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Who Should Start for USA?

After a series of roster changes caused by injuries, here is what USA Coach Bob Bradley is working with for Saturday's friendly against Sweden at Home Depot Center (8:30 p.m. ET, Fox Soccer Channel, Galavision):

GOALKEEPERS: Jon Busch (Chicago Fire), Will Hesmer (Columbus Crew), Troy Perkins (Valerenga IF), Matt Pickens (Colorado Rapids).
DEFENDERS: Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Danny Califf (Midtjylland), Ugo Ihemelu (Colorado Rapids), Michael Parkhurst (Nordsjaelland), Chris Wingert (Real Salt Lake), Marvell Wynne (Toronto).
MIDFIELDERS: Brian Carroll (Columbus Crew), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Eddie Gaven (Columbus Crew), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Jack Jewsbury (Kansas City Wizards), Sacha Kljestan (Chivas USA), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), John Thorrington (Chicago Fire).
FORWARDS: Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Kenny Cooper (FC Dallas), Charlie Davies (Hammarby), Chris Rolfe (Chicago Fire).

*Kljestan is on trial with Celtic but is expected to return this week. Perkins had to report back to Norway last week for a unique experience, but has rejoined the USA. Meantime, Swedish star Henrik Larsson has pulled out of the squad.

Who would you like to see in the starting lineup? Perkins, Califf, Parkhurst, Wynne, Kljestan, Rogers, Clark, Ching.....

By Steve Goff  |  January 20, 2009; 9:23 PM ET
Categories:  U.S. men's national team  
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Next: Wednesday Kickaround


wynne parkhurst califf bornstein
rogers clark kljestan holden
ching davies

Posted by: jezz | January 20, 2009 9:30 PM | Report abuse

Perkins should get his cap minding the goal.

Defense: Bornstein, Califf, Parkhurst and Wynne. Normally, I might want a chance to see new blood, but the Mexico game is coming up fast.

Midfield: Carroll, Clark, Kljestan and Thorrington.

Forwards: Ching and Davies.

Posted by: fischy | January 20, 2009 9:32 PM | Report abuse


Bornstein, Parkhurst, Califf, Wynne

Clark, Kljestan, Gaven, Rogers

Cooper, Rolfe

Posted by: SSMD1 | January 20, 2009 9:37 PM | Report abuse

-----------Ricardo Clark------------

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | January 20, 2009 9:38 PM | Report abuse

Posted by: jezz | January 20, 2009 9:30 PM

wynne parkhurst califf bornstein
rogers clark kljestan holden
ching davies

I agree with this lineup 100%. Davies would be an excellent complement for Ching. Ching and Cooper playing together? Cooper is too slow to play like a #9 but that happens if you pair him up with Ching.
Davies is super quick getting off that 1st step and isn't afraid to take on players running straight to the goal. Davies' technical skill is still raw but he's got that desire to try nice moves to get past players. Gotta like that passion.

Posted by: Charisma_Man | January 20, 2009 10:53 PM | Report abuse

That is why you have Kljestan, Rogers, and Holden in the attacking mid -- I figure set pieces will be key when having both Cooper and Ching in the goal box

Posted by: AnthonyTheGreat | January 20, 2009 11:08 PM | Report abuse

I would like to see
Perkins and Busch Split time.

Wynne,Parkhurst, Califf,Wingert

------Sacha, Carrol, Clark


Other subs: Rogers,Holden,Ugo

Posted by: Dipssince78 | January 20, 2009 11:44 PM | Report abuse

In goal, it's got to be Perkins. Busch, even after such an impressive season, is done developing and someone like Perkins needs to get games when Howard, Guzan, and Hahnemann stay in England.

In the back, the only 4 defenders left uninjured that are international quality for the US are Wynne, Parkhurst, Califf, and Bornstein. Wingert is a good player, but international play is above his level. Ihemelu shouldn't even be near this squad.

I thought about a 433, but I think Sweden's physical style fits Clark more than Carroll, and Clark seems like a better fit in the 442. I'm not really big on Holden as a right midfielder (I want to see him develop in the middle, as is his natural position), but I think Kljestan is the better fit for this match. In my formation, a lot of position-swapping would be taking place between those two. I'm a little puzzled why everyone wants to move Rogers to the right, since he's done his best work at Maryland, in MLS, and with US youth teams on the left. You can never have too many viable candidates to start on the left. I'd also like to see Thorrington get in for some good minutes.

Up top, Ching and Cooper both need to see some game action, but as Ching's the more likely to feature against Mexico, he's got to be on the field for the majority of this one. It's a bit harsh leaving out Rolfe, but it's time for Davies to get a look as more than a sub. If he's the guy that nearly put the Olympic squad through, then he deserves real consideration in the squad against Mexico (especially with Johnson finally getting the long spell out).

-------------- Ching - Davies
Rogers - Clark - Kljestan - Holden
Bornstein Califf Parkhurst Wynne
----------------- Perkins

Posted by: Chest_Rockwell | January 21, 2009 1:20 AM | Report abuse

I won't argue with any of Chest's points, but I would have Cooper and Davies up top. I agree with having the likely starter against Mexico in there, but why not have Cooper as the starter against Mexico? Nothing against Ching, but I really want to see Cooper play.

Posted by: troy6 | January 21, 2009 4:42 AM | Report abuse

Somewhat OT, but Donovan's Bayern (or Bayern's Donovan?) has the first Bundesliga match January 31. Does anyone know when the full MNT gets together for the Mexico camp? It would be a shame for him to miss the first shot at a real game for Bayern, but I don't want him missing camp either. I'm guessing camp won't begin until Feb 5.

