Exodus?: TSG’s Official USA vs. Jamaica Preview

Tim Howard's organization skills will be called on again Sunday against the speed Jamaicans...

The tables are turned as the United States heads into its first knockout match of the 2011 Gold Cup.

Their opponent, Jamaica arrives in DC with an industrious upstart moniker similar to the one affixed to the Yanks at World Cup 2010.

Jamaica has buzzed through its CONCACAF tourney competition thus far and, under the guidance of manager and former player Theo “Tappa” Whitmore, shed some of its stereotypical image as great athletes with little more. The Jamaican team is retooled with a stronger–though not faultless–backline, a resolve to maintain poise and possession that comes directly from Whitmore and, devoid of some of it’s biggest global starts, a stronger team ethos on the field than typically accompanies the Reggae Boyz.

Meanwhile, the United States rolls, nay, totters into Sunday with a somewhat “English” hue shall we say.

A group stage that was supposed to be a dress rehearsal for the Yanks instead exposed flaws in the main production. A sloppy win against Canada preceded a listless loss to Panama which preceded a “just-enough” effort against “powerhouse” Guadeloupe to see the Yanks pull themselves into the knockouts with all the grace of a 2nd-grader attempting his first pull-up.

Beyond the clunky display on the field, a late week announcement that the the Yanks two main offensive stars, Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey, would be foregoing practice to participate in their respective sibling’s wedding put the air of lack of focus and dedication around the group–warranted or not–at a time when it looks like the US could use all the stick-together that they can muster.

Tappa Whitmore, an Essien-type, during his playing days..

The US should be sweating Jamaica’s Reggae Boyz when they head into RFK on Sunday as the outlook from this vantage point has upset plastered all over it.

Let’s get to our customer TSG preview. As usual, it goes:

About the opponent: Jamaica

TSG What Are We Looking For

11 At The Whistle

Disclaimers

———-

About the opponent: Jamaica

The Reggae-Boyz, rolling in 2011.

Jamaica has been bullying teams like Buffalo Soldiers at Gold Cup 2011.

Seven goals, none conceded, and a quite a bit of conviction behind their style of play. Long known for having speed, uh, speed and athleticism abundance with little discipline, the Reggae Boyz have put it together this summer showing a build-up and possession game that has never been identified with their style of play, until now.

The Boyz opened the tourney by hanging a four spot on overmatched Grenada, followed up it up with a 2-0 victory over Guatemala and concluded the group stage with a convincing 1-0 war of attrition and substitution over Honduras.

The Reggae Boyz have deployed predominantly in a 3-4-3 at the Gold Cup, but against Honduras shifted to a 4-4-2 resting many of their key starters.

The difference in their Honduran schematic was the positioning of MLS striker-forward Ryan Johnson who shifted into a split forward deployment with Dane Richards. In the center, however, is Johnson’s key position this tourney. He has assumed the “big striker role” of injured Ricardo Fuller ; he’s in form and delivering the goods in Gold Cup 2011 with two goals and solid play.

Bookending Johnson up top, Jamaica–devoid of Omar Cummings as well–will use the zippy New York Red Bull man Dane Richards on one corner and Norwegian Tippeligaen vet Luton Shelton on the other. Shelton will drop to the bench if Jamaica goes with only two up top.

Jamaica's likely deployment against the States...

In the midfield, Jamaica projects to use three more Norwegian leaguers across the board. Demar Phillips, a one time Stoke City player and perhaps a bigger speed merchant than even Shelton or Richards slots in at left mid. Phillips supports Shelton well and it capable of bending in a beautiful cross or two with his left foot.

The more defensive-minded Rodolfo Austin goes center right.

The fulcrum in the middle is steady Jason Morrison who trialed at Leeds, Lichaj’s loan club.

While prior to this tournament, Jamaica was in more of a 4-3-3, they now deploy in more of 3-4-3 as up-and-coming 23-year-old Eric Vernan has been pushed into more of a midfield role–a “Timmy Chandler role” if you will. Thus the midfield becomes Vernan, Austin, Morrison and Phillips.

