Who should the USMNT start vs. Panama?

USALineupVsJamaica (ISIPhotos.com)

The U.S. men's national team can move into the 2011 Gold Cup Final with a win on Wednesday night, and whether that goal is reached will be determined in large part by the lineup decisions head coach Bob Bradley makes.

Bradley actually has some tough calls to make after seeing several players step up in the team's quarterfinal victory against Jamaica. While the back four should be the same as it was against Jamaica, Bradley has to shuffle some things around now that he has a fully rested Landon Donovan and with Jozy Altidore expected to miss the match with a hamstring injury.

So which moves will Bradley make? Here is one potential lineup we could see take the field against Panama in Houston on Wednesday night:


Some thoughts:

Agudelo played well enough against Jamaica to get the start. Chris Wondolowski is the other option, but Agudelo's physical qualities make him better suited to cause problem's for Panama's back-line. Jozy Altidore would be a good option against Panama, but he's unlikely to play due to his hamstring injury.

Alejandro Bedoya gets the nod over Sacha Kljestan, though of Bradley decides for a more veteran group he could also start Kljestan in the central midfielder role and put Dempsey on the wing. Having Bedoya and Donovan on the wings would give the Americans a better tandem to deal with Panama's speed on the wing.

Something to note about the above lineup. Donovan, Dempsey and Bedoya can each play any of the three midfield slots in the 3 of the 4-2-3-1, so playing them together would allow for some serious interchanging, which would cause problems for Panama's defense.


What do you think of the above lineup? Which lineup would you like to see start vs. Jamaica?

Share your thoughts below.

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

173 Responses to Who should the USMNT start vs. Panama?

  1. JS says:

    Lineup looks great on paper…I hope it plays out just as well.

  2. Chris A says:

    I like that lineup of course kljestian can fit in fine there too…if jozy’s done is there any chance of a replacement coming in?

  3. Stephen says:

    I completely agree with your lineup 100% but I fear Bradley will play Sacha and Wondo because he never does what I actually want to see

  4. kimo says:

    4-2-3-1…absolutely must be utilized going forward. Using Jone and Bradley in a static 4-4-2 just hasn’t worked…for obvious reasons.

  5. Jeff Awesome says:

    I think that’s about right. I don’t like having an 18-year-old as our #1 striker, but it’s what we’ve got.

  6. Iam_carey says:

    The only weak spot I see there is Goodson. I just haven’t been all that impressed with him, and I don’t get the “oh, good… he’s back there” feeling like I do with Bocangegra & Cherundolo. I LOVE the team of Bocangegra & Lichaj on the left — they were a 2-man wrecking & attacking crew vs Jamaica.

  7. Alex says:

    I don’t believe that’s the case, unfortunately.

  8. Igor says:

    Nothing about the US Open Cup? tsk tsk

  9. JW says:

    The wild card formation would be using both Bedoya and Kljestan with Dempsey up top, but I think Agudelo gets the nod for being generally useful off of the ball.

  10. Jeremy says:

    who needs a replacement…we have robbie rodgers in the 23.

  11. Kanu says:

    Kljestan made the 4-2-3-1 work against Jamaica. Either he or Bedoya has to sit if Donovan gets back in the 11, tough to sit either of them. Both were great off the bench against Panama in the group stage. Not sure what the best play is here.

  12. Jeremy says:

    this sounds like the best lineup…and give options…Sacha in for bedoya or Agudelo (moving demps up top) if either arent up to it.

    I’m not the biggest fan of Sacha but he does have a knack for slithering through crowded spaces with some nice 1-2s, which may be needed if Panamas bunker is strong.

  13. Eric120 says:

    Has there been an update on Jozy Altidore’s condition?

  14. arob says:

    i think you gotta sit jones with the yellow against Jamaica……he’s bound to pick up another against Panama if he starts. Put in Edu.

  15. Sb says:

    Have to say I dont know why Agudelo hasn’t been getting more praise. Young striker with great technical skills and ability to create his own shot. We’d all be talking about his awesome play if Jones didn’t miss. Also had some other great moments. Happy with the lineup though. Wish Holden was back to complete the 4-2-3-1

  16. Spectra says:

    Any news yet on Altidore’s MRI?

  17. Andrew says:

    lets win this game first. we already looked past panama once. we can beat mexico with edu and bradley together. It will be about the back marking chicharito and finishing up top. but lets have jones help us get there and if he picks up the card, then at least we are in the final.

  18. jmac says:

    This is correct, and the 4-4-2 failure can also be attributed to the lack of 2 forwards that can play effectively together.

    And when Holden and Feilhaber get back, the rotation for the top 3 is even stronger.

  19. DingDong says:

    Because US fans have learned not to hype young attacking players.

  20. bizzy says:

    Donovan is too lazy to play the flanks (AND THAT DOESN’T MEAN HE’S A BAD PLAYER!!!!!). Bedoya brings energy on the wing….so does Cherudolo and Lichaj but they don’t need to be overlapping that far up when we have wingers. Donovan needs to be committed to opening up the play and floating in crosses from the corner. Either way Panama is toast

  21. Guy says:

    Bench Donovan he is such a scrub, play Adu in his place, we all know how great Adu is. He should be going the full 90.

  22. Steve McSteve says:

    I wish we could’ve called up a stronger 23. It would’ve been nice to have Chandler (strange club situation), Holden, DeMerit and Feilhaber (injuries). Instead we have wasted spots on guys like Adu and Rogers.

    I don’t want to be accused of looking past Panama, but if we start the same lineup we did against Jamaica (with Agudelo obviously in for Altidore) I don’t see how we’ll compete with Mexico on such short rest.

    Tim Ream’s poor showing against Panama got him benched, and Bradley appears to have no trust in Bornstein, Spector or Onyewu (not that I blame him for that), so we’re gonna have a weary back line.

    If we had DeMerit we could give Bocanegra a rest. If we had Chandler we could give Cherundolo a rest. If Holden weren’t hurt we could rest Bradley or Jones.

