This European heavy squad is interesting for its balance of regulars for 2007, returning players seeing their first call up since Germany 2006 (like Josh Wolff and Marcus Hannehman) and youngsters (like Sal Zizzo, Kamani Hill, and Charlie Davies.) Landon Donovan may want to decline the invitation to play since the Galaxy who apparently are his first priority are globetrotting all over the place in recent weeks. While I’ve been very critical of Donovan’s attitude in the past, particularly his public snub of Copa America, in this case he’d be justified base don the Galaxy schedule which MLS backloaded and David Beckham’s injury which has forced Donovan to strain himself the past several matches. I’m happy to see Josh Wolff recalled. IMHO he’s miles better than Taylor Twellman or Eddie Johnson. Wolff’s record as an MLS striker pales in comparison to both Twellman and Johnson, but on the National Team he has been more effective. His move to Germany last season has also helped to revitilize his game. Jay DeMerit, Carlos Bocanegra and “Gooch” continue to be the mainstays in central defense, although given the squad Sweden has called for this match I’d expect the US defense to be hammered. I’m somewhat surprised Frank Simek didn’t get a call up, but perhaps Sheffield Wednesday already in trouble this season asked Bradley not to pick him. Mastroeni, Bornstein and Donovan are the only MLS players in the team, and Heath Pearce for all his cockiness and big talk seems to have played himself off the national team for now with his poor Copa America performance as well as his shocking first match with Hansa Rostock.
Despite Bob Bradley’s stated preference for the 4-4-2, I think he’s learned the US doesn’t have two effective strikers up front at any one given time, while the midfield is loaded with talented players. Thus a refinment of the 4-5-1 is neccesary: I’d expect to see the US come out in a 4-2-1-2-1 look which will be shaped like this:
Spector Onyewu Bocanegra Bornstein
Beasley and Dempsey will have the ability to push up to join the attack or to slide back when Feilhaber or Bornstein go forward. Unlike his predecessor Bruce Arena, Bob Bradley has a strong discipline with his teams when it comes to spacing and covering for overlapping runs. In the 2nd half I would expect to see Michael Bradley enter the match allowing Benny Feilhaber the opportunity to become more attack oriented. Jay DeMerit’s entrance to the match would also give Jonathan Spector and Jonathan Bornstein the freedom to push forward because my view is that DeMerit is twice the central defender on this level of either Oguchi Onyewu or Carlos Bocanegra. If the US can stay in the match, look for Bradley to insert Davies late for energy and pace up front.