The three anchored at the back for Jamaica are Houston Dynamo back-up Jermaine Taylor who plays the left back role. Adrian Reid fills in for Toronto FC’s Dicoy Williams who is down with a knock at right center and Sporting KC’s Shavar Thomas is the center pin in the middle.

In defense is where Jamaica is improved through team personnel and better organization. It’s back four can be prone to poor decision-making and if Jamaica starts launching balls aimlessly up the pitch you’ll know the States are frustrating them.

Jamaica rolls out L.A. Galaxy goalie–and TSG’s pick for MLS Most Overrated–Donovan Ricketts in the back. In our opinion, test Ricketts often enough and he’s prone to at least one mistake a game. Oh he’ll make amazing saves…until you realize that he was just slow to react.

Expect Jamaica to make this a classic 3-4-3 vs. 4-4-2 struggle with the flank battle playing out between the Yanks rear guard–likely Steve Cherundolo and Eric Lichaj–and how far they can advance versus whether Shelton and Richards can pin both back. As oppose to hucking it to the wings and playing “chase ball,” the Boyz will attempt to maintain possession through Morrison and Austin and instead “spring” their flanks–Phillips and Vernan–with a shorter pass, increasing it’s likelihood of success who in turn feed to Richards and Shelton.

There is a chance that Jamaica remains in a 4-4-2 however that would play more to the States strength than Jamaica’s (fast wingers).

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TSG: What We’re Looking At

• Can the United States dictate the tempo?

Seen this bullet anywhere before? Tempo will be that much more important in this game as the United States doesn’t want to get in perpetual foot race with an opponent who is faster than them–and one who has improved itself in managing the game.

• Will Landon and Clint be jet propelled or jet lagged?

Got no problem with Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey going to weddings. Both players have diligently committed time to the US national team and Dempsey spent his off time last year in South Africa. Landon did too in a way after his winter break was spent with Everton in the EPL.

In all likelihood, Dempsey and Donovan–with two days of rest and celebration on their minds–come out reinvigorated.

The question that remains here? Bob Bradley had five roster spots to “play” with–that is 18 out of 23 players make the game day roster. Nick Rimando, Jonathan Spector, and Jonathan Bornstein compromise the end of bench defensive options. Up top the Yanks went with two “let’s see how they do in camp” guys in Robbie Rogers and Freddy Adu–neither who have made a Gold Cup game day roster.

If Dempsey or Donovan were perhaps delayed in some emergency, precisely who would step in for them? Sacha Kljestan, who is arguably better in the center?

It continues to be mind boggling that Ale Bedoya didn’t make the original roster and has been relied on for a spark in two games–a straight attack minded forward. It makes it more mind boggling considering the known absence of Donovan and Dempsey who would have missed this game if it were Saturday. (Incorrect and edit here: Neither would have missed the match; point still remains in our opinion.)

Carrying on.

Lot of work on Sunday for Junior...

• Unleaded premium for Michael Bradley.

The US should be in better hands with a back left pairing of Eric Lichaj and Carlos Bocanegra, but depending on how well the Yanks manage the game tempo, this might be Michael Bradley’s busiest game.

Against Panama, Bradley got caught in flux between protecting the left rear guard and being active in the attack. While the Yanks should move more cohesively as a unit and play a higher line–reducing the pitch dimensions that Bradley needs to cover–Bradley will still likely be counted on to be aggressive in the attack all the while respecting the speed that Jamaica possesses on the attack and on the counter.

• Run, Jozy, Run….and everyone else too.

It’s as simple as perpetual motion and runs from Altidore. It’s never been done for a full match, can it be accomplished Sunday?

Similarly the Yanks cannot stagnate off-the-ball. Less so because of the specific competition, more so, because, well, it just doesn’t work.

• Key match-up: Eric Lichaj vs. Dane Richards.

Lichaj has held his own, thus far this summer. Whereas Lichaj typically likes to engage his attacker and ride him off his position, he’ll have to be a little bit more careful with Dane Richards–some amalgamation of a poor man’s Theo Walcott-Aaron Lennon–who can scoot right by him if he misses a hip.

———-

The Yanks started with Clint Dempsey fore of Steve Cherundolo on Tuesday and they probably will again. Bradley has now flip-flopped Dempsey and Donovan each game, so the right flank won't be exclusively Deuce's. Michael Bradley will push up more centrally and try to get involved in the offense while Jermaine Jones covers behind.