    Personally, I’d give Ream and Edu the chance to start this game and rest Bocanegra and Jones. If we can’t trust them against Panama, there’s no way we can trust them against Mexico, and I’d hate to go into Mexico using all the same guys on 2 days rest.

  23. Jake says:

    I’d say wondo is out of the picture after not even dressing in the first knockout stage match

  24. USMNT Fan says:

    If we had Holden he’d probably be starting and if we had Demerit he would likely be starting by now.

  25. Jake says:

    I think he got some bad news from his scan since earlier in the day he tweeted “Fingers crossed, hopefully nothing to bad.” and since then…nothing

  26. USMNT Fan says:

    Having said that I see your point.

  27. chris antonio says:

    I think we need to put howard up top…. he needs experience incase we are desperate against mexico and have to send him in for the corner. It would also give Rimando a chance to prove himself.

  28. Nick says:

    I hate posts like this. Can never pick out the serious parts. (I agree that with current form donovan may be best suited to a super sub role, but don’t agree about freddy starting at this point)

  29. Hush says:

    Alex Morgan & Abbi on top!… Oops, keep forgetting they aren’t not available for the mens squad. Damn. :(

    In all seriousness. I would love to see the same lineup against Jamaica minus Sasha slow klestan. We have other guys that can pass backwards 90% of it’s possession. I would like to see Adu in his place. Atleast this kid can go forward for a few times with his passes. And don’t come to me about his defensive tactics cause I can care less for that. We have 10 defenders already, we need OFFENSE! Sasha is horrible on defense and offense, so AFUERA, time to let a new player show us what he can offer.

  30. Nick says:

    I know his history but 1 card (that I remember) in 4 games is no guarantee he’ll pick up a 2nd

  31. rick says:

    dempsey is trying too hard. He tries moves that are uneccessary and at this rate he may be hurting our team more Onyewu in the world cup

  32. bizzy says:

    “We have 10 defenders already”…..
    +1 I like that

  33. fischy says:

    I think you’re trying too hard. YOu make unnecessarily sweeping comments and you may be hurting this thread even more than arob.

  34. fischy says:

    This is the quarterfinals. Single-elimination and al that. No one gets “rested” for the semis.

  35. Winning says:

    He also got a card against Canada and he is pretty bad about getting cards, but I couldn’t care less whether Bradley chooses to rest him or not.

    I hope Bradley does what he thinks is best for winning the tournament.

  36. rick says:

    that isnt funny… just like it isnt funny how bad agudelo is, he is greatly overrated and should be replaced by adu

  37. ChemTrails says:

    Jones needs to bring it again..

    I like

  38. colin says:

    I know what you mean, Bocangegra just fills me with a sense of security.

  39. Lil' Zeke says:

    He had at least one other

  40. Freddy Adu says:


  41. Mingjai says:

    Given Altidore’s injury, I hope the forwards depth chart looks like this–


  42. chris says:

    After a good showing the other night.. why do I have this weird suspicious feeling BB will send out a lineup with at least 2 extremely confusing head scratching moves???

  43. eh says:

    In the past when we started with 4-2-3-1 we often started poorly and then when we changed to 4-4-2 we often saw a marked improvement. I wonder if this was primarily due to the selection of Edu as the CAM where he didnt fit well w/Jones and Bradley as the three have similar qualities. I agree that we should definitely try more 4-2-3-1 but only if the CAM is more of an attacking player. In addition to, Holden & Feilhaber adding strength to the rotation (as you assert), if you also consider the inclusion of Chandler and Torres into the mix, we have some good depth.

  44. I think Agudelo’s positioning off the ball has been great. Considering his age and experience, he’s been tremendous.

  45. Nick says:

    Ah my mistake. And yes I agree, in the final without Jones is better than Jones being eligible for a final we aren’t in

  46. Jamie Z. says:

    Mikey is going to start and he is going to have a massive chip on his shoulder.

    Big mistake, McLeish.

  47. MemphisRogues says:

    If Donovan plays on the left he has to interchange with Deuce. SK and Deuce executed that wonderfully. Also Bradley and jones must stay back to orchestrate and cover the outside backs attacking. Otherwise the strengths of the 4231 can’t be exploited. Only weeks ago we all declared the 4231 dead.

  48. erikwmark says:

    i seriously think giving wondo the first 45 might not be a terrible idea–let him knock around with balou a bit before bringing in juan. spector should at least be on the bench to give the option to rest cherundolo if the game is in hand.

  49. Ben says:

    I like this line-up very much. I think you give the nod to Bedoya because Dempsey looked very comfortable and happy in the middle of the field, and Bedoya has more speed than Sacha on the outside, though I can see Bob going with Sacha instead.

  50. Cole says:

    I totally agree, I mentioned this on a post before last game. Donovan tends to hurt the idea of play the 4231 cause he doesn’t move out of his position enough. Dempsey is great at roaming the pitch and that makes him very difficult to defend.

    If donovan interchanges with Deuce like you mentioned the lineup will succeed.

  51. erikwmark says:

    the success of the formation against jamaica was predicated in part on the fact that jones attacked like a mad man. we don’t need two holding mids against teams that bunker. cherundolo also attacked a lot less in that game, cause we actually had width in the midfield.

  52. erikwmark says:

    believe it or not, i think sasha (over edu) really helped.

  53. dan says:

    I’ve been preaching 4-2-3-1 for YEARS, FINALLY Bradley listens 😛

    why play 2 strikers when you barely have 1!

  54. Seriously says:

    That is the perfect line-up to my Ives. I would like to see this line-up as the go-to for the USMNT right now. I think it plays to our strengths and gets the best people on the field at once. I like Agudelo over Jozy even if healthy with this formation because of how well he links with the midfielders. I also think that once Stu is back that moving demps back to the wing and putting Stu in the middle would be the best line-up and formation we could possibly have with the players in our pool. Perhaps chandler over dolo if chandler is sticking with us, but dolo is no slouch either.

    Also Stu could slot in on the right if Demps is a better fit for the middle, either player can play either role well.

