BRENT LATHAM - Monday, September 28, 2009
The Americans seem to think they match up better with the Cameroons than they did with Germany. The African side is fast and athletic as they have been described, but they are no push overs in back either and they are not nearly as disorganized as the Americans looked in their first match, so that is really no encouragement.
Cameroon took care of an unusually sloppy South Korea team, 2-0, after the US loss on Saturday, and the Lions will be looking for all three points against the Americans as well, with a host of players that - like the Germans - have played in the reserves of important European clubs.
Coach Rongen simply must pick his more experienced players to have a chance against the Lions. If he does so we could see an entirely different team from the one that took the field Saturday. Cameroon is good but they are beatable, featuring some players from Europe and a number of others from teams in Cameroon. Still, the likes of Dillon Powers and Brian Ownby will be no match for this team either - the Americans need some purpose in midfield and someone able to set up the forwards for some chances.
It would be a waste of everyone's time for me to try to pick a line-up from the 21 players on the roster. What I can relate is that Kyle Davies is almost definitely out with a head injury, probably for the tournament. Sheanon Williams is back from an ankle knock and likely to start at right back.
Like I'm said, I'm not going to try to get into Rongen's head because Ownby and Powers would have been the last two I expected to see the field in Egypt, particularly in the first match, but then we know what happened. I'll tell you what I think would make sense instead.
In Davies' place at left back Jorge Flores or Gerson Mayen will be the choice - I'd go with Flores for his experience. Agbossoumonde and Opara will keep their places in the center and need to step up their games. I'm confident they will against the Africans.
The midfield is the key to winning this match, and also where the changes need to begin. Bryan Arguez played well and should slot into the center alongside Jared Jeffrey. That means a 4-4-2 instead of the punch-less and incongruous 4-3-3 the team showed on Saturday, with Brek Shea on the left of midfield and Danny Cruz on the right.
Dilly Duka also needs a chance to show his qualities, and should see more time off the bench. With too many decent players to fit into the midfield, it's just amazing that Powers got the start and Ownby played a full game on Saturday.
Mikkel Diskerud and Peri Marosevic should start in attack, with Tony Taylor available as sub with speed to break the game late if needed. The US really needs to take advantage of the experience that they do have, and Cruz and Marosevic are two who bring that to the table.
Those are my ideas. What do you think?