wherein DF travels to Deutschland for the 2006 world cup to follow the US men's national soccer team

Monday, April 24, 2006

Bruce discloses US WC lineup (no joke)

So apparently there's this show called "Los Tecnicos" ("The Coaches") on which head coaches of all the WC teams appear and talk about the upcoming tournament. For whatever reason, they end up disclosing massive amounts of information to the host, and Bruce was (surprisingly) no exception. I didn't actually see this show, but rather read a thread about it on BigSoccer. However, in his conversation, Arena basically discloses the US lineup, which one poster astutely distilled as:

if O'Brien is healthy:

**Cherundolo***Gooch***Pope***Lewis **

If O'Brien can't play:


There you have it. A few things about this surprise me. First is the use of Pope not Gibbs. It depends on Pope's health of course, but still--I think in defense you normally go with youth. I hope Pope doesn't become the over-the-hill liability that Agoos was last time around. The one-forward setup represents a deviation from what we're used to (4-4-2 all the way) but it does make sense. I don't think anyone can plausibly claim that any of our other forward options are anything close to world class, so in light of Bruce's general rule to put the best players on the field, this makes sense.

Of course, caveat lector--this is only my account of a BS.com poster's account of a show I've never seen. But I have no reason to think the thread was a hoax, and the lineup has the solid ring of plausibility to anyone who's been following the USMNT. It looks like BA is doing the best with what he's got, but I'm kind of worried, especially about who's going to score goals for us.
This setup puts a lot of pressure on McBride, who had a great first half of the season for Fulham but hasn't been as sharp of late. On the other hand, the defensive setup looks really solid.


Blogger mirarchi said...

Wow! I can't believe Bruce disclosed his lineup like that! Thanks for posting it. Like you said, it has the solid ring of plausibility to it.

As far as the attacking six goes, the lineup if JOB is healthy has the definite advantage of getting our best 11 on the field. There's no real right mid in that lineup, but I think it still makes sense to get our best 11 out there.

It's interesting that even with JOB and Reyna both on the pitch, Bruce still wants a d-mid and starts Mastro. I guess this makes sense, since Mastro probably has that extra bite defensively that neither Reyna nor JOB really has. On the other hand, I'm a bit concerned about a starting midfield with three d-mids (although, to be fair, JOB (at least when healthy) can play a more pure a-mid role, if necessary).

Like you, I'm worried about McBride being our only forward. I would hope that Donovan would essentially be a second forward (more of a withdrawn forward than an attacking mid). As I recall, in at least a few of the WC games in '02, Donovan started up top as a forward, paired with McBride. And I actually like the Donovan/McBride combo -- I think they complement each other, as Donovan can use his speed to make runs off of McBride, who can play balls to him from flick-on headers or with his feet after holding the ball up with his back to the goal (something McBride is pretty good at).

I'm surprised that Dempsey starts if JOB isn't healthy. I've written before about why I don't expect Dempsey to start. But I like Dempsey, and I wouldn't disagree with Bruce's decision to start him (if that's in fact where Bruce is leaning). I still would expect Bruce to start Convey on the left and Beasley on the right, rather than Dempsey. But in the few times Beasley has played on the right for us, he hasn't looked particularly dangerous, so maybe Bruce wants to leave one of our most dangerous players in the position in the lineup where he'll be most dangerous.

10:02 PM, April 25, 2006


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