Reset: TSG’s Official USA vs. Panama Preview

The States will likely have to do better than just a Goodson header--the lone tally in game one--to knock off Panama..

The United States heads into Wednesday night’s Gold Cup semifinal game with quite a bit of familiarity of their opponent, still brandishing the bruises of playing them in the group stage and now with the ability to hit the reset button on a FIFA game gone wrong.

The States foil for a trip to the Rose Bowl in Pasadena this weekend to contend for the Gold Cup championship? That would be Panama of course, the lone pothole thus far on a meandering road to CONCACAF supremacy and a date with Confederation’s Cup in 2013.

Is Landon Donovan refreshed and ready to go vs. Panama this time? (Another phenomenal shot from Matt Mathai here)

Last time out, the United States were done in by a midfield that got stretched as Panama sat deep, played possum and waited for the States to get caught up the field on a change of possession and head the other way. Unfamiliar and always challenged on breaking down teams that play on the counter, the US attack got caught out of shape and lost the ball with with little quality opportunities in the early going.

Upon a turnover–with the ball at their feet on the turn and quick movement out of their own defensive end–Panama, near the triple digits in FIFA’s team rankings, consistently threatened the Yanks overstretched midfield and its relatively junior centerback pairing. A night to forget for Tim Ream specifically ensued.

This time out it will be fascinating to see how Bob Bradley changes things up as the euphoria around an excellent team outing–and a well coached victory–against Jamaic subsides.

Will Bradley employ the same or similar 4-2-3-1 that he did against Jamaica? Landon Donovan can’t possibly start on the bench again, can he? (Don’t expect that.)

For their part, Les Marea Roja enter the fray with less than confidence one would think from having beaten their opponent. A lengthy struggle in Sunday’s second game, led to extra time–not what weary legs need at this time of the Gold Cup–and to their dominant striker who challenged the US repeatedly, Blas Perez, receiving a red card. He is, of course, unavailable for this one.

Let’s get to our customary preview. It goes:

About The Opponent: Panama

TSG, What We’re Looking For

11 At The Whistle

Disclaimers

About The Opponent: Panama

For more on Panama, see here as well.

The tried-and-true Panama 4-4-2....how they will likely deploy against the States...

Expect much the same for Panama in this one as they showed the Yanks in the first group stage meeting.

The starters all remain the same with the exception of Luis Renteria replacing Blas Perez in the starting line-up.

Coach Julio Dely Valdés must expect that Bob Bradley will be more careful with his forward wing deployment in this one and not have the same gaps that were provided to his team last time for the quick outside-inside counter.

Expect Panama to sit deep again again and let the States take it to them, both because it worked last time with their disciplined defense and also because coming off 120 minutes of up-and-down action Sunday,Dely Valdés will not want to see his team get into a foot race with a slightly fresher side.

Armando Cooper started making central runs when the Yanks pushed up the right flank in their 2nd half 4-2-3-1 last time. Expect more of that this time...

The small wrinkle–and the States saw some of it in the second half when Panama was looking to do anything to relieve pressure after the Yanks went 4-2-3-1–is that Panama will likely use right winger Armand0 Cooper--a one time target of MLS’s New York Red Bulls–on central runs both to provide an outlet from pressure and to create a numbers mismatch on the counter in the middle of the field.

Whereas Panama looked to go outside to link in the first half of the first match to Cooper and left wing Nelson Baronha–with the States employing a wider look–Dely Valdez will call on this tactic to try to create a mismatch centrally when the Yanks are pressed up.

Panama will also–as they did in Game 1–look to bring Luis Tejada back to hold up the ball and find the onrushing Cooper or Baronha overlapping wide or Luis Renteria splitting down the right flank.

TSG What Are We Looking For:

• With Jozy Altidore ailing, the decision on who starts up top is both critical and complex?

Quite a conundrum for Bob Bradley here. Quite a conundrum.

Wondo rues his missed sitter to tie in the group stage match against Panama...

With the US having but three true strikers on its depth chart and now likely down to two with Altidore ailing, who Bradley calls on out of the ‘pen and for how long they go are critical to the Yanks’ tournament success.

On form and talent, Juan Agudelo is probably the likely choice in a single striker set. That said, the youngster put in some challenging and thankless minutes Sunday by his lonesome at RFK. If Bradley goes Agudelo here in a single striker set, he’s certainly risking the effectiveness of a player that will be counted on against Mexico in the final if Altidore is unavailable.

The US could go with Chris Wondolowski and Juan Agudelo up top–however if the last game against Panama proved anything, it’s that a two striker set–given how deep Panama sits and little space there is to operate–is probably not a strong deployment.

And finally, the US could go with Chris Wondolowski by as its lone man up top. Allowing a fresh Wondolowski to absorb some of the punishment in the early going knowing that breaking down the Panama defense will stand a better chance as players tire may be a better option for Bradley.

•Will Bradley’s formation force Dempsey and Donovan to do countless shuttle runs?

One thing that Bob Bradley preaches is to “run as little as possible within the team concept on defense.”

What is meant by this, for example, is if the to strikers up top criss-cross one another, they remain on their respective sides or take up the nearest defensive position of the group. In this way, a team doesn’t get stretched and a player is cognizant of where he is on the field rather than rushing back to a position he’ll never get back to.

 

 

 

 

One of the problems with the Yanks in the group stage against Panama was that both Clint Dempsey would make forward runs and upon a turnover they’d be woefully out of position on defense and the Panamanians with threaten with their counterattack.

For this reason alone, I expect one of Sacha Kljestan or Alejandro Bedoya–likely Kljestan–to join Dempsey and Donovan in the midfield and help cover for their defensive positioning.

• The US needs to shut down service this time out.

Tim Howard, shows the way to Pasadena for the Yanks...

Want to make Tim Howard angry? It’s really easy. Leave his defense out high and dry by failing to put pressure on the ball. It happened multiple times in the first meeting between these two teams.

Here’s the count by teammate: Jermaine Jones (2), Steve Cherundolo (2), Carlos Bocanegra (1), Michael Bradley (1), Juan Agudelo (1) and probably a few more that escaped camera’s view.

Now the US will catch a break with Perez on the side who was on the backend of that service, but the Yanks will look a whole lot better on defense–and perhaps their young centerback pairing could’ve in the first game–had pressure been put on the distributors up the field.

• Can the US be patient on offense in the early going?

Last time out the States first half offense was a disaster. Poor off-ball movement and slow ball movement. The US pressed a bit in trying to force the issue. It led to players getting too far up the pitch and dangerous Panama counterattacks.

While the US needs to be better in the attack, they also need to play patiently and figure out the Panama defense as they go.