11 At The Whistle

The skinny: Expect most, if not all the starters the States led with against Guadeloupe. Also expect Bradley’s crew to play a high line–think of their positioning in last year’s Send Off Series game against Turkey–looking to box in Jamaica and render their speed irrelevant. The States will need to be cautious of a well played over-the-top ball, but the gambit, should it be employed by Bradley, should also be worth the risk.

G: Tim Howard

The skinny: Howard had rough start to last game. Shows what happens when you give the man no rest Bob Bradley.

DEF: Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Carlos Bocanegra, Eric Lichaj

The skinny: Same as Guadeloupe and rightfully so. With the big frame of Ryan Johnson in the middle, it makes sense to keep the Captain Carlos Bocanegra in his path instead of Tim Ream.

Can Jones continue to get stronger?

MID: Clint Dempsey, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, Landon Donovan

The skinny: Our guess is–with Michael Bradley pushing up and sealing in on the right and Jermaine Jones slightly aft of him–that Clint Dempsey once again deploys on the right and the Yanks try to push back and challenge Jamaica’s speedsters on that flank.

Landon Donovan will be used to help out Lichaj with Richard and take advantage of the gap when Austin doesn’t support well enough.

FW: Chris Wondolowski, Jozy Altidore

The skinny: The US had a lot more space with Wondolowski moving off the more centrally (and rooted too often) Jozy Altidore. Altidore needs to pick it up again.

Disclaimers

Don’t see any this time around. Maybe Maurice Edu for Jones? Nope, don’t see that either.

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65 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by SamT on 2011/06/17 at 8:25 AM

    Good write up. Although with the first three games we’ve seen from both sides, it would be difficult to characterize a US defeat on Sunday an “upset.”

    Reply

    • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/06/17 at 8:49 AM

      The bookmakers have the US at about a 2:1 favorite, so it would be an upset from that point of view.

      And while Jamaica did impress in the group stages, you also have to consider the competition. They played an awful team, a poor team, and a sandbagging team. (I wonder about Honduras. Are they going to bust out Palacios and Izaguirre for the knockout rounds? Why bring those guys if you’re not going to use them?)

      Reply

      • jamaica will win and we shall see who this description fits – They played an awful team, a poor team, and a sandbagging team.

        Reply

        • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/06/17 at 11:00 AM

          I advise you to put all your money on Jamaica, and septuple your life’s savings in that case.

          Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/06/17 at 10:26 AM

        Hondruas is such a bizarre federation. I’ve long past stopped trying to figure out what the hell they’re doing.

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/17 at 10:28 AM

          Wholly unique with a lot of business influences on the federation. Tried to write an article on them once and it was so baffling didn’t feel any accuracy in what I was doing.

          Reply

  2. Posted by Ufficio on 2011/06/17 at 8:35 AM

    It makes it more mind boggling considering the known absence of Donovan and Dempsey who would have missed this game if it were Saturday.

    Bob said they wouldn’t have been released had the US played on Saturday.

    Reply

    • Posted by scweeb on 2011/06/17 at 9:17 AM

      Bob might not have released them but they wouldn’t have been there.

      Reply

      • Posted by Ufficio on 2011/06/17 at 10:07 AM

        No way to prove a counterfactual I suppose, but the official version from US Soccer is that they would’ve missed the weddings to play in a Saturday match.

        Reply

    • Posted by LarryMontanez on 2011/06/17 at 10:39 AM

      i think donovan and dempsey get a pass because they are American’s best. probably like those kids in youth teams that the coaches never yell at no matter how they’re playing or practicing, even though they’re yelling at everyone else, because the coach doesn’t want to p*ss them off.

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/17 at 3:23 PM

        The fact is this team goes as far as Donovan and Dempsey take it. That has been true for some time now.

        Had they shown up for Panama we win or tie that game. If either one had shown up for Guadalupe we win 3-0.

        Either they both really show up for whatever is left of this tournament or Bradley is gone and maybe the era of the dynamic duo with him.

