Tailoring the lineup to our World Cup opposition

Discussion in 'USA Men: News & Analysis' started by ChelseaMatt, Apr 17, 2006.

  1. ChelseaMatt

    ChelseaMatt Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Memphis
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    So, I've noticed how everyone is putting out one starting lineup, yet noting that Bruce will be using different lineups with different formations for each game.

    Several good points have been made on Big Soccer and in the soccer media:
    1) We'll need a good game out of Gooch to neutralize Koller in the first game. It's possible he might not be available for the whole group stage because of cards accumulation
    2) Gooch hasn't played in a World Cup. He'll need to be paired up with someone with World Cup experience, at least in the first match.
    3) We need to have at least Reyna or O'Brien on the field at all times-- without them we lose organization in the middle of the field-- something we can't afford against the strong midfields of the Czech Republic and Italy.
    4) Our forwards aren't strong enough up front to drop Landon back to a midfield position.
    5) O'Brien and Reyna in tandem without a destroyer may make us soft in the middle.

    Against the Czech Republic, I might field the following starting lineup.

    ------------------------Keller----------------------
    Cherundolo----Gooch---Pope------Lewis
    ---------------------Mastroeni-------------------
    Dempsey--------Reyna-------------Beasley
    --------------Donovan------McBride------------

    Of Italy and the Czechs. the Czechs are older, and by extrapolation, slower of the two. We'll need a strong defensive lineup who match up well, and we'll need to take advantage of our relative speed. Also, slower lineups are almost by definition more physical, so we'll need to field a more physical lineup as well.
    -Gooch will have to be in the mix to match up against Koller.
    -Mastroeni will need to start as a destroyer.
    -It would not be good to lose O'Brien straight off the bat in this game.
    -I think Dempsey's and Beasley's speed on the wings could cause them problems

    Against Italy, we'll need the combo of Reyna and O'Brien to be competitive in the middle part of the field. Germany were completely destroyed in the midfield in the Italy match. Ballack was invisible. A part of me would like Reyna, O'Brien, and Mastroeni all starting, with a 4-3-3, having Donovan and Beasley up top with either Brian McBride or Eddie Johnson.

    -----------------------Keller-------------------------
    Cherundolo----Gooch---Boca--------Gibbs
    Beasley------Reyna-----O'Brien-----Lewis
    ---------------Donovan-----McBride------------

    -Nobody on our team crosses better than Eddie Lewis, and he's put some great crosses into the box on the international stage before. I'd sort of like to move him up to midfield, to keep the Italians more honest in the midfield. The threat of his crosses might give Reyna and O'Brien more space to work
    -I'm hoping Gooch hasn't gotten into trouble with cards at this point. We'll need him to neutralize Luca Toni

    Against Ghana, I'm hoping that we've already gotten a win in one of our first two games. Mastroeni will need to start -- Ghana are a very physical team. I'm hoping that EJ has what it takes to take advantage of Ghana. Brian McBride will need a rest. Convey deserves a start, and this seems like a good opportunity

    -----------------------Keller------------------------
    Cherundolo-----Pope----Gibbs--------Lewis
    ---------------------Mastroeni--------------------
    Dempsey---------O'Brien-------------Convey
    -----------------------Donovan---------------------
    -------------------------EJ---------------------------

    I didn't put Gooch into the starting lineup because he may need to be rested so we don't lose him for the first game in the next round because of card accumulation.
    So what does everyone think?
     
  2. Swazicar

    Swazicar Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    Portland, Ore.
    A pretty good effort to get the best on the field. My 1 1/2 cents:

    1) Maybe it's a funny thing on which to focus, but Gibbs, argueably one of the two best central defenders, gets only one start, and that at left back, with Pope and Bocanegra getting two starts each in the middle? I know Pope wil get at least one start, but I would hope Gibbs gets at least two in the middle.

    2) I'm sure Donovan will (and should) get time up top, but not all three matches. (I'd say 1 to 1 1/2, at most.)

    3) As some others have said in other threads, I don't think one can afford to start both Reyna and O'Brien, even if only for one game (and especially if that means leaving Mastroeni out against Italy); one or the other, sure, but not both.
     
  3. VOwithwater

    VOwithwater New Member

    Oct 17, 2005
    The starting formation will not change 4-4-2 unless we get behind with 15 left and if he goes with three backs he will even probably attack one of the three then we will go from 1 goal behind to two goals behind.

    But the players in the formation can easily change to get better matchups.
     
  4. The Wanderer2

    The Wanderer2 New Member

    Jan 15, 2005
    I disagree that the best way to combat a physical lineup is with a physical lineup. Speed is the best way to exploit slow teams. McBride may be neutralized against the Czechs so I expect Mr. Arena to be keeping tabs on how he's doing. McBride was worthless against the Germans in the last WC.
     
  5. ChelseaMatt

    ChelseaMatt Member

    Apr 12, 2005
    Memphis
    Club:
    Chelsea FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I've amended the lineup against Ghana to include Gibbs instead of Boca. You made a good point.
    Also, a good point about O'Brien and Reyna. But I think against Italy, we'll have to go for all the marbles.
    The thing about having Donovan in the midfield is that I think we'll need a defensive midfielder + Reyna or O'Brien, and I don't want to start Donovan out wide.
     