  55. Seriously says:

    Anyone that mentions adu starting over anybody instantly loses all credibility.

  56. Josh says:

    Yep, and he’s already better than Jozy in terms of positioning and off-the-ball movement.

  57. dgoshilla says:

    Last week vs Jamaica we all learned that Donovan aka What About baby steps Bob doesn’t add a thing to the field. He’s lazy, complains, doesn’t track back and only plays for 15 minutes a game. I’d rather have Bedoya start over him. Bring LD on for 20 minutes. Maybe he’ll actually give an effort.

  58. Seriously says:

    I never want to see Wondo in a USMNT shirt again.

    I didn’t want to see him in one in the first place, but he has been horid and I would much rather have a creative presence whose finishing isn’t atrocious for the full 90 rather than only 45 mins due to putting out a cone for the first 45.

  59. dgoshilla says:

    I think its much too early to write him off. He’s a proven goal scorer in MLS and deserves more playing time. He’s earned it. It takes time to get up to speed with International play. Maybe he isn’t capable but I don’t think we’ve seen his best.

  60. sir coble says:

    I think donovan knows how to reserve energy for the whole 90 minutes, and bedoya does not. I do think donovan has been holding back an awful lot, but having them both run their arses off for 45 minutes each might be nice to see.

  61. Seriously says:

    I think he is a bit player for San Jose who fits well into their scheme but that is all. Edson Buddle has “earned it” just as well and I think he is a better fit internationally than Wondo yet he isn’t here. I have seen enough of Wondo. I think he is a fine MLS player, but that is all he is. Like Conor Casey, some players can do well in league play and it simply doesn’t transfer over. After watching many MLS matches I simply feel that Wondolowski is a higly over-rated striker. He had a great run of goals but almost nothing about his play or the goals he scored was impressive. He benefitted on many counter attacks and poor defending while scoring many goals from near the 6.

    I think Wondo is a great MLS player, or at least a great player for the San Jose system, but I just don’t think he has it in him to be an international striker. I do like him better than Findley though. At least Wondo can put it in the net in club play.

  62. Indigo Montoya says:

    I know – Boca’s been there and done that, so I don’t think anything surprises him.

  63. hogatroge says:

    …and after missing the open net against panama the first time, no matter how good his positioning has been.

  64. Gunar says:

    Yes Carey, but Goodson is a baller…he’s a gamer. He’s one of those guys who’s cool under pressure, the guy you would choose in a pick up game anywhere in the world. Look in his eyes and you’ll see what I’m talking about. I’m not worried about Goodson at all. He’s dangerous on corners too.

  65. Line-up looks strong minus Goodson and Jones. I agree with Dempsey as the central attacking mid due to his versatility with either foot from far out. And I think Bedoya does wonders up front. Haven’t been all that impressed with Donovan’s presence though. He needs to step up. Bradley has done a great job distributing. Although I think Agudelo is smarter with the ball than Jozy, jozy has more confidence and better footwork, also more international experience. All in all a solid line-up. Should be interesting. I think the key will be Cherundalo and Lichaj making good runs for Bradley and Jones to dish out and open the pitch some.

  66. I’d also like to see adu get some playing time. Although he is slack I believe he makes for a good sub. He’s got good vision.

  67. Brad says:

    I am not worried about this game. We just need to finish a bit better. There is no way that Panama can get up to beat us again in 1 or 2 weeks or whatever. Especially w/o their best player.

  68. The game is tomorrow dude haha.

  69. wilyboy says:

    Totally agree with the lineup. Think Dempsey’s been waiting to play that role, and Bedoya is certainly on form.

  70. Indigo Montoya says:

    in recent times, sacha has done nothing to warrant this type of critique

  71. Paul Thomas says:

    Serious question, Seriously: do you want Agudelo starting Saturday and playing 90 minutes after at least 170 and possibly 200 minutes earlier in the same week?

    The USA HAS to use Wondo at this point. There just isn’t any other option (and yes, I know that it’s not a great option). Whether it’s him starting or Agudelo starting and coming off, I don’t care (though I’d incline toward using Agudelo as the sub because you can bring him in earlier if trailing or tied and later if the team has a lead). But you cannot expect an 18-year-old to play those kind of minutes at the top of a single-forward formation.

  72. Supsam says:

    I still think its unfair to judge Wondo in international play when comparing him to Buddle and Casey since they both have played way more minutes than Wondo on the USMNT’s A-team.

    I am a quakes supporter and though you may see it as a bias, Wondo is not overrated. Wondo’s playing style is a rare one for a striker where he isnt physical and he lacks speed. WHat he does have, is a high soccer IQ and a quick release on his shots. You know why alot of his goals looked easy or as you say “unimprerssive”??? Its due to Wondo’s ability to read plays, to lose his markers and confuse his defenders. This allows Wondo to get those easy tap ins and one-timed shots. He single handedly brought San jose one game short of an MLS final even when teams started to focus on him. I guess his style is similar to a poor man’s Inzaghi (sp?) who played for Italy.

  73. Paul Thomas says:

    Jozy also is currently minus one hamstring, so I’m thinking Agudelo is probably the correct choice there.

  74. Brad says:

    referring to me? I meant beat us twice within 1 or 2 weeks…

  75. b says:

    As great as Jones has looked in the last two games, given his yellow card and pulled groin Bradley should hold him out of this one and look to have him fully back for the final.

    I’d also rest Cherundolo and Bradley, I just don’t think much of Panama. They are a bad team that was lucky to score twice and lucky to only concede one goal, plus they’re tired from their last game and missing their most dangerous scoring threat. Rest up and prepare for Mexico.


  76. Supsam says:

    I hope fatigue doesnt creep in to the guys that have played tremendous minutes and will continue to do so. Players like Dolo, Dempsey, Bradley and to an extent Agudelo have played significant minutes this past week or so with no rotations and short breaks in between games.