        Reply

      • Posted by Pancho on 2011/06/18 at 3:37 PM

        Hey, this is their sisters we are talking about. And in the case of Donovan his twin sister.
        I think they would have been out had they played today as well.

        I’m with you on Wondo starting. For all the lack of finishinng, he held the ball up much better than either Altidore or Aguduelo, allowing some pressure relief from the middle of the park in the route 1 strategy, (when the US chose to go that route). Not saying Wondo was Wond-orful (see how I did that), but he was better than the other options…though maybe Dempsey gets the call after his long plane trip.

        Reply

  3. Posted by Erik the Orange on 2011/06/17 at 9:00 AM

    “A sloppy win against Canada…” ?? Was it really sloppy?

    “• Bradley goes two traditional attack schemas and both work.”

    Sorry if I’m nitpicking but just keepin ya honest…..

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/17 at 9:16 AM

      Actually, you’re talking two different things.

      Sloppy win…attack plans worked…sloppy win. Doesn’t mean the attack tactics weren’t right.

      Reply

    • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/06/17 at 1:44 PM

      It was sloppy. We dominated for 30 to 35 minutes and then pretty much played them even. I know we picked up a second half goal from Dempsey but the Canada game gave me an idea of what it is like to be on the other side of the Argentina/USA type games, where one side dominates and then takes a lead and plays out the rest of the game almost as if they play down to the opponent knowing they can turn it on again if need be.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Erik the Orange on 2011/06/17 at 9:27 AM

    Alright, I see now. Attack tactics, although they worked, still produced a sloppy win…I see.

    My opinion, albeit in hindsight, after watching those Panama and Guada games, the Canada game looked like a polished gem. HA!

    Reply

  5. Posted by swedust on 2011/06/17 at 9:56 AM

    I have been impressed by Bedoya’s intensity. I wonder if he might not start on the right with Dempsey in a more free role to try to poke a hole wherever he sees weakness along that back line. Plus would allow us to start compacted in a 4-5-1 to make sure we take the first 10-20 minutes to get a feel for Jamaica’s foot speed and perhaps disrupt their newly-incorporated patient build-up play (though I haven’t watched any of their GC’11 games, going by what post says).

    Reply

    • Posted by tnnelson on 2011/06/17 at 11:20 AM

      that’s what I was thinking. Bedoya could definitely get a start on the right with Donovan on the left, that way Dempsey can play in a free role behing Jozy and morph our formation into a 4-4-1-1 and keep us from getting outnumbered in the middle of the field, as often happen in a 4-3-3 v 4-4-2 matchup. besides, this plays more to Dempsey’s strengths as he likes to move around to find the ball, and he can still push up centrally to get on the end of crosses. Bedoya’s energy on the flank will be food for width and he can also cover very well defensively if Dolo wants to really get involved in the attack. also, i know he has played in the hole with his club team before, so he and Dempsey can interchange frequently, as well as Donovan, to keep the Jamaican defense of their toes

      Reply

      • Posted by Kevin on 2011/06/17 at 2:17 PM

        Well if you want to talk interchanging, than it should be noted that bedoya Dempsey and Donovan can all interchange and cover for eachother. In the 4-2-3-1 or 4-4-1-1 I would expect to still see Donovan on the right with bedoya on the left to preserve the Donovan dolo partnership.

        Reply

        • Posted by Izzy on 2011/06/18 at 11:18 AM

          I honestly feel like the importance of the Donovan-Cherundolo partnership has been overstated. As good as those two are, I feel like having anyone on that flank who comes inside on offense is just as good because it draws the opposition fullback inside and creates space for Cherundolo on the overlap. This is exactly what happened against England, and that’s why I think Bob keeps placing Dempsey on the right – he knows Clint is much MUCH more effective in central areas, at least nowadays, and wants there to be some sort of perk to him drifting so far inward. Donovan isn’t a natural lefty, but he’s certainly not too bad on the left, and he still has the pace for getting down the line and putting in crosses.

          Reply

  6. Posted by Antonio H. on 2011/06/17 at 10:51 AM

    I’m gonna go ahead and call another Bedoya cameo at the 60th-65th. 50-50 here on who’s starting up top with Jozy. Hopefully Dempsey cleared his head during the wedding break and will be able to finish.

