PREVIEW: USA - ANTIGUA AND BARBUDA
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BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, June 8, 2012
The United States national team opens its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign tonight with a home game in Tampa against Antigua & Barbuda.

US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will have to make his way without his two left backs as Fabian Johnson is still injured with a calf injury and Edgar Castillo is out with a hamstring injury.

The US will likely elect to start with Clarence Goodson and Carlos Bocanegra in central defense. At right back, Steve Cherundolo is the obvious pick. At left back the likely choice is Nordsjaelland's Michael Parkhurst who played on the left with his club occasionally this season.

In the midfield, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, and Jose Torres are the top candidates after playing most minutes in the three previous friendlies.

Landon Donovan should begin the game at right wing and Clint Dempsey will also start. At forward, Jozy Altidore has now been with the team for more than a week and he should be fully caught up.

The US enters into the game with more questions than answers. The US previously played three friendlies in the run up to Antigua and Barbuda and results have been mixed.

In the first game, the US easily dispatched Scotland 5-1 but then they fell to Brazil 4-1. In their last game they were lethargic and drew Canada 0-0.

Antigua and Barbuda are not expected to put up much of a fight against the Americans but the question will be how much confidence the game gives the US team heading into a tricky matchup against Guatemala on the road on Tuesday.
4bc
Saturday June 9, 2012 11:49 pm
I don’t like Torres at LW either but with your first 2 options down and playing essentially a 3rd tier USL team, maybe you have license be a little creative. On any other day, I agree that he’s a playmaker who should be in the center of the field creating space and feeding players up top.

I think Edu is a defensive bench option to hold a lead. Torres, Bradley, and Jones should be the starting midfield with Donovan and Dempsey right above and free to roam. Gomez/Altidore up top and a 4 man back line. This team at this time can't rely on wing play. It's not where our talent is.

@Crazedmaniac… MLS helped grow for Dempsey, Altidore and Bradley, as well as a few “quality players” I would add to your list: Howard and Gomez. Top players get skimmed just like they do around the world by bigger, wealthier, more mature leagues. Is MLS a top league? No. But it’s obviously good enough to warrant the attention of plenty of EPL and European league teams who consistently poach its players.
tylercocinas
Saturday June 9, 2012 10:05 am
@Crazedmaniac Gringo Torres is a central midfielder but so are Bradely, Jones, and Edu. You cant have 4 CM's in one match so one of them will have to play elsewhere. MLS is better than German 3rd division, that's just disrespectful to say that they are not. Dempsey, Donovan, Bradley, Altidore, & Gomez all played in MLS and now they are very successful players. I don't like Beckerman either. He isn't good enough to play international soccer.
aaron
Friday June 8, 2012 10:26 pm
If he was willing to try Torres at left back this game, I think maybe it was worth giving Beckerman a shot on the defensive side after Torres went down
4bc
Friday June 8, 2012 3:22 pm
Hate to be a bad sport but we really need to shell this team, run up the score and send a message to the rest of CONCACAF that this isn't a team you're going to catch snoozing on what should be "easy" matches-- something we've done plenty of in the past. The last thing we need is to walk away with a 1-0 snoozer win that takes any pressure off Guatemala in what's going to be an already difficult away game. Put 6-8 balls in the back of the net and leave Guatemala worried more about being humiliated at home than winning points.

Hope to see the 4-3-3 with 3 up top focused on producing opportunities around goal and Altidore, Gomez, and especially Boyd all getting minutes and hopefully confidence goals.
thisguy2
Friday June 8, 2012 2:38 pm
Who writes this non sense?!we all know the US will win, and even though I am Guatemalan and want my team to win, I know the US will win. Although Guatemala is playing on home turf the chapins are playing with old players, except for PaPa..
The US has the players to pull out of the concacaf into the world cup, but with these players are not good enough to make a impact. Bradley, Dempsey, Jones, Altidore, Torres, Johnson, Boyd, and Corona are the only quality players the US has on that team. Everyone else plays bad!
Torres is a central midfielder! Not a winger, that's how pachica uses him and he thrives there at distributing the ball, he is a player who holds possession and slides passes from the back.
Corona is a player who creates and scores goals. He just needs to get comfortable and play his game.
I am glad there is Latinos and Germans on this team because now we have good quality who play moderate and don't play in the MLS. Personally, I believe any player from the MLS does not deserve to be there simply because it's ranked with a German third division, or English second division. Quality comes from Europe.
Klinsman knows why he brought these players and we should support him, but I am bias against the fact that he brought bekerman (MLS) :(
The only hard team the us will play is Honduras and Mexico!
Viva USA y Guatemala!
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