BRENT LATHAM - Wednesday, June 17, 2009
The United States national team plays for Confederation Cup survival Thrusday afternoon in Pretoria, South Africa, and the opponent is none other than perennial favorites Brazil.

The US is coming off a tough loss to Italy on Monday night when the Americans dropped a 3-1 decision to the Azzurri after seeing midfielder Ricardo Clark sent off in just the 33rd minute.

The loss was a bitter pill for the Americans to swallow, and players still seemed dismayed the next day, as half the squad took the field to run through a light training session at Pilditch Stadium in Pretoria.

Players and coaches alike said the US has no option but to overcome their disgust with referee Pablo Pozo, and turn their attention towards the challenge represented by facing Brazil.

Brazil is coming off an electric 4-3 win against African champions Egypt on Monday, in which the Brazilians scored early and often, but let the Egyptians back in the match with some indifferent defensive play. The Selecao took all three points on a late penalty kick by $90 million man Kaka.

Brazil coach Dunga has been complaining of fatigue in his side, and is threatening to rotate most of the squad after a long trip from Bloemfontein in the south left Brazil with only one day to prepare for the United States. In a Wednesday press conference, he suggested Kaka may not start the match.

American head coach Bob Bradley will be forced to reshuffle his lineup with the absence of Clark. The coach may opt to revert to a more traditional 4-4-2, moving Michael Bradley back into a more defensive role, and inserting Sacha Kljestan as a central midfielder.

If Bradley opts to pair the reinvigorated Landon Donovan with Jozy Altidore up front, he may go with the experience of DaMarcus Beasley on the left side of midfield.

Captain Carlos Bocanegra still slowed by a hamstring injury suffered against Honduras, will be a game time decision.

The Brazilians have recently refound their scoring touch, putting in ten goals in their last three victories, including the Egypt match, and qualifying victories over Uruguay and Paraguay.

The game kicks off at 4:00 PM local time. Win, lose, or tie, the US will round out group play Sunday against Egypt in Rustenburg.
Thursday June 18, 2009 11:17 am
I could not agree more with Robert's comments. I just wish that US Soccer Association shared our insight and opinions. Sometimes when the establishment is too set in old ideas they are blind or afraid and more content to let things go as they are. I, as a fan, have too much invested to allow that. Today I am mailing a letter to the president. Next month I am mailing a letter to the Board.
Thursday June 18, 2009 10:44 am
Forget about the players, we need a change at the top. It is time for bradley to go!! He has done well but doesn't have the ability or courage to take us to the next level. Klinnsman where are you!
Thursday June 18, 2009 12:03 am
We should rest Dempsey, who looks more tired than a rented mule right now. Play a 4-5-1 with Torres and Bradley sitting back and Adu, Feilhaber. Donovan with Altidore up top. You can always sub in Deuce if that's not clicking.
Wednesday June 17, 2009 11:15 pm
I think you're wrong, C.C.

If we control the midfield more with possession and passing, with a triangle of Feilhaber, Torres, and Bradley, that will actually lesson the defensive load on Bradley. Anyone who thinks that Junior is an attacking midfielder is sadly mistaken. He cannot dribble or make the cutting passes that are required at that position. He will have to stay a two way defensive midfielder who plays well close to the box.

The only thing that gets Brazil is solidarity and clinical play. We have to look at Egypt, and realize that we can never compete one on one with these guys, but we can pressure them and finish our chances. Individually, in the final third our skills will have to be at their peak.

Beasley should not play.
Wednesday June 17, 2009 3:24 pm
Having our most electric offensive players (Bradley) in a more defensive role would be a great example of the kind of thinking that has caused out program to regress.

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