    Reply

  7. Posted by Kevin O' on 2011/06/17 at 11:17 AM

    I’m envious of the fans getting to enjoy this one in person. I saw the US play Jamaica the last time they matched up at a WC qualifier at RFK. (The original Agoos gaff before his unfortunate South Korea WC.) The Jamaican fans were excellent guests, loud and very passionate about their team. Walking back to the metro I remember seeing scattered shared blankets of fans clad in black yellow and green mixed with those in red white and blue passing around a smoking refreshment that’s not quite legal in our country. Lots of “Roots, rock, reggae” enjoyed by all. It’s really the game that sold me on International soccer and how cool and unique each game atmosphere truly can be.

    Reply

    • Posted by dbex on 2011/06/17 at 12:04 PM

      heh, I was at that game in ’97 too (sitting in the stands in front of where Harkes jumped up when he scored his pk). you’re right; big jamaican crowd and very passionate without being nasty….they made a noise I’ve never heard before when jamaica scored – basically yelling “guuooaall” all together in a very loud, very deep voice. kinda cool, really. should be fun. I hope the US support does us proud.

      Reply

      • Posted by Kevin O' on 2011/06/17 at 12:27 PM

        Agreed, hands down the best celebration by visiting fans I’ve ever seen in any sport. Our support has gotten much better than it was in ’97. The Screaming Eagles and La Barra Brava won’t let us down!

        Reply

    • Posted by EFG on 2011/06/17 at 1:37 PM

      It isn’t the Jamaican fans that I’m worried about, it’s the Panamanian/El Salvadorian fans who I’m sure purchased most of the tickets that will be anti-US (probably) and be at the game before theirs.

      Reply

      • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/06/17 at 1:46 PM

        At what point will we start playing legit home games in front of 90% USA crowds?

        Reply

        • Not gonna happen. We’re too big and have too many international heritages that still thrive in those who have immigrated here from the countries to our south. Their kids may eventually come to root for the USMNT, but as long as there’s first-generation immigrants in this country…well, they’ll make their voice heard, and they have every right to do so.

          Reply

  8. Posted by dth on 2011/06/17 at 11:19 AM

    I think I’m most intrigued by Eric Lichaj this game. He has so many elements of a good fullback, and his physicality is a welcome bonus. The question for me is, will he still be able to be effective in attack with that highly predictable cut-back move? Is Lichaj the soccer version of Mariano Rivera (only one pitch, but such a good one), or is he just a one-trick pony?

    Reply

    • Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/06/17 at 11:24 AM

      I am thinking more one-trick pony. Which is why I think him on the right will be better. But Dolo is still too good to take off the the field. So him to the left works for now. Hopefully he spent all week taking lefty crosses.

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/06/17 at 11:28 AM

        Well, I hope for the USMNT’s sake, he starts playing left exclusively and becomes a poor man’s Philip Lahm. Because right back? That’s not going to be a weakness/area of need for the team until 2022.

        Reply

        • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/17 at 11:35 AM

          In starting a not necessary thread here….circa 2013. Kind of would be interesting to see the Yanks morph in to a 5-2-2-1 with Chandler on one flank and “a Brek Shea type on the other”

          Lichaj and Ream could play the interior flankers and Goodson or someone in the center.

          Bradley, Holden
          Dempsey, Donovan,
          Altidore

          Please don’t reply here…just had to get this out.

          Sorry I did this…might delete it in a minute.

          Reply

          • Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/06/17 at 12:11 PM

            Embrace the 3 man back line…

            Reply

            • Posted by dth on 2011/06/17 at 12:44 PM

              I’m not sure about the 3 man back line for the U.S. We already struggle with width as is, I wouldn’t like to leave it up to a pair of fullbacks exclusively. Additionally, unless you have good possession skills and tactics, the 3 man backline tends to get pushed back into a 5 man backline. (It’s also very brittle in defense, running into trouble against 1 or 3 man front lines…and of course the trend in international soccer is towards precisely that number.)

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/17 at 3:29 PM

              If you are going with a 3-5-2 you need really good wingbacks. Chandler/Dolo would be fine on the right but left wingback could be an issue. And your back three probably should be just a bit more mobile than what is there now.

