USA – Algeria Preview

USA's team poses prior to the kick off during the 2010 FIFA World Cup soccer match, Group C, Slonenia vs USA at Ellis Park Stadium, in Johannesburg, South Africa on June 18, 2010. The match ended in a 2-2 draw. Photo by Christophe Guibbaud/Cameleon/ABACAPRESS.COM Photo via Newscom


Defeating Algeria is the only way the United States can guarantee a place in the knockout round. A draw would see the gringos needing help (see here). On paper, the US outguns the Africans but an intriguing tactical matchup will test Bob Bradley’s squad.

Algeria Tactics

Algeria's formation against Slovenia

Essentially playing a 6-man midfield, the Desert Foxes did well in possession against England and Slovenia. They’ve displayed two different formations, though one used a ‘false-nine,’ a striker who is listed up top but spends most of his time connecting with the midfield. Karim Matmour fulfilled this role in their match with England. Against Slovenia, Matmour was nominally paired with Rafik Djebbour but routinely formed an attacking duo with right wingback Foued Kadir. In their second match, he dropped deep even though he was the only striker on the pitch.

A false nine can create havoc for defenders. His movement makes him hard to mark and creates space for teammates to make runs. US defenders and midfielders will need to make note of Matmour’s position. They’ll have to share responsibility like they did with Wayne Rooney, making sure someone always has him in their eye while simultaneously not getting pulled out of position and allowing another attacker room to operate.

Although the Algerians have been efficient in build-up play, they didn’t score in their first two games, making it difficult to predict which formation they’ll use.

Algeria's formation against England

Tactical Weakness

Any time a squad uses three center backs, they will be vulnerable on long, diagonal passes to the wing, as the wingbacks and wingers will be up the pitch. Donovan and Dempsey should be able to get into one-on-one situations with Bougherra and Yahia, but the ball has to be swung wide shortly after the US gains possession. If it’s not, the wingbacks and outside midfielders can recover, creating a difficult-to-penetrate 5-4-1.

Player to Watch

Rangers FC defender Madjid Bougherra has been perhaps the best center back in the group. A large defender, he uses his body to push forwards off the ball and has the pace to mark smaller strikers. However, Bougherra enjoys getting a taste of the opponent’s half (apparently having license to do so whenever he feels like it).

When he moves forward, Algeria becomes vulnerable. Medhi Lacen is the midfielder who stays closest to the three-man backline, but even he must worry when Bougherra leaves his post. The United States must be ready to take advantage when the center back gets an itch to attack.

American Tactics

Bob Bradley’s first task is finding a replacement for Robbie Findley, as his two yellow cards rule him out. Given Herculez Gomez’s success as a substitute, Edson Buddle is our choice. Clint Dempsey, as always, remains a possibility. But with a need to pin back Algeria’s wingers, Dempsey should start at outside midfield.

Projected USA formation

The US manager has a more difficult choice to make at center midfield. Algeria’s attackers require a defensive counter (ie Ricardo Clark or Maurice Edu), but using a more possession-minded mid could serve the same purpose by starving Algeria of the ball. Though FFG will leave Clark in our projected formation, Benny Feilhaber or José Torres could sneak in.

Outside of the obvious ‘DON’T CONCEDE IN THE FIRST 15 MINUTES’ tactic, USA must apply pressure on the flanks to avoid getting overwhelmed. Cherundolo and Donovan did an excellent job against England’s Ashley Cole and James Milner/Smurf Wright-Phillips, and the gringos will need another quality performance to negate Ziani and Belhadj.

Assuming the United States wins the battle along the flanks (and doesn’t concede more silly goals), they’ll earn the right to face Serbia, Ghana, Germany or Australia. Group D will play their final matches a few hours after Group C is decided.

Defeating Algeria is the only way the United States can guarantee a place in the knockout round. A draw would see the gringos needing help from Slovenia (see here). On paper, the US outguns the Africans but an intriguing tactical matchup will test Bob Bradley’s squad.

Algerian Tactics

Essentially playing a 6-man midfield, the Desert Foxes did well in possession against England and Slovenia. They’ve displayed two different formations, though each has used a ‘false-nine,’ a striker who is listed up top but spends most of his time connecting with the midfield. Karim Matmour fulfilled this role in both games. Against Slovenia, he was nominally paired with DJEBBOUR but routinely formed an attacking duo with right wingback KADIR. In their second match, he dropped deep even though he was the only striker on the pitch.

A false nine can create havoc for defenders. His movement makes him hard to mark and creates space for teammates to make runs. US defenders and midfielders will need to make note of Matmour’s position. They’ll have to share responsibility like they did with Wayne Rooney, making sure someone always has him in their eye while simultaneously not getting pulled out of position and allowing another attacker room to operate.

Although the Algerians have been EFFECTIVE in build-up play, they’ve yet to score a goal. If that trend continues, the US should advance.

Tactical Weakness

Any time a squad uses three center backs, they will be vulnerable on long, diagonal passes to the wing, as the wingbacks and wingers will be up the pitch. Donovan and Dempsey should be able to get into one-on-one situations with Bougherra and Yahia, but the ball has to be swung wide shortly after the US gains possession. If it’s not, the wingbacks and outside midfielders can recover, creating a difficult-to-penetrate 5-4-1.

Player to Watch

Rangers FC defender Madjid Bougherra has been perhaps the best center back in the group. A large defender, he uses his body to push forwards off the ball and has the pace to mark smaller strikers. However, Bougherra enjoys getting a taste of the opponent’s half (apparently having license to do so whenever he feels like it).

When he moves forward, Algeria becomes vulnerable. Medhi Lacen is the midfielder who stays closest to the three-man backline, but even he must worry when Bougherra leaves his post. The United States must be ready to take advantage when the center back gets an itch to attack.

USA Tactics

Bob Bradley’s first task is finding a replacement for Robbie Findley, as his two yellow cards rule him out. Given Herculez Gomez’s success as a substitute, Edson Buddle is our choice. Clint Dempsey, as always, remains a possibility. HOWever, with a need to pin back Algeria’s wingers, Dempsey should start at outside midfield.

The US manager has a more difficult choice to make at center midfield. Algeria’s attackers require a defensive counter (ie Ricardo Clark or Maurice Edu), but using a more possession-minded mid could serve the same purpose by starving Algeria of the ball. Though FFG will leave Clark in our projected formation, Benny Feilhaber or José Torres could sneak in.

Outside of the obvious ‘DON’T CONCEDE IN THE FIRST 15 MINUTES’ tactic, USA must apply pressure on the flanks to avoid getting overwhelmed. Cherundolo and Donovan did an excellent job against England’s Ashley Cole and James Milner/Smurf Wright-Phillips, and the gringos will need another quality performance to negate Ziani and Belhadj.

Assuming the United States wins the battle along the flanks (and doesn’t concede more silly goals), they’ll win the right to face Serbia, Ghana, Germany or Australia. Group D will play their final matches a few hours after Group C is decided.

One Comments Post a Comment
  1. Matt says:

    Here we go boys, here we go!

Leave a Reply




Powered by WP Hashcash