Do Or Die: USA vs. Algeria

The Yanks can't rely on a Donovan bailout this time...

(Dropping our official TSG preview a little early for ya.)

Can you believe we’ve got the third group game coming up already?

In January, I had suggested that the Yanks would draw with England, beat Slovenia and then hammer Algeria.

I’ll back well off my Algerian proclamation. With a well-earned draw against an albeit listless Three Lions squad, Algeria is very much alive for play in the next round. They’ll give the Yanks a fight with their formation, their threatening left flank and because the United States can’t seem to keep a clean sheet.

Donovan and company, though, should win this one.

Of importance for the Americans’ defense is that Algeria, who employ an offensive 3-4-3 or 3-4-2-1 system depending o how you evaluate it, like to gun it down the flanks. The Yanks three goals conceded thus far in World Cup 2010 have come from runs and off-ball movement in the central pitch. That’s a good note; a better one? The Desert Foxes goal tally at World Cup Jabulani? They haven’t put one in yet and by my review haven’t hit the woodwork either.

Algeria's 3-4-3 offensive scheme...

Morphing from a 3-4-2-1 to a 5-4-1

However, Algeria should not be underestimated because at present they are defending quite well–long a knock  on the squad–and they’ve got speed to match their US counterparts.

The dangerous duo on the port side for Algeria are Wolfsburg midfielder Karin Ziani, a magician with the ball and Nadir Belhadj,1-part Maicon, 2-parts Ashley Cole and 3-parts Peruvian and Fiorentina wingback Juan Vargas (TSG has spoken about the Fiorentina man before, just YouTube him). However, the Belhadj cocktail sorts out, he’s a dangerous player for Algeria. He comes forward fast, strong, with an array of breakdown moves that will have Steve Cherundolo burning fuel all day long.

The Algerians will typically try two things when attacking.

On the right, will be a garden variety diagonal run to the flag followed by a flood from the attacking midfielders of Medhi Lacen and Portsmouth Hassan Yebda followed by Foued Kadir.

The Algerian right flank flood...

The players receiving the ball, whether it be Ryad Boudebouz, who plays with Charlie Davies at Sochaux, or Karim Matmour, who plays with Michael Bradley at Bo’Munchen, have enough speed to turn the corner if the opportunity presents itself. More than likely they’ll hold it up and try to work the triangles of players to free someone for a cross or shot.

How Bob Bradley deploys and instructs both his central defenders and his wide midfielders will be vital to snuffing out possession from the Algerians on the flanks.

On defense, the Algerians will settle their wingbacks in a slightly advanced position on the backline, presenting the Yanks with a 5-4-1 look as the two advanced forwards will come back and splay wide (see diagram above).

If the Yanks don’t get after it on the counterattack, they’re going to need to unlock a defense that’s proven more disciplined than during Algeria’s mundane Africa Cup run earlier this year. The one soft spot appears to be sometimes in the middle where the Foxes can be late on collapsing (sound familiar?).

To the Yanks’ advantage, Algeria like to the play the up-and-down game so the Yanks should be able to show their counterattack.

Now for our customary preview. As usual we go:

TSG What We’re Looking For

11 at the Whistle

Disclaimers

TSG What We’re Looking For

Can the States win the war of attrition on their right flank and Algeria’s left?

Ziani & Belhadj: Headaches

Algerian’s right flank attack was defined above, but all the players shift over there open a lot of turf for Algeria’s two strongest, most accomplished players.

The left flank will be the battle within the battle. Wolfburg star Karin Ziani and Portsmouth and rumored-to-be Barca-bound wingbacker Nadir Belhadj have plenty of skill they carry down the left. While Ziana can beat you with the pass  and wandering dribble, Belhadj will go wide often, play a cross, beat a defender, or merely line-up a wicked shot. He’s got it by the way.

Foiling Algerian's left flank (Donovan w/ball)

Knocking them back will be the likely threesome of Steve Cherundolo, Landon Donovan, and Jozy Altidore dragging into the same space he exploited against Slovenia. Cherundolo will be a busy man on the day. If he can shackle Behadj like he did Ashley Cole, the Yanks will knockout the major offensive initiative of Algeria.

•Do they have Wheaties in South Africa because the aforementioned Cherundolo and Carlos Bocanega will need to handle a flood of speedy flankers and perhaps be tasked in the attack.