  9. Posted by Yard Man on 2011/06/17 at 11:44 AM

    Jamaica is in better form than the USA; Let’s hope the referee is unbiased. The last time Jamaica played at RFK the referee gifted the US a penalty for a handball out of the box on Ian Goodison

    Reply

    • Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/06/17 at 11:53 AM

      Look we gave you the first goal on a rocket by Jeff Agoos. Agree with above that it was a great time in the stands for that one.

      Reply

      • Posted by Tilla on 2011/06/17 at 3:38 PM

        You did not give Jamaica a goal. You were forced into making a mistake, thus resulting in a goal. That is hat the game is about. On the other hand, the match officials gave an inadvertent ball to hand as a hand ball in the area. The US should have lost that match if they were not assisted by the officials. Let me hope the refereeing can this time stay out of gifting either side a goal.

        Reply

  10. I can’t see Jamaica sitting both Daleys…at least one, if not both, will start.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/17 at 12:10 PM

      Not sure about that. Both played nearly the full Honduras game as Vernan and Shelton were given breathers presumably for Sunday.

      I can see Omar for Vernan (and that’s about the extent of my knowledge there), but it wouldn’t be wise to have Keanmmar (spl) in place of Richards or Shelton given his lack of reps — plus doesn’t Whitmore prefer to have him off the bench?

      Omar for Vernan is possible though.

      Reply

  11. Posted by EFG on 2011/06/17 at 1:31 PM

    Food for thought: Does the chance of rain on Sunday hurt Jamaica more than the US? Vice versa? Does it hurt anyone?

    Reply

  12. Posted by SuperChivo on 2011/06/17 at 1:31 PM

    “While prior to this tournament, Jamaica was in more of a 4-4-3, they now deploy in more of 3-4-3…”

    I wonder why more teams don’t play a 4-4-3?

    Reply

  13. Posted by Tilla on 2011/06/17 at 3:41 PM

    No team play that formation. 4-4-3 would mean you either have 12 players on the field or you have decided to deploy your GK as a field player. I guess the writer meant 4-4-2.

    Reply

  14. Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/06/17 at 6:36 PM

    What does it tell you about our forward situation that I described Wondo’s performance as overwhelmed and not ready for this level yet I am in 100% agreement with TSG that he should start on Sunday?

    Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/19 at 9:06 AM

      That the coach screwed the pooch by only bringing in 3 forwards, 2 that are basically unproven and one who has been up and down for 3 years.

      I’d keep Wondo on the bench and go 4-5-1 of some sort with Jozy as the main striker. Not the best formation but we have better midfielders and it would allow Dempsey more freedom.

      Reply

  15. Posted by ghettobooty on 2011/06/17 at 8:45 PM

    I can see Jamaica beating the U.S. because of their poor form, but Mexico would shred em.

    Reply

  16. Posted by dth on 2011/06/17 at 9:19 PM

    Rewatching the Guadeloupe game, it’s striking how often Jones plays as a carrilero and shoots to the left flank to provide width. Altidore seems to be more central-to-right; Dempsey has a free role. An interesting tactical wrinkle from Bradley.

    Reply

    • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/06/18 at 7:30 AM

      Thats a very interesting comment. I was thinking that Donovan was playing deeper than normal (when we aren’t bunkering). Plus I have been curious about the Bradley/Jones pairing as they seem to be off at least in the first two games.

      Anyone at the games have a view as to whether the US is still playing a 4-2-2-2 or if they are playing a 4-4-2 diamond?

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/06/18 at 1:10 PM

        That’s also a good point.

        After rewatching the game, I think all of the comments about how Guadeloupe was a disappointing performance, etc., etc. are off base. It was a solid performance marred by ugly finishing from Clint Dempsey in particular. If you’re going to be disturbed by the U.S. performance in the group stage, Panama is the place to start and finish.