11 At The Whistle

Last time, the US found no joy on offense in the 1st half with Dempsey in possession of the marble on the left...

———-

Last time:

The Yanks had very little success in game one with two strikers deployed up top. Jozy Altidore and Juan Agudelo did not move well off each other and Altidore did not move nearly enough.

The result?

Clint Dempsey, managing possession on the left flank in the early going, was left without options.

Either Altidore did not track outside fast enough or the rest of the plan, including a stagnate Landon Donovan did not move off him.

When Dempsey attempted to create, he was often left shuffling the ball back to Michael Bradley who did not switch field fast enough to a wide Steve Cherundolo.

The Yanks had no flow, no rhythm.

———-

This time: I think the States–given the injury to Altidore and the past challenges in a 4-4-2–would be hard-pressed to deploy in a 4-4-2 again.

There is some merit to that selection in that–as we saw in the Guadeloupe game–Chris Wondolowski was often used as more of a false nine, moving back centrally to pick up a pass and distribute a lead or square pass.

However, with no redundancy up top and Panama’s defense being more organized than Guadeloupe’s, a 4-2-3-1 seems to make sense given the personnel available at Bradley’s disposal.

The only real question is will Clint Dempsey play wide again–expect him on the right to start this one instead of the left if he does–or will he be move centrally to reduce his defensive responsibilities slightly. Either way expect him to interchange frequently with whoever that is centrally, so we’ll suggest it’s Kljestan in this one again.

The Yanks probable deployment Wednesday. Bedoya may get the nod over Kljestan in this set.

G: Tim Howard

The skinny: Howard should have perhaps a little easier this time with Bocanegra organizing ahead of his and that absence of Perez.

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

The skinny: Bradley’s defensive four seems now set as Carlos Bocanegra has proven to be hidden better–and exert his leadership–in the middle of the pitch.

Key your eye on Clarence Goodson who’s looked a little jittery, especially in possession, the last two times out.

MID: Jermaine Jones, Michael Bradley

The skinny: Part of me feels that Michael Bradley needs a rest of he risks being completely gassed against Mexico. He’ll start of course as will Jermaine Jones who needs to build on his RFK performance.

MID: Landon Donovan, Sacha Kljestan, Clint Dempsey

The skinny: Landon Donovan starts in this one and he takes up the role of providing some width on the left. Sacha Kljestan remains in the advanced central role, but will likely interchange frequently with Clint Dempsey who comes off the right.

STR: Juan Agudelo

The skinny: As we mentioned, a toss up here. Agudelo gets the start if Bradley favors building continuity and in part because he’s better on the ball in one-v-one situations than Chris Wondolowski.
he start.

Disclaimers:

The first two are near toss-ups.

» Wondolowski for Agudelo

Chances: 49%

The skinny: Bob Bradley may deploy Wondolowski to take some punishment early and insert Agudelo later when Panama’s backline is tired.

» Bedoya for Kljestan

Chances: 49%

The skinny: Easily could be Bedoya on the right flank and Dempsey centrally in the early going. The move would spare Dempsey’s defensive responsibilities.

» Jonathan Spector for Cherundolo

Chances: 5%

The skinny: Kind of would be wild, right? I have to believe that Cherundolo’s still feeling the effects of that shoulder knock on Sunday. US fans will hope that Cherundolo does not need to go a full 90 minutes with the visage of Gio Dos Santos likely waiting to challenge him on Sunday. (And say what you will of Dos Santos, but he’s always very effective of a Mexico kit.)

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103 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by Paddy on 2011/06/21 at 10:46 AM

    Until now, I forgot that Spector was on the roster. And it’ll be interesting to see how long Agudelo goes. I think ” Wondolowski for Agudelo — Chances: 49%” is just about right. Also it will be intriguing to see how much Wondo drops back for the ball / or Kljestan goes forward (which he ought to do more of).

    Reply

  2. Anyone know of a good bar where I can catch the game at in Chesapeake, VA? I’m going on a business trip there tomorrow and I really want to watch this game.

    Reply

  3. Posted by Andrew on 2011/06/21 at 10:54 AM

    Any thought to starting Edu in place of Jones in the central mid? He has played in the middle with Bradley so unfamiliarity wouldn’t necessarily be a huge issue, and has been at least decent as a sub. Jones is in yellow card jeopardy and he too was in some pain just prior to being subbed off at the end of the Jamaica game, plus his level of frustration last time out against Panama was pretty high (and when he gets frustrated, he seems to get reckless with his tackles). It would be a risk considering how bad the midfield previously was vs. Panama, and breaking up their current rhythm could be dangerous in the first half. But if Edu struggles and the game isn’t in hand you would have Jones ready to insert, and if it works, Jones gets a nice break ahead of the final.

    Reply

    • Posted by Gino on 2011/06/21 at 8:07 PM

      If there were one change from the lineup at RFK, I would guess it’s Edu for Jones. I haven’t seen anything to confirm it, but Jones seemed to strain his groin last time out. At this stage in the tournament, if you can play, you should play. Why save someone for a Final that you don’t play in because you lost the Semi. HOWEVER, groin injuries can be tricky and Jones might sit if the groin renders him ineffective.

      Reply

  4. Posted by Nicholas on 2011/06/21 at 10:57 AM

    I didn’t get to watch the 2nd half due to my DVR screwing up, but did I hear correctly that LD10 in the CAM role? I really wouldn’t mind seeing that if so. Opinions?

    Reply

  5. Posted by FulhamPete on 2011/06/21 at 11:08 AM

    Boy do we miss a 4th forward now?

    I cringe at the thought of Wondoh! seeing the pitch in this game except as a relief sub for Agu when we’re up by a couple. We just can’t be reliant on him to put the ball away OR hold the ball up well for attacking MFers.

    Also, I know you’ve got a 50/50 in there for Sacha/Bedoya. I think we need to go Bedoya, here since we need to score goals and he seems to be on the cusp of blowing it open.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/21 at 12:10 PM

      If Wondo starts then we will struggle against Panama. He’s just not good enough. Agudelo also makes very good runs that allow the midfield time to enter the attack that Wondo isn’t fast enough to make.

      I agree on Bedoya. He’s more dynamic going forward than Klejstan but Klejstan is a Bradley guy. It all depends on if Bob wants to start strong or go back to his usual defensive shell to start. I’d go with Bedoya and full guns blazing to start.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/21 at 12:16 PM

        While I think that Agudelo is a better option and has more skill.

        With as deep as Panama plays, good movement off the ball is more important than speed. Every time Agudelo had the ball in a 1 vs. 1 situation on the wing in game one, help defense came. He never rounded anyone that game. On the interior there was always a body on him as will likely be the case Wednesday.

