Thursday, June 2, 2011
USA vs. Spain Impromptu, Short & Sweet Preview
Almost two years to the day that the U.S. beat up on the European and World Cup Champion Spain in South Africa. The United States' gauntlet of CONCACAF Gold Cup preparation matches concludes this Saturday with a long awaited rematch of CONCACAF and UEFA powerhouses. Gone are Charlie Davies and Jay DeMerit, whose roles in that match proved to be the difference, gone also is Benny Feilhaber, the catalyst for the second goal.
Here is what we know though. It. Is. Spain. Expect your typical beautiful, intricate passing moves in an effort to try and break down the US backline. But this Spain team is not without it's own key players. Xavi Hernandez, Cesc Fabregas, Carles Puyol, and Jesus Navas are absent. But typical of Spain, their depth is unmatched. Here is a likely starting 11 for La Furia Roja:
With the absence of Xavi, the attack will likely flow through the feet of Iniesta, out wide to Silva and Pedro, then lashed in to a box-rushing Villa, or cut back for a distance shot from Xabi or Busquets.
Simple enough with Spain, but what the U.S. will do is really difficult to predict, as Bob Bradley has shown with his insane roster call-ups, but that's neither here nor there. The U.S. will play in one of two formations; the 4-5-1 they employed vs. Argentina which worked for a half or so, or the 4-4-2 which didn't really serve them so well vs. Paraguay. Knowing the conservative Bob Bradley like we do, we figure he'll go with the 4-5-1, in a manner resembling this:
The midfield triumvirate of Jones/Edu/Bradley will try to contain the short passing and movement ahead of the back four, with Jones the likely candidate to draw the assignment on Iniesta. The U.S. seems to favor an attack down the opponents left flank, this time towards Capdevila, which worked wonders for them last time. Recall that it was Capdevila who was tossed aside by Jozy for the first U.S. goal, and then a turnover from Spain's left led to the counter-attack for the second. Worked last time, why not have another go? Capdevila is two years elder now at 33, and with a blossoming Dempsey and youthful Jozy pounding away, one would think that the U.S. can come away with one or perhaps even two again at his expense.
Look for younger, inexperienced guys like Eric Lichaj and Tim Ream to get an extended run out for this match, they need the experience. Throw in Freddy Adu, Juan Agudelo, and Alejandro Bedoya into that mix as well.