USA News & Notes
Greetings from Rio Tinto at Sandy.
Jay DeMerit (groin) is almost certainly out tomorrow. Carlos Bocanegra says he expects to play in the middle -- no surprise. Conor Casey, who had a wisdom tooth extracted this week, will not join the team here and instead play for the Rapids tomorrow. A decision about whether to call him in before the T&T trip will be made late Saturday or early Sunday.
My guess at the USA lineup (4-4-2): Howard; Spector, Marshall, Bocanegra, Bornstein; Dempsey, Bradley, Feilhaber, Donovan; Davies, Ching.
El Salvador Probables (4-1-4-1): Montes (Aguila); Salazar (Firpo), Henriquez (FAS), Gonzalez (FAS), Umanzor (Aguila); Sanchez (Earthquakes); Alvarez (Earthquakes), Romero (Hermosa), Quintanilla (Ermis Aradippou, Cyprus), Castillo (Leon, Mexico); Zelaya (Leon, Mexico).
Bob Bradley, on DeMerit: "It would look like he's out for tomorrow and then we will continue to see how he improves over the next few days in terms of availability for Wednesday."
Bradley, on Landon Donovan's best position: "Landon is a dynamic player -- he's mobile, you want to make sure he has the ability to move around the field, come inside when he feels that it gives him the chance to get the ball but also drift wide when he feels there is more room to operate. It's probably similiar to what we see with many, many playmaking-type attacking players these days because teams defend around the world in ways that it's not so easy to just have a guy play a stationary position."
Bradley, on Jonathan Spector's ideal position: "In the last two years, it is clear that it is as an outside back. His time as a center back has not been anywhere near the same. He is versatile. For us, we felt very good about the way he played in the Confederations Cup -- his ability on the right side. More and more, that is a spot that suits him well. When injuries call, like at West Ham recently, I know he is ready and confident that he can step over to the other side and do a good job."
Donovan, on Salvadoran midfielder Arturo Alvarez, a former USA U-20 and current San Jose Earthquake: "He is a dynamic player and he is difficult to play against. One v one, he is as talented probably as anyone as we have in MLS. At this level, it's a little different -- you don't have as much time, you don't have as much space. If he does get on the field, we need to limit his ability to run at us one v one and make sure he doesn't have a chance to turn and get going."
Donovan, on El Salvador's tactics: "On paper, we should win, but they've had a lot of okay results on the road in qualifying and I think they've figured out a way of playing that they are comfortable with. Our goal is to score early, knowing that, if it doesn't come early, that over 90 minutes, we will break them down, wear them down, get a goal and win it."
Bradley, on weighing the scenarios with nine guys on yellow cards: "It's a tough one. I have gone through every team in the group and everybody is in the same situation. ... You use the information when you have a double-fixture date, factor it in at certain moments with decisions, and you try to make sure players on the field are aware. For example, if you are a center back and you have a yellow card [entering the game] and you get [another] one and your partner has a yellow card, if possible then he has to get through the rest of the game without one. They have got to be a little aware of that."
Isn't it silly that yellows carry over from earlier rounds? "It seems that way, but certainly it means everyone is in the same boat."
Bocanegra, on Onyewu and DeMerit's absence: "They are two big players for us, and anytime you lose players like that, others have to step up. But we have a pretty deep roster now, one of the deeper ones we have had in the national team pool. It will show tomorrow."
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