        Reply

        • Posted by KMac on 2011/06/18 at 1:28 PM

          dth, we agree on this one. Panama was disturbing and humbling. Guada was just one of those nights when Deuce, Donovan, and Wondo couldn’t get a break.
          Let’s see what happens on Sunday.
          Peace,
          KMac

          Reply

  17. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/18 at 7:05 AM

    I was at RBA for Jamaica’s game vs. Honduras. Whilst I acknowledge that the USA are [usually]stronger than Honduras, I was quite impressed with Jamaica – the way they kept possesion – short / long passes, movement / running off the ball – and they actually did a good job with keeping the ball on the deck, rather than just knocking it over the top every time. Saying that, I expect the US to do a much better job of pressing when out of possession, and I expect the US to shade it slightly, possession-wise. A lot has been said about Jamaica wiining their 3 games and not conceding – it will also be interesting to see how Jamaica will cope if they go behind. Looking forward to a good game.

    Reply

  18. [...] As our fellow USMNT bloggers at The Shin Guardian pointed out, Jamaica plays a 4-3-3 that’s been m… and they’ve been doing it really well as of late. A former Reggae Boy himself, manager Theo Whitmore has been part of practically every proud moment for the national team over the course of the past five years. Whether he’s been serving as an assistant coach, an interim manager, or a full time boss as he is now, Whitmore has generally enjoyed success with the green, black, and gold. Now he’s playing the team in a way that best utilizes his players’ skill sets, and Jamaica is seemingly poised to make a run in both this tournament and World Cup qualifying. [...]

    Reply

  19. This team could really use Holden in this one. Push Dempsey up, Wondo out, then you have Bedoya and/or Agudelo as the guys to replace Jozy if/when he needs to be pulled.

    Reply

  20. Posted by Izzy on 2011/06/18 at 11:00 AM

    I’d kind of like to flash back to another team who played 3 at the back – Algeria. Generally, two forwards would do poorly against three in the back because of the spare man. However, our forwards did not remain static – they spread wide, dragging the two most wide centerbacks with them, or leaving themselves wide open in the spaces outside of the centerbacks. When the former happened, it left one centerback alone, and created spaces in the backline that Donovan, Dempsey, and Bradley could expose.

    Furthermore, The 3-4-3 left Algeria outmanned on the flanks. With the forwards spreading wide and the fullbacks, particularly Cherundolo, hell-bent on getting involved offensively, the USA would have 2v1, and sometimes 3v1 situations on the flanks. Algeria’s wingbacks/wide midfieldfers were confused as to whether they should track Donovan and Dempsey inside, or Bornstein and Cherundolo getting down the flanks.

    I think if we play the exact same tactical cards here, we can come away with a win, and a big one, too. The key is just as you said though – MOVEMENT. We can’t remain static. Our worst halves at the World Cup came when we were static in the attack, leaving Bradley/Torres/Edu/Clark with no advance/outlet pass.

    Reply

  21. Posted by Carlos on 2011/06/18 at 11:58 AM

    A major decision in my mind is do we start Dempsey up top & bring in Bedoya/Sacha. I like this because I think Dempsey tends to be more stubborn in trying to beat his man (read: Likes to take on 2,3 & 4 players at a time). When he does this as a Mid he often slows are attack or throws are rhythm off (You can see Donavon getting visually upset with him in the last game). But if done up top he can help collapse their defense or create other good chance & if he looses the ball (which he often does) it’s in our offensive end where it does not hurt. In other words, you want your forwards to try & beat these odds but not your Mids. Dempsey & Agudelo are our two players who love to do this.

    Reply

    • Posted by Travis McKil on 2011/06/19 at 8:09 AM

      This would also save his legs and maybe he wouldn’t miss some of the (seemingly easy to the drunk fan) chances that inevitably come in the second half. Focus and touch are the first things to go and I think he has deserved to be up top with someone in mid-season form doing a bit more covering. He has had his greatest season as a club player and is definitely our best scoring option right now despite his last game, so why wear him out running back to defend flanks in the first half?

      Reply

  22. Posted by dth on 2011/06/18 at 8:43 PM

    BTW, MLS-related, but can anyone figure out Peter Nowak now? He’s still playing Kyle Nakazawa and still forcing Mwanga to come off of the bench (Mwanga, of course, is playing well).

    Reply

  23. [...] The Fan In You « Exodus?: TSG’s Official USA vs. Jamaica Preview [...]

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