Both England (Ashley Cole and Glen Johnson) and Slovenia (primarily Bojan Jokic) tried to get forward to and counter down the flanks when Algerian’s wingbackers got caught up the pitch. Neither team was successful because of great interior help defending by the Algerians.

I think you’ll see Bocanegra stay home more–and frankly his presence defending the US left flank scares me–but you’ll see Cherundolo get forward as mentioned.

Algeria's Monta Ellis coasts by England's Glen Johnson

• Track Karin Ziani

Didn’t TSG mention Ziani already? Yes, and we’ll do it again.

Ziana is that important to mention again. He’s kind of like Algeria’s Monta Ellis. He’ll draw the defense, but not always drop the assist.

Don’t defend him and he’ll light you, but his team may only win one out of ten games when he does this.

If the Yanks don’t handle Ziani–meaning be aware of him, send help– they might become the one in that statistic.

•Don’t be afraid to shoot and win the service in the box.

In my opinion, it was absolutely poor that the Three Lions didn’t shoot more on Algeria–they resorted to “cute” cut back passes. Algeria dropped goalie Faouzi Chaouchi who bungled a Robert Koren shot to give Slovenia a win in the opening game for Bulgarian League keeper of the year Rais ‘Bolhi.

Bolhi didn’t look particularly strong against England, but he was only truly tested once.

Strongman Bougherra plays inside at Rangers, outside for the Foxes.

Right in front of Bolhi is a very disciplined if not physically imposing side. In another poor tactical move, England often kept their best target forward Emile Heskey out wide to run up the right flank. Beyond Maurice Edu’s Ranger teammate, Madjid Bougherra, the Algerians are not big and should be tested in the air.

The Foxes nearly lost their ticket to South Africa after Egypt battled back through the air to force a winner-take-all game in qualification.

Landon Donovan has the service for it and the Yanks shouldn’t waste it.

11 At The Whistle

*Remember, this is what we think Bob Bradley will do.

G: Tim Howard

The skinny: Howard, upon review, looks like he took a questionable angle to the 2nd Slovenian goal so he didn’t have to dive right and land on his bad rib(s). The US team has to keep the pressure off Howard and not force him into uncompromising save situations.

DEF: Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit,Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra

The skinny: Not only can Bob Bradley be second-guessed for playing Oguchi Onyewu in both games thus far, now he can be second-guessed for getting no one else ready. In my opinion, whether Gooch merits a breather in this one or not, he has to play. Everyone else has been sitting.

As we saw with Jose Torres (and as we’ve seen with Onyewu), minimal game reps make for lack of sharpness.

Carlos Bocanegra cannot be turned on the outside and Steve Cherundolo has to be “smart” in his forward forays.

MID: Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Michael Bradley, *Stu Holden

The skinny: The question of Maurice Edu and Ricardo Clark to pair Michael Bradley in the midfield will likely come down how Coach Sweatpants chooses to deploy son Michael. If Bradley is going to attack aggressively up the pitch which may be the play against a 4-5-1 then you’ll see Maurice Edu in more of the holding role you saw him inhabit in the 2nd against Slovenia.

If Bradley elects to go standard 4-2-2-2, then you’ll see Rico Clark, who will also be deployed on the right to shut down Ziana on a counter when Donovan pushes forward.

I’m betting that Dempsey moves up top for this one. His replacement? I think it’s either *Stu Holden, Benny Feilhaber or even DaMarcus Beasley. Holden plays defense and can be useful on set piece service. Benny’s got experience and was on the field for the Game 2 comeback. Beasley? He’s got the left foot and speed to deal with the Algerians on the right.

My odds distribution on this one (Holden 45%, Beasley, 35%, Benny 20%).

It’s a toss-up in my mind.

FW: Clint Dempsey, STR: Jozy Altidore

The skinny: The Yanks didn’t find Dempsey enough against Slovenia and I think this may the game to move him up top. Algeria can sometimes be lackadaisical in the center of their defensive third as they’re late getting back from an attack. Perfect for Dempsey to sneak into the open space behind Altidore.

Altidore will drag in front of Donovan to open space. Herculez Gomez will surely be used in this game and most likely in his customary role off the bench.

Disclaimers

• Buddle enters for Findley and the Yanks start off with Dempsey in the midfield

This is essentially the other line-up that Bradley goes with. I just don’t see it because I don’t think that Bradley trusts Dempsey’s help over Bocanegra here when the Algerians are fresh. It’s worth noting that until his offense was needed, it was Donovan over Bocanegra on the left against Slovenia, not Dempsey.

