US Lineup for England Game

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Ever wonder how many variables go into determining who should start in any game, not to mention a huge World Cup opening game against England.  Bob Bradley has a dilemma on his hands.....he needs experienced, healthy players, who will match up well against the strengths of an England side who scored a lot of goals in qualifying. As players come in and out of form and health, he must put a core group that can execute the team tactics for the game as is some news about the lineup so far.......

Bob Bradley comments on Altidore Start

Knowing this info, now he will need to determine if winning midfield is most important or playing a system that was comfortable for them in qualifying will work best.

Here are some thoughts:

System 4-2-3-1 (will discuss below)


Tim Howard a lock as GK........most experienced GK in the best form.....he will need to make 1 or 2 big saves for his team tomorrow if they are going to have a chance to win.


Jonathan Spector at right back, Oguchi Onyewu and Jay Demerit in the center, Carlos Bocanegra on the left.....this unit will need to be better than they were at the end of qualifying because England's strength is in their attacking 6 players including the likes of Rooney, Gerrard, Lampard, Heskey, Lennon, Cole, etc........yea, these guys can all play and score.


Ricardo Clark and Michael Bradley in the center, playing behind Landon Donovan as a withdrawn forward or attacking central midfielder
Clint Dempsey on the left side of midfield, Stuart Holden on the right side of midfield.....this unit is the strength of the US side, experienced players that create space and play well in transition......will need to secure loose balls,create 1v1s and generate good service chances as well.


Jozy Altidore as the lone forward.  He is going to need some help to crack the John Terry led back line of England.  Big fella, find some open space and open the game up.  Hold the ball up for us so that we can get some players up there to help you.

Why the 4-2-3-1? 
perhaps this system will allow Donovan to have the most space and influence in the game as it would allow either Bradley or Clark to come forward freely as long as the other holds the space in front of the backs.

Who will stop Wayne Rooney?  They will have to do it collectively and try to keep him in front of them.  Two sitting defensive midfielders might help protect the center backs from having too many Rooney back to goal scenarios.

Is one forward too defensive a system?
  could be, however this system can expand to a 4-3-3 in attack and it is a great system to counter attack with.  Other options would be to start Edson Buddle up top with Altidore and have 2 athletic goal scorers however Buddle and Findley have no WC caps between them and might be better served as subs to change the game later.

Based on England's weaknesses in the center of midfield defensively, Donovan could key the US attack in this system.  England still have a new CB and an injured GK not in best form to adjust to.  England will challenge the US defense especially on the flanks and in the restart game but the US have good attacking variables of speed and variety.  Dempsey is more comfortable on left side where he can cut in like he does for Fulham.  Later in game, he may move forward and we could see a DeMarcus Beasley enter in left midfield mainly due to his experience.

In qualifying, the US mainly played a 4-4-2 so let's not be surprised if it reappears.  This system allowed them to have some measure of success last summer in South Africa as well.  Let's hope that team shows up against England!

What are your thoughts?  Add your predicted lineup and system before kickoff.  We'll see what Bob Bradley is thinking once that lineup is announced.  Let's all hope that the US boys are getting some good rest tonight.  Go USA!


UC Soccer Staff

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