BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, September 4, 2009
A lot will be at stake this Saturday night at Rio Tinto Stadium in Sandy, Utah when the United States hosts El Salvador in a crucial World Cup Qualifying match.

The pressure will be firmly on the United States with anything less than a victory on Saturday greatly jeopardizing their qualification hopes. With Honduras, Mexico, and Costa Rica all playing very well as of late, winning at home has become a priority for the USA.

There are many key decisions that United States coach Bob Bradley will have to make as he decides upon his starting lineup. The biggest decisions he will make are in how he will align his defense.

At the centerback positions, Oguchi Onyewu is suspended for Saturday night's match and Jay DeMerit has been battling a mild groin strain and is listed as day to day. Carlos Bocanegra has been playing left-back recently, but with Onyewu's absence, he could be forced back to the middle. If DeMerit cannot play, either Chad Marshall or Clarence Goodson could be moved into the starting lineup.

At starting right-back, another key decision between Steve Cherundolo and Jonathan Spector will have to be made by Bradley. Cherundolo was the USA's starting right back against Mexico in the last World Cup qualifier on August 12th, but Spector started all the games for the USA in the Confederations Cup where the Americans earned a second place finish.

In the midfield, Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, and Michael Bradley are certain to start. The final midfield position will see Bob Bradley go with either the attack-oriented Benny Feilhaber or the more defensive minded Ricardo Clark.

Up front, Charlie Davies has been red hot for both club and country for the last several months, and will probably start. Bob Bradley has another difficult decision with which player will start at the other forward position. Brian Ching, when healthy, has been a first choice forward for most of this World Cup qualifying cycle but the recent strong play from 19-year-old Jozy Altidore could move Ching to the bench.

Another main concern for the United States entering Saturday's game is that of yellow-card accumulation. Nine of the 24 players on the roster are carrying a yellow card, and should any of them receive another yellow against El Salvador, they will be forced to sit out Wednesday's qualifier on the road against Trinidad and Tobago.

The nine players currently carrying yellows are Landon Donovan, Clint Dempsey, Jay DeMerit, Conor Casey, Steve Cherundolo, Carlos Bocanegra, Ricardo Clark, Benny Feilhaber and Jozy Altidore.

The last meeting between these two teams was on March 28th in El Salvador, where the Americans rallied to a 2-2 tie after falling behind 2-0.

While El Salvador has seen its chances of qualifying greatly decreased since then, they are still bringing a team that consists of 11 players from that first World Cup qualifier against the USA. They will also be adding the services of Arturo Alvarez. Under the new FIFA ruling the Texas-born midfielder has switched national team affiliations from the United States to El Salvador.

The USA will enter the game as strong favorites. They are ranked 11th in the world according to the latest FIFA rankings and are 13-1-5 all-time versus the 85th ranked El Salvador, with 43 goals scored and 12 surrendered.

The Americans currently are in third place in the CONCACAF region with 10 points and are ahead of Mexico by only one point. El Salvador sits in fifth place with five points. The top three teams in CONCACAF advance to the 2010 World Cup in South Africa and the fourth place team must play the fifth team from South American.
Sunday September 6, 2009 8:50 am
what!?!did i die and go to heaven or did semi-retard bob actually let torres play?dumb dumb needs to wise up and start torres next time
Sunday September 6, 2009 6:32 am
For the record... I thought Bornstein was a mistake, now for the record I think Dempsey is also a mistake, at least as a wing midfielder... he will get that second card if played in Trinidad, Bradley would be much wiser to start Stuart Holden at RMF next match, he isn't carrying a card and is just a better midfielder.

Play Cherundolo at RB and move spector to LB, leave Boca in the middle with Gooch. And please give Torres more than six damned minutes next time, he did more in his short stay than Dempsey, OK dempsey scored off a set play but he had a poor game overall, just as he had a poor game in Mexico.
Saturday September 5, 2009 9:11 pm
Coach Bradley needs a serious intervention. Someone needs to find out exactly why he is so in love with Bornstein. I have previously gone on record stating that he is a disaster waiting to happen if he is placed on the back line.

Lo and behold, Bornstein delivers. He somehow managed to take a ball that is completely out of danger and put it directly into a danger. Result: El Salvadoran goal.

Someone needs to tell Bradley junior that when you have 4 attackers in or around the box against 4 or 5 defenders, that is not really the best time to take a shot from outside of the box. There are higher probability options -- just a few...

Davies is absolutely deadly He has grown substantially since the Confed Cup.

This team succeeds in spite of Bob Bradley. I'm tired of hearing from the Bradley apologists. He doesn't know how to put together a line-up to dictate a style of play.
Saturday September 5, 2009 6:59 pm
Well with a Honduran officiating crew, cards are very likely to be issued, so we'll see just who misses the Trinidad match. If ever there was a time to play a ball control MF, like Feilhaber or Torres it is now at home. We had better not come out tentative in this HOME match, we need to win this by a clear three goals because come next Wednesday, I don't see us playing anywhere near as open a game and next October in Tegucigalpa, well... lets just say that match isn't likely to much fun for anyone.
I really hope they don't start Bornstein, I just don't trust him even if he is a Bradley favorite. Much better to play Spector at LB and Cherundolo at RB, that would give us a balanced flank. I just wonder if Coach Bradley is going to play a line-up with the expectation of players getting booked and missing the T & T match so they will again be available for Honduras? This might be too smart by half... but I bet it's in his mind.
Saturday September 5, 2009 5:33 pm
eurofan, I think he has to have gooch on the roster in order for him to serve his one game suspension.
Saturday September 5, 2009 1:06 pm
wow goodson and chad marshall! is it me or was bradley not there for the gold cup. I mean come on really? there are so many other players to look at who play defense. im not a fan of MLS but aren't there any better players? its pretty idiotic to call in a player who has a red card and fill in one of your slots, instead of calling in another player who can have an affect on the game. and last why does he not call in castillo or the other mexican americans? us will end up in 4th place which is sad to say but with an incompetent coach who doesn't know a thing about tactics and which players to use at times should not be coach.
Saturday September 5, 2009 9:16 am
What happening with latino players Del Castillo, Torres, Alvares,etc,,looks like he don't want to put any latino i am worry that the latino fans ,, will not take this team like ours ,,,and we have good players ,,no excuse
Saturday September 5, 2009 5:57 am
df:boca,marshall,cherundo,spector mid:landon,bradley,holden,torres(moron bob has a moment of genius and starts torres) fwd:davies,dempsey/altidore subs in for clint who rotates to holden's spot
Saturday September 5, 2009 3:23 am
I just remembered that gooch is out for this game so i would put in goodson or marshall and keep boca on the bench. wish we had castillo
Saturday September 5, 2009 3:19 am
i would go with a 4-3-3

Spector gooch demerit dolo yes im benching Boca
Donovan feilhaber Holden
Clint Altidore Davies

This was a tough decision but Jr has to sit this one out we need more offense and this is the best line up for this game. In any other game hes a starter for sure.
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