Orange Slices: USA vs. Poland

Orange Slices is back!

It’s USA.

It’s Poland.

It’s a long time until World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

That said, good weather is blanketing Deep Dish U.S.A. as the States look to win their first game since Landon Donovan’s Herculean effort more than two fortnights ago!

Soldier Field plays host to Yanks and kickoff is set for 5pm PDT, 8pm EDT for all you on the right coast.

First, if you haven’t stopped by our previews yet. They were well written (by me I don’t mind saying). Part I here….and Part II over there.

TV Coverage: 7pm CT, FSC and Galavision

Brian McBride PSA: Remember, if you’re attending the game, to honor Mr. Brian McBride. All about the tribute here.


• Charlie Davies is attempting to diffuse, on Twitter, an article that he was a driver in a car attempting to go the speed of sound last Saturday. The AP (story here through NY Times) is often not wrong, but it appears they weren’t through in the report to linked to in this sentence.

The USA Today has more with a quote from Charlie here.

Even if Charlie wasn’t the driver, how was he fine with being a passenger at that speed?

I’ll spare the reprimanding attitude here the next months and years will determine Charlie’s commitment and maturation. Let’s hope it goes well.

• To the game, ESPN is reporting–this is their best scoop since Jurgen Kinsmann called them up and to get everyone’s blood percolating and let them know he met with USSF–that Maurice Edu played many reps this week at centerback.

Edu as you know, played their for the Olympic squad a few years ago and more recently saw time there in the World Cup against Slovenia and Algeria I believe (I need to check both of those…but you guy will likely let me know in the comments..thanks for that.)

It’s starting to seem that Bradley is looking at Edu as his jack of all trades in the middle. Not sure that is the role that Edu wants. A few other far out possibilities? Eventually a look at a 3-man backline (not likely in the near term or long term mind you, but we’ll have some words on consideration of the 3-man next week) or Bradley looking to educate Edu more on the defensive role for other reasons.

Remember Bradley likes to move people to the middle (Bornstein, Spector) so they can’t understand how to quarterback the defense.

• The last time the U.S. played Poland it was all about the backline. A 3-0 result on March 25th, 2008 in Krakow Poland as Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu and the retiring Eddie Lewis rippled the netting.

Oddly enough on that backline, a four of the starters (Dolo, Gooch, Boca, Heath Pearce) are in this camp and, even with Pearce back with his club side in Dallas, three of the starters may be the same. Even Tim Howard was between the pipes.

Other starters of note that day? Eddie Johnson and Michael Bradley.

More coming…

18 responses to this post.

  1. Edu played centerback against Slovenia when Onyewu was subbed out, but he didn’t get any time there against Algeria


  2. Posted by dth on 2010/10/09 at 10:59 AM

    Could be Bradley is trying Edu out in a Rafa Marquez-esque role: the 4-2-3-1 that morphs into 3 centerbacks with possession (with the fullbacks getting high up the pitch.) If so, an interesting idea–Edu’s certainly up for it–but not sure we have the rest of the pieces necessary: we don’t exactly have an abundance of quick centerbacks or even attacking fullbacks (Cherundolo, yes, but who on the left?)


    • Posted by matthewsf on 2010/10/09 at 11:25 AM

      dth – thanks for ruining my Tuesday column :> — actually I make a few other points…I don’t think BB would be using him as a Marquez…in terms of distribution. More a Mascherano defensive type of covering on the break and when trouble arises on the corners.

      A stretch for sure, but I’ll break it down next week.


      • Posted by Paul on 2010/10/09 at 12:08 PM

        Just had that same thought, and have the zonal marking piece on Mexico:

        I think Edu has the tactical acumen to do it. However, would Bob be content to play such a formation? Does the US have the players for such a look? How would this be an improvement over Bob preferred version of the 4-4-2?

        Most importantly, can this fix the problems the US had with goals from the central part of the park? Bob reserve two central mids as playing ahead of the defensive line, to discourage attacking through the central part of midfield, but this hasn’t really helped things.

        Looking forward to the break down next week…

        Also: Nice piece by zonal marking on why the three man defense has problems with three-man attacking sides:


        • Posted by dth on 2010/10/09 at 7:22 PM

          So, yes, that kind of 4-2-3-1 tends to suffer against a three-man attack. The beauty, however, of having your DM sink that way is the flexibility: in situations in which three defenders in the backline is appropriate, it’s a three-man defense; in situations in which it isn’t, it isn’t.

          The U.S. doesn’t, in this particular roster, have the tools to pull off a look. You want to have active, attacking fullbacks–which are, after all, the point of the flexibility in the first place–which the U.S. has on the right side (e.g. Cherundolo or Sean Franklin) but not on the left (really, the U.S. hasn’t even quite gotten a defender at LB, let alone an Ashley Cole.) Then, besides the fullbacks, you want mobile, quick centerbacks, (because they’re covering the width of the pitch when the fullbacks are pushed up) which Oguchi Onyewu isn’t. The question is whether the up-and-coming centerbacks are, and I’m not sure the answer is yes.