  77. Supsam says:

    i see what you mean but we cant underestimate Panama again. One mistake could lead to a PK (Ream) or a dangerous free kick (Jones’s yellow)and our game plan goes out the window

  78. b says:

    Yeah that’s why I left Bradley and Dolo out of my lineup, with Dempsey as a forward so he doesn’t have to run as much. Agudelo should be fine though.

  79. b says:

    I think Goodson and Bocanegra are competent enough to not kick Panamenians in the stomach.

  80. Primoone says:






    There will be no over-running our midfield. In addition, you have overlapping speed on the wings. Very well balanced. Ultimately you need your most dangerous player near the 18.

    However, Bradley will play the same formation. He will switch out Sasha for LD and possibly give Wondo another opportunity up top as the spear head.

  81. b says:

    You have Donovan and Bedoya switched…

  82. Supsam says:

    haha +1

    I wonder if Ream ever goes on SBI….

  83. b says:

    I wouldn’t want to rely on Agudelo for 90 and then another 90.
    45/45 with Wondo is the way to go tomorrow.

  84. Brad says:

    that’s why we have to score early and often and finish so that we can sub out some starters earlier in the game and those in the game and sit back and take it easy!!!!

  85. sushant says:

    Given how things have played out, after the GC, I hope the press asks BB:
    – Why did you select R.Rogers over A.Bedoya on the original roster, given that Bedoya has been making good contributions while Rogers hasn’t sniffed the field after Spain?
    – Why wasn’t Z.Whitbread invited to the GC, given that he’s a starting CB for a team that just got promoted to the EPL, whereas you were scrambling for CBs as neither Gooch nor Ream looked ready?

    Also, BB has tried playing Edu, Jones and Junior together. It didn’t work. None of them is very offensive minded, which is why Sacha or Dempsey has a better shot. Of course, S.Holden was the best option :-)

  86. Joe says:

    Love the LandyCakes fan bois going the Adu route when someone questions their hero.

  87. marko says:

    What no Adu?!?!!??!

  88. St. Addi says:

    I agree. We will need Jones’ bite against Mexico. It’s just not worth the risk playing him. Edu has to be good enough to slide in for him against Panama. Let Jones save up that agression for Mexico. The team played awful against Panama last time out and will be ready for revenge. That can be good and bad for a player like Jones who plays with so much emotion. It’s a risk either way, but I think that loss to Panama was a bit of a fluke and with a more focused team they should beat them fairly easily. Let Jones simmer on the sideline and unleash his fury against Mexico.

  89. Seriously says:

    I will agree with you that being down to two options up top is potentially a problem. Though Agudelo’s youth will certainly aid in his recovery.

    I would rather start Agudelo and then hopefully we will be able to score some early goals and you can rest him after that.

    @Supsam, I do indeed think you are viewing Wondo through San Jose made lenses. His high IQ as you put it may well be fine and dandy in MLS but this isn’t MLS. If Wondo does see the field I hope he manages to bag a hat-trick and we win on goals only scored by the guy. I don’t see that happening but I would love to see it. Then after that I would still not want him to don the red, white, and blue again. Better strikers than Wondo have done greater scoring feats in CONCACAF competitions and amounted to little else. Stand behind your guy all you want, but he is not the answer the USA needs up top. Gomez or Buddle would have been much better options. Its good he got a look i suppose but his inclusion and Jozy’s injury leaves us thin up top.

  90. all three attacking midfielders can change? That sounds awesome for a team that scores mostly team goals! I really hope we get to see that!

  91. Wm. says:

    Or maybe he hasn’t had the chance to write a follow-up tweet.

  92. Wm. says:

    I think it’s pretty clear Guy is being sarcastic. Why is everyone missing this?

  93. Aero says:

    Wondolowski has looked good in this Gold Cup. He can clearly play at this level. He looks comfortable and has generated some serious scoring chances. He, like the rest of the team, has not been finishing in this tournament.

    The claims that he is “horid” and can’t play at this level are simply nonsense. This is what his close-minded detractors said when he was selected for the USMNT, and they are ignoring the clear evidence on the field in favor of their ignorant pre-tournament opinions.

    Should he be starting? I’m not convinced he’s the best option, but I won’t freak out if he does start…

  94. chris says:

    yeah, i can see Bedoya getting gassed. really like the energy he brings though.

  95. Erock says:

    Wouldn’t mind me some Charlie Davies right now….

  96. Starla says:

    If BB got any balls he won’t change a winning team. Same starters as last game. But mr 7am gameday arrival will probably insert himself somehow.

  97. Starla says:

    And you know you have a problem with the forward pool on the international stage when your alternatives are Agudelo and Wondo, and Charlie Davies would be considered a Saviour.

  98. djemba-djemba813 says:

    Wouldn’t mind seeing Freddy come off the bench for either Donovan or Bedoya once we’ve established a 2-goal lead. Just want to see how’s his game progressed/regressed. He is the hardest of nats to follow.

  99. Brett says:

    Yeah, but only because our top 2 forwards are deployed as midfielders most of the time.

  100. PD says:

    While I agree with a lot of postings here about riding the hot hand and leaving LD on the bench, one has to consider that Panama has speed and technical ability and will intend to use both (unlike Jamaica who seemed very content to hang back and play the counter). LD has a extra gear in his motor that Kljestan has not shown that would allow him to track back.

    As a total aside, I wish that Jonathan Spector could start being considered for the midfield pool rather than just as a sub for Cherundolo. I think he has more to offer in that regard.

    lastly, I would not at all be surprised to see the following if we get up by a margin by halftime:


    Personally, this would be my starting lineup.

    Hear me out: at the risk of overlooking Panama, Jones and Cherundolo could use the rest, so could Dempsey. If it’s goose-eggs at the half you can bring in all three, move the the vaunted 4-2-3-1 and have them on the field if it goes to overtime or penalties.

  101. Robert Kiernan says:

    TWO cards in four games… he got one against Panama for a tackle from behind, it was a pretty marginal call but it was made just the same by the Mexican ref… and then the petulant leg swipe in the Jamaica match which had to be called…again by the same Mexican Referee.