Speaking of Bayern's activity, Feb 25 is shaping up to be a big day. Bayern plays at Sporting Lisbon for Champion's League (I hope Donovan is designated as eligible; as far as I know it is still pending). That is the day after Carnaval, so is a giant party in Lisbon anyway. Also, that is the day the WNT arrives in Lisbon for the Algarve Cup.

Posted by: troy6 | January 21, 2009 4:48 AM | Report abuse

Davies, of course, he looked great in qualifying and scored a bucket of goals for his club side, Hammarby, last season.

BTW, don't we maybe have enough guys to field a Scandinavian 11 for this match?

Posted by: big_spaniel | January 21, 2009 5:30 AM | Report abuse

Should be interesting at a couple positions, while most of the others are easy.

Easy Calls:
CB: Califf, Parkhurst
LB: Bornstein
DM: Clark
LM: Rogers

Fairly easy calls:
CM: Kljestan (could play RM w/ Holden central)
F: Ching (didn't call him in to sit)

More interesting calls:
RB: Wynne (Thorrington is an option)
F: Davies (Cooper, Rolfe an option)
RM: Holden (Rolfe, Gaven, Davies options)
GK: Perkins (Hesmer, Busch options)

Overall, I'd prefer that Bob put guys in their most natural positions. This would mean Gaven starting at RM (or Kljestan). Kljestan is preferred centrally, and I'd rather see Davies, Rolfe, or Holden wide.


Hesmer for Perkins
Cooper for Ching
Rolfe for Kljestan (Holden to CM, Davies to RM).
Thorrington to Wynne
Carroll for Clark
Gaven for Davies
Ihemelu for Parkhurst

Posted by: TrueCrew | January 21, 2009 8:11 AM | Report abuse

Love seeing the new guys. I know it's exciting for them to get a run out, and a good performance here and there from the reserves keeps the first teamers on their toes.

Wynne Califf Parkhurst Bornstein
Holden Kljestan Clark Rogers
Ching Cooper

I'd love to see Bornstein make a return to form. He had an awesome run back in 07.

Perk is the sentimetal choice.

Mids are our strength, I'd just like to see BB cut them loose a bit. I'm not a fan of the empty bucket.

I haven't seen Davies play in a while, but he used to be a burner without a ton of skill. I think Cooper will show best having somebody he can make runs off of. Cooper strikes me as the most dangerous forward of that group, so my choice of Ching was trying to think who would compliment him best.

Posted by: Matte | January 21, 2009 9:26 AM | Report abuse

Donovan will be lucky to get 10 minutes behind Toni and Klose.

Posted by: Matte | January 21, 2009 9:39 AM | Report abuse

Dude hasn't he been playing with Toni and Klose? Heard here recently that Toni botched a perfect bending cross that Donovan had served up...
Just wondering, are all the Donovan hater's from Pennsylvania? Philly perhaps? Geeez.

Posted by: DadRyan | January 21, 2009 12:11 PM | Report abuse

I don't really hate Donovan, though I'm not an LD lover either. I've done my share of LD bashing over the years, but I've also admitted that his form in the past 24 months has been far and away the best of his career. I've supported his move to Bayern. I hope he catches on there.

But, keep in mind, he's been playing in friendly matches to this point, not league matches.

They're getting ready to head back into their Bundeliga campaign. I'd say that relegates LD to the bench. With the showing he's had so far I'd say he has probably earned an offer to stay, but I don't expect to see him in the first team right out of the gate.

Posted by: Matte | January 21, 2009 12:28 PM | Report abuse

... and no, i'm not from philly. LOL

Posted by: Matte | January 21, 2009 12:30 PM | Report abuse





I agree with a comment above, Perkins is still young and developing and I think legitimately the number 3 U.S. keeper. Busch is a quality keeper but is at the peak of his career, Perkins is still growing.

I think Carroll over Clark to see how Carroll does at this level.

Interestingly, I think Bradley could also run something of a 4-1-4-1 like this






This is a very young side, but I think a speedy, attacking and indeed attractive side.

Posted by: MattJohnston1 | January 21, 2009 12:45 PM | Report abuse

Ching: "Didn't call him in to sit"?! What the hell else is he doing?!

Posted by: vaindependent | January 21, 2009 3:29 PM | Report abuse

As a DCU fan, I gotta go with Carroll and Perkins but not ONLY because I'm a DCU fan. They're both great players and really nice guys too, I hear (not that this is relevant for picking MNT squads). I've always liked Carroll's work rate and utility. I especially remember how important he was to DCU's MLS Cup victory. I felt he was DCU's unsung hero, so it's nice to see him in the spotlight with the MNT.

Posted by: WorldCup | January 21, 2009 5:27 PM | Report abuse

Chest, I appreciate your comments and the time you took to show the developed thought. However I find Bornstein mindless in his play, good athlete, poor in positioning, dives in too much when isolated and struggles on the ball. Whereas Wingert may be new to the fold, he is an intellegent player who is good on the ball and patient in the tackle. The 4-3-3 was based on the availability of the mids. Clark, Carrol, and sacha could easily cover the neccessary ground. Obviously this would require great fitness and pace by the flank players in the back and up top which should be covered by the players offered. I would love to see rodgers on the left and holden on the right to float in on a 442; but Rodgers has not looked good in camp, from what I have been able to see. Furthermore I would like to see what happens when u put Rolfe, davies and Cooper together

Posted by: Dipssince78 | January 21, 2009 5:34 PM | Report abuse

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