Sunday could prove to be one of Bob Bradley's most important games yet. With a spot in the Confederations Cup on the line, Jamaica is a must-win game for his inconsistent USA side, a side that failed to finish top of a rather weak group.
To avoid the sack, Bradley must change his lineup. Too often he starts the same group of guys, guys that just can't get the job done. If he does that Sunday night, it's safe to say that Sunil Gulati, head of the US Soccer federation, will resume talks with Jurgen Klinsmann.
Here's the XI Bradley should start if he wants to avoid the axe:
Timmy has been amazing between the sticks for the US. With the exception of a slight error against Panama, Howard should still be the number one choice. No questions asked.
Lichaj, Bocanegra, Goodson, Cherundolo.
This is the same lineup Bradley started against Guadeloupe, after his wake-up call against Panama. Although Guadeloupe wasn't much of an offensive threat, they defended well for the shutout. Lichaj has been excellent. He can make the runs up the line and get in the box, a goal scoring thereat at all times. Bocanegra has been solid as always. Goodson has had a breakout tournament, asserting his presence in the box with the aerial goal he scored. Cherundolo should also get the start, although he has struggled with speed from the opposition, something that Jamaica has plenty of.
Unfortunately, Bradley has no other trustworthy choice. Onyewu and Ream can't play under pressure, and Bornstein and Spector lack the speed and agility to deal with the Jamaica front men.
Bradley, Jones, Donovan, Edu.
This is a bit of a switch from the lineup Bradley has been playing. It adds more power to the midfield, something the US will need against a strong Jamaican team. Edu, Jones, and Bradley are this power, while Donovan is more of the finesse.
Where's Dempesy? He's up top.
I know you're thinking, "did you see Altidore's goal against Guadeloupe?" Yes, I did, but hear me out. Altidore's game is power and strength, something the Jamaica defenders don't lack. With Agudelo up top, and Dempsey sitting just behind him (his normal Fulham role), the US should be able to out play the Jamaican defenders and get their shots off.
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