  6. BenfromUSA

    BenfromUSA Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Minneapolis/St. Paul
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    IMO these three lineups would be better with donovan in the midfield and beasley taking his place up front.

    I would go with Berhalter and Onyewu in the middle, Berhalter is strong in the air and would be playing to his strength if he was 'on' koller.

    pope vs. baros = :eek:

    Onyewu is the perfect guy to mark milan baros like a mad-man, he is fast and a solid 1v1 defender.

    If O'Brien is healthy, he starts all 3 games for sure. I don't know if throwing mastroeni out there would produce anything but plastic cards... especially with rosicky out there who I think is going to be one of the top players in the tournament.


    Bocanegra definetly out, start dempsey... Gibbs and Onyewu should work in the middle with Lewis at left back.

    McBride a no brainer over Johnson unless we have gotten 6 points out of 6 at that point.

    once again pope = :eek: ...if onyewu is suspended i guess we put bocanegra in.

    hejduk over lewis could be a possibility.
     
  7. Swazicar

    Swazicar Member

    Jun 10, 2004
    Portland, Ore.
    Regarding Italy, I suspect the result against Czech Republic will play a significant role in the approach. I of course have absolutely no idea what Arena will or should do, I just want him to win the game, somehow!

    Fair enough about Donovan out wide. I do think, however, there are options that keep Donovan more or less in the front and center of the midfield, such as putting Reyna out wide, or using a box. But you did the most important thing, which is to get him on the field for every match.
     
  8. BenfromUSA

    BenfromUSA Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Minneapolis/St. Paul
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    pirlo, camoranesi, totti, gattuso :eek:
     
  9. the stranger

    the stranger New Member

    Dec 20, 2005
    He's healthy right now, would you start him on current form? He needs to get better (and hopefully he will, but it is not certain)

    Regardless, any lineup featuring both O'Brien and Reyna forces us to make a lot of sacrifices. Four years ago the positives outweighed the negatives, but with time and the emergence of other players, it is not clear if that is still the case. Personally I would prefer to have exactly 1 of them on the field at all times.
     
  10. IndividualEleven

    Mar 16, 2006
    Excellent post. Unlike the vast majority of lengthy BS missives this
    one actually needed the length.

    A few points that others may have made also:

    Mastroeni needs to start every game. He and Keller are the
    two most important players because of their skills and
    experience can't be replaced.

    In Mastro's case he's actually added better distribution to his
    impressive defensive nous to make him arguably our best
    midfielder of the moment--at the international level.

    Gooch should be starting every game. No one else is playing
    the position more dominantly.

    If not enough suitable suitable forwards are found,
    then my preference is to see Donovan at the point of
    a five man midfield. We probably won't be swift enough
    out of central midfield in the attack to have him and another
    forward isolated up top.
     
  11. IndividualEleven

    Mar 16, 2006
    Correct me if I'm wrong but Mastroeni hasn't been a card
    magnet at the international level.
     
  12. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Maybe OT, but if a player is so fragile that we're gonna not start him in game 1 for fear he gets hurt, it's better if he stays home. Seriously.

    I don't know if posters are overeggarating JOB's fragility, or he's a wasted roster space, but it's one of the two.
     
  13. BenfromUSA

    BenfromUSA Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Minneapolis/St. Paul
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    I think an in form O'brien is head and shoulders above reyna... I'm not so sure about reyna starting.

    anyways 3 months healthy should give JOB to get in form hopefully. moving to chivas was a good move.
     
  14. Soccerprep

    Soccerprep Member

    Aug 26, 2005
    Lafayette, LA
    Club:
    Manchester United FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    Unless we have won both of our first two games. No one needs a rest, not McBride, Gooch, etc. If someone is playing great and they have "pushed" them out of the line-up, but only having three points going into game three, and not fielding a full-strengthed team is not good.

    Of course you need to remember there is a scenario where we can have six points and still not advance.
     
  15. PaulGascoigne

    PaulGascoigne Member

    Feb 5, 2001
    Aotearoa/NZ
    Don't forget, the Ghana-Czech match will also be in the books by the time this match is played. That might help Bruce decide whether he needs to go all-out for a win, or whether he can play conservatively and hope for a draw.

    For instance, let's say Italy beats Ghana 1-0 in the first game and we lose to Czech 1-0. If Czech wins the Ghana game they are through (ok, yes, I know it's not a mathematical clinch), and it's us vs. Italy for second. We might be happy to play for a draw, then hope to beat up on an eliminated Ghana in the 3rd game--a better strategy than going for the knockout against Italy but risking a loss by opening up your game.

    Conversely, if Ghana beats Czech, you can just about bet we will need to go for the win against Italy, as a loss (in the first game) and a tie (in the second) in a group where 2 other teams already have wins isn't going to look like too good a way to advance.

