USA vs. Italy: The Pre-Game Tailgate

USA CrestItalianNationalTeamLogo 


The U.S. men's national team takes on Italy today in Genoa in the first major match of 2012 for Jurgen Klinsmann's squad (2:30pm, ESPN2).

The Americans come in with an injury-depleted lineup, but should still provide a good test for an Italy side also missing some key players. Landon Donovan is out, as are Timmy Chandler and Jose Torres, joining Jermaine Jones and Oguchi Onyewu among those players sidelined for today's match.

Here is my Fox Soccer preview of today's USA-Italy clash, the first meeting between the squads since Italy's Confederations Cup triumph in 2009.

SBI will be providing live commentary on today's match so please feel free to join us.

What are you expecting from today's match? Which players are you most looking forward to seeing in action? Think the United States can get a result in Genoa?

Share your pre-game thoughts on today's match in the comments section below.

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98 Responses to USA vs. Italy: The Pre-Game Tailgate

  1. Brian says:

    Really hope we don’t see the lineup you predicted. I’ve had enough of Danny Williams on the right.

  2. The Dude says:

    Woooo! Tailgating! I’m drinking an e-beer right now!

  3. Second City says:

    *Can’t wait to see new kits
    *Can’t stand Edu/Bradley pairing

    *I hope Williams isn’t playing out wide
    *I hope Shea shines

    Let’s go Nats!

  4. Jason says:

    I would like to see what Geoff Cameron can do against a quality front line in Italy…with Onyewu consistently injured he may be the key backup we need.

  5. nato says:

    this will be a good game. Come on Jozy and Dempsey

  6. XPHiLtER says:

    I’m super excited for this match. I think if the US can absorb pressure in the midfield we’ll have a shot. I don’t think we can rely on the “let them shoot and we’ll block every shot” strategy that has worked against other top teams.

  7. XPHiLtER says:

    edit: that has worked *sometimes* against other top teams.

  8. Elmo says:

    Agreed, I don’t understand what purpose Edu serves.

  9. Mig22 says:

    Off topic but the U-23 programming change has my head ready to explode. Telefutura only? Sigh.

  10. Second City says:


  11. BK says:

    Does anybody know when ESPN3 typically puts up the replays of games? Sadly I may not be able to watch this live today…

  12. louis z says:

    i would like to see cameron play in this game, he may be a diamond in the rough. If either Jozy or Buddle falter…then put the kid in.

  13. MemRook says:

    Yeah ditto my cable provider doesn’t carry telefutura but does carry univision. Really wanted to see the u-23s against Mexico. ANY USA/Mexico is “Must See” IMO. *double sigh*

  14. CroCajun says:

    I think one of these guys will get a goal. Unfortunately I don’t think it will be enough…

  15. RK says:

    Williams for Edu. Is there anything Williams doesn’t do better than Edu? Faster, better skill on the ball, better passer, better shooter, better tackler. He’s probably even a better RM than Edu!

  16. malkin says:

    pretty sure it’s instantaneously (ie you can watch the game 5 minutes behind schedule if you like)

  17. away goals says:

    Which edu-bradley outings did you really dislike? I feel like there haven’t been that many…

    They had a memorable 45 minutes against slovenia in south africa though.

  18. Second City says:

    Cameron for Jozy or Buddle?

  19. biff says:

    I saw a Fox news story earlier today on the Web datelined Madrid without a byline and thought: man, this is good, insightful–wonder who wrote it. And now I click on the link above and the same story pops up, but with a byline. Here’s the link to the non-bylined story:

    link to

    The last two paragraphs are especially spot on. Definitely the moment of truth for Michael Bradley.

  20. Elmo says:

    I don’t think Edu and DW are interchangeable, Williams is more of a flanker, at least has has been with USMNT.

  21. Joe Creighton says:

    Things I want to see:

    Shea play well on the left.

    Boyd start up top alongside Jozy. (I don’t think this will happen.)

    Bradley/Edu or Bradley/Kljestan hold their own against the Italy MF ( I also don’t think this will happen.)

    Us not giving up a goal in the first 15 minutes.

  22. Second City says:

    Any & all outings.

    They both play too negatively and hover on the backline. Neither have shown we can rely on them to be playmaker for the Nats.

