The triumphant return! Orange Slices is our game day, catch-all post that we update during the day before and day of the match.
It’s the “must-win” it always was, but with higher stakes. Does that make sense? No, but then again neither did the US lost in Jamaica or some of the tactics.
The US takes to Crew Stadium in the land where the Abercrombie & Fitch man roams free tonight to battle the Reggae Boyz of Jamaica less than a week after Jamaica hung a 2-1 victory on the Yanks.
The USA (1-1-1, 4 points) dropped into a tie for second place with Guatemala in Group A following Friday’s loss to Jamaica (2-0-1, 7 points).
Once again, ESPN has the English coverage. The game is available on ESPN 2, ESPN 3 with the coverage beginning at 8pm ET.
Galavision has the Spanish coverage.
Around the web:
Reading material: (lots of good stuff on this one.)
» The MLS Analyst, Matt Doyle, drops some great toilet-bowl reading material with, “What is American Soccer?,” an excellent feature on the tactics and formations of the US over the past 20 years. Must-read.
» Be sure to check out Steve Fenn’s article below looking simply at Tim Howard and shots-on comparing the Prem to Kingston.
» Our friends at the Free Beer Movement have some lighter, fluffier fare with some tongue-in-cheek analysis that you may or may not hear from Jurgen Klinsmann.
» We love this Reggae Boyz forum. They aggregate links from around the web, most are typically objective on their team and they are welcoming to new folks. If you post, be respectful.
» The Yanks Are Coming folks are back and they are wondering whether all that Klinsmann bravado in his opening remarks is just mumbo-jumbo.
» Noah Davis for Grantland says the “golden sheen on Jurgen Klinsmann is less shiny” going into tonight.
» Steve Davis describes the pressure the team is under tonight and the scenarios that play out.
It will still be a balmy 75 degree or so with clear skies when the States take the field at 8pm ET.
You can’t surf in Columbus, Ohio, but did you know that it’s not a mistake on the lake to surf in Cleveland!
USA vs. Jamaica in qualifying
It was October 7, 2001 when Captain America Claudio Reyna helped the US qualify for World Cup 2002 in the States with a 2-1 victory over the Jamaicans in Foxboro. More amazing is Donovan’s frosty tips and his jiggy-jig on Tyrone Marshall to earn a penalty in the affair. Joe Max-Moore with two deposits on a Reyna feed and to finish of Donovan’s foul in the box.
The TSG Take:
This is a more treacherous affair here Tuesday night for the States because of the loss Friday in Kingston. Jamaica doesn’t three points; they don’t even need one though they’ll try to get that one by bunkering.
If I’m the US, I need to follow the number one rule in the baseball hitter’s dilemma. I have to look fastball first, but adjust to the curveball.
Meaning, what I mean is I think Jamaica’s going to play on the counter. They’re fastball as always is a track meet match. They typically play-up-down. And given that the States need to press, you can expect a little more lively affair.
If Jamaica comes out with a similar game plan to Friday’s, that an adjustment in our minds that comes in game.
Thus there are two key foundations to the line-up that is left without Clarence Goodson in this.
First, the US must start their most seasoned, cohesive and hopefully fastest defensive unit. That would necessitate a backline of Cherundolo, Cameron, Bocanegra, Fab Johnson fronting Tim Howard. (Mini-point here, just how injured is Howard from Friday–that’s a real question).
Bocanegra here not the fastest, but he’s been tabbed to start, he’s the seasoned veterans and he’ll organize the backline. Calls for Cameron to play defensive mid rather than CD in this one seem short-sighted. Has Cameron practiced there with Klinsmann’s US national team? No. So you want to try him there in this match? No again. Plus, what if you fall behind? It’s Cameron that can be easily added and pushed up from the back into the attack without using a substitution.
The front six is the next riddle and it begs the question how the US will play in this one and just how forward they want to get their fullbacks into the attack and will they be unbalanced in that attack (the States typically has been under Klinsmann) or will they go with a two striker set that focuses more on holding and spraying. (Think Slovenia with Altidore and Buddle fronting the US.)
It’s a good question and one that only will be answered with the line-up announcement a half an hour before the game. We’ll take a shot below at a quirky line-up that you just might see. (Reminder, we always try to predict the line-up/not select a team ourselves).
G: Tim Howard
DEF: Cherundolo, Cameron, Bocanegra, Johnson
CDM: Maurice Edu
LM/RM: Jermaine Jones, (Brek Shea or Graham Zusi*)
CAM: Clint Dempsey
FW: Terrence Boyd, Herculez Gomez
The skinny: Low confidence here in the selections. Jose Francisco Torres did play a game at leftback so fair play there. The reason for these front selections above are all of these players are: 1) constantly moving and b) move the ball vertically in possession.
A player like Jose Torres was considered, but in the end, he’s a 3-touch player and Jamaicans defenders would be on him before the pass. TSG has never been partial to Jozy Altidore and the striker took little initiative to involve himself Friday when the service to him broke down; hence the call for Boyd. With Boyd and Gomez the US gets two relentless forwards who can put pressure on the Jamaican defenders.
The biggest question is Shea or Zusi and that gets down to just how much attacking initiative Klinsmann feels he has or needs. Shea needs the ball, but can then make defense’s adjusts. Zusi was the player that was missing last, a linking or shuttling player to the front. If we were forced to bet, then Zusi would be the call.