US v. Spain – The Back 4

“The Back 4” is going to be my running set of pieces that come before USA games, giving you 4 major things to look for in the game.

So, what do you need to look for during the game?

  1. Donovan and Dempsey – Will these two show up? The USA is going to go as far as the 2 D’s take them, largely because their performances are so up-and-down. Will they play defense? Watch how and where Landon and Deuce play their defense – is it in the middle mostly? Are they neglecting the sidelines? Their discipline in holding shape and performing their roles will go a long way in determining how well the US stands up to the Spaniards.
  2. Bradley’s midfield partner – The odds should favor Rico Clark to get the start, as Coach Bradley feels the need to start a 3rd center back in front of his back 4. Clark is the only person on the roster that fits that ball, and it might be the reason the US gets torched in the midfield. Clark’s lack of quickness and footspeed will severely hinder his ability to win balls off the Spanish midfielders. If Benny Feilhaber gets the start, don’t be surprised to see he and Bradley hold their own for a while with Xavi and Xabi Alonso. Benny and Mikey are quality, gritty midfielders that both have their fair share of skills to display. Personally, I’m hoping for Feilhaber in the lineup (and you should hope so too).
  3. Albert Riera – If Riera starts for Spain, he won’t leave the left-hand flank. This is a good thing for the US, as it limits the amount of space they have to track Cesc Fabregas in. Riera is probably the only 1-dimensional player for Spain, possessing a nice left foot and good skill – but he is ineffective when moved anywhere else on the field. If Cesc is limited to one side of the field, that’s good thing for the US – unfortunately, it’ll probably be Bornstein’s side.
  4. Sergio Ramos – The young, flashy, Real Madrid right back loves to attack. That’s a big problem for the US given that he’ll largely be attacking the incredibly shaky Bornstein. If Donovan hides in the center of the field and gives Ramos all day to get forward, the US is in for a really long game. Bornstein, plain and simple, just doesn’t stand a chance against Ramos.
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5 Responses

  1. Regarding #2: I pray we team Bradley up with someone who can help balance out the midfield. Having 2+ defensive mids – IMO – doesn’t allow us to the meet the attack soon enough and it has contributed to confusion and several goals coming from the space between our mids and backs (CR, Honduras, Italy X2) right outside of the box.

    Additionally, I hope that whatever mid formation is put on the field will be capable of defending the flanks better than we have before. Actually, general improved formation and commitment to positioning and maintaining shape is needed.

    Simultaneously, I hope they are not put in a position that necessitates having to stretch out. A cohesive unit is absolutely essential against the Spanish midfield.

    Regarding #1: I think D & D success will require them to be aware of one another. So many times they have both been attacking similar areas of the field and the necessary rotation back for the other isn’t happening. LD needs to be given his space because, despite his poor finishing, he was opening up a ton of chances for us in the attacking third.

    Random note: I’m still making up my mind on Benny. Do you think he has the quality to really evolve into a true international middie that can distribute and defend against the world’s best? He’s had flashes and some brilliant offensive moments (e.g., goal vs. Mexico) but something seems to be missing for me.

  2. I think Benny can turn into somewhat of a Paul Scholes type of player, in that his passing and vision need to be on the field regardless of his defensive deficiencies.

    He’s still young, but I don’t think the US has seen a player as naturally gifted as Benny (credit that to his youth in Brazil). He’s just more fluid and comfortable with the ball at his feet than anyone else on the team.

    Remember too that he got fooled (sort of, his agent did him no favors) into an awful move to Derby County, which really derailed him for a while. He got to Aarhus and started shining before picking up a tough injury. Now that he’s back fit, he should be ready for a strong season with Aarhus and hopefully a move to Dutch, Portuguese, or Spanish club.

  3. Ryan, do you get paid for this bullshit? And how do you get all the info, does ESPN forward you inside links or something? Riera is not 1 dimensional. Watch Liverpool games in which he ends up in the middle of the field quite often. Don’t bring your Man U biased crap into a US v Spain game!

  4. Eric,
    Nice like on your name. Ha!

    No payment, it’s all free. No links from ESPN either.

    • I applaud your dedication to this site and overall knowledge of both past and present! and yeah, check out my website!

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