        Wondo is at least versatile to come back and hold up, play a pass as well as not disrupt.

        Again, Agudelo likely starter and best option, but speed not as critical with Panama not playing a high line.

        Reply

        • Posted by Chad on 2011/06/21 at 12:59 PM

          Matt, not trying to crack wise here… Honestly just trying to understand. Speed not a factor b/c panama not playing a high line. Ok. But I thought you said US would play a high line v Jamaica. I meant to ask why US would play a high line thinking that would just make Jamaica’s speed advantage more pronounced. When should you play a high line and why? And what do you do in your rec league?

          Reply

          • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/21 at 1:19 PM

            Okay, never lead with “Matt, not trying to crack wise…” Everyone has valid points/questions on TSG and I don’t have all the answers.

            Rec league very different. Smaller field and, cough, worse players.

            All depends upon tactics. I thought the US would press up against Jamaica and shut down service as their means of defense–what they did against Turkey last year (which also led to an early goal on the break).

            However, they ended up controlling possession in the center of the pitch and by default playing very high. If Jermaine Jones has a few poor or unsure tackles in that game, I think you see the US change their tactics.

            That said, Sunday’s game was probably the best example of US dictating play to the other team. They forced Jamaica to think defensively and had players moving out of position. Once the US flooded the center of the pitch (here’s a good piece as well: http://www.zonalmarking.net/2011/06/19/united-states-2-0-jamaica-gold-cup/) Jamaica took a very defensive posture and couldn’t get out on the break.

            If the US does not dominate possession–again feather in Bob Bradley’s cap–there may have been some adjustments.

            Defensive integrity for the US was top notch on Sunday as well.

            —-

            Now, versus Panama, I think you had a US team that got dictated *to in the first game.

            Panama sat back and said, “We don’t think you can get through us. You keep bringing all your guys up the field and we’ll just leak them out quickly on a turnover and you’ll have four of your six attackers already behind the ball.”

            That game was almost comical to watch as Bradley and Jones were just trying to contain a wave of Panamanian attack most times and push them wide rather than stop them.

            That’s going to be the task here for the Yanks–smart runs forward that don’t leave them out of shape.

            Got off topic, but…..

            Reply

  6. Posted by John on 2011/06/21 at 11:09 AM

    How do you think the same lineup as Jamaica with Landon up top would fare? Is that too wacky?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/21 at 11:33 AM

      I think it’s possible, though not probable with Donovan as a withdrawn forward. He’s got no hold up play against defensive trees. He could run effectively off Wondo or Agudelo, but he hasn’t really shown the penchant to make runs in this tourney yet.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/21 at 11:34 AM

        I do think Donovan starts on the left to work with Lichaj and provide width and attack the gap that’s sure to appear behind Cooper.

        Reply

  7. Posted by Jamoked on 2011/06/21 at 11:11 AM

    Good stuff as usual. One question, what is the yellow card situation? Thanks.

    Reply

  8. Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 11:16 AM

    Looks like Bradley’s cavalier treatment of the last few spots on the depth chart is catching up to him–we really could use some valuable depth here.

    Reply

    • Posted by The Dude on 2011/06/21 at 1:42 PM

      Yup…this is what makes those last picks of Freddy Adu and Robbie Rodgers even more mystifying.

      Reply

      • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 1:55 PM

        It’s especially risky taking three forwards–even when you intend on mixing in five-man midfields–because you have such a low margin of error. Now we have Jozy injured, and what’s left? We’re not sure whether Wondolowski is off-form or Taylor Twellman II, and Juan is obviously young and not used to pounding out 90 minute games with short turnarounds.

        Reply

      • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/21 at 1:59 PM

        Yeah, I commented on that in the match thread in the Jamaica game. It’s inexcusable to bring only 3 strikers especially when 2 of them are unproven at this level. A continental championship isn’t the time to see how guys are progressing. I think the roster selection was one of Bob’s more dubious decisions in his entire time as head coach. He was lucky that Bedoya was able to come in at late notice and has played so well when pretty much everyone felt he should have been on the squad to begin.

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        • Posted by The Dude on 2011/06/21 at 2:35 PM

          Yeah missing Bedoya makes zero sense. But a lot of things Bob does when it comes to the bottom of the roster makes zero sense.

          Is it too late for Robbie Rodgers to take some steroids?

          Reply

          • Posted by Gino on 2011/06/21 at 8:19 PM

            Rogers has been known to play forward before. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him start up top with Wondolowski or even Agudelo in a 4-4-2 if Bob Sr. wanted to be coy and cross up Panama’s Valdes. Again, I’m not a believer in saving players for a rainy day in the late stages of a tournament, but Robbie’s fresh legs could play havoc on the Panamanian’s rubbery legs.

            Reply

            • That assumes that Robbie actually can do something positive with the ball at his feet, which is like saying that Greg Oden would be a great center if he could stay healthy.

  9. Posted by KickinNames... on 2011/06/21 at 11:30 AM

    No mention of Freddy Adu?!! sign up now at freefreddyadu.com ;<)
    The camp selections, as predicted by many here at TSG, come back to haunt. Seriously, we're debating between Wondo and Agudelo here as the only F options.

    I agree that Bedoya needs the start as his goal scoring, speed and width are essential esp with Lando in the doldrums. Plus in watching the last few games, Klestjan lacks the speed in the final third to make space and finish. Nod to AB.

    Demps and Donovan need step up games here. Game is in Houston too. Muy muy caliente.

    Reply

  10. Posted by Erik the Orange on 2011/06/21 at 11:36 AM

    Reliant will be rockin a sea of green. I’ve been to games there where Mexico wasn’t even involved and there were thousands of Mexico jerseys in the stadium. Pretty sure there won’t be too much support for the USMNT from the 70,000ish that show up early.

    That said, I like Wondo goin forward early on. If he can fashion some kind of threat and at least hold the ball up and invite Demps et al into the mix, I’ll be happy.

    Reply

  11. Posted by John Henry on 2011/06/21 at 12:16 PM

    Phil Schoen and Kenny Hassan on WFD yesterday were both seriously calling for Adu to get minutes.

    I don’t know what to think.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/21 at 12:40 PM

      …because they’ve seen Adu train, play in the last year? Will have to ask Kenny about that on Thursday….

      Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 12:49 PM

      I feel Adu people are ideological dogmatists–kind of like people who want to go on the gold standard or something–no matter what the problem is, the solution is more Adu. People feel similarly about Jose Francisco Torres too (though with more justification, to be fair). It’s kind of strange, in that with their desire to introduce more creativity into the national team, they’re completely ignoring the actual figures who have shown they can prosper against international speed of play–like, oh, say, Sacha Kljestan.