  102. Robert Kiernan says:

    No that was Michael Bradley who picked up the Yellow against Canada.

  103. Ian says:

    By that logic Dempsey would have been banned for life following the Guadeloupe match 😉

  104. Dave from Charlotte says:


    Start Wondo and sub in Agudelo depending on how the game unfolds (i.e. after the half or at the ~60 minute mark depending on effectiveness)

    Barring injuries or yellow card accumulation, bring in S.K for Bedoya at some point after the half and slide dempsey on the wing allowing S.K to operate in the middle (obviously there will be lots of interchange).

    Last sub for whatever circumstances arise or Edu for Jones as a default.

  105. Robert Kiernan says:

    Well it’s clear that Bob Bradley called in some players of questionable ability…more a PR stunt than a real plan methinks, but the act is that he is light on strikers, Wondo is it other than admitting what we all know that Dempsey is NOT a flank midfielder…he’s a finisher not a provider… but we have few other options in camp, and the lack of nearly any flank players is a major pain when we play sides that like to switch possession and run the flacks… look at that first Panama match, did anyone else notice the number of times that BOTH of our wing fullbacks were standing around at the edge of the other teams penalty area… thank God Bob has finally had the brain storm to realize that Boca simply does not have the wheels to play that sort of game out on the flank…VERY glad to see Lichaj out there instead.
    But clearly Bob isn’t playing some guys at all or even letting them ride the pine…Adu, Rogers, Onyewu, Spector… even Edu, so the line up WILL be similar to what we saw against Jamaica… but the sad hard fact is that it’s been over a year since we’ve managed to score more than two goals in ANY match and if we go down early we are going to have to claw our way back… we never should have lost to Panama, but that doesn’t mean we couldn’t again.

  106. john.q says:

    best line-up available. its the only way we can get both donovan and bedoya on the 11.

  107. Alex G says:

    why Bob wanted to bring Adu?, dont get it

  108. Robert Kiernan says:

    Well I’ve thought DeMerit has been showing signs of both age and injuries so I’m fine with him NOT being on this side, but clearly Gooch hasn’t recovered his form and has barely played for a few years now…that truly IS a waste of roster space, it really should have been Michael Parkhurst brought back from Scandinavia to flesh out the central defense… and our lack of flank players is a major weakness…but even when Bob brought in Rogers, who was NOT having a great spring with Columbus, he has been loath to use him… instead he brings back Sacha Kljestan who runs hard but is often a defensive liability… simply put we will have to worry about getting past Panama first before thinking of the Mexicans…and yes that likely means our players will be tired and at a disadvantage come the weekend, but it can’t be helped now…if we lose this match they will all have a nice long rest… and Bunker bob might be “asked” to consider looking for other work… although now that he’s making nearly a million large I tend to think he wouldn’t be eager to do that.

  109. Robert Kiernan says:

    Sacha is getting far more hype than he deserves, clearly he isn’t a “maestro” type pass master, and his defense is often questionable… again he runs hard but he just doesn’t bring all that much to a match… that he is on this roster and say Jose Torres is NOT says so much about our coach… he hasn’t been awful but just what does he provide that say Edu couldn’t? No Indigo i think you should stop paying too much attention to the suck ups from FOX… this selection is far from our best and playing that match against SPAIN so close to this Tournament is helping to leave our side tired come the final… if we make it that far.

  110. kwall says:

    I think Bedoya has past Feilhaber on the depth chart. Bedoya is better than Feilhaber.

  111. Murph says:

    Short attention span, inability to track back, can’t see or make open space and a knack for not finding the back of the net…

  112. Bob says:

    Recipe for a red card?

  113. Robert Kiernan says:

    Freddy has scored all of four goals this year in the Turkish 2nd division… he might be on his way to becoming a decent journeyman professional SOMEWHERE…but the idea that he was brought along to this Tournament and we failed to include a fourth striker, say Edson Buddle or Hercules Gomes or Teal Bunbury, who admittedly is coming off an injury…but now with Lazy Out the door unable to play, Agudelo is CLEARLY NEEDED either at striker of possibly out wide in midfield… and Dempsey simply MUST be used either as an attacking CENTRAL midfielder or at Striker…
    Adu might be the single biggest hype ever in US soccer…he had a great u-20 World Cup, a mediocre Olympics and since then…not very much for ANYBODY! That Bradley selected him over a proven Striker, that Bob selected Onyewu over say Michael Parkhurst, that Bo selected Robbie Rogers over say Dax McCarty, or the Bob Selected Jonathan Bornstein over a block of wood tells me more than enough about who our coaching staff should NOT be…allas, we are stuck with what we have and have to try and make the best of it…but too much Hamburger Helper in the mix doesn’t make for a tasty meal… and the fact is that we haven’t scored very much in quite a while now so let’s hope we don’t get sloppy and give up a laugher early…because there is no guarantee that we make the final… and if we do, well the Mexicans simply have been scoring regularly and that is a fact… Adu might make the bench but there is NO WAY he plays ahead of Agudelo…nor should he.

  114. Murph says:

    So true

  115. Murph says:

    Does Charlie Davies get another look soon?

  116. Robert Kiernan says:

    That’s it exactly…when you have five in the middle there is NO WAY you should be sending your wing fullbacks into the mix as well…
    So glad that Bradley has had the brainstorm to see that Boca can’t play outside…Lichaj is a MUCH better option…

  117. euroman says:

    Goodson has only started in 4 matches in this GC with 3 shut-outs only 2 goals conceded and scored a goal….what did you want from him. He’s far and away our best CB going forward.

  118. White Kix says:

    Bedoya is faster than Feilhaber. Better???? Not a chance. You could make an argument that Bedoya is a better winger (And BB likes to play Feilhaber out of position on the wing), but Feilhaber is much better. Feilhaber is our best passer, by far. Without him, we have no ideas how to breakdown defenses (See our goals for and against during the World Cup with and without Feilhaber on the field).

  119. Robert Kiernan says:

    Well No… we need two things in this match, to actually score at least ONCE and to avoid turning over the ball and giving up a crappy goal…
    Sad fact here is that we CAN’T afford not to play our best side for a half and hope to bring in subs if we need them… Bob Bradley is historically poor at making the timely substitution, he makes them late and often uses the wrong player or the wrong strategy.
    We clearly have some guys on the roster that if not dead wood are seen as such by this coach… and since Altidore is toast, and Rimando isn’t actually here… these are our options:
    Hahnemann will back up Timmy…so he’s riding the pine as the second GK
    Ream and Gooch are the cover at CD…one will be on the bench, one won’t
    Spector and Bornstein as cover for Wing Fullback and possibly for flank midfield as well…on the bench for this one, and might see some time late to spell Dolo.
    Kljestan likely sits for Donovan, who I think might be on the right not the left but who is clearly going to start, and Edu who might also see time in this one…that leaves guys like Robbie Rogers and Freddy Adu picking splinters from their butts, or at least one of them will.
    And Wondolowski as the “other’ Striker

    So really looking at that group, just who would you swap in for the first string… I’d love to look at the bench and see Torres, Buddle, Parkhurst, Gomez, Convey, McCarty, Whitbread… but that just isn’t what we have available … so it’s likely going to be a variation of what we saw against Jamaica, good or bad…that’s simply what we’ve got.

  120. Felix says:

    This is exactly what I would do, the only consideration is perhaps Kljestan over Bedoya only so you can have that sub in your pocket in the second half, because he’s the only sub in the squad that we trust to play in a wide midfield/winger spot.

    And despite all the hate he has received in the past year and a half, Kljestan actually has had a decent tourney.

  121. Eurosnob says:

    This is risky, but has potentially significant upside. One option could be to start the same lineup as they started against Jamaica (except replacing injured Altidore with Agudelo). They played well on Sunday so this is not an entirely unproven lineup. This lineup would also enable BB to bring a key player like Donovan off the bench (where he would have a big advantage against the tired legs of Panama) and rest him for the key final against Mexico (as he would not be playing the full 90 minutes). Of course, the downside is that it is dangerous to look to the next game and overlook the strength of Panama.

  122. Troy says:

    It’s very simple. Start the guys who are the most fired up and ready to go. Don’t start the guys who are timid and lacking energy. Unfortunately Bradley doesn’t seem capable of guiding the team in this direction because they only come out with passion when their backs are to the wall. Great story for an underdog team but we don’t want to forever be the “I think I can” team.

  123. Felix says:

    Exactly, they are probably even, but bring different qualities. Feilhaber is much better passer of the ball, can take clever touches to make space and make an decisive, killer pass. Plus, he does put a solid shift in defensively. Bedoya is MUCH quicker, deadlier in the box with his runs, and is better from wider positions cutting in.

  124. Oh my bad man. haha

  125. Robert Kiernan says:

    I can’t disagree strongly enough, we played poorly against Panama, we played poorly against the might minnows of Guadeloupe and we got lucky with a Red Card against Jamaica… we simply are NOT PLAYING WELL ENOUGH to risk giving up a goal and having Panama bunker in, yes they are missing their scorer… you notice SO ARE WE!??? I’m not a fan of Lazy, but the sad fact is that we have to be able to keep possession and avoid doing something stupid… and playing Bornstein certainly strikes Me as a risk we need not take…Lichaj on the Left side is a given, you could argue maybe about spector playing for Cherundolo, but I wouldn’t do that either, at least not as a starter.
    We haven’t scored much for a good YEAR now and sans Buddle, Gomez, and now Altidore i have absolutely no reason to expect that to change…
    As far as Wondolowski is concerned, the player he is in need of is Bobby Convey to get him the ball… he HAS NOT looked that strong in his few appearances with the NATS and has in fact always been a pretty ordinary player who had ONE strong season but that doesn’t make him an automatic International… I most certainly would NOT start out in a 4-4-2 because it exposes our defense to too many chances… clearly the 4-2-3-1 worked reasonably well the last time out against Jamaica, but the 4-4-2 did NOT against Panama the first time…this is for all the marbles we can’t play an open type run and gun with these guys …it is far too dangerous… saving players for the final inplies we MAKE the final… and that is something that is deadly when you HAVE to win THIS MATCH…

  126. Felix says:

    It took awhile, and we started to do it with Agudelo and Bunbury as well – but I think overall, as a fanbase, we learned that how crazy it is to pump up these kids as the next big thing. Let him grow up and develop into a star and not put so much pressure/expectation on them like we did with Donovan, EJ, Adu and Altidore.

  127. Felix says:

    Talking about overrated, people really need to get over Torres. Feilhaber can do everything Torres can do – just better. I love how the fanbase pumps up the guy who has barely played, then tear them down once they realize he isn’t half the player they made them out to be.

  128. Robert Kiernan says:

    Kljestan is a defensive liability, he works hard going forwards but often does little in the other direction, and clearly Bedoya, although naturally an attacking CENTRAL midfielder is better out wide than Kljestan… but then Bob nearly ever uses an attacking CENTRAL midfielder… although much of his team like the position…Dempsey, Bedoya, Bradley, Adu… we switch between a packed midfield, which in this case is probably our best bet, and playing a 4-2-2-2 with extra demands on our wing fullbacks, this is a good reason to stick with the 4-2-3-1 and keep the wingbacks from making those insane 50 yard runs in both directions… it leaves them gutted later in the half.

  129. Felix says:

    To me, the big “crime” concerning Adu and his call-up, isn’t that he’s not playing, but rather, why call him up if you had no intention of using him, or to evaluate his progress??

    I agree, we could’ve used a veteran like Gomez or Buddle over Adu. I can see the Wondo call-up since he has played so well these past two seasons, I don’t think anyone suspected he would miss sitters in this tourney. But the fact that we are basically stuck having to rely on a teenager in the forward role isn’t ideal.

  130. Felix says:

    MB hasn’t received a straight red card in a long long time. I don’t think he’s received two yellows in a game in years as well. I think people need to stop holding this over hid head.

  131. Zoti says:

    Because that’s what BB does best.

  132. timmer says:

    Ives, if the US plays Mexico in the final, any chance the game will be televised on FOX (rather than Fox Soccer)?

  133. g-dub says:

    I think it’s taken time for the players and coaches to work out the bugs and fine tune the 4-2-3-1. We weren’t ready for it at the time of the WC but it’s looking strong now. They’ve been working on it for a few years now.

  134. Jesse says:

    How can we be talking about Mexico?

    Stay 4-2-3-1.

    Back 5…Howard, Lichaj, Goodson, Boca and Cherundelo are fine.

    Jones – Bradley

    Dempsey – Kljestan – Donovan


    If Agudelo is ineffective, get him off between the 55th and 60th in favor of Bedoya…Bedoya to the wing, Dempsey up front.

    If we can net a goal and seem to be controlling possession, Edu for Jones.

    3rd sub, either Ream or Bornstein at the back…either for rest for Boca or Cherundelo with a lead, or should Goodson or Lichaj seem shaky.

  135. Guy says:

    Yes, WM you understand my sarcasm, and sadly others missed it.

  136. Reality Says says:

    But I’m sure Bob will give him a second chance either in a year or 2 weeks before WC 2014.

  137. jb says:

    My vote is for the same lineup as Jamaica. I know Donovan is back, but why change what was so effective? I am concerned amount the minutes Dempsey has logged and Jones carrying a yellow. Wouldnt be unreasonable to limit the minutes of these two as they will be crucial for the final.

  138. Reality Says says:

    When has Bedoya shown that his is effective “cutting in” on the international stage?

  139. Reality Says says:

    I didn’t know you could find talent and ability by looking in someone’s eyes.

    I assume you’re being sarcastic.

  140. Paul Thomas says:

    Oh, I agree with that– in fact, I suggested it earlier… can’t expect Agudelo to go potentially 300+ minutes in a week.

    I’m just saying that Jozy isn’t an option at this point, so it’s somewhat pointless to talk about him.

    I do wish the team had called in Edson Buddle. Even out of form, he’d still be okay as a target man. But, no point in crying in one’s coffee at this stage.

  141. pancholama says:

    Super Pipo = Wonder Wondo

  142. pancholama says:

    I like the line-up.
    Would like to see a full 90 min effort from Landon-cito.
    Bedoya is growing by leaps and bounds.
    Kljestan and Edu off the bench to bring fresh legs, and lock the game down in the final 15-30 min.
    Agudelo will score the game winner, and goals by Dempsey and Bedoya, or perhaps Donovan will put the icing on the cake.
    US 3 – Panama 1

  143. mistaDobalina says:

    some day soon the 4-2-3-1 will look like:

    hoping on scoring a lot of goals in qualifying!!!

  144. Seriously says:

    I think you have been watching a very different tournament. Wondo has looked anything but dangerous in his minutes against weak competition and the only serious scoring chance he “generated” was a ball dropping at his feet which he then flubbed right at the keeper, not to mention his amazing blast over the bar from all of three feet away.

    If you like Wondo that is great, but don’t delude yourself by saying the guy has played well. Lets call a duck a duck. There has been zero evidence that Wondo belongs here and your suggestions to the contrary are laughable. Wondolowski does not bring any creativity and hasn’t shown the ability to finish even the easiest of chances so far, this is a carry over from MLS play this season where he has also missed a slew of chances and at least one other sitter. All evidence thus far speaks to Wondo having a nice year in MLS last year and that is all. Nothing in this year as a whole has been shown to merit a call-up and his subsequent minutes have yielded little. Even Jozy has been more productive and energetic in this tournament which is generally not something you can say about the young man.

  145. J4FRAY44 says:

    well that is completely untrue. wondo is complete trash and he will never play for the us ever again. very few of this team will feature in the next world cup. we have such amazing youth players, and since bob bradely will get canned before the next wc, i imagine we will have a very young team

  146. Joel Jimenez says:

    I disagree. One, I think Torres is fantastic on the ball and is good at getting out of a high pressure situation. And two, Feilhaber and Torres are different players. Feilhaber is more of an attacker type with the ability to make that final pass, while Torres is a possession midfielder who has the ability to change the point of attack, control the ball, and regain possession on the defensive end. Overrated… maybe by some, but I think he is definitely deserving of a roster spot on this squad.

  147. paulalanr says:

    Scored three against Slovenia, but, oh, wait, that *was* over a year ago. my bad.

  148. Goalscorer24 says:

    Goodson is decent, and the only way to get him to the point where you feel secure, like with Boca, is for him to play and get experience. Plus he is good for headers on set pieces. He is actually due to score on one.

  149. gduck says:

    Dempsey sets scoring records in the EPL and can’t even get a decent look as a striker in our less than dominant national team? Not only does that take away the opportunities to use his ability to hold the ball in an advanced role while waiting for teammates, but we also lose his presence attacking those centerbacks. I understand there’s a desire to integrate Agudelo into the lineup quickly, but we should look to give the “sensational” youth player a chance to play as a substitute. His maturation will occur regardless and if we truly want to solidify a place in the final with Mexico or Honduras, we need much more capable players on the field. I agree that, given Feilhaber isn’t on the roster, starting Bedoya and Donovan wide is a wise choice, but it is an absolute waste to not start Kljestan considering his form of late as the CAM. As far as I’m concerned he suits the fluidity and passing scheme with Bradley and Jones, as well as gives the balance and opportunity for his counterparts in the middle to make overlapping runs and is unselfish enough to realize when he needs to drop into their position. As mentioned in other posts, Lichaj has proven that he aspires to be an offensive threat, as such, having Donovan ahead of him will greatly improve the potency of that side. Not only will he be able to scamper up the sideline as Donovan has taken a liking to cutting inside following coach’s mentality, but this will allow for further combination and creativity with Dempsey up top, let alone Kljestan. Sad to see Demerrit out of the roster, but injuries and such are understandable. I look forward to seeing a sizable lead built and “low-cap” subs brought on. Most importantly, an intensity and desire needs to be demonstrated on home soil. Houston will be rocking out in Red, White and Blue, so it’s imperative that the US have a good show to carry that momentum into the final against what looks to be (on paper) a sure win for a dominant Mexican team.

