CONCACAF Gold Cup: US – Guadeloupe Preview
On Tuesday the US will look rebound from a poor performance that led to the team’s first group stage loss in the history of the Gold Cup as well as the US’s first loss ever to Panama. Streaks like those are bound to break, but the timing could have been better. There are a large number of scenarios that will lead to the US advancing out of the group stage, but the easiest way is to get a win against Guadeloupe.
In their first two games, Guadeloupe has not played well, but kept the games close. Against Panama Guadeloupe were essentially not on the field and went down 3-0, but in the last 30 minutes the team came to life and pulled two goals back with only 10 men. In Saturday’s game against Canada, Guadeloupe had a similar lack of offense and also spent nearly the entire game a man down, but Canada could only manage a 1-0 win off of a PK.
Guadeloupe’s tendency to earn red cards is both good and bad for the US offense. If the team can keep up a constant pressure, Guadeloupe may get frustrated and start committing fouls to break up plays. This, however, means our players will have to suffer said fouls and avoiding desperate and studs-up challenges is a priority. Bob Bradley has already said he is going to be making changes to the starting line-ups because of the short turn around after the last game. I would expect Altidore to stay up top, but Agudelo has not done well so far and Wondolowski has done even worse. Dempsey or Donovan could see themself as the new strike partner or Altidore will be a lone forward with a new midfielder coming in.
If Coach Bradley decides to go back to his 4-5-1, bringing in Kljestan would give the US a midfielder who is comfortable on the left side. In the past two games our offense has come mostly from the right side via Donovan and Cherundolo; adding a left-sided midfielder will allow the US to utilize both flanks on the attack. Bradley could also bring out Edu for another defensive possibility to let Michael Bradley move forward more. If the US keeps a 4-4-2, Edu could also see a start if Bradley decides to sit Jones after a minimal performance against Panama.
Our center back pairing is almost guaranteed to change for this last group stage game. We’ve seen some promising play out of Ream, but with the US’s future in the tournament on the line look for Bocanegra to slide over to the center to make room for Spector or Bornstein on the left. Gooch has also been sitting on the bench, so we could see him come in as well in order to keep Bocanegra on the left and to keep our height advantage on set pieces. Guadeloupe has not found the back of the net much this tournament, but they were able to put in two goals against Panama so the US cannot take any chances going down again.
Coverage for the game will start at 7:30 CST on Fox Soccer.