      Reply

      • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/21 at 12:54 PM

        That’s a hard one DTH. Night and day for Kljestan since his move overseas. Many folks are just seeing what Kljestan can do…differently…for the first time since Chivas.

        Really remarkable how much his game has improved.

        Reply

        • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 1:30 PM

          Oh–I agree, I think I’ve said similar stuff before. But nevertheless it seems that if you’re a Adu/Torres advocate,* you should be thrilled by the progress that Kljestan has made at Anderlecht. Yet there hasn’t been any of that.

          * The Torres advocates are funny because Kljestan is a much more creative player than Torres is–who’s a linking, deep-lying guy rather than a killer ball kind of a guy. I wonder whether there’s an element of race/ethnicity here–Torres is Latin ergo must be more creative.

          Reply

          • I think there are different ideas of creativity, yet everyone just throws out the term which makes them seem like they should be grouped together.

            As a Torres fanboy (I’ll admit it) I truly believe there isn’t a better passer on the USMNT, and his creativity is found in his ability to find a pass that no one else on the team can consistently produce. He might not produce that “killer ball” but thats not what he should be in there to do. Kljestan makes more of his “creative” money running with the ball and producing on the move, two completely different styles of player and they really can’t be compared side by side.

            My issue with Kljes lies more in the fact that Sweats seems to love giving him the opportunity to perform but Torres gets left out to dry. I can see the improved quality Kljes has had, but Torres has already shown the quality but never gets the same opportunities.

            Reply

            • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 2:27 PM

              Torres has rarely shown any quality, and he struggles with speed of play. It’s striking that his best performance for the U.S., against Turkey, was against a side that gave him plenty of time and space. Torres isn’t good with riding challenges or juking out of the way of them before they get there. That’s why he looks so much better–but still only average–in Mexico, and that’s why he’ll never be good enough for the U.S. as long as he plays in Mexico. Even though Mexico’s a better league than MLS, it might behoove Torres to move to MLS where the speed of play is crazily high.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 2:32 PM

              In addition, it’s statements like Torres is “the best passer on the USMNT” that bother me–or statements like Freddy Adu is the “most skilled player on the USMNT” from other people. Well, they aren’t true if you can’t demonstrate them on the field of play. Again, Torres has shown spells of better passing than Adu’s void of production, but in both cases both struggle to show their skills on an international stage and it’s hard to see them improving.

              It’s also funny that a certain segment of U.S. fans loves Torres because guys like Torres (except better) used to play for Mexico all the time in the previous decade–and we’d kill them, because if there’s anything we do well when we’re on, it’s pressing to deny time and space. Nevertheless we insist on not learning lessons from our own team.

            • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/21 at 4:25 PM

              “Chamo – there are different ideas of creativity, yet everyone just throws out the term which makes them seem like they should be grouped together.”

              Creativity in soccer generally refers to attacking creativity.

              “As a Torres fanboy (I’ll admit it) I truly believe there isn’t a better passer on the USMNT, and his creativity is found in his ability to find a pass that no one else on the team can consistently produce. He might not produce that “killer ball” but thats not what he should be in there to do. “

              Torres’ passing, as you point out, is only secondarily associated with attacking

              “Kljestan makes more of his “creative” money running with the ball and producing on the move, two completely different styles of player and they really can’t be compared side by side.”

              So why are you comparing them?

              “My issue with Kljes lies more in the fact that Sweats seems to love giving him the opportunity to perform but Torres gets left out to dry. I can see the improved quality Kljes has had, but Torres has already shown the quality but never gets the same opportunities.”

              BB gives chances to Kjlestan because the team needs more “attacking creativity” and this is something Kjlestan can do when he is really “on”.

              Torres is a link up defensive midfielder; in my mind his real competition is MB, Jones, Edu and Holden. And right now the USMNT doesn’t need that so much. Trying to use Torres as some sort of attacking midfielder is intriguing but he doesn’t do that for Pachuca and that puts him in competition with Donovan and Dempsey on the USMNT.
              I don’t buy that he can’t get used to the speed of play or the physicality ( see David Silva who is about the same size and does quite well in the big bad EPL) but he would be best served if he moved to a club where he could get acclimated to that and maybe play a more attacking role.

          • Posted by kaya on 2011/06/21 at 4:20 PM

            I was hopeful during the brief JFT callup era as many were, but as much as anything, I feel like BB simply goes for guts over technique. Or maybe just his son or any other option.
            I’m not trying to dig up this old argument, but rather to say that I think you’re maybe characterizing people as fanbois that resent building the team around MB.

            Reply

            • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 4:51 PM

              guts vs. technique is an irrelevant comparison. It doesn’t matter what skills you have if you can’t apply them. Torres rarely can at the international level, therefore his technical skills are irrelevant. Bradley can apply his technical skills at the international level and looks more effective more frequently at the exact role Torres fans want Torres to play.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/21 at 5:14 PM

              I am not suggesting that Torres warrants a place in the XI, but to be fair to Torres, he has hardly had a run in the team, has he? Bradley has had that luxury even when his form has not warranted it. Even though we know Bradley is guilty of cheap turnovers… Villa fans are probably dancing in the BullRing.

          • Posted by Alex on 2011/06/21 at 4:43 PM

            I just wanted to throw in there, yea, JFT is a different kind of creative than Kljestan. JFT is a Xabi Alonso type passer, maybe a Pirlo type. His long-range passes are very nice and very intelligent. He is also pretty good on the ball. But he prefers to sit deeper and distribute. Its a misconception that he’s a CAM Ozil/Sneijder type. Plus, he hasn’t been on form as of late. He’s still young and has time to develope (as Kljestan has shown), but right now he wouldn’t help.
            Kljestan on the other hand has matured quickly after a year in Europe and is showing us what a real creative passer type in the middle of our “3” can do.
            Now back on topic, I can see a Dempsey Kljestan Donovan middle 3 to start with, then a Bedoya for Kljestan sub in 2nd half when Kljestan is tired (something that happened vs Jamaica) where Bedoya’s fresh legs and hard running will be even more useful.

            Reply

      • Posted by Braden Lang on 2011/06/21 at 1:14 PM

        AduFanboy: Can I just say one thing?

        Coach Sweats: Sure, baby! Just say it!

        AduFanboy: I’m standing here, staring at soccer legend Bob Bradley!

        Coach Sweats: The cock of the walk, baby!

        AdFanboy: And if Bob Bradley wants more Freddy, we should probably give him more Freddy!