Probability: 49.99%

• Bradley elects to play two traditional fore-cheking central midfielders and Rico pairs Junior

Frankly, I think this it’s another toss-up between Rico and Junior starting.

Clark can be used to cover on runs by Dolo and Donovan up the right flank and also man-mark Ziana if called on.

Probability: 49.99%

• Move Bocanegra inside and try out Jonathan Spector or “that other guy”

The US should not get beat through the air by Algeria. Having Onyewu’s big body in there for this one is not essential like it was versus Novakovic for Slovenia and Heskey for England.

Probability: 35%

• Onyewu gives way to Clarence Goodson

In a World Cup where Bob Bradley has deviated from you qualifying playbook with a number of surprises, I’m not ready to discount anything with Coach Sweatpants.

Probability: 15%

Pivotal players: Steve Cherundolo, Clint Dempsey, Herculez Gomez

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47 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/20 at 9:24 PM

    *Refresh! :>

    Reply

  2. Posted by s44 on 2010/06/20 at 9:25 PM

    Ghezzal looked another threat on the wing before he got his brain-dead bookings.

    I predicted Beasley would start for defensive cover and speed, but you’re right, it could be Holden. Doubt Benny gets the call.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/20 at 9:26 PM

      Beasley has the left foot to keep Algeria wide. I think it’s certainly a possibility that he starts.

      Reply

  3. Posted by Johninho on 2010/06/20 at 9:33 PM

    I hope Landon presses forward some. We seem to be the most dangerous when he’s in the play.

    Reply

  4. Posted by Dougs on 2010/06/20 at 9:54 PM

    Nice analysis, but I am not sure that I agree that Bob deserves to be taken to task for not playing anyone other than Onyewu yet. When should he have subbed Onyewu off earlier? Onyewu played well against England, I thought and it would have left him with one less offensive sub if he had put Goodson on for him in the Slovenia game.

    Re Boca at left back in Algeria, do you think it is possible Bornstein might get a start? It seems unlikely since he has not shown the resolve to play mistake free football when it matters most, but given the speed we expect to see on the left side and Boca’s inability to shut speed down, I think it’s about a 50% chance.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/20 at 10:02 PM

      Consider this Doug – Onyewu has been involved in all three goals conceded.

      My wording was second guessed Doug.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/20 at 10:03 PM

        I don’t think Bornstein starts, but against Algeria they’ll only beat you with speed. I would be fine with Boca and DeMerit in the middle.

        Maybe I try Spector on the left — don’t know.

        Reply

  5. Posted by kaya on 2010/06/20 at 10:07 PM

    If sweatpants wanted to be really surprising, he could Altibuddle Algeria and rest Deuce. Save a knockout blow for the last 15 minutes if needed. I thought Dempsey looked tired against Slovenia.
    I think Holden would provide the perfect balance of possession and support for Boca on the left.
    I know there’s about a 0% chance of this happenning, but I wonder if a battering ram wouldn’t work well against Algeria.

    Reply

    • Dempsey never got a chance to play on the left side of midfield against Slovenia, the position he excelled against England, both in defense and attack. He actually did far more tracking back that match than Donovan did – by design. Donovan wasn’t great defensively against Slovenia over on the left where Brecko – a solid player but no Ashley Cole – was given too much respect. Brecko’s dummy run up the flank opened the space for Birsa (Donovan’s man) to strike the first goal. A very similar play developed at 16 minutes and Donovan corrected his mistake waiting for the ball to be played wide before getting out to him.

      It took Bob 45 minutes to slide Landon over to the right, despite the fact that it was our right flank where Dolo was getting over-run and we were getting pushed back because we lacked our normal out-ball up this flank (In the second half this out-ball was back with 13 passes between the two players in just 45 minutes, the most between any defender and midfielder for the ENTIRE GAME). Dempsey pushed up top to begin half two. Feilhaber had perhaps three touches and was particularly ineffective. His appearance on the left suggests Bob is unlikely to deploy Holden on that side. To me, it looked like Bob made the tactician’s mistake against Slovenia and over-thought things and made unnecessary tweaks which broke what was working well for our team, giving Slovenia the initiative. In half two, he mostly put things back together, but after wasting 45 minutes.

