Well the big day is upon us. Beginning tomorrow and culminating with the Gold Cup Final late next month the United States National Team will be in almost constant action. No friendlies are on the schedule in this period. Just deadly serious World Cup qualifiers and competitive tournament matches.
Bob Bradley’s key decisions for tomorrow night are outlined below:
The United States has a number of issues on the backline to deal with. Frankie Hejduk will not play but Coach Bob Bradley is confident in the right back options. But should he be? Jonathan Spector is more comfortable as an center back, while Marvell Wynne is inexperienced at the international level. Wynne played well in the 2008 Olympics, but struggled in a 2007 appearance against Argentina at Copa America.
Bob Bradley’s decision not to call in Drew Moor an moderately experienced international right back or Frank Simek who has played well in England speaks to the supreme confidence Bradley has in both options.
THE CALL: SPECTOR
At left back, Bradley also has a decision to make. DaMarcus Beasley and Heath Pearce have both played sparingly in the European club season while Johnathan Bornstein has never played in a match of this magnitude on the road previously. Beasley has played left back once for the United States, but did play several matches at left back and defensive midfield for Manchester City in 2006 and 2007.
THE CALL: BORNSTEIN
Pablo Mastroeni’s experience in qualifying and previous World Cups makes him a natural to start over Sacha Kljestan or recently called in Rico Clark alongside Michael Bradley. Mastroeni also can hold the ball and distrbutes the ball well going forward. It must be assumed Benny Feilhaber has been called in to be given the training time and to work him back into the national team longterm.
THE CALL: MASTROENI
Clint Dempsey is better option on the left side in a hostile environment like Sparissa. I’d place Landon Donovan on the right side.
THE CALL: DEMPSEY
Throwing Jozy Altidore out for 90 minutes is not an option coming off an injury and zero match action since his hat trick for the US. Brian Ching will start.
THE CALL: CHING