        Coach Sweats: Say it, baby!

        AduFanboy: And, Bobby, you are right – I am being selfish. But the last time I checked, we don’t have a whole lot of formations that feature Freddy.

        Coach Sweats: I gotta have more Freddy, baby!

        Reply

        • AduFanboy: And I’d be doing myself a disservice, and every member on this team, if I don’t get Freddy in the lineup!

          Coach Sweats: Guess what? I got a fever! And the only prescription.. is more Freddy!

          AF: Thank you, Coach. But I think if… I think if I just leave… and maybe I’ll come back later, and we can get Freddy on the field.

          CS: Aw, come on, baby…

          Clint Dempsey: “Fanboy, wait! Why don’t we get Freddy on the field right now. With us. Together.”

          AF: “Do you mean that, Clint?”

          CD: “Oh, yeah.”

          Tim Howard: “He speaks for all of us.”

          AF: “Thank you.”

          CS: “Babies.. before we’re done here.. y’all be wearing gold-plated shin guards.”

          Clarence Goodson: “What does that mean?”

          CS: “NEVER QUESTION BOB BRADLEY!!”

          Reply

  12. Posted by Johninho on 2011/06/21 at 1:07 PM

    What about Dempsey up top alone? Then Sacha and Ale in those center and right mid roles. Since we’re sucking for forwards (and does ANYONE. DETECT. A PATTERN. HERE?)…

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/21 at 1:22 PM

      I think you want Dempsey free of a lone striker’s responsibility. You want him coming from the outside–generally–where the US can cover for him if he goes forward. That has been Bradley’s typical use of Clint to date.

      Also, you don’t want Clint’s back to the basket and you don’t want him getting bodied the entire time by Panama.

      IMO, the reason he’s been so good in this tournament and stayed fresh–and perhaps the reason Donovan has struggled–is because Bradley’s made him free to go back and receive the ball all over the place. He then is facing the goal and can run at players.

      But him a more hold-up role and you lose quite a bit there in my opinion.

      Reply

  13. Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/06/21 at 1:18 PM

    This game presents quite a few questions as to what to do. I honestly don’t think we have a great option. Breaking down Panama will take smart positioning, endurance and good passing. Long balls played to someone running over the top will not work. I have really like Wondo’s movement and work ethic. Agudelo has been class, but his skills weren’t working last game. Bedoya is like a spark plug for us opening up so much room. So what to do? Are Jones and Dolo injured? Can we get key people rest?

    —–Wondo—
    Donavon-Kljestan-Bedoya
    –Bradley–Edu–
    Lichaj-Boca-goodson-Spector

    With Bedoya providing width spector might be ok to hang back on D to give Dolo a rest given his knock, also lets Lichaj make the runs. Dempsey has played full time every game so far and Donavon hasn’t. Jones has been playing hard and getting tired, might be a little injured, Edu might fit in well against Panama. Super subs might be Dempsey for Kljestan/Bedoya, Agudelo for Wondo, Dolo For Bradley and move Spector up?

    A note, this is for thinking out loud and suggesting outside the box ideas, not something I believe in with every part of my being. If I were the coach I would be trying this out in practice to see how I felt about it.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/21 at 1:32 PM

      If we play Spector at right back we will give up at least one goal if not 2. He’s not a right back at all anymore and especially not at international level. I’d rather see Bornstein at left back and Lichaj at right back to get Dolo rest if that’s really necessary.

      Reply

  14. Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/21 at 1:44 PM

    Do you think Mr. Bradley will disrupt the Donovan / Cherundolo partnership on the right? In terms of effective units, I believe this is one of the US’ better ones – they have such a good understanding that allows Cherundolo to overlap knowing he can rely on Donovan’s speed to get back and cover.

    Also, I feel Dempsey is too good at cutting in from the left to the centre, with and without the ball, that putting him on the right will reduce his effectiveness – cannot see Demsey cutting in with his left foot nor can I see him going past on the wing.

    I think the formation is sensible. Can see the US having the lion’s share of possession, and the two-band midfield offers many passing triangles / lanes to aid this. I agree with Panama having two banks of four and staying reasonably compact. Patience is the key – without taking too many liberties.

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/21 at 2:26 PM

      Well, first, the US looked terrible on the right side in Game 1 until Clint moved over there. Panama sat so far back that there never really was the threat of a Landon counter.

      Only when they moved Landon to the left mid/wing position did the US both find width on the left and have joy on the right through Dempsey.

      Dempsey on the left also wasn’t strong in the first half last time wasn’t strong as Landon didn’t support and Altidore’s runs were positionally poor.

      Possible it remains Dempsey on the left–that is customary–but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a flip-flop to start things off.

      Reply

      • Posted by Isaac on 2011/06/21 at 2:33 PM

        But now we have Lichaj overlapping left for width on that flank, and Agudelo’s movement up top has to be commended as better than Altidore’s. Kljestan being central should allow for some support when Dempsey drifts inside.

        Reply

        • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/21 at 2:47 PM

          I think TSG’s point is that Lichaj is not going to beat his man on the outside because of a lack of left foot. As mentioned before, Lichaj seemed to always cut back on his stronger right foot. The question is how weak is Lichaj’s left: good enough to dribble [remember, using your left foot allows you to use your body, whereas the right will make it easier for the RB to tackle] or deliver a good cross?

          Reply

          • Posted by Isaac on 2011/06/21 at 3:01 PM

            Very true. I just wonder wonder if using Lichaj for dummy width( stretching the field without ever actually getting the ball) rather than actual crosses might be a good idea, so as to keep Armando Cooper pinned back. Then again, Donovan as help defense on the flank might be useful against the pacy Cooper.

            Reply

    • Posted by Isaac on 2011/06/21 at 2:28 PM

      Agreed on all points.

      Reply

  15. Posted by Isaac on 2011/06/21 at 1:58 PM

    I think my only tactical nitpick about the lineup you showed would be to flip Donovan and Dempsey, but other than that, I’m positive about this next game. There was a fluidity to the attack against Jamaica, and a feeling that the roles we had players in suited them pretty well. Dempsey loves playing narrow on the left to begin with and he’s effective there, but had the freedom to push and make direct runs that had him level with Agudelo if he truly wanted to. Donovan tends to play a bit deeper and wider, but still came inside to create, and having the option of going either wide or inside makes him dangerous, especially with Cherundolo to combine with.