    I’d rather have one midfielder on the pitch with that mentality than both, playing centrally.

    Would really prefer to see Williams/Bradley paired.

  23. RK says:

    The issue is that Williams shouldn’t be a flanker. He can play the position b/c of previous club experience, but his preferred (and best) spot is a CDM. Which would put him in direct competition w/ Edu.

  24. biff says:

    I can’t resist another lineup (or two). This is the one I would love to see, old veterans Dempsy and Altidore up top and veteran Bradley guarding deep with newbies Shea, Johnson, Williams sandwiched in the middle.






    But sentiment seems to be that Klinsmann is going to put Johnson at LB, if so, this would be my first choice (or if not Kljestan, then Dempsey moved in that CM spot and Buddle in the forward slot):






  25. Elmo says:

    Would like to see Bradley take FKs and CKs. Looked real good the last time he did so.

  26. malkin says:

    “Us not giving up a goal in the first 15 minutes”

    (I also don’t think this will happen)

  27. Mig22 says:

    Daniele De Rossi’s left knee sticking out of his right ear?

    oops, did I say that out loud?

  28. CroCajun says:

    Edu not a terrible player, but I don’t think he’s on Bradley or Jone’s level. He has made some terrible whiffs on shots and is not the best in distribution out the back, but he also is a target on set pieces.

    While I think he may be a better player than Beckerman, I think Beckerman plays his role for the USMNT better than Edu does. Edu sort of gets lost out there. Hope he makes today his best game.

  29. CroCajun says:

    I’ve had to wait an hour of so after games for the replays to be put back up on the site.

  30. Second City says:

    While we may be in the minority: I completely agree with that assessment.

  31. louis z says:

    there is a period in between. if jozy or buddle falter put the kid in (boyd)

  32. Spectra says:

    Careful sometimes they don’t replay the games. I know its 50/50 with la liga games

  33. louis z says:

    to me Williams is a better ball winner, Edu may have the edge in scoring. Passing I think they are even although Edu prefers the simpler passing lanes while Williams is not afraid to thread the needle.

  34. TomG says:

    +1. It is a very sensible opinion. Can’t argue with anything there.

  35. You’d think living in So Cal, I could get the U-23 game. But no, I get televisa, telemundo.

    However, off to the soccer pub to watch the game for lunch.

  36. david m says:

    I just want to see some goals from the US and some exciting play. Haven’t seen either in Klinsmann’s previous 9 matches and not holding my breath this time. My prediction: 2-0 Italy.

  37. TomG says:

    1 is usually enough for a result against the stingy, tactical Italians, especially if it comes late, after they’ve spent 80 minute killing the ball. If the U.S. scores early, though, that could force Italy to open up and actually play attacking soccer. Much as it’s a great measuring stick for USMNT, don’t expect an interesting game. Italy usually equals boring.

  38. TomG says:

    You made us work way too hard for that, Louis. Or maybe I’m just slow today.

  39. ChrisTheLSUTiger says:

    Why do I have a sneaky suspicion that I will be the only American at this game?

  40. TomG says:

    I haven’t seen Williams in Bundesliga play enough to make judgements, but he’s been pretty poor in the USMNT kit and hasn’t displayed the ball skills you and others have mentioned.

  41. TomG says:

    It actually shouldn’t be a problem in this game if Italy plays true to form. The typically come out very slow, with a probing, tactical approach and lots of players behind the ball.

  42. TomG says:

    I wouldn’t mind seeing that, myself. Too bad Gooch isn’t here or he might take you up on that.

  43. Polo says:

    You didn’t see goals or exciting play in our 3-2 win over Slovenia?

  44. wes says:

    I just hope Dempsey lets it rip whenever he touches it, I just can’t imagine goals coming elsewhere today. I hope i’m wrong

  45. Isaac says:

    I’d like to see something like this:








    Although I kind of doubt that Juergen Klinsmann starts Sacha after not calling him in originally… We’re likely to see Edu in the holding role with Bradley and Williams as the shuttlers on the outside of the same narrow diamond that we played against Slovenia.

  46. louis z says:

    I know, sorry about that guys, I didn’t get much sleep last night, I needed to get work done so I can be at home for these games. Klinsman, in case you are reading this…please put Williams as a DM.

