Tactical Trends and the USA: 4-2-3-1

Coach Bob Bradley of the US gestures during a 2010 World Cup Group C soccer match against England at Royal Bafokeng stadium in Rustenburg June 12, 2010. REUTERS/Dylan Martinez (SOUTH AFRICA - Tags: SPORT SOCCER WORLD CUP)

Potential USA 4-2-3-1

USA’s draw with England may have boosted the American’s chances of advancing beyond the group stage, but they’ll need more firepower this Friday. If prior matches are any indication, the gringos will essentially switch roles from Saturday, becoming the aggressors as Slovenia look to defend and counter.

Bob Bradley’s likely solution is to either give Bradley the Younger more attacking responsibilities or bring on José Torres for Ricardo Clark. But for fun’s sake, let’s pretend Bob decides to use a new formation. A few weeks ago Ben Koch suggested using a 4-2-3-1, and with the proliferation of teams using some variation of this formation (Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Portugal, and Brazil, with Spain still to come), why not take a look at what USA’s version would look like?

Some of the positions choose themselves – striker (Jozy Altidore), left/right midfield (Clint Dempsey/Landon Donovan), defensive midfielders (Bradley and Clark), the entire backline – but who would play the traditional 10? The three choices are Benny Feilhaber, Stuart Holden, and Torres. Feilhaber’s poor form against Turkey counts him out, and Torres doesn’t have the necessary chops to operate as an international winger, a duty that would occasionally be required by Donovan and Dempsey’s inward runs. Holden has exclusively functioned as an outside midfielder for the full national team (he did lineup in the middle for a ‘B’ squad at least year’s Gold Cup) but plays as a CM for his club, making him the ideal selection.

What do you think, gringos? If you were Bob, would you change formations, or is this conjecture solely the realm of soccer videogames?

2 Comments Post a Comment
  1. AG says:

    I think such a formation would be great but wouldn’t be opposed to seeing holden next to bradly and torres in the middle. Holden would be great here bc he is a great player to transition play from defense to offense. Torres needs to be dishing the ball up front.

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  2. bensten says:

    Hey, it wouldn’t hurt Bob to experiment a bit in FIFA10! I definitely want to see more of Holden. You are right, he can hold and distribute in the middle, but has also shown abilities outside can could rotate dynamically with Donovan/Dempsey.

    I do like your suggested formation, but have a feeling Bob will stick to the ‘ole 4-4-2 with Altidore and Buddle (with us being the aggressors, he won’t need Findley’s uncorked speed, but might want Buddle’s tendency to finish lately!

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