    But I think something that really made a difference was the movement of Kljestan and Agudelo. Kljestan’s drifts to either flank not only allowed him to shake whatever markers he had( which were none due to Jamaica’s numerical disadvantage in the central midfield), but it also opened up the hole for Donovan and Dempsey. Agudelo’s may not have all the tools Jozy has, but the tactical nuances he shows in his movement and his determination to take on any role given to him make him just about as effective, even from a Jozy fan’s standpoint. Agudelo knows he’s not really a target, but he frequently put himself in positions to hold the ball up. Apart from that, he ran the channels beautifully, taking pressure off the team.

    Reply

  16. Posted by Carlos on 2011/06/21 at 2:18 PM

    We need to take care of business first. And that means Aguedelo up front in a 4-2-3-1. I would put Dempsey in the middle of the three & start Bedoya wide right with Landon wide Left. Jr. & JJ hold down our Center & our back four stays the same.

    Reply

  17. Posted by kaya on 2011/06/21 at 2:27 PM

    I admittedly didn’t catch the group stages games…. bad me. But is euphoria about a victory over Jamaica justified in reality, or just comparison to our group showing?

    Reply

    • Posted by Isaac on 2011/06/21 at 2:34 PM

      I think the way the USA played was more impressive than the fact that it was against Jamaica, but the group stage comparison is also a factor.

      Reply

    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/21 at 2:39 PM

      Depends who you ask, Kaya!

      Reply

  18. Posted by berniebernier on 2011/06/21 at 3:05 PM

    Great preview Matt. Couple of thoughts:

    1) Regardless of who starts I think we see at least 30 of both Wondo and Agudelo (unless we have a huge lead). That said I would rather start Wondo and close with Agudelo.

    2) What a difference one game makes. Commentors here went from we will be lucky to beat Jamaica to let’s rest players in the semis for Mexico as if this win is a foregone conclusion. No resting people. Mercilessly hammer and then use your three subs on Dolo, Demps, and Jones/Bradley.

    3) If Bradley starts a 4-4-2 with Dempsey up top I will immediately become the irrational SBI poster here yelling fire Bradley at every opportunity regardless of the outcome.

    4) Curious that there is no word on Altidore, or Dolo. I am assuming Altidore sits and Dolo plays but figure we would have heard something from the soccer media.

    5) I would give at least a 10% chance that Bradley plays the same line-up as Jamaica. Honestly 10-1 odds sounds reasonable. Isn’t it an unwritten rule that you don’t change a winning line-up. Its not like previous line-ups or formations were that impressive (Canada no where near as good as Jamaica, Guadaloupe close but a much higher degree of difficulty)

    Reply

  19. Posted by Jerry84 on 2011/06/21 at 3:51 PM

    II would like to see Adu and agudelo together because are a skill players and they have the hability to hurt the panama defense

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 4:05 PM

      I was very happy when I saw this. I don’t think much of McLeish as a manager and I’d prefer Bradley to not play in England.

      Reply

  20. Posted by Bode on 2011/06/21 at 5:10 PM

    Another one from the wild suggestion box, but I think this game is ripe for the US running a three man back line (won’t happen, but fun to think about). The lineup would look something like this:

    —–Goodson—Boca—Ream—–
    Dolo—Jones—Bradley—Lichaj–
    ——-Donovan—-Deuce————
    ————-Agudelo——————–

    Donovan and/or Deuce would be liberated with a free role to stretch the flanks, interchange with each other and Agudelo, who likes to run the channels as well. Deuce is excellent at arriving in the box late for crosses from the wingbacks, Donovan, or Agudelo. The three centerbacks give a spare man advantage against Panama’s two strikers, while the four man midfield can (hopefully) boss possession effectively. Both Ream and Goodson are reasonably comfortable on the ball to help alleviate distibution problems in the back. The formation could easily shift into either a 4-5-1 or a 4-4-2 if necessary (Lichaj at rightback, Dolo at right mid or vice versa; Deuce as second striker).

    TSG, however, nailed how I think Bradley is going to set up, though I’d expect Bedoya to start over Kljestan

    Reply

    • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/06/21 at 5:46 PM

      everyone wants to see the usa in a three man backline, but if they are going to do it, it will be with two defensive mids, three attacking mids, and two forwards. panama is probably, no, they are definately going to bunker in without their best striker available. panama goes 4-5-1, usa will probably come out in a 4-4-2, but maybe also a 4-5-1.

      this has got to be the game where dempsey starts on the bench. usa will need deuce for mexico, but with donovan back, dempsey can rest up. to me, the usa showed they can play well without donovan in this last jamaica game and this is the game to rest the texan.

      with jones and junior starting to mesh into a solid midfield tandem, it is not out of the realm of possibility that adu makes an app in this panama game. that would be viscious to see adu come in and tear it up. the stars might just be aligned.

      Reply

      • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/21 at 6:08 PM

        Everybody? Who? You’re the first to mention it.

        Why would you play 3 at the back vs. 1 forward?

        Do you think Bradley is going to experiment in the SF of the Continental Championship?

        Reply

        • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/06/21 at 6:15 PM

          coach bradley experimented in the QF of the continental championship.

          Reply

          • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/21 at 6:46 PM

            I must be missing something. I thought I saw a pussycat… seriously, back four of

            Lichaj-Bocanegra-Goodson-Cherundolo.

            Reply

          • Posted by mbw on 2011/06/21 at 6:51 PM

            But perhaps playing established players who had done well as subs in the group stage in a formation they’d played before is something less of an experiment than changing the formation drastically, benching the team’s most effective player, and putting in a completely unproven one?

            Reply

            • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/06/21 at 7:43 PM

              it really comes down to do you want dempsey playing his best against mexico or against panama. this team has crossed a threshold which does allow them to play a game without its best players. dempsey sits, adu steps up and thrives playing in front of junior bradley and jermaine jones. would it really be that much of a surprise if adu stepped in and did well with the usa mens team “A” squad?

            • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 9:30 PM

              I would be shocked if Adu did well. Especially if he did well against Panama, which is a pretty physical team–Adu cannot ride a challenge, which is a disqualifying attribute on the international stage.

            • Posted by mbw on 2011/06/21 at 9:50 PM

              dikranovich, I do see your point about the desirability of getting Dempsey some rest. The guy is coming off a long, tough season. I guess I disagree with your premise that the team has deepened to a point that will allow us to play a must-win without him, especially with Donovan playing at a substandard level. If we have what looks like a solid lead, by all means, take him out.

              I’ll even admit that it would be fun to see Adu at some point, though there are about four other players I’d put at CAM before him if the outcome were still in doubt.

        • Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/06/21 at 8:31 PM

          Okay, you brought up a question I’ve had for quite some time about the issue of 3 v 1. If the reasoning for the tactical error of playing 3 backs versus 1 forward is that you have a surplus of defenders on the backline which leads to numerical superiority for your opponent in the midfield, wouldn’t a 4 man backline equate to the same mistake if not more so. That is, why not play an inverted pyramid two man backline against one forward? And excuse me if this is a stupid question–I’m still improving my tactical acumen when it comes to formations.

          Reply

          • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 8:56 PM

            No. A three-man backline typically consists of three CBs whereas a four-man backline typically has two fullbacks and two centerbacks. The two fullbacks are free to roam forward and provide an outlet for their midfield in that scenario.

            Now, if your three-man backline has Laurent Blanc and Franz Beckenbauer in it…

            Reply

            • Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/06/21 at 9:10 PM

              Okay, that answers part of my question, because with freely roaming fullbacks you do at times have a two man backline–which reminds me of the way Barcelona plays at times. Yet, with freely roaming fullbacks, depending on the side of the attack you still have in essence a 3 man backline, and you could in a 3-4-3 morph into 4-3-3 or even a 4-4-2 defensively. All of this is why I have to agree to an extent with those who question the value of treating formations as tactically static because in the modern game fluidity has become predominant with Total Football, and good teams have the versatility to change shape depending on the dynamics of the game being played. Obviously there is a general shape to each, and if personal does not allow it, that general shape must be kept with discipline, but as we are seeing with the inclusion of Lichaj, the US is now able to be more fluid on each side of the ball. Issues like this are more reason to love the beautiful game.

            • Posted by dikranovich on 2011/06/21 at 9:26 PM

              usa is a 3-5-2 /4-5-1 type of team morph between these two formations and usa will be playing to its strengths.

            • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 9:29 PM

              What Barcelona does, actually, is push both fullbacks forward–then they drop Busquets between their two centerbacks to form, in effect, a three-man backline. Some of the advantages of both systems there.

              (The team that’s most obsessive in MLS about doing this is Red Bulls, though they have an additional wrinkle–for Barcelona, only Busquets will drop; for Red Bulls either central midfielder will drop on occasion.)

            • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/22 at 5:35 AM

              The US was playing with a Barca style backline against Jamaica for at least part of the game. It was usually Bradley in the Busquets role dropping back centrally to allow Boca and Goodson to provide cover for Lichaj and Dolo.

              Usually you don’t end up playing a 3 man backline with a fullback no matter which side the attack is on. If there is an attack then both fullbacks are higher up the field and the 3rd man is the holding mid.

              The US is a 4-2-3-1 team if we could just find that striker who could really do the job. Unfortunately, McBride and Ching are both done.

            • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2011/06/22 at 6:17 AM

              Barcelona plays a type of 4-3-3. But what you have to remember is this is not table-football; each band isn’t necessarily flat like you see in the pre-game analysis.

              Also, you have to think of formation as with the ball and without the ball, at the very least. IMO, Barca plays a 2-3-2-3 with the ball, which is most of the game…

          • Posted by BernieBernier on 2011/06/22 at 5:39 AM

            Think of it this way.

            Against a 4-4-2 the US back line will defensively match-up with the two CBs (Boca and Goodson) versus the strikers, the two outside backs (Dolo and Lichaj) against the two outside MFs, and the two CMs (Bradley and Jones) versus the opponents CMs. The two outside Mfs (Dempsey and Donovan) defend the two outside backs and cover for Dolo and Lichaj when on runs (note Matt’s comment about putting Dempsey in the middle of the 3 and freeing him of defensive duty). Those are all reasonable match-ups (and why Boca is better in CB and Spector gets torched at RB).

            Against a 4-2-3-1 the assignments get a little trickier. The outside backs get the two outside players in the 3. The two CMs get stuck covering three players (the hole player and the two defensive MFs). This match-up may be problematic if the defensive MFs both contribute forward (as if we put a CB on the hole player that is also problematic as one they are pulled out to far and two we don’t want to isolate Boca or Goodson on someone like Dempsey, Ozil, Rooney, in space. Note this is also one of the main attractions to playing a “false 9″ in a 4-4-2/4-4-1-1). If one sits in a destroyer role then the match-up is fine. And lastly we the CBs covering the single forward. This isn’t an extra man but potentially a favorable match-up for the offense.

            Now if we go to a 3 man back it typically has 3 CB types (I will use the Goodson – Ream – Boca formation intimated above for illustrative purposes). Lets assume that we are talking about a 3-5-2 formation. Against a 4-4-2 the match-ups would work out as such… the two outside MFs are match up with the opponents two outside MFs (likely a very bad defensive match-up unless these two players are very defensive minded. If you play two defensive minded MF like Lichaj and Dolo then you are really playing a 5-3-2 as they are covering the same people that they were covering as outside backs in a 4-4-2). The 3 central MFs match up against the opponents two CMs, creating a man advantage in MF. Additionally we have 3 CBs to cover the two forwards. Now it all sounds good so far as it looks like the defensive has two extra players, one MF and one CB however no one is covering the outside backs of the opponent (note how much space Lichaj and Dolo had against Jamaica as opposed to the England game at the WC where Milner was chopping down Dolo seemingly constantly until he was pulled). For this to work you need to keep possession using that extra MF and protect against the counter and not allow the outside backs to get forward (the main reason why Boca and Spector make a horrible outside back combo even though it looks defensive it allows the other team to get more forward).

            If we look at the 3-5-2 versus the 4-2-3-1 its gets much much worse. The outside MF cover the same guys (Dolo and Lichaj in the person above’s example cover the two outside guys in the 3). The middle 3 MF cover the hole player and the two defensive MFs (costing the team their extra man in the MF). That leaves 3 CB types to cover one F (this assumes as dth points out that Goodson or Boca can’t cover the central MF without a mismatch or being pulled out of position). Instead of having an extra MF to help with possession and an extra CB to help on defense (leaving the two outside backs undefended which works great if the outside backs don’t move forward) we now have two extra CBs which doesn’t help that much in possession at the cost of allowing the two outside backs to have free runs (the camera work last game showed this wel)l as the US with the ball was basically playing:

            Goodson-Boca
            Dolo-Bradley-Jones-Lichaj
            Dempsey-Sasha-Bedoya
            Agudelo

            Which gave us a 7 on 5 advantage in MF and gave them a 2 man advantage versus Agudelo.and two extra guys to help on defense and push us to shoot from the outside (to tie this to another thread in this conversation, the USMNT lacks a brilliant passer to help use the two man advantage to help us break down the defense when we have the 2 man advantage – ala Barca – and therefore people want JFT thinking he will be that others think that he isn’t that – my take is that having a guy who is more offensive in the back 2 but can still be strong defensively is all that is really needed, damn you Johnny Evans).

