A worldview is a set of claims that purport to be based on ultimate reality.

Expect plenty of lineup changes for U.S. against Italy

Posted by ssbg on June 17, 2006


DaMarcus Beasley's struggles against the Czech Republic could mean a benching.

Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images


HAMBURG, Germany — U.S. soccer fans have mail. I've got some answers. (Doesn't everyone these days?) Let's dive in with 36 hours to go before Saturday's must-win game against Italy.

Do you think that Bruce Arena will sit DaMarcus Beasley down, drop Landon Donovan into the midfield and start John O'Brien and Eddie Johnson?
— Josh Hathaway, Upper Sandusky, Ohio

Arena has already said he'll make changes in Saturday's lineup, and those sound plausible to me. If I had to predict a starting 11 it would be this one:

Goalkeeper: Kasey Keller
Defenders: Eddie Pope, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra
Midfielders: Steve Cherundolo, John O'Brien, Claudio Reyna, Landon Donovan, Bobby Convey
Forwards: Eddie Johnson, Brian McBride

That's my best guess, at least. The U.S. would love to get on the board early, and a 3-5-2 would certainly be an aggressive formation, even though I think putting Cherundolo at right midfield would add some extra defensive protection on that side. (If Arena really wanted to go for it, he'd insert Clint Dempsey at right mid, but I just don't think he's comfortable enough with Dempsey's defense.) I think Beasley is out due to his lack of form and his public questioning of Arena after the Czech game. Cherundolo can hit a pretty good cross from the right and play both ways, though I guess it's possible that Arena could choose a total wild card in that spot like Chris Albright. (Which reminds me, the Yanks never did find a reliable right midfielder, did they?)

Bocanegra's size and might fits much better in a three-man back line against Italy than Eddie Lewis. As for O'Brien, he won't be able to go 90 minutes, but he looked decent in the second half against the Czechs and remains one of the U.S.' few deft men on the ball. Johnson showed some spark up front on Monday, so I'm expecting to see him partnering with McBride. That leaves Donovan as an attacking mid, where he clearly feels more comfortable and tends to play better than when he's used as a forward.



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