    • Posted by Seybold on 2010/10/09 at 12:02 PM

      I like the idea of having Edu available as a 3rd center back if the USA needs a goal late in a match and goes to 3-4-3. I’m not sure how well he fits intoa Marquez (or Busquets in Barcelona) type role, but it’s worth a shot. I’d like to see more tactical flexibility in general, more options, less predictability.

      If he can drop back as a 3rd center back, then his presence would force opponents to guess a bit about how the USA will play, i.e. it could be either 4-4-2 or 4-2-3-1 shifting to 3-4-3, with switches during a match if needed…or just because they can.


      • Posted by KMJ on 2010/10/09 at 4:02 PM

        US Soccer’s twitter:
        “#USMNT lineup tonight is a 4-2-3-1: Howard; Cherundolo, Onyewu, Edu, Bocanegra (c); Jones, Bradley; Holden, Dempsey, Feilhaber; Altidore…”


  3. Posted by thomas on 2010/10/09 at 11:26 AM

    davies says in an interview that he doesn’t drive in france, needed a ride to paris and asked a teammate, and was laying down in the passenger seat not paying attention to the speed. if all of this is true it reflects better on his judgement than originally thought, but the fact that he switched with his teammate to take the ticket might not have been the best judgement call.


  4. Posted by kaya on 2010/10/09 at 1:17 PM

    I read about the speeding thing and thought maybe CD9 just had a death wish. If he wasn’t driving, it appears he’s just a slower mentally than I thought, but if it’s any consolation, the French are a bunch of crazy ass drivers. They hurtle themselves down super expensive “free”ways at ridiculous speeds driving automobiles that weigh slightly more than a coke can.


  5. Posted by Jake on 2010/10/09 at 2:24 PM

    Every time I watch Donovan’s goal I get goosebumps. I only wish the were more videos of the stadium’s reaction. Our section went absolutely nuts! Most exciting thing I have ever been a part of, and it made the entire trip worthwhile!


    • Posted by GeorgeCross on 2010/10/09 at 2:55 PM

      The England game had already finished, so I joined Mrs Cross watching the last couple of minutes of the USA game. That goal wiped the shit-eating-grin I had because it meant that England were no longer top of the group! But in all honesty, I was very happy that both teams progressed.


  6. Anyone else notice the “Brad Bradley” lower third displayed several times for Bob during the match pregame?


  7. Posted by Hercules on 2010/10/09 at 10:02 PM

    My initial thoughts on the game:

    Jermaine Jones fit in great, and definitely showed that he deserves a spot in the starting 11. The same with Holden. Neither Feilhaber nor Bedoya showed much in their time on the pitch. That is where Donovan should slot in when he comes back. MB showed like he usually does. MB-JJ seemed like it was a pretty good combo. Edu-Onyewu looked strange and didn’t work pefectly, but I think it had potential. Still strange to call in 2 other CB if you were going to use Edu back there. Boca isn’t available for Colombia, so it should be interesting to see who is at LB.

    Overall, I thought it was a good game, especially in attack, the defense had a couple of errors in the box, but was never really “beat” for a goal (thanks to Howard). One big problem I had was that there was only 1 sub used. It seemed really strange to do that in a friendly, though Poland did much of the same. I guess that Colombia will be the experimental game, with Boca gone, and Shea/Pearce available.


    • Posted by Seybold on 2010/10/09 at 10:53 PM

      I liked playing the same 11 most of the match. So often in friendlies there are too many substitutes to really engage in team building, and the starters need to get used to Jermaine Jones, since he looks likely to be a regular. Holden too. Building team cohesion for the future is more important that winning a friendly now.

      Feilhaber was his usual self, drifting central, but when Donovan slots in to that position, I see real potential with Holden/Demsey/Donovan as attacking midfielders. Choosing two from Bradley Edu and Jones behind them won’t bebad either. Not sure about Edu in the backline, but it’s worth trying, since the backline needs some work. Get some decent attacking fullbacks with that crew and they’d be on their way.


  8. So, uh, reading a bunch of vitriol on the internet, but honestly thought it was a fairly good run-out for an experimental lineup. Need to do much better at the backline; the central midfield is going to have many deserving candidates in the next cycle; and more width was needed. The main culprit on the width question is Feilhaber, who I think is a bit overrated by U.S. fans who pine for a bit of joga bonito in their life. Feilhaber’s a good sub but not much of a starter, I think. Bedoya was also very meh today. I’d like to see Shea start on the left and see what he can do against Colombia in Philadelphia. In fact, here’s my favored starting lineup:

    Guzan; Pearce, Gooch, Goodson, Lichaj; Jones, Bradley; Shea, Holden, Dempsey; Altidore.


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