When going for it goes wrong

I have to give Bob Bradley credit. He went for it in Costa Rica last night. His lineup was pretty audacious and lacked any of the “safety first” mindset that you would have expected on the road at a place the U.S. has never won before. This is exactly the kind of thing fans hope for – a manager willing to take gamble and take chances. But it didn’t work.

Bradley premised the team on the ability of his right and left backs to get forward and provide width. The lineup was intended to be a 4-3-3. With Torres -Bradley – Pablo playing fairly centrally in the midfield and Donovan and Dempsey playing off Altidore. In this formation width would come from Beasley and Wynne – both of whom can fly. This formation and strategy is built on the U.S. being able to dominate the middle of the field and control the run of play thereby allowing the fullbacks to get involved. Once we were on the back foot this formation quickly descended into a 4-4-2 – with Torres and Dempsey as the left and right midfielders – neither of whom are really wingers. We lacked width then and couldn’t find a way to penetrate the Costa Rican penalty area.

It didn’t help that neither Beasley or Wynne contributed much going forward and both looked suspect defensively. Beasley was absolutely horrible and can’t yet be trusted to play left back against good teams. Wynne was better and looked more comfortable defensively – he at least plays that position – but lacks a good deal technically. Against Honduