have something like 7 goals in this tournament and I think Donovan had a hand in about 5 of them. Even when he is not being aggressive, he is still the U.S.’s best or second best player.

  36. Erik the Orange says:

    I prefer Oscar the Grouch off the bench and I think that is the best option for the USMNT going forward in the next Lollipop and Gumdrop Bowl. Big Bird peaked in UnicornLand is not a 90 minute national team player anymore. Cookie Monster is better in the second half when Count Chocula has delivered the milk.

  37. KNPonder says:

    Nice. I would turn the TV off if that lineup was announced. This does remind of the time (2002 World Cup I believe)that Arena came out with the 3-5-2 against Mexico. They had no answer . . . Reyna abused them.

  38. Joamiq says:

    Haha. I laughed.

  39. Joamiq says:

    Yep, this has to be the lineup.

  40. Good Jeremy says:

    I remember that game too. Balls of steel for Arena with that lineup.

    Here’s hoping for another 2-0 win with Marquez getting a late red in honor of that game.

  41. cps says:

    Definitely agree with this. Something’s going on.

  42. DaMA says:

    Wait… he peaked in SA (as the best american player)… and within a year he is no longer good enough to even start? That is insane. Klejstan was a turnover machine and you would still start him over someone who is *at worst* our second best attacking player? Huh?

  43. srfinger says:

    Cross that bridge when we get there. After the 2007 Gold Cup you would have thought Feilhaber was a lock, then a year later he wasnt even a sub. Klestjan started the first game of the hex, and then didnt make the WC team. Ricardo Clark starts at the world cup and now is way down the pecking order.

    No one knows how we will look by next summer.

  44. joe dirt says:

    U left out Elmo, or is he coming off the bench as the super sub, and what about Bert and Earnie hard to leave that tandem out.

  45. Britt Ritter says:

    Couldn’t you use the same “benching” mentality that was used on LD, and start Gooch?

    Something tells me that he wants to have his chance to earn his way back, and I think Mexico has a visceral reaction when thy picture the “Borgetti Staredown.”

  46. malkin says:

    follow-up comment ftw

  47. Byron says:

    Where’s Ochocinco?

  48. Thomas Rongen says:


  49. More Speculation says:

    Did they ever announce what Donovan’s “illness” was that kept him out of the Spain friendly? Perhaps this mystery injury you speak of has been lingering for a while…

  50. Me says:

    I believe Donovan was playing on the left side last night, although the assist was obviously made from the right. I like to think of the 3 attacking midfielders as ‘a nebulous’, in which they can interchange positions at will. Point being, even if Donovan plays on the left, he won’t stay on that side the whole game.

  51. John H. says:

    Of course no Wondolousy

  52. s-bah says:

    Interesting to hear about all this Donovan speculation on ESPN radio. Anyone else listen to the HERD? It’s nice to hear the USMNT get some serious air time and hear Colin go off about his love/hate relationship with the team. Anyway, it was very interesting to hear A. Hopkins mention that it could be a fatigue issue, a tactical issue or (the wild card) maybe something to do with him taking off for the wedding….

  53. Modibo says:

    Exactly my thoughts.

  54. Frank says:

    Hitting a stride? Beating Jamaica and barely getting thru an undermanned Panama is not hitting stride to me. Mexico is definitely the better team right now but anything can happen.

  55. Me says:

    I agree that Bob was holding the last sub as an ace in the hole. Good ‘strategery’, IMO. In regards to the minutes stacking up for many of our starters, this is definitely a concern. But, it’s also affecting our opponent. Two things that ease my mind slightly: 1) the fact that el Tri played an extra 30 minutes last night & 2) Mexico’s roster has 5 players that originally didn’t make the cut. So, I think we may have the depth advantage and the fatigue advantage.

  56. Bugman says:

    Just when I thought the “SBI Insane Group Opinion” had reached its peak (BTW, this was the “sit Bradley, he’s not playing for club” argument pre-GC)…the “Landon is past his prime and better suited for the bench” argument surfaces. This is so insane it makes no sense to outline why its insane. Just show some self awareness for your insaneness, get some help, and watch LD slay Mexico, like always does and will do for about ~3+ more years from now.

  57. Murphy says:

    Good lineup. I wonder if Bob was surprised when Klejstan’s decent game against Jamaica wasn’t followed by a stellar performance vs. Panama.

    What would really be great is if Holden was healthy and was playing in the middle with Clint on the outside. I’m still pissed about that tackle that hurt him. That would be the ideal lineup.

    I think the back four have played really well especially Goodson, who I didn’t know was this good. He’s also really good in the air. Lichaj could be the answer at LB if he develops his left foot.

    I’m really looking forward to the game Saturday…

  58. Me says:

    That’s a scary game plan. My feeling every time I watch the Yanks play is that if we can make it through the first 20 minutes without conceding, we’ll probably win. Based on what you said, the first 20 minutes will be HUGE in this final.

  59. boosted335 says:

    20 minutes without mention of Ream on USMNT post. new record

  60. hogatroge says:

    Adu Adu Adu
    Adu Adu
    Adu Adu Adu Adu

  61. Eurosnob says:

    I actually called it as one of the possibilities on these boards. It was logical to start the same players that did so well against Jamaica, while at the same time strengthening the bench and saving Donovan’s legs for the match against Mexico. It was risky but it worked. Donovan went 45 minutes and Dos Santos,for example, went 120 minutes against Honduras. If they have to go at each other, with such a short turnaround, Donovan should have an edge by being fresh.

  62. Eurosnob says:

    I agree. This is the most likely starting line up. You have to start Donovan against Mexico.

  63. Martin says:

    Why are they looking “mighty” mortal? WHY???

    1. As a tournament progresses it takes a huge physical toll! Teams get tired, especially flying the enormous distances you fly in the US.

    2. Teams get their tactics figured out, find out how to nullify important players! etc

    3. Mexico has scored eighteen times and received two goals!!!

    4. US scored seven times and received two goals!

    5. Chicharito has 7 goals, De Nigris 4…Dempsey 3!

    6. Mexico beat Honduras 2-0, hit the post twice and Giovani missed a chance at the 85th minute that was almost worse than Dempseys the other day! Right after Dos miss Honduras had theitr only clear chance which no doubt would’ve been if not for an excellent upper 90 save by their keeper. In what way is that looking mortal?

    7. The ‘Catrachos’ like nothing more than to beat Mexico. They live for it, even more than Landon Donovan, so they’re always going to play much better and rise to the occasion against them!

    Dismiss Mexico and kiss the Cup goodbye!

  64. Jeff says:

    And you went and blew it

  65. Eurosnob says:

    Frank, the team is playing better than at the start of the tournament, while Mexico’s play has regressed. You can bash Jamaica all you want, but it took Mexico 120 minutes to beat Honduras, the team that finished behind Jamaica in their group. And Honduras had a chance to win it at the end of the regulation. It should be a good final.

  66. Wm. says:

    Gotta believe Elliot was joking around a bit…

  67. Damien Ellis says:

    That will never happen again, Marquez, especially in this Gold Cup has shown a lot of composure and has kept a cool head. Would be nice, but it won’t happen!

  68. boosted335 says:

    haha actually “josh” did when he listed his gag lineup

  69. John1 says:

    Good points Felix but some of Mexico’s players looked gassed after last night, almost everyone. Marquez looked like he needed a mask. The U.S. players look much better in that respect. And only having played 25 min. against Jamaica and 45 min. against Panama, Donovan will have fresh legs to go all out in one game. It should be a good game, but I see the U.S. wining a thriller, 1-0 or 2-0, maybe 2-1.

  70. Josh Trott says:

    I would agree with the line up. As long as Bob doesn’t do anything stupid, you have to start Landon. Hes a play maker and a 90 minute type player. Only thing I think may be up for grabs is the Bedoya spot. Only Bobby knows.

  71. Waterlewd says:

    Edu has his shirt on at the end of the match, so I think BB was going to sub out Jones but didn’t get the chance. The Panamanians wasted time effectively towards the end with their whining and flopping around near the penalty box. So, no need I guess.

  72. Addage says:

    I have slowly moved to the anti-Bradley camp. He is not up to WC coaching tactically.

    Panama’s plan was excellent. They flooded the sides making it difficult to go down the flanks. The remedy is to move the ball rapidly side to side but the D, especially Goodson, was very slow with the ball. That allowed Panama to reset and rest.

    Howard also makes poor decisions with the ball. He handed possession back to Panama numerous times.

    The US is not a naturally creative team. It needs strong tactical coaching. It’s not like we have Michael Jordan out there with Dean Smith keeping him under 20/game.

    Bradley’s personnel development is very good and Michael Bradley is a strong and consistent player. But Bob is not creative and cannot game plan as effectively as the coaches he is matched against. The US should make a change.

  73. Eurosnob says:

    In fairness to Jeremy, these boards were full of claims that Mexico will continue to pile up 5-0 wins for the rest of the tournament and that the US does not stand a chance. And Mexico’s 5-0 victories at the group stage mean nothing, when Mexico has to face the US in the finals. What might play a bigger role in the final, however, is that Mexico was unable to put away Honduras in the regulation time and had to play 120 minutes with the next game coming up on Saturday. I agree with you that Mexico should not be taken lightly, but let’s not act as if they are Spain, Brazil or Argentina. They are beatable. It should be a good final to watch.

  74. Colin says:

    I really like Adu; this is a hilarious comment. I think he earned a starting spot. I can’t see the pressure being any higher than the pressure last night, and I think Adu would do well starting. It would certainly give Mexico problems because it would be surprising and essentially a line-up that Mexico hasn’t faced. At least, Adu can use his right foot which Dos Santos cannot.

  75. pipe says:

    Adu in for bedoya????

  76. Brian S. says:

    The beauty of this lineup is that no subs are necessary.

  77. Kevin_Amold says:

    Obviously. But if Stuart comes back today, Bedoya is the one sitting down.

  78. Aljarov says:

    Agudelo hasn’t done anything to warrant a start. Sure, I’m not a fan of Kjlestan and he had a poor outing last match, but I’d be startign Deuce up top (every time, in every formation truth be known) and put Kjlestan in to Dempsey’s MF place at the expense of Agudelo.

    But that;’s just me and hey, I wouldn’t have started Donovan on the bench either. If you advocated that move you’re talking out your arse.

  79. maschu says:

    No way Adu can play in the 4-2-3-1. it would be way better as

    adu, adu

  80. primoone says:

    Jones looked Really tired at the end…Exausted…

    Maybe its because Bradley was getting his stroll on while Jones was left to cover most of the midfield.

    3-2-1…you are on the clock Jones Haters…GO!

  81. Mark F says:

    Is it only obvious to me that you should start Adu in the center attacking mid role. Put Clint on the left, Landon on the right and Agudelo up top. Or you could put Dempsey up top and Bedoya on the left, but Adu NEEDS to be on the field in the attacking mid field role. The guy is so dangerous with the ball at his feet going straight at the goal.

  82. Mark F says:

    Agreed, if you’re not playing the counter-attacking style of the 4-4-2, no need to have the speedster up top. Use Deuce, who can hold it up pretty well and use attacking minded mids (like Adu) behind him.

  83. sodak_in_nyc says:

    We’ve been winning so we haven’t been beating on him but Michael Bradley really hasn’t done much other than to justify his mediocre professional career and club playing time. Edu looked poor but so would most of us in a 10 minute audition. Think about Jones / Holden in the future!!!

  84. Mark F says:

    Holden is not a center defensive mid. He’s more of an attacking mid. I wouldn’t want him patrolling the back of the midfield.

  85. Goalscorer24 says:

    It is always easier to keep a cool head when you are winning.

  86. Kevin says:

    Wow, the Adu love has gotten over-the-top. He had some nice moments but he also had a couple of bad giveaways. Against an experienced and talented Mexico team you can’t give the ball away. I don’t think Adu comes in unless the US is behind in the 2nd half. If they have the lead or tied BB will likely use only defensive-minded subs.

  87. Kevin says:

    Also, keep in mind that Mexico has yet to beat the US with this core group of guys outside of the mile-high, smog-suffocating Azteca. Little Pea is scary but I think the US has the key to beating Mexico.

  88. CÉU CARMESIM says:

    I have serious doubts about the placement at the time of Dempsey’s goal.

  89. chris says:

    No announcement that I heard. Not sure you would want to broadcast an injury to one of your top players three days before the beginning of a tournament if you didn’t have to. But, yes, speculation.

  90. Don Pelayo says:

    Your lineup looks perfect, Ives. I cannot wait!!

  91. Brian says:

    Lol. Fear the Adu! He used to date JoJo!

  92. Indigo Montoya says:

    Dude, more like ‘my first twelver.’ Or my first b-load. That’s just a mess of wolf tickets. It’s not time to put ol’ Landon out to pasture just yet, folks.

  93. OC says:

    I see your point, but I don’t really buy the whole ‘save him for the important game’ idea if its the semifinals of our 2nd (not including Confed Cup) tournament. There was ABSOLUTELY ZERO guarantee that we could beat Panama, and Bradley would be taking SERIOUS flack if Panama went up a goal on us before Donovan came in for 45.

    You may be right, but I wouldn’t be surprised if Donovan pissed BB off or something. Did you guys notice how Deuce was giving him mad props after the goal? I don’t think it was solely for the assist. I get the impression that his position has been in limbo due to a combination of not-to-expectation performances this tournament + some external factor we are not aware of (and I don’t think its an injury).

    Your point about his freshness vs. Mexico is well-noted, though; it will help having a fresh Lando, but you’d be hard-pressed to convince me that this was foresight by BB.

  94. mistaDobalina says:

    i hope your joking! okay Adu had a great stint off the bench, including one great long pass to an open donovan, but you really think he is ready to start vs. Mexico??? slow down there. if bedoya can’t crack it by the 70′ il give Adu a shot.

  95. mistaDobalina says:

    that hair line is deceiving.

  96. Tom says:

    Yeah, Jones, Bradley, Kljestan, etc., etc., will definitely never give the ball away.

  97. ACS says:

    MONO but able to play because it is no longer contagious

  98. Brent McD says:

    That is the lineup. Any other alternative is ridiculous

  99. Crosebud says:

    Donovan should have an edge against Dos Santos because he is a grown man and Dos Santos is still a young woman.

  100. mistaDobalina says:

    well put. the only thing that has me feeling good about this matchup is that Mexico played most all of their top players for 120 mins yesterday vs. a solid Honduras team and another close game before that.

    that said they are playing very well right now, while the US is grinding out 1-0 results.

    all in all its going to be a big day for the “new” players; Lichaj, Agudelo and Bedoya. We need to see excellent performances out of these guys to keep with Mexico.

  101. Indigo Montoya says:


  102. I'm always right says:

    Bedoya is where Stuart was 2years ago and that’s a good thing.
    Eventually, the will probably both be out there with Holden moving into the middle.

  103. josh says:

    Won’t you quit?

  104. Eurosnob says:

    Well, you are right that Duece went out of his way to give credit to Donovan, but this alone does not mean that there’s a feud brewing between BB and Donoval, Deuce could have just been a great teammate. As for BB, whatever his motivation was, BB took a risk by not starting Donovan and it paid off. We are in the finals and Donovan has fresh legs and perhaps a chip on his shoulder to prove that he should be carrying the team.

  105. pancholama says:

    Yes. Yes, yes, yes…….YES!
    And give me some more of “…el siempre electrico, Freddy Adu!”

  106. RSLin208 says:


    3 subs: Bedoya, Kljestan, Edu.

  107. chris says:

    Adu showed more than anyone of the bench or starter besides donovan and dempsey!!! He is Hungry and an Inspired player can be dangerous!!!

  108. hayess says:

    I don’t think Adu is ready for even 70 minutes of soccer vs Mexico. Have him on the bench if we need an offensive spark in the 2nd half.

    Agudelo is the best option at forward as it allows Dempsey to come in behind the forward and fill the gaps whether he plays in the center or on the left.

  109. Eurosnob says:

    Actually, the US had two 2-0 wins and two 1-0 wins.

  110. Reality Says says:



  111. BrianVT says:

    “…but so would most of us…” Speak for yourself. I would look stylin’!

  112. BrianVT says:

    I agree. As pleased as I am to see Adu’s re-emergence in the USMNT picture, his ability to go at game pace for 60-70 min is not known by anyone but the coaching staff.

  113. Josh says:

    I wouldn’t read a BB-LD feud into it so much as Donovan’s historically been one of those players whose confidence affects his play (remember “Landycakes” against Ghana in ’06?). My guess is that Deuce was just trying to get Donovan’s confidence up for the final; god knows the US will need it.

    Deuce also gave some significant props to Adu as well. It was good to see; too often in soccer the goal-scorer is running toward the sideline instead of giving props to the player who made the goal possible.

