June 21, 2006

USA v. Ghana: Line-up & Prediction

This is the most interesting game of the tournament as far as what is at stake. The USA need a win by at least 3 goals if the Czech and Italians were to tie. If Italy were to beat the Czech, all the USA would need is a win. Here is my "best-bet" line-up:

GK - Keller

D - Bocanegra, Gooch (yc), Cherundolo

MF - Beasley, Reyna (yc), Dempsey, O'Brien, Donovan

F - McBride, E. Johnson

Notes:
- 3 in the back will force play outside; Dempsey (RWM) and Beasley (LWM) are fast enough to play both ways

- Midfield control will be the most crucial factor to a multi-goal win. We will not counter-attack well with the speed of the Ghana side. Also, if we don't control the midfield, Michael Essien will.

- I think McBride and Johnson are the best bet up front. McBride receives the ball well. Johnson's size, quickness, and skill will serve us well.

- A big question is who will play Def. MF. With no Mastroeni, we resort to either Dempsey or O'Brien in a 3-5-2 formation.

SUBS:

- Convey should come in for whichever wing Midfielder proves ineffective.
- Wolff could see some action if one of the forwards gets injured or gets tired.

SUGGESTION:

- With no natural Def. Midfielder, I think it would be a great idea to start Oguchi at Stopper with 3 Defenders behind him. He would act as the Def. Mid. Last week, he showed potential for distributing the ball.

- With him there, we would play a 3-1-4-2 (back to front)

Prediction:

USA 3, Ghana 1

- I don't think we can put up a 4-0 romp against a very determined, yet hindered Ghana side. (They are missing both game 2 scorers)
- We should come out the victors, but will need an Italian victory to secure the advancement.