  47. Joe Creighton says:

    Hahaha. Brian McBride will be at the game. You never know what could happen out there? Hopefully, JK plays some WC 2006 footage of Daniele dropping bows on BMB to get the blood boiling a little bit.

  48. alabamafutbol says:

    because that’s a strong possibility. Roll tide to your dedication, sir 😀

  49. Polo says:

    And the fact that we’ve won four of six with one of the losses coming against France in France. We’ve only allowed four goals in those six games, and in that stretch of matches we beat a European squad in Europe for the first time in years and a South American team for the first time in years.

    And that was all accomplished without our best players.

  50. Joe Creighton says:

    I think we see both Williams and Johnson somewhere on the pitch today.

    Any new leaked pics of the new kits? I just can’t wait to see them today.

  51. Polo says:

    I believe we see Williams in the CB spot with Boca in the left back spot and Johnson on the left wing.

  52. TomG says:

    Something of an overstatement. We scored 3 against a stingy Slovenia side.

  53. predicto says:

    I’d love to see USA with some attacking inventive soccer, with the mids & MB getting forward. I’d rather not see the conservative hang back and counter routine – even if it costs us some goals.

  54. Vic says:

    Here is the line-up I would like to see:

    Altidore Buddle

    Johnson Dempsey

    Bradley Williams

    Bocanegra Goodson Cameron Cherundolo

    I wish Lichaj was called up for LB and put Boca back in the middle. Please no Spector on the left.

    With all the injuries I’m actually more excited to watch the U-23s tonight.

  55. TomG says:

    Um… because it is being held at Luigi Ferraris?

  56. louis z says:

    I see your concern, I think Williams has some sort of mental block when playing too close to the touch line. Believe me he can play a lot better if moved to the center. I’m afraid Williams has been misplaced by JK, a victim of having a senior player in his position, not necessary a better senior player.

  57. Isaac says:

    Haha. Because Italians have a thing for fireworks?

    Naaaah don’t worry, I’m sure there will be a contingent of American Outlaws there to back you up…

  58. Isaac says:

    Is Fabian Johnson left-footed? The Shin Guardian says he is, but I thought otherwise…

  59. RK says:

    He’s definitely been shaky at RM – so can definitely understand why people who haven’t seen him much at Hoffenheim would think he’s lacking. Definitely a different player when he’s central.

  60. alabamafutbol says:

    So is the U-23 game on Telefutura tonight? I get univision but not telefutura.. outside of, is there a reliable means of watching online? I know Univision streams their live sports programming but Im not sure if Telefutura does the same..

  61. wes says:






  62. wes says:

    If I was given this roster to work with in Fifa, this is what it would look like.

  63. Dinho says:

    The Dude abides.

  64. TomG says:

    Hey, the kid is young and playing in a top league, so he’ll get plenty of chances to display his skills.

  65. JG13 says:

    They typically have the archived match up about 2 hours after the live event ends, so this one should be up around 6:30 EST if it kicks off at 2:30.

  66. louis z says:

    here is my lineup…


    we lose some offensive punch on the right side but
    Bradley has played that position for his club.



    In this lineup we gain more attack in the right flank since both Johnson and Shea can switch at will. Problem here is we make the left fullback position more defensive with little going forward.

    The Boyd selection should only be made if in training he was better than Buddle, otherwise give the kid some minutes in the second half.

  67. Frank says:

    no one saw anything during that game, there was too much fog.

  68. GSScasual says:

    How many lacerations, blackened eyes, broken bones, etc will the italians dish out today?

  69. louis z says:

    I believe he is a righty, if we can’t tell then he is ambidextrous with his feet.

  70. swoopy says:

    Yeah, but usually they let you know ahead of time by putting “Live Only” next to the listing.

  71. Kevin says:

    Dempsey & Shea both put one in the net and USA comes from behind for a 2-1 win…

  72. Steve says:

    This is what I am thinking. Maybe he does Goodson for Cameron, but this makes the most sense based upon the context of this match…foreign country, etc.

  73. B Hoff says:

    Probably won’t see this, but I’m hoping for this lineup as well.

