The Back Four – USA v. Grenada

The US Men’s National Team opens up their Gold Cup title defense tonight at Qwest Field in Seattle, where they face Grenada. Grenada made a surprising run through the Caribbean qualifying for the tournament, with wins against Barbados and Trinidad & Tobago.

What should we look for tonight?

  1. New Faces – This won’t be your typical US lineup dominated by Donovan, Dempsey, Bradley, and Gooch. The entire lineup will be new, and the only consensus seems to be that Freddy Adu, Heath Pearce, Charlie Davies, Jimmy Conrad, and Steve Cherundolo will start -  the other 6 positions are anyone’s guess at this point.
    Look for a fair amount of missed or bad passes and a lot of individual efforts as the team looks for an identity early on. As the game progresses, Freddy Adu and  Charlie Davies should be asserting themselves nicely as the team’s leaders and best players.
  2. Feisty Caribbeans – Expect the boys from Grenada to play with reckless abandon. They won’t try to out-play the United States and will instead look to fly to the ball and disrupt play as much as possible. They have some speed and athleticism, but certainly won’t be mistaken for skilled passers or dribblers.
    Grenada will fight hard to stop the US, but likely won’t be able to produce much against the American midfield.
  3. Freddy Adu – Everyone is talking about it and everyone knows it: this is where Freddy needs to make his name. He says he has worked his butt off this year to improve not only his individual offensive skill, but his ability to defend as well. This first game against Grenada is the perfect opponent for him to gain some confidence and start off strong.
    While we shouldn’t expect (or need) much defensive work from Freddy in the first few games, we will expect creative play and quality passing. The offense will likely flow through Adu and his ability to get Davies in on goal will be key in this tournament run.
  4. Who starts in goal? – Tonight’s starting keeper will either be Luis Robles or Troy Perkins. Neither has much experience as a national team member, and neither has ever commanded the backline that will be in front of them. How they control their defense and assert their authority will go a long way toward cementing their spot for the next game. Tonight, though, don’t expect them to be under too much pressure from the Grenada strikers.

I’ll be back later on tonight with starting lineups and predictions. Until then, Happy Independence Day!


One Response

  1. Why am I worried that Bradley doesn’t start Adu? He and Davies would be a great duo in the Gold Cup. I think the late added players will be used, if necessary, only in the next round. I would like to see Feilhaber, though, he needs to keep his confidence at the level that he is playing at.

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