  114. GW says:

    Donovan has been a very honest interview and pointed out how motivated he gets by having to sit out.

    I realise you think BB to be an incompetent moron but whether there was a physical reason ( injury? fatigue?) or a mental one (staleness from a long season, burn out) it was obvious Donovan was not “right”.

    So BB took the pretty ballsy move of risking elmination with his best player allegedly fit and sitting at least part of the game on on the bench. And replacing him with players most of you, going by the majority of the posts on SBI, felt were should never ever wear as US shirt again (Sacha) or were big disappointments that only Ives liked (Bedoya).

    Most of you would not have done that.

    And that move appears to have paid off.

  115. Skydog says:

    You are right that Donovan is much more effective when he is playing on the right (or centrally). When he plays on the left he gets the ball a lot less (and we hear complaints about him ‘disappearing”) and is a lot less dangerous. Take this season for example: For LA he had 0 goals and was saying he “didn’t care about scoring” and then Arena moved Becks to the middle which freed up LD to the move to his natural right side. Within 5 or 6 games he was leading the league in scoring.

    Not sure what the solution is – Bedoya needs to be on the field. One possibility is Dempsey left, LD center and Bedoya right since we are playing a 4-5-1 which means LD would have defensive cover.

  116. GW says:

    Holden is not a winger

    You are assuming Holden, coming off of a serious knee inury comes back as good as he was.

    All knee injuries are different but it’s a lot to expect Holden to be right back to his best next saeson. I hope he proves me wrong but the year after is more reasonable and he’ll be pushing 28 by then.

  117. GW says:

    When have the US sat back in a “bunker” this tournament?

    If the US saw the Honduras game they will come out very “physical”.

  118. sodak_in_nyc says:

    We need a Jewish Carpenter…why can’t 300 million people sire a little pea?

  119. sodak_in_nyc says:

    Jones is a beast and a classic 6…he roamed forward against Panama because they stayed in their half…send Stu forward and let Jones play Whitey Bolger in midfield.

    Let me put it this way, whom else in the 11 would you have on your side in a dark alley.

  120. FulhamPete says:

    I disagree…there’s just no way we should be stifling Adu by putting him in a formation as pedestrian as a 4-4-2.

    Adu Adu Adu
    Adu Adu Adu
    Adu Adu Adu Adu

  121. Chad OchoCinco says:

    Child Please

  122. dibo says:

    donovan edu bradley adu
    eric L. Boca Goodson Cherlundolo

  123. dibo says:

    It was so clear to me, especially in the 4-5-1 set, that we need more skill players like Adu. Adu can turn on a ball. Saha and Bedoya have more trouble in that area – we are right now a team of players who are good in transition, but who lack the higher level skills to play in tight spaces a la Spain/Brazil, etc. Adu has skill on the ball, giveaways or not. Aguedelo has a lot of variety in his game as well, and Dempsey. Everyone else is fit and fleet, but even Landon has trouble when not on the flank. Hate to say it, given his record, but we need Adu.

  124. Tony says:

    Ha! Nice!

  125. Dempsey has an ego too – so it was doubly nice to see him giving credit to Donovan and Adu. Not that Dempsey doesn’t deserve to have an ego – he does – but still, pretty cool to see. Good team chemistry builder there.

  126. Brett says:

    Back 4 and keeper are set. I would stick with the Bradley/Jones partnership ahead of that. And then a trident of attacking midfielders. Bedoya, Donovan, and Adu. Dempsey alone up top in the hold-up forward role. Agudelo has done well so far, but I think he is better used as a sub.

    I know it seems drastic to start Adu, but I think it is important that we put in a wrinkle that Mexico won’t be able to prepare for. Kljestan just hasn’t looked worth a spot while Adu and Bedoya both have.

  127. I keep seeing this pop-up and if I’m coming to hard its at the repetition not you. Bradley, Jones and Edu do not belong on the field at the same time. They are all much too similar players. I would argue Edu is the most defensive of the three and that Jones and Edu both only add minimally to the attack. Jones has been showing more up top though so maybe if you pulled them upfield a bit it might work. My problem is there is nothing being started in the midfield with these three. Edu isn’t particularly exciting going forward and Jones and Bradley are only the slightest bit better. It just doesn’t make sense to put all 3 of them in, especially at the expense of a player who can create our attack. I could see the argument to finish out a game but not to start one.

