US vs. Antigua and Barbuda – 2014 CONCACAF World Cup Qualifying 3rd Round – Group A Matchday 1 Preview

The United States men’s national team starts their two-year journey to Brazil tonight as they take on the tiny island nation of Antigua and Barbuda at 7pm in Tampa.

US vs. Antigua and Barbuda

US vs. Antigua and Barbuda

The U.S. started 2012 in top form winning four from four but then a 4-1 loss to Brazil in Maryland, and then a scoreless draw against Canada in Toronto has made American fans unnerved going into World Cup Qualifying.

Injuries will force the US into fielding a makeshift back four in front of goalkeeper Tim Howard. Just as Fabian Johnson started to make the left back position his own, an injury in the warm-ups against Canada forced him out and Edgar Castillo slotted in and performed, well putting it nicely, less than stellar. Center back’s Carlos Bocanegra or Geoff Cameron could move over and cover at left back or Michael Parkhurst may start to keep the center backs in their more natural positions.

Carlos Bocanegra

Carlos Bocanegra could start at center back or left back.

In the midfield the US have options depending on how attacking they want to be. Two of Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu, or Jermaine Jones will start at defensive midfield and will anchor the attack. Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey should both be nailed on starters in the attacking midfield three but left wing could be José Francisco Torres or perhaps Jozy Altidore who spent some time there against Canada.

Torres

Torres will provide with creativity going forward.

At the lone striker position Herculez Gómez seems to have finally earned consistent time under Jürgen Klinsmann.

Projected US lineup vs. Antigua and Barbuda

Projected US lineup vs. Antigua and Barbuda

The US will need to start well and should have the players and ability to win 3 or 4 nothing, and at this point fans should start expecting more from the U.S. men.

Player to watch – Herculez Gómez

Written & Published by Miles DeGrazia

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