Thursday, May 25, 2006

USA Weekend Preview - 5/27/2006

As it is Memorial Day Weekend and I will be out of town from early Friday morning to late Monday evening, I will be missing several matches that would normally have me glued to the front of a TV, with beer in hand.

USA vs. Venezuela 5/26/2006

USA vs. Latvia 5/28/2006
Coming off of the uninspiring show that was the USA match against Morocco on Tuesday, this match should be a complete opposite of performances. We should see a more inspired USA side, one that will attack with more poise and concentration, thanks to Bruce Almighty letting them know that he will not accept another performance as the one we all saw in Nashville.

One of the great things about ESPN showing the World Cup matches is that they have increased their coverage of the USMNT, showing "behind the scenes" looks at the players. Wednesday they showed Bruce laying into the guys about how they played. He told Eddie Johnson that he wasn't aggressive enough, "How many times you get called off-sides Eddie?" "How many fouls you get called for?" Bruce is not the type of coach that will let his team lose two matches in a row, even if they mean nothing in the grand scheme of things. A team that goes into the World Cup losing three straight matches, will have that on their mind, instead of the opponents. He won't let them have that mind set.

I would like to see a midfield that uses Dempsey, Beasely, Donovan, Mastroeni and Olsen, with Johnson and McBride up top. I think that would allow the distribution and coverage needed for the forwards, along with allowing for Mastroeni and Olsen to cover the defensive midfield and track forward for extra support. Having Eddie Lewis, Onyewu and Eddie Pope holding the back line in front of Keller with Olsen and Mastroeni bridging the defense and attack, I think this would be a very strong and sound line up for Bruce to use. Have JOB and Covey come on in the second half to provide some creative differences to the USA attack. Maybe have Wolff replace Johnson in the second half as well.

So this is the line up I would use -


Pope - Onyewu - Lewis

Olsen - Mastroeni

Dempsey - Donovan - Beasely

McBride - Johnson

Look for the USA performances against Venezuela and Latvia to be entirely different affairs. I feel that the US attack will be faster and will strike harder than they did against Morocco. Their defensive play will be sharper and the defenders will cover their areas just as good as they did for 89 minute against Morocco. The USA should be heading over to Germany fresh off of 2 wins and a better understanding of how they should play, rather than how they might play.
No score predictions, just victories.


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