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TUES, 2:45PM ET
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Beasley and Dempsey Make a Point

Bradley’s Style is Different Than Arena’s in use of Flank Play

With the United States fielding a virtual “B” team for yesterday’s full international versus China it was imperative for the two most experienced American attackers in the side to step up. Both DeMarcus Beasley and Clint Dempsey answered the call. Operating with more confidence in Bob Bradley’s 4-3-3 formation than in Bruce Arena’s 4-5-1 formation (which played like a 4-3-3 when Dempsey and Beasley pushed up) both veterans made daring runs, great crosses and created countless opportunities for the US tonight. They gave a virtual clinic on how to play on the flanks. The match began with the US swarming forward with numbers and signaling their intent to spend the night attacking. The first American goal came when Beasley dribbled around the Chinese keeper and was then taken down.

Hamburger’s SV Benny Feilhaber scored the second US goal with some nice team play combining with Sacha Kljestan, but it was Dempsey and Beasley who continued to create countless chances, which China’s goalkeeper did a very good job of reading. In the second half Dempsey finally scored after having been denied from point blank range twice and then Oguchi Onyewu who is currently club less and hoping suitors come his way scored the fourth US goal. The 4-1 final was a fitting result for a dominating performance with so many non regulars playing for the U.S.

The following American players received their first senior national cap in this match:

Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA, MLS)… Kljestan has been a key player for Chiavs USA
Charlie Davies (Hammarby IF, Sweden)… Davies has been getting regular playing time in Sweden whose season overlaps with MLS
Kamani Hill (VfL Wolfsburg, Germany) … Has fought for playing time at Wolfsburg and shows promise
Lee Nguyen (PSV Eindhoven, Netherlands)… Nguyen is among the most polished Americans and has become a regular for an outstanding club

Bob Bradley has to be pleased with the play of his youngsters and with the leadership both Beasley and Dempsey demonstrated. Bradley must hope that the MLS based players coming into the National Team camp this week feed off of this result and the energy Dempsey and Beasley have shown and have a successful Gold Cup. This was the fifth match for the United States under Bob Bradley and with the exception of the disappointing stalemate against Guatemala, the US has used pushing the ball down the flanks to create countless opportunities in the other four matches. Even though Bruce Arena professed a faith in wing/flank play to often the ball seemed to be floating in the middle of the pitch with the wing players coming inside. Arena perhaps had too much faith in Claudio Reyna and John O’Brien both central midfielders to truly give his wide midfielders the freedom to create opportunities with the regularity they have under Bradley. Which style is preferable for the US is debatable. Using O’Brien and Reyna as target men, the US were unlucky not to advance to the semifinals in the 2002 World Cup. However, the number of good chances the US has been creating under Bradley against respectable opposition seem far greater than any point during the Arena era, but the real tests are coming this summer.

About Kartik Krishnaiyer

A lifelong lover of soccer, the beautiful game, he served from January 2010 until May 2013 as the Director of Communications and Public Relations for the North American Soccer League (NASL). Raised on the Fort Lauderdale Strikers of the old NASL, Krishnaiyer previously hosted the American Soccer Show on the Champions Soccer Radio Network, the Major League Soccer Talk podcast and the EPL Talk Podcast. His soccer writing has been featured by several media outlets including The Guardian and The Telegraph. He is the author of the book Blue With Envy about Manchester City FC.
View all posts by Kartik Krishnaiyer →

5 Responses to Beasley and Dempsey Make a Point

  1. Sams Army says:

    I agree completely but also give some credit to the midfield. Bradley really occupied the middle well allowing Kljestan and Feilhaber to push forward and create chances.

    Doesn’t Charlie Davies look like he is going to be something special!

  2. Anonymous says:

    We were flying all over the field with the 4-3-3, but our back line looked shaky. With so many questions about our defense I like the attack oriented philosphy with Bradley. Let’s try and outscore people.

  3. Soccer Guru says:

    I thought we were solid but China looked fatigued and disinterested. Recall how Guatemala kept their shape and kept the defense tight against us in Dallas a few months ago. I think we need Eddie Johnson to continue his run if we have any chance to win the Cup. Mexico will be ready for us this time.

  4. Harvey says:

    Let’s get a couple of things straight. Beasley and Dempsey made as many bonehead plays as good ones. The Chinese gave them acres of space on the flanks which is why their runs looked so daring, but yet when pressured Dempsey and less so Beasley often melted.

    Secondly, Sams you wern’t watching the same match as me. Davies maybe fast but he got pushed off the ball easily and generally was a negative. Either he plays wide or he has no future for the Nats ala the weak Freddy Adu.

    Thirdly Spector and Bornstein were horrible. I think this is second third straight national team match Spector has looked lost. I guess this proves Sams point that solid play in the EPL isn’t the be all or end all. Without Gooch back there, a guy who flopped in the EPL, China too would have scored 4 goals.

  5. Kartik says:

    I should have mentioned that I was also very impressed with China’s keeper. I wonder if he plays in a big league. Keep in mind China has ALOT of players in Europe, and many of them are on bigger clubs than our players, so while their is always room to improve, 4-1 is a good sign.

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