    That fact that we're playing the second game after the other group game is a small blessing in disguise. All the more so if we are able to get a result in the first game vs. Czech.
     
  16. IndividualEleven

    Mar 16, 2006
    Imo it's a combination of Reyna and O'brien being on the field
    forcing other lineup changes and...

    O'brien still rounding into game shape and...

    Reyna not really being a 90 min a game tourney player. I'd like
    to see O'brien rather than Olsen sub in for Reyna.
     
  17. thepundit

    thepundit Member

    Jan 1, 2005
    Tacoma, WA
    Czech-
    Keller
    Dolo Gooch Gibbs Lewis
    Reyna Mastro Beasley
    Convey
    Donovan McBride

    i feel like we need our most experienced quality midfielders in there against Nedved and Rosicky. this lineup assumes that Boca and O'Brien aren't completely up to speed. if they are then O'Brien will start in place of Reyna and Boca will be subbed in for Convey with Lewis moving into Beasley's spot and the Beas moving into a more withdrawn version of Convey's role. the Boca sub will only happen if we feel we need to lock it down. Lewis must work hard to provide width while he's in at left back.

    Italy-
    Keller
    Dolo Gooch Gibbs Boca
    Reyna Mastro
    Dempsey Convey Beasley
    Donovan

    i think this game needs to be taken to Italy. Donovan can drop deep to get the ball if he pleases and incorporating these attacking mids behind him is paramount. i don't think Lewis is a good idea in there if they've got Camo playing as a winger and i think as long as Dempsey and Beasley prevent their wide backs from getting involved in the attack we can contain them. i'm not entirely sure whether pairing Gooch with Berhalter or Pope and moving Gibbs to the left to deal with Camo would be more or less effective. the less time spent on our half of the field in this game the better! EJ up top; Donovan in midfield instead of Convey???

    Ghana-
    freshest group, probably most potent offense that's physically capable at this point.
     
  18. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    You ever see Rosicky run? He may be faster than Donovan, and he's the center-mid for the Czechs. I think he'd run right past Reyna/Mastro.
     
  19. BenfromUSA

    BenfromUSA Member

    Jan 20, 2006
    Minneapolis/St. Paul
    Club:
    Arsenal FC
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    i'm not really sure about mastroeni against the skilled, quick, maestro type midfielders. he did do well against portugal and mexico... but i'm a bit skeptical of him going trying to slow down guys like totti, pirlo, nedved, and rosicky (who btw is the real deal).
     
  20. superdave

    superdave Member+

    Jul 14, 1999
    VB, VA
    Club:
    DC United
    Nat'l Team:
    United States
    What is Nedved, then?

    I thought Rosicky played wide with the Czechs.
     
  21. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Nedved plays left side. Here's how they line up:

    ----------- Galasek ---------
    Poborsky -- Rosicky -- Nedved


    Again, Rosicky is fast as hell, very technical and gets stuck in, even for a guy who's not that big or visibly tough. That's going to be a challenge for the leaden-footed pairing of Reyna and Mastro, or O'Brien and Mastro. I'd stick Donovan with Mastro and probably put Reyna on the right to use his guile and skill to hound Nedved. Donovan at the least can keep pace with Rosicky and they might sort of neutralize each other.

    On our left, I am confident that a good game from either Beasely or Convey would give us an advantage over Poborsky. But then again, Poborsky might thru injury or form not start, in which case there are a number of variables. Most likely, IMO, we'd see Monaco's Jaroslav Plasil, an extremely talented young player who is better on the left but can handle the right side as well. He's big and he absolutely killed Germany in the last euro when the Czechs put out their second team in the last group game. But I still think the speed and craft of DMB and Convey can deal with the Czech right side.

    The problem areas are the middle and their left side. (Of course, Nedved also moves around fairly freely...)
     
  22. sidefootsitter

    sidefootsitter Member+

    Oct 14, 2004
    Mastroeni isn't leaden-footed ... but he will commit a bad foul when he's beaten.

    Donovan plays an "ole" defense.
     
  23. The Wanderer2

    The Wanderer2 New Member

    Jan 15, 2005
    Roziscky(sic) fast as hell? PULEASE. I've seen him play 3 times for Dortmund and have come away thinking he's slightly better than Reyna.
     
  24. The Wanderer2

    The Wanderer2 New Member

    Jan 15, 2005
    Bull$hit alert. Now you're proclaiming him faster than Donovan?
     
  25. Parmigiano

    Parmigiano Member

    Jun 20, 2003
    Well, Reyna is a good player, and on their best days, they are not far apart, except in mobility and explosiveness.

    I'm not sure, but Rosicky is very fast -- especially with the ball at his feet and especially for a central mid. My point is that we need some mobility and speed in the middle to deal with that.

    I'm glad you've seen him play three times. I've seen him play about 50 times, including when he was an up and coming pup here in Prague. If you don't take my word on his pace, take FIFA's. And if you don't believe that, well, I guess there will be more than a few surprises in store for you in Germany come June:

    http://fifaworldcup.yahoo.com/06/en/040908/1/25mh.html
     

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