      As much as I love Torres, I think Edu should start. Torres just doesn’t seem able to set the high tempo upon which we thrive on his own and instead needs to come into a match that’s already at a high tempo. Edu instantly added more dynamism to midfield and started to push Slovenia back. Donovan’s move to the right meant that instead of being in traffic, he was finding the space that he can exploit but Dempsey can not.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/21 at 7:44 AM

        Tuesday, we should just call a truce on the following.

        Clint Dempsey plays defense, especially tracking back.
        Clint Dempsey has played much better defense during the World Cup and in the lead-up.
        Clint Dempsey is very challenged in one-on-one defending against quick players.

        …that’s what Algeria has. :>

        Reply

        • I agree on all three points… That’s the reason why if Clint plays in midfield he should start on the left – Algeria looks to create space on their left flank for Ziani and Belhadj. Dono and Dolo should be able to compete well with these folks. Donovan needs to start from the right and frequently push on to join Altidore in the top line to form a 4-3-3 shape and pin Belhadj back, creating a 2v1 in wide areas and forcing out a central defender.

          If he starts up top, Dempsey can cause problems by starting up top but dropping deep, onto the left flank or in the hole as he did in the second half vs. Slovenia, especially if there’s the threat of a runner beyond him. Possibly Beasley starts on the left of midfield but I’m not sure if that’s a better option than simply seeing if Algeria can handle Buddle & Altidore with Donovan joining them.

          Getting into advanced wide positions will force the wingbacks choose between retreating into a 5-3-2 or leaving their 3-man defense to be stretched. If Altidore can make runs into the outside left channel, while Donovan pushes to make a front three and get into the outside right channel, that should open space for Dempsey to get into the box and join Buddle. It was this type of movement that was so effective against Egypt’s 3-man defense in last summer’s confederation’s cup – Bob simply needs to ask Altidore to take up more of his Henry-esque wide left starting positions make Davies runs.

          Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/21 at 7:46 AM

        I do agree that Bob Bradley clearly got the strategy and tactics wrong against Slovenia.

        I’m amazed that the US in fact underestimated the Slovenia’ technical and physical prowess.

        Can’t go away from your identity in the World Cup — unless your Brazil and you’re redefining yourself.

        Reply

        • Kaya nailed this one: “It almost seemed like the US made so much out of the chess match pre-planning that they didn’t notice that Slovenia weren’t playing a chess match.”

          http://theshinguardian.com/2010/06/18/the-american-way-the-hard-way/#comment-16537

          Bradley definitely over-thought this one.

          Reply

        • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/21 at 7:55 PM

          Cheers ;) I miss a lot of tactical stuff (unlike you guys) on the first watch through any game… but this one I had to watch on mute during a phone meeting for the first half, so this was my gut impression of our boys’ appraoch. (Unfortunately, the chess-like approach only seemed to apply to the first half US attack, as it obviously didn’t stop us from snoozing at the wheel twice in defense.)
          Even after a re-watch, I took exception to Jonathan Wilson’s summary that Slovenia were “much the better team” in the first half. For defense, yes (obviously), but even with our tedious approach to producing an attack in the first half, I thought we still looked more dangerous. Unfortunately, Slovenia wasn’t obliging in offering goal scoring opportunities on silver platters like we were.
          One thing I wonder if sweatpants thought enough about was stature. Those boys from the Balkans are often quite large, and I was especially surprised Bob decided to give Torres a shot against a team that prefers forcing the ball up the middle with what seemed even against Algeria as big, physical players. I never got around to looking up their stats, but it seems like my gut impression was right on that one, sadly.

          Reply

  6. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/20 at 10:55 PM

    OT- what’s a better moniker: France II or Les Blancs?

    Reply

  7. Feilhaber was on the field for the Game 2 comeback? Guess I didn’t notice.

    Reply

  8. Posted by John Rose on 2010/06/21 at 12:01 PM

    I’m betting on a 3-1 in favor of Algeria

    Reply

  9. Posted by donumdei on 2010/06/21 at 1:31 PM

    With the Algerian article out, does their suggestion regarding two strikers change/alter any of your predictions for the game plan?

    Love the translation issues that resulted in “The defense, which has been flawless since the beginning of the World…”

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/21 at 1:51 PM

      Good question.

      Frankly, not much. Matmour is really more of an attacking midfielder. He’s playing up top because of the lack of options.Djabbour the returning player is a little bit more of a striker.

