Sunday, March 25, 2007

Match Preview: USA vs. Ecuador

USA vs. Ecuador
12:00pm 3/25/2007
Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida

So the USMNT gets into its third match of 2007, coming off of two consecutive victories over a less that full strength Denmark (3-1) and an all too familiar score line against what was thought to be the strongest line-up possible from Mexico (2-0). Now the USMNT begins a two match stretch against Latin American sides, Ecuador from CONMEBOL today and Guatemala from CONCACAF on Wednesday night. Both matches are to prepare the players and the coaching staff for the CONCACAF Gold Cup and the CONMEBOL Copa America this summer.

These two matches provide yet another opportunity for the USMNT player pool to see who will step up and fill the boots of the old guard players who have since retired from international play, namely Claudio Reyna and Brian McBride. Players like Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Kenny Cooper, Jay DeMerit, and Brian Ching will all get the chances to see if their success on the field in club level matches can translate to success in the red, white & blue. With other injuries, namely Ricardo Clark and Pablo Mastroeni, Bradley and Feilhaber should get plenty of time on the pitch in these two matches.

If I were Bob Bradley, I would send out the following line-up against Ecuador:

Cooper---Donovan
Beasely -------------------Deuce
Bradley---Feilhaber
Bocanegra----------Cerundolo
Gooch----Conrad
Howard

I would put Kenny Cooper up front with Landon Donovan, even though I hate seeing Donovan play up front and really don’t think he is that effective as a forward in international play. Regardless of him being listed as a forward, I think he will play the more withdrawn, attacking midfielder position and Cooper would play the target forward role. Deuce and Beasley would run the flanks which should cause some troubles. Bradley and Feilhaber would play the defensive midfield roles and push up when needed for offensive support.

The back line for this match isn’t really one of those “What if’s?” The back four are a proven group of guys and should be able to contain anything Ecuador throws at them.

Tim Howard deserves to get the first start in these two matches, as he did a wonderful job against Mexico last month and deserves the right to get a second tasking match.

Assuming that the defense holds as it has shown it can and the offensive output continues to produce a couple of goals a match, I see the USA winning today 3-1. Tim Howard will need a strong day in goal and our young midfield will need to click, but these two things aren't that odd to think of.

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1 Comments:

Blogger The Iconic Midwesterner said...

These are my halftime grades. They are not pretty.

Howard 6
Bocanegra 3
Onyewu 5
Conrad 4
Cerundolo 4
Donovon 7
Dempsy 4
Beasley 2
Feilhaber 4
Johnson 3
Ching 3

12:09 PM  

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