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US v. Czech Republic preview

The United States plays the first of its three warm up games for the World Cup and regardless of whether he should, Coach Bob Bradley is still in a position to experiment with the team. This has both pluses and minuses.

With only three games left it seems smarter to concentrate on team chemistry by finalizing the roster and starting positions, so that the starting eleven can have time to play together and gel. This would be a fine-tuning approach. It’s much more likely that the players will connect with each other better in the first game of the World Cup without rust and minor miscommunication. Little flicks, quick runs, and tricky passes are much more likely to come off if the same eleven are on the field for three practice matches.

It looks like Bob Bradley is still in a position to experiment due mostly to injuries to Charlie Davies and Oguchi Onyewu. He doesn’t have to experiment, but these injuries have created the dilemma. The positives or experimenting at this stage are that Bob Bradley may be able to integrate players, who previously were not on the national team radar, but who are currently in good form. These players may end up improving the team overall, even though these new players might decrease team chemistry and understanding on the pitch.

Having brought in Eddie Johnson, Herculez Gomez, and Edson Buddle, I can’t imagine that Bob Bradley will not start at least one of these players against the Czechs. It would also be nice to get a look at Oguchi Onyewu to see where he is. In addition Stuart Holden and DaMarcus Beasley might get a chance to show what they can do.

I would like to see both Donovan and Dempsey get chances to play up alongside Jozy Altidore, but with Johnson, Gomez, and Buddle in the mix, this probably won’t happen. Bradley could also take a look at Edu vs. Clark as the starting defensive midfielder alongside Michael Bradley in the center of the pitch. Defensively with Carlos Bocanegra recovering from hernia surgery, we could see DeMerit, Goodson, or Spector as a starting center back.

The Czechs are still a quality team, but they are not preparing for the World Cup. As a result they may not put up as much of a fight as they otherwise would. They also no longer have some of their big names from the 2006 World Cup that made them so dangerous. For instance, playing against Jan Koller would be excellent practice for playing against Peter Crouch. Pavel Nedved is also no longer with the team. There are also injuries to Tomas Rosicky and Milan Baros. The US will still get some good practice against a quality opponent with a World Class keeper in Petr Cech.

The Czechs probably most closely resemble the Slovenian National team. They are well organized and look to their defense first. The US will get good practice trying to break down the packed and organized defense of the Czechs. This is the skill the US will need against the Slovenians and most likely the Algerians as both will most likely sit back and defend deep against the US. What do you think of the Czechs as opponents?


  1. The Czechs are a good friendly to schedule because they’re one of the best national teams not in the World Cup. I just hope Bradley doesn’t play around too much. You’re right: These guys need time together on the field. Some guys in camp very obviously don’t belong in the World Cup.

  2. Can we finally cut it out with trying to push Donovan into a striker’s role. Its not his game, besides the modern game is all about wing play, players with pace running at defenders and providing good service. Let him do what he does best. Besides, whether its Edu or Clark with MB, the combination isnt the most attack minded. mix holden with donovan and you have the potential for some skillful, speedy midfield play (i prefer pushing dempsey up front).

    • Andrew Huff says:

      Hi Eli,

      Do you remember Donovan as a striker in the 2002 World Cup. He was devastating against Germany, only Oliver Kahn was superman. Since then Donovan hasn’t really played striker because it isn’t his natural position, but as a withdrawn forward just behind Jozy Altidore, I think he would be fantastic.

  3. Adam Cann says:

    There is no good preparation for playing Peter Crouch. The guy is a complete enigma. He’s enormous, but he couldn’t get power on a header if he was made by Energizer. He has fantastic feet, but he doesn’t have the speed to get by anyone. Baros would have been good prep for Rooney, what with his high work rate and speed.

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