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Jeff Maurer's Soccer Blog
Friday, 11 June 2010
US vs. England preview
Topic: US National Team

My prediction: 2-1 US. Complete hometown call. Total hometown call. Realistically, I'd say the US has a 20% shot at a draw and a 20% shot at a win. How does that add up to a 2-1 prediction? It doesn't. But I'm going with it.

Things I'm thinking about...

Fitness. This could be a real advantage for us. Almost all US players have played many games at altitude, including the games at the Confederations Cup last year. We know what to expect. I'm not sure if many or even any English players have ever played at altitude (Euro 2008 in Austria and Switzerland would have been an opportunity, but we all know how that went).

Counterattacking is in style. Brazil is now - against all odds - a counterattacking team. South Africa got one on the counter against Mexico today (and almost got another). Chelsea were lethal on the counter this year. It's a good style to play, and we play it. I think it could work.

Psychology. You've surely heard this at some point this week: "England always start slow." Whether or not that's true, English players might have this in their mind. The second part of that maxim is: "...but they always advance." If it's 1-1 in the 80th minute, England might not press as much as they would in the second or third game.

Holding the ball in the midfield. England doesn't build the play; they hoof and hope (a bit...I don't want to over-generalize). We have the centerbacks to cope with the hoof-and-hope approach. What we can't do is give the ball away cheaply and allow them to counter. We really need to hold the ball. Which brings me to...

The lineup that I'd like to see:

---------------Altidore---------------Dempsey-----------------

Donovan--------Torres----------Bradley--------------Holden

Bocanegra-------Onyewu-------Demerit----------Cherundolo

-----------------------------Howard------------------------------

I had been putting Edu in Torres' spot until about a week ago for defensive purposes. But the more I thought about it - and the more I thought about the second half of the Brazil game in the Confederations Cup last year - the more I thought that the best defense might be to deny England the ball. Hence: Torres instead of Edu. Also, I am still an advocate of playing your best 11 (within reason), which is why Holden is in for Buddle. I also really like what Holden brings to the table on set pieces.

We also need to realize this about Dempsey: he IS playing up top. You can pencil him in at left mid, but he's going to play up top. So you might as well have that be his official role.

The lineup I think we'll see:

---------------Altidore---------------Buddle-----------------

Dempsey--------Edu----------Bradley--------------Donovan

Bocanegra-------Onyewu-------Demerit----------Cherundolo

-----------------------------Howard------------------------------

I am okay with this lineup; I could see us winning with this lineup. If Buddle really is in peak form (small sample size, blah blah blah), then this could work out very well. I am fine with Edu or Torres; I don't think Clark is the best option.


Posted by jeffmaurer1980 at 5:34 PM EDT
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