            Reply

            • Posted by Berniebernier on 2011/06/22 at 6:46 AM

              As dth noted my formation should have included Bradley playing deeper and supporting Goodson and Boca (when not making bad turnovers).

            • Posted by Andy_4Lakes on 2011/06/22 at 7:26 AM

              This post needs to be “stickied” somewhere on TSG as a concise yet thurough explanation of how various formations stack up against each other. Bernier, I learned a lot just now. thanks.

            • Posted by chazcar2 on 2011/06/22 at 8:52 AM

              Three man back line with all centerbacks has to be used against a team playing with 2 true strikers. Also a three man back line has to conceed the space in the corner of the the field. Playing a team that is good at crossing/heading would be dangerous. However playing a team that wants to pass down the middle would clog their passing lanes. I would envision a 3-4-3 for the usa, but using some of the fullbacks in the three.
              –Dempsey-Agudelo-Donavon–
              Lichaj–Kljestan–Bradley–Bedoya
              —Boca-Goodson-Dolo—

              In this against a 4-4-2 you have 3 backs against 2 strikers, Outside mids against outside mids, center mids on center mids and outside forwards on fullbacks. Versus a 4-2-3-1 you would play more of a diamond midfield: have the Center D on the striker one on one, The Oustide D tracking the Attacking outside Mds, one Center mid tracking the player in the hole, The other center mid tracking their center mids. Our outside mids tracking thier fullbacks and then our forwards tracking the other center mid and two center backs.

              Also in a 3-4-3 the outside mids can overlap with the outside forwards. Any which way this goes though its really about getting the right players on the field.

        • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/22 at 3:03 PM

          I could be wrong but it seems to me he went with a three man back line at times in the Ghana and Algeria games in the World Cup.

          Reply

  21. Posted by Bode on 2011/06/21 at 5:14 PM

    On Kljestan, there were a few times during the Jamaica game where an ambitious forward pass was available, but fairly risky. I noticed that he would play the ball square, move into space and allow the team to take an extra pass or two which got the ball to the player who he originally could have passed to, except it was the much easier play. This is something I wish the US team would do more often, I think sometimes our build up is too fast, as if we’re trying to hit home run passes where a simple 5 yard ball and a move into space will do the same thing, though it takes an extra pass or two. Both ingredients are necessary: the simple pass, but especially the movement into space.

    Reply

    • The flipside of your point is that the times the US looks bereft of ideas and stalls out just before the offensive 1/3 of the field. It’s in these moments that instead of a simple pass and move into space; the central midfielders begin to think that they’re Xavi and Iniesta and instead of the 5-yard pass, they try to play the 1-yard pass but the rest of our squad doesn’t move off the ball the way Spain/Barca does so the 1-yard pass loses its effectiveness. Plus the 1-yard pass also comes with an extra defender since the passer brings their defender too close to the passee.

      Hopefully they play truer to the observations of the Jamaica game instead of some of their poorer performances.

      Reply

  22. Posted by Soccernst on 2011/06/21 at 5:25 PM

    Why would Panama stick with the same gameplan? If I’m Valdés, i’m expecting the US will move to the 4-2-3-1 they’ve morphed into with success. I’m not smart enough with tactics, or familiar enough with Panama to suggest what he might do, but I’m guessing it’s not more of the same. Any thoughts about a new Panamanian game plan that would counter the strengths we’ve moved to?

    Reply

    • Posted by matthewsf on 2011/06/22 at 3:18 PM

      By Panama’s line-up you are vindicated! Well spoken. Looks to be different formation.

      Reply

  23. Posted by obxfly on 2011/06/21 at 5:40 PM

    I can’t imagine Dempsey not starting and playing at least 80 minutes in front of his family in his home state. Especially since he has been playing so well.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/22 at 5:37 AM

      If Deuce doesn’t start then Bradley needs to have his head examined. Clearly the most dangerous player out there for the US all tournament.

      Reply

      • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/22 at 2:58 PM

        Where has anyone with any credibility suggested that BB isn’t going to start Dempsey?

        Reply

  24. Posted by Jake Claro on 2011/06/21 at 8:35 PM

    Quick change of subject (sort of) but a thought that has brewing in my mind recently. Does Agudelo remind anyone else of a poor man’s Samuel Eto. Maybe it’s just their general physique that conjurs up the comparison, and my feeling is is that Eto has more overall pace than Agudelo (and it appears Agudelo is quite good in the hold-up game), but I feel like there are similarities in their games. Just sayin : ).

    Reply

    • Posted by dth on 2011/06/21 at 8:58 PM

      That’s an interesting comparison. Like Agudelo, Eto’o is very gifted at dribbling and moving in the box but doesn’t necessarily beat everyone outside of it with dribbling ability.

      Reply

    • Well, Eto’o had more pace than about 90% of players, but yeah, I see it. Don’t forget that Agudelo’s been studying Henry…who played with Eto’o in Camp Nou.

      Reply

  25. [...] The Fan In You « Reset: TSG’s Official USA vs. Panama Preview [...]

    Reply

  26. Posted by Bryan on 2011/06/22 at 5:42 AM

    I know I’m going to get blasted, but what about getting some minutes out of Adu and/ or Edu? I’m sure Edu is a much easier sell to give MB90 a breather at some point, but I just don’t see Wondo as THAT much better an option than Adu given what we’ve seen from him in the Gold Cup. Playing Adu might require a little re-org (move Dempsey or Donovan up front?) but it buys some additional rest for other guys.

    Reply

    • Posted by Martin on 2011/06/22 at 2:57 PM

      I’m curious, are interested in actually winning the Panama game.

      Or would you rather rest guys for a game that may never come if you don’t win this game?

      Reply

  27. Posted by hollapainyo on 2011/06/22 at 11:46 AM

    I don’t see why everyone thinks Altidore is such a good player he has shown nothing just because he has a few goals with the National team, Chicharito is already about to surpass him in just this tournament. Sorry but he is not soccer material. Also has no one seen the difference on Sunday by starting Kljestan, and Bedoya? Leave Donovan out sorry but if you don’t produce you don’t play. One other thing Aguedelo is not that good either.

    Reply

    • Posted by Jared on 2011/06/22 at 1:21 PM

      Does anyone really rate Jozy right now? I don’t know of many people. He’s only barely the best of a bad bunch for the US.

      Chicharito has long surpassed Jozy. He’s been ahead of Jozy since at least the 2010 World Cup.

      Reply

  28. Posted by ben on 2011/06/22 at 12:50 PM

    This wont happen but I would like to see it

    Depmsey
    Donovan-Klestjan-Bedoya
    Lichaj-Boca-Goodson-Cherundolo

    Reply

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