      Algeria really struggled with their ultimate and penultimate offensive passes because Matmour kept dropping really deep in the midfield for carriage against an England side with some heavy hitters in the middle, include Gerrard who wandered in often. When in possession and moving upfield there was then not much there.

      You might see–per the diagram above–Matmour and Djabbour flip-flop positions. I do think you’ll also see more over-the-top balls as the Algerians struggle to contend with the U.S.pressure. Perhaps more service into the box when attacking as well.

      Algeria really suffered from not have a true striker against England so merely expect Djabbour to stay up top more and provide a threat forward on the attack.

      Reply

    • Not speaking for Matt but I don’t think it’s substantial. Mostly an indication that Algeria feel confident enough of getting the result they need that they’re reverting to their usual 3-5-2 against our 2 striker system. They’ll need to score the goal that they haven’t managed yet. May actually be easier for our backline to deal with 2 advanced strikers given Onyewu’s recent struggles with stepping out when players drop deeper.

      Reply

  10. [...] Do Or Die: USA vs. Algeria (Dropping our official TSG preview a little early for ya.) Can you believe we’ve got the third group game coming [...] [...]

    Reply

  11. Posted by kaya on 2010/06/21 at 8:22 PM

    The link to Liberte isn’t working anymore and I wasn’t able to find the original article. This looks like it would be the same article??

    http://football.endz.co.cc/2010/06/quel-plan-pour-battre-les-americains.html

    Reply

  12. Posted by s44 on 2010/06/21 at 10:02 PM

    Lichaj hasn’t played a single meaningful game above the third division. Great 2014 prospect, but it’s wishful thinking to believe he’s anywhere near more ready than even Bornstein for the big stage right now.

    Not to mention… Bob had a long personal look at him, with Lichaj being the a rare non-first-team prospect called to train with the US Men last summer.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/21 at 10:40 PM

      S44 – Agree with most of your commentary, but not this one.

      Not true – Lichah impressed in the Peace Cup –the same Peace Cup where American fans were raving about Brad Guzan and the Aston Villa defense.

      I’m not sure it’s wishful thinking to think he’s more ready than Bornstein AND if Heath Pearce (out of contract last year, pedestrian at FC Dallas this year) makes the 30, you don’t think Lichaj makes it?

      Bob had a “brief” look at Lichaj in Chicago camp last year.

      Other non-first team prospects called in to train with the US? Robbie Findley (MLS), Robbie Rogers (MLS – in and out for Columbus), Eddie Johnson (in and out for Aris, not playing previously at Cardiff or Fulham or Fulham reserves).

      Lichaj has impressed all year at Lincoln City and Leyton Orient which is just one rung below Jay DeMerit’s Watford. As a point of reference New Zealand drew Italy yesterday with two players from League One.

      If Marvell Wynne! and Brad Evans got run out in January/February than Lichaj should have (though I assume he was trying to find some more club ball.)

      ….and Martin O’Neill and Aston Villa ink the guy for 3 more years and say he’s competing for First Team minutes next year. That will likely make him, ahead of Jonathan Spector, as the American defender playing at the highest level in the Premiership (AV will surely be ahead of West Ham next year.)

      Reply

      • Lichaj is a very good prospect who’s very close to making the jump to Villa’s first team. He’s probably not ready to jump into the US set-up until he’s gaining that type of experience at the highest level. DeMerit may currently be a Championship player but he had a very solid season for Watford when they were up in the Premiership and is displaying his wares fairly well during this World Cup.

        As for Lichaj, unfortunately he’s a right back, but you can pencil him in as a candidate if his career continues on the expected trajectory. Considering that he’s coped well with each move to a higher level of play, I would suggest that’s very likely.

        As for our problem on the other side of the pitch, I still suggest that if Robbie Rogers is at all interested in playing in a World Cup, he should take some interest in playing left back. Heath Pearce moves like he has a Barbie-doll waist. Slightly surprised that Matt’s finally conceded that Bornstein isn’t quite up to it at this level. Hopefully Atalante will be a positive move for him and he will learn a little bit of composure and awareness in the slower-paced, non-defending league.

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/22 at 7:15 AM

          Tuesday I think you were the first to turn us on to Lichaj.

          First, I’ve done no such thing on Bornstein–I eat my turkey hoagie before each game just like he does in the hopes this will be the day. :>

          Lichaj has played both back positions — when at Lincoln City before his Leyton loan he played a lot more LB than RB even though he’s naturally right-footed.