  74. louis z says:

    yeah, his time will come. I guess I’m greety and want to see him now like at his club, which by the way, he is not a finished product but seems to be progressing.

  75. bryan says:

    well, since everyone else is:

    Jozy, Boyd
    Shea, Bradley, Sacha, Dempsey
    Johnson, Boca, Williams, Dolo

    less experimental side:

    Jozy, Dempsey
    Shea, Bradley, Williams, Sacha
    Johnson, Boca, Goodson, Dolo

    i could see us using a 4-4-2, 4-3-3, 4-2-3-1 or 4-3-1-2. i think a 4-3-1-2 would be interesting and is the only option where Williams could play on the right (since it’s not on the wing). In a 4-3-1-2 I would do this though:

    Jozy, Shea
    Sacha, Williams, Bradley
    Johnson, Boca, Goodson, Dolo

  76. Rory says:

    I have DishNetwork and I think I get all the Spanish chanels (standard on the cheap packages even) except Gol, so I should be good… but I have to remember to watch it instead of relying on the DVR as I think it is set to the other chanel.

  77. Dinho says:

    Switch Williams and Bradley in your second lineup, and it looks good.

  78. TomG says:

    Grilling up some e-steaks and e-dogs.

  79. TomG says:

    Yet we will wind up getting 2 red cards b/c of the exhibition by the Italian Dramatic Arts National Team.

  80. Rory says:

    Where’s Jeff Larentowicz?

    I’m kidding… but seriously, Klinsy loves a midfielder who isn’t afraid to shoot from 35 yards out, kind of surprised some of the guys on the edge of the national team haven’t figured this out and tried it more often.

  81. rory says:

    That’s what always got me about that Spain Confederations Cup match… man, did we have a defender set to throw his body in the line of the shot every single time or what? I still watch that game every now and then and it was like pure defensive gutsy play all the way!

  82. Rory says:

    What, you don’t think Guissipii “Captain America”(yeah, he used to go by that nickname) Rossi will be in the crowd chearing on his fellow Americans?

  83. Rory says:

    Shame on you! You should never use illegal streams like atdhenet dot tv or eplsite dot com to watch games on the internet. NEVER!!!

  84. DynaMatt says:

    Leaving work early and headed to a bar in my Kljestan jersey to watch the game woo!

  85. Michael says:

    I’d love to pre-game with a little bit of YWTC!!

  86. Rory says:

    I can see us going out there in a mighty ducks formation, something like this







    Now, true to the movie, in this formation Dempsey holds the ball as the inpenatrable wedge formed by the other players holding hands moves forward knocking Italain defenders off their feet. Then as the uppermost players come on the verge of being offsides they peel away and Dempsey has a clear look at a long shot that will be unstopable.

  87. rory says:

    When will those fools at work every figure out that if you show up at work wearing a US national team jersey you are planning to duck out for the game?

  88. Shounen Bat says:

    Maybe someone can answer something for me: It is listed on the ESPN web site that ESPN Deportes is showing both France v. Germany at 2:45 AND Spain v. Venezuela at 3:30. The TV listing is currently showing that they are only airing the Spain match. My question is: Is there another channel showing the France friendly live?

  89. bryan says:

    The #USMNT starting XI: Howard; Cherundolo, Goodson, Bocanegra (c), Johnson; Bradley, Edu; Williams, Dempsey, Shea; Altidore

    i need to see who is playing what!

  90. NickCO says:

    Does anyone know of an online radio station covering the game? At work unfortunately…

  91. Mig22 says:

    Wow, goes with the standard lineup. Williams out wide apparently.

  92. bryan says:

    yup, 4-2-3-1 with Williams on the right. this plus Edu starting really angers me.

  93. ManicMessiah says:

    I don’t mind the starting 11 players, but don’t like how they’ll line up.

    I think Edu, Bradley and Williams make a lot of sense as a 3 man midfield. Edu sits, Williams goes forward and Bradley can go up or back as needs dictate.

  94. soccerhorn says:

    I’ve had enough of Danny Williams period.

  95. Dimidri says:

    or first row sports dot eu!

  96. Kodi says:

    Does anyone know of a radio broadcast for the game? In on the road near St.Louis, but a radio broadcast anywhere in the world would work.