  128. Kevin_Amold says:

    Who said Holden would play as a winger? All I said was Bedoya sits down.

  129. marco says:

    Agudela and Kljestan come off. Donovan plays high with Deuce, no target striker. Spector and Bedoya play the wings, the rest remains the same. Spector, Lichaj, Bedoya and Dolo give plenty of outside speed to contain Gio and Guard. Now Michael needs to recover from a terrible game to keep it close. Torrado and Jones receive red cards to open up play.

  130. bsrumorz says:


    it’s more like:

    regular-sized Ditka

  131. dgoshilla says:

    How much better is this team with Chandler, Diskerud and Holden available. Man…

  132. Joe says:

    I once shofted Mary Lou in the backseat of my dad’s Buick. Best 60 seconds of my life.

  133. Hector says:

    like he kept a cool head in WC qualifying and went studs into howard’s leg?

  134. Justa Guy says:

    I’d like to see one change from what Ives discusses. My attacking midfielders, left to right:
    Dempsey, Adu, Donovan

    Bedoya has looked smart, but where is the production? I would expect Adu to be subbed out early in the second half. Adu looked creative and confident in his 20 or 25 minutes, and provided a definite spark. Given the consistently slow starts by USMNT this tourney, I’d rather see that spark early. Donovan also is a playmaker, and best from the right. Keep Demsey on the left. Ideally, later in the game with the lead, sub in more possession-minded players.

  135. Justa Guy says:

    Dempsey Adu Donovan
    Jones Bradley
    Lichaj Bocanegra Goodson Cherundolo

  136. Justa Guy says:

    Hate to be pessimistic, but here is my prediction:

    Mexico 1-0 USA

  137. Justa Guy says:

    yes! see my thoughts below

  138. Justa Guy says:

    Sorry, can’t agree. He looks creative, has been moving around, being a playmaker, making assists.

    I wouldn’t be opposed to moving Dempsey up with donovan on the left in a 4-4-2

  139. Paul Thomas says:

    The USA sires tons and tons of athletes. Most of them go into sports other than soccer. That’s what people don’t get when they say things like this– the US’s “soccer population” is a fraction of that of, say, Germany (let’s not even go into Brazil, which is almost as heavily populated as the US to begin with), even though the overall population is higher.

    Take Dustin Pedroia, raise him in a country which pretty much does nothing other than play soccer, and I bet he ends up being Javier Hernandez or better.

  140. Justa Guy says:

    I agree, but I’d switch Adu and Donovan

  141. JPGR says:


    Haven’t you noticed that we are a better team without him starting?

    Please, no more Jozy in the starting 11 when he comes back from injury!

  142. JPGR says:

    Didn’t the Monkees do that one?

  143. marco says:

    El Tri 4 USA 1. Two USA red cards.

  144. Edwin in LA says:

    I know this is bias of my dislike for Sacha, but despite some DECENT play from the ex-Goats star, he still loses the ball very VERY easily & yes he had a nice pass vs Guadalupe that Deuce should converted but that wasn’t exactly the easiest place to finish, Bedoya on the other hand, he got robbed of like 4 assists with Dempsey alone lol

    In any case, I think I would rather see Jonathan Spector come in and play midfield, if he can do it in the EPL or in the FA/Carling Cup against the likes of Man United & SUCCEED then I think he can handle the MF of Pablo Barrera who was his teammate at West Ham & knows him somewhat but got more PT than Barrera, Andres Guardado who had a horrible season he started he didn’t do much (This Gold Cup may have saved his stay in Spain. Valencia may sign him), & of course the holding MF of Israel Castro former of Pumas & Gerardo Torrado who I will predict will earn the 2nd or 1st yellow for Mexico beating out Marquez lol

    Hell I think we should use 3 defenders on the bench Ream, Gooch, Bornstein then Edu, Adu, Kljestan. No Wondo, no Rogers too bad Jozy is hurt otherwise no Sacha either!

    We might need people who can A) Keep possesion and B) GET the ball back. Ream can do this, so can Spector and Adu & Edu are also options! Gooch might be needed if Mexico starts attacking the wings with crosses! Just my 2 dollars (Long post)….

  145. Stephen says:

    +1 Well played

  146. jlm says:

    what? I thought it was his toe