          He may not have made a difference this time around, but I’lll reiterate that Aston Villa is likely going to have him in the 18 next year — that makes him the US defender playing arguably on the highest rated team.

          Bradley brought Marvell Wynne to both the Confederation Cup and January camp. Hell, he brough Michael Orozco to February camp — would have been nice to see a run out for Lichaj.

          Reply

      • If Wynne was still around, I’d feel a whole lot more comfortable pushing D line forward. No other US defender can catch a forward from behind.

        Reply

  13. Posted by MJ on 2010/06/21 at 11:29 PM

    Okay, okay, I’m sorry to bring this up but, was there an actual official comment announced Monday?

    http://www.latimes.com/sports/la-sp-world-cup-notes-20100620,0,2528281.story

    Reply

  14. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/21 at 11:56 PM

    So this update means Algeria goes 5-3-2 right?

    And does anyone know if you can start a Road to the Cup in Fifa WC with a concacaf team(Panama in this case) that’s not in the group already listed?

    Reply

  15. Great coverage as always. I see a great game for the US. I think the Slovenia fiasco is going to give our men the mental focus and extra determination they need to avoid the blunders and capitalize on chances. I’m looking for a 3-0 win and first place in the group.

    Reply

  16. Our Yanks need to come out against Algeria with the mindset that they’re down a goal out of the tunnel and have 90 minutes to score 3. 2-0 could very well win the group. None of this “settling into the game”, we are yanks – we’re brash and impatient. We should open with 15 minutes of solid pressing to make Algeria edgy in possession and then take a breather.

    Reply

  17. Posted by Algerian on 2010/06/22 at 9:44 AM

    one , two , three , vive à l’Algérie , with u El-khadra for ever , i hope u win , Allah is with u Algeria , come on , do it , inshaallah.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/22 at 10:03 AM

      I’m all for a good game tomorrow — I’d love some perspective on the US or Algerian side with the cheering though.

      Reply

  18. Killer report.

    It’s time to make Lando a forward. He is 100 times more dangerous in front of goal than any of our other options. Who do you want on a breakaway, Lando, Buddle, Findley (hypothetical) or even Dempsey.

    No brainer. He’s the deadliest finisher we have.

    Dempsey is a more tenacious defender in mid anyway.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/06/22 at 10:02 AM

      Thanks and welcome.

      @Soccer reform.

      We’ve said the following about Donovan for a long time ad nauseum — “It’s the threat of the pass that makes Donovan so scary.”
      I think you have to leave him in the midfield. No question he and Dempsey are class finishers though.

      Reply

    • Posted by s44 on 2010/06/22 at 2:10 PM

      This would be a decent idea if we had another Donovan to pass him the ball.

      Not to mention that he’s the main option on counters from his current spot already.

      Reply

  19. Posted by KickinNames... on 2010/06/22 at 12:05 PM

    Love the fact that we are actually concerned about Bradley’s tactics with a game left in the opening round.
    Am looking forward to Edu pairing with Bradley for a full game. I really think he adds another dynamic to the offense when he joins or leads the attack. Dealing with Bradley, Dempsey, Edu, Altidore and Onyewu, Bocanegra on set pieces is a load. Lots of options in the air against a fairly weak central defense.
    The point re Boca in the middle is very interesting but not if it means that Bornstein MIGHT sniff the pitch. All you need to fail at this level is 5 seconds of brain lock in your own third. He contributes that on the avg possession. Please no more Bornstein talk. ) )
    Agree on the Torres as sub comment above until he gets regular time with the squad. Can’t seem to pick up the game from the outset. Edu is the right choice for the right reasons.
    Donovan has been outstanding in this tournament on set pieces. I don’t know that I’ve seen one ball that wasn’t in a playable area with the right pace. Would love to see him get the opp to step up during the next stage. Could be his full on breakout tournament with the “Slovenia face job” as the centerpiece.
    Go Yanks and thanks for the insightful commentary.

    Reply

  20. [...] Shin Guardian wrote up a piece analyzing the Algerian’s style of play called Do or Die: USA vs. Algeria. Check it out for a description of the Algerian’s offense, defense, and key players, as well [...]

    Reply

  21. [...] Do Or Die: USA vs. Algeria (Dropping our official TSG preview a little early for ya.) Can you believe we've got the third group game comingRead more at Do Or Die: USA vs. Algeria « The Shin Guardian [...]

    Reply

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