  150. Goalscorer24 says:

    I hope Adu at least makes the bench this game.

  151. Frankie B. says:

    I think Bedoya will end up being a better player than Benny when it’s all said and done.

  152. tricksyclown17 says:

    I like both of them, but to be fair, Bedoya hasn’t exactly had as much time as Feilhaber to prove he belongs. He’s played in what…3 meaningful USMNT games?

  153. tricksyclown17 says:

    I think we have to focus on the game in front of us. We aren’t consistent enough to plan a game ahead. That said, if we’re rolling tonight, and have a solid lead in the 2nd half, go ahead and take Jones out.

  154. tricksyclown17 says:


  155. tricksyclown17 says:

    agreed 100%

  156. tricksyclown17 says:

    alex morgan? did someone say alex morgan?! where! where!

  157. tricksyclown17 says:

    Spector plays forward now? Is he our 4th string goalie now to?

  158. Reality Says says:

    If Wondo is “complete trash,” how is he getting significant playing time this tournament?

    I agree he’s trash, but it again shows how preposterous Bob’s choices are (i.e. Robbie Findley and Ricardo Clark).

  159. tricksyclown17 says:

    I’m pretty sure a 19 year-old forward won’t be bothered as much by the fatigue of multiple games in short spans. It’ll feel like a normal game to him, and his ability to go a full 90 depends more on his in-game fitness level. So as usual he’ll start getting tired around the 65th or 70th minute because that’s the amount of time he’s used to playing.

  160. MemphisRogues says:

    I agree that both Jones and Bradley attacked the space in front of them. I guess what I’m saying is that they ran into that space in the attacking end. They didn’t hang in it. Even Jones’ goal and red card drawn came closer to midfield than the attacking third. Bradley and Dolo, too, were always in position to perform their D duties. With three central midfielders, Dempsey/SK attacked while Jones and MB made trailing runs, or orchestrated, or defended. What I liked about us so much against Jamaica is that we left space in the upper middle part of our formation for players to run routes in and out. We really flowed. I also agree that ‘Dolo didn’t attack as much. Nevertheless, he did make runs with Bedoya, supported him, and stayed available for the overlap. On the other side, EL attacked all night long. Bradley did a great job of covering for him. EL and ‘Dolo have made a world of difference. Man, I watched that game with my jaw dropped. Couldn’t believe Bob’s bunch were playing such a european style flow. They played in all dimensions — not just attack or defend. I hope it’s not only a one game affair!

  161. Murph says:

    Agree with you. We have way more good mids than fwds, Duce plays in the pocket behind the striker with freedom to roam. That’s his true position…

  162. Bo says:

    Send Wondo home. Never want to see him in a USMNT uniform again. Ream can stay home too (just needs more experience).

  163. Darwin says:

    Drop Donovan, start kljestan

  164. dinho says:


  165. Edwin in LA says:

    Considering how crappy Wondolowski was and well Robbie Rogers showed his worth before the Cup even started vs Spain… and the fact that Kljestan only had 1 decent game vs Jamaica and now with Jozy’s injury….. Will we EVER see Freddy Adu during this 2011 Gold Cup tournament?

    Call me desperate or overtly hopeful but I think Adu’s qualities you know the ones he’s usually shown almost every time he’s played with the nats and even more when he’s with the 1st team next to LD, Deuce, Bradley etc etc are EXACTLY what the US needs and could use more of vs Panama to beat them senseless the way they should have in the group stage?

    I hope we see him if not at this tournament, I hope he continues his consistent play in the Turkish 2nd division and stays there until maybe he can move to another league of a better level, he had so much promise but was SOOOO overhyped.

  166. Edwin in LA says:

    I know Kljestan had a good game but, are you high? Jamaica did a poor job of keeping pressure on the ball and maintaining possession now granted this is probably due to the US effort to do exactly that but Panama has a similar style physique and have more of a technical skillful side to their game, Sacha doesn’t have the best track record with those teams!

    Donovan should still start, and I wish someone in the US Soccer press had the balls to call out Bradley for what is obviously a rift of some kind, how do you bench Donovan but start Dempsey after they both come back from trips to their sister’s wedding’s and Dempsey was the one who had a HORRIBLE game full of miss after miss including the embarrassing tap in?

    Kljestan should phase out of the top 23 player pool and the top 10 midfielders once Holden and Feilhaber are healthy and when Chandler gets brought in as he can play our best right wing. Hell if we had Bunbury or Davies or Buddle or even Gyau in this team as the 4th FW and in place of Wondo Sacha would probably be out as well.

    Sacha has improved some in this tournament but he still can’t handle some pressure on the ball and makes some DUMB mistakes!

  167. DC Josh says:

    I love this formation. Bedoya provides width when he is out wide, while Donovan will pinch inside, allowing Lichaj to overlap. Dempsey just knows how to score, so he needs to hang around the 18-yard box as much as possible. Deuce also plays his best soccer when he has freedom to roam. Agudelo is big enough and knows how to use his strength to play effectively as a lone striker.

  168. Ray Tango says:

    He’s the poor man of a poor man’s Inzaghi.

  169. Brooklyn D says:

    Holden and Donovan are our best passers, but I agree with your argument vis-a-vis Feilhaber and Bedoya.

  170. Annelid Gustator says:

    Honestly, “too early”? Guy is 28. If he has a great year in MLS again, he should take part in WCQ, sure. But beyond that the odds are so very slim…

  171. Primoone says:

    With regards to your final thought…I may be wrong however, I recall that formation being a 4-4-2 where all 3 were utilized as opposed to a 4-2-3-1

  172. hogatroge says:

    Dempsey’s got 8+ years worth of track record with the USMNT and a bunch of goals.