Wednesday, May 28, 2008

England - USA Match in Six Hours

Give or take. The U.S. Men's National Team is at legendary Wembley Stadium in a few hours to start their run up to World Cup Qualifying against Barbados with the first of three friendlies against some of the top national teams in the World, England, Spain and Argentina. Lots of Coverage over at the site.

Landon Donovan is almost assured of earning his 100th cap, and at current pace could surpass Cobi Jones as the most capped mens player in U.S. History. Donovan already holds the record for most goals for the U.S. and at age 26, he will likely be around for the 2014 world cup, when he will be 32, so things are looking good for Donovan.

Interviews with Bob Bradley (also posted at the US Soccer site), seem to indicate that Bradley, while evaluating talent and depth, is looking for wins in the next three matches. The 22 man roster he selected from his 33 player pool for this match is, not surprisingly, made up of largely experienced players.

This is what I would expect to be the starting line-up:





Some possible variations might be Nate Jacqua for Eddie Johnson up top. I think the Midfield will look pretty much like I note, with the possible exception of Beasley. But with this Roster, I don't think Maurice Edu or Freddy Adu have the pace of Beasley to really take on the English defense. Cherundolo and Pearce may easily make way for players like Jay DeMerit and/or Frankie Hejduk.

Assuming this starting eleven, I would expect Bradley to sub out Eddie Johnson for Jacqua or Josh Wolff. Depending on where the score line stands and Bradley's disposition to save some of teh MLS players, I could see Donovan and/or Clark coming off in the second half and see Edu/Adu/Eddie Lewis come on.

I don't think that Bradley will mess with his back line barring injury.

I think Timmy Howard will be in net for all three games, but I wouldn't count Cervi out. Bradley may play him to give him an opportunity to play in a big game and help the young man get a contract. Brad Guzan has been too shaky of late in the MLS to be considered for playing time right now.

The Game will be on ESPN Classic. If you are like me, though and can't get away from work, US will have the Match Tracker running.

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