Photo by ISIphotos.com
You can say it. The U.S. national team's performance on Saturday in a 2-2 tie vs. El Salvador was disappointing, at times terrible, and hardly confidence-inducing. The great two-goal comeback was inspiring, and it showed great heart, but it's safe to say that any more performances like the one on Saturday and the Hexagonal will suddenly become more difficult for the United States than most people could have imagined.
The best part about Saturday is that it's just four days before the next qualifier, on Wednesday vs. Trinidad & Tobago in Nashville. That's a quick turnaround time which should hopefully help the U.S. team try and forget Saturday's terrible display and look toward playing better at home.
The biggest question now is just what will Bob Bradley do to his lineup in the wake of Saturday's draw. Tim Howard and Oguchi Onyewu are expected back in the lineup, which should provide a big boost, but Bradley has other decisions he must make.
So what lineup could we see on Wednesday night? Here is one possibility (along with a lineup I would love to see at this point):
Projected USA lineup
This lineup makes plenty of sense because A) Sacha Kljestan just hasn't looked good in recent games and was terrible vs. El Salvador, and B) Jose Francisco Torres was very impressive in his second-half performance on Saturday.
Jonathan Spector should get a chance at left back because the way heath Pearce is looking these days T&T's Carlos Edwards could have a field day against him.
So what's the lineup I would like to see on Wednesday? It is a bit of a departure from what the U.S. team normally does, and I acknowledge that it has little to no chance of happening, but here goes:
With Dempsey seeing time on the left flank for Fulham, using him there for the US team wouldn't be a stretch at all and it would allow Donovan to attack from the right wing, where he could go at defenders as well as provide some service.
The other option is to use Donovan on the left. Yes, I am aware that Landon Donovan isn't left footed and not really someone who has been used on the left flank, but considering the non-existent service the U.S. team has been getting on that flank anyway, it could serve the U.S. team well to let Donovan attack from that flank ala Thierry Henry, allowing him to take people on and cut inside where he can wreak havoc.
Beasley at left back has been something discussed on the past on SBI and it is worth a look right now because A) Beasley's attacking qualities are suffering miserably right now and B) Heath Pearce is just plain awful. Beasley has the speed to deal with Carlos Edwards and the different position look might just help Beasley get past Saturday's poor showing.
Jozy Altidore has made things happen when he gets into the game, and while I will acknowledge that he didn't exactly play great the last time he got the start (at Trinidad & Tobago coincidentally enough), he did set up the U.S. team's loan goal in that game. With Ching holding the ball up and Altidore running off him, the U.S. team just might find its best forward combination.
What lineup would you like to see Bob Bradley use vs. Trinidad & Tobago? What do you think of the above lineups?
Share your thoughts below.