On Friday the United States men’s national soccer team will face Honduras in a crucial World Cup qualifier. If defeated, the United States would be in a dire situation standing at 0-0-3 in qualifiers.
Injuries riddle the team with Fabian Johnson and Bobby Wood both out, leaving plenty of speculation about the forwards that Bruce Arena will field. However, Clint Dempsey, second all time scorer for the USMNT, makes his return and not a second too soon, with the team in desperate need of his prowess and composure in the box.
Look for Arena to swap the 18-year-old Dortmund star Christian Pulisic in the left mid spot with Darlington Nagbe on the right. This will give them speed and a good outlet for the “bend don’t break” style of play Arena is famous for. Those looking for the young star Jordan Morris up at the front will most likely be disappointed. Arena will likely look for either Clint Dempsey or Jozy Altidore to bring experience to the young front.
In the mid field, we will most likely see a group comprised of Michael Bradley Alejandro Bedoya and either Clint Dempsey or Sacha Kljestan in a more forward attacking roll. This midfield can produce goals, but look for them having a hard time keeping the ball – per usual.
In the defense, things will either look good or astronomically bad. Here are two options Arena can go with.
Damarcus Beasley, John Brooks, Geoff Cameron, Michael Orozco or
Damarcus Beasley, Omar Gonzalez, Matt Besler, Graham Zusi
We could guess all day at what will happen here, with what seems to be an infinite revolving door. I see Beasley being a likely starter with Brooks as well. Brooks might be inconsistent, but he’s world class in form and the US can’t pull any punches right now.
Tim Howard will surely b in the net, unless something catastrophic happens. In which case, I would still likely take Howard over the alternatives. This will be big for the US defense to have an experienced and world class keeper barking orders at the back line.
Overall, look for the US to win this game 2-0 by grinding it out with pure toughness being the deciding factor. This is common and a reality USMNT fans will need to get used to with Bruce Arena being back. He has a counter attacking style that won’t win any style points. However, it may just get them some points on the table.