Monday, June 11, 2007

USMNT vs. El Salvador: Starting 11?

Ives Galarcep (one of the top 5 American based soccer writers IMHO) has suggested that the following starting 11 be used tomorrow night in the final group stage match up for the USMNT:


Ives got me thinking and I figured that I should post whom I thought Bob bradley should send out against El Salvador tomorrow night in Foxboro. Here is my starting squad:


Squad selection reasons:

Howard - I think that he is clicking better with the defenders right now. Granted that Keller is a rock and he was playing behind a group of guys he probably just met or have only known for a total of maybe 7 days, I would rather see Howard start. It also wouldn't hurt to keep rotating the two keepers, if that is Bradley's intent.

Onyewu - Honestly, I would rather not start Gooch. Considering that the CONCACAF ref's seem to always see a Tank destroying a VW beetle whenever he is within 3 feet of a player, I am not so certain I would have him come back for tomorrow's match. However, considering my other defensive choices, I feel that Gooch is the only one who can play in the middle.

DeMerit - If we have Gooch starting in the central defense, I feel that the calming play of DeMerit is the only pairing that Bradley could choose. He settled the backline against Guatemala and he was a rock in the back against T&T. he should start again tomorrow night, if nothing else, to help ensure that Gooch doesn't have to put himself into any "Hulk Smash" type of situations.

Simek - I felt that Simek was a much better option on the right than the likes of Frankie Hedjuk. Frankie seemed to be a little too much speed when Simek seemed to have better poise and positioning.

Bocanegra - Here is why Gooch starts. I would rather have Bocanegra and DeMerit in the central defense, but unfortunately, the left defensive position is one that I haven't seen anyone step up in. Bornstein was damn near always getting beat by Guatemala and Spector really didn't show me that left defense is his spot. Spector plays right wing for West Ham, so I suppose I could have him in for Simek, but I still feel better with Simek on the field than I do with Spector.

Feilhaber - He needs to be on the field. His play overall has been one of the better points of the tournament so far. I think he will have a better chance of creating more chances for the wingers and forwards as the tournament goes on. I also think that he will have a better chance at creating chances with Clark working behind him.

Clark - With the last match at hand, 1 point is really all the USA needs to secure 1st place in Group B, so why not have Clark out there? He is a wonderful defensive midfielder and can help ensure that Gooch doesn't have to be put into any situations that require him to wipe out an El Salvadorian forward. He showed Saturday that he can also move forward and get involved in the offense. I also would rather have Michael Bradley get some rest for the Quarter Final match later this week.

Beasley - He has shown over the last two matches (that he has played in) that he is back in form. Having Beasley and Deuce run the wings gives the USA alot more speed and creativity. Beasley's creativity is the only reason why I say start him over Mapp. Mapp had a great game on Saturday, but I think Beasley edges him.

Deuce - Because he should start. The only other guy I would consider for right wing would be Donovan, who I think should start up front.

Donovan - Yes, at the beginning of the year I didn't like the idea of Donovan playing forward. I never thought I would come around, but I have. The reason is so that we can get two of the most creative guys on the field at the same time: Donovan and Deuce. Having Donovan play a withdrawn forward role give the USA an other creative force in the attack and a guy who can switch on the afterburners like he did against Mexico in February and as he did Saturday.

Twellman - The biggest reason I think Twellman should start over Ching or EJ is because I think that he works much better with Donovan and Deuce. His play off those two guys creates chances. EJ still hasn't sold me that he has really found the goal (Donovan gifted him an open goal on Saturday) and Ching really didn't show me that much on Saturday. I think that Twellman gives the US attack a better creative chance, rather than a guy who is just a target.

Well, there is my squad. I would have EJ and Ching waiting for second half subs. EJ to use his speed against an El Salvadorian side that will probably get run around and Ching to be the target guy against a defense that is way too tired to jump.

I just hope that we get out of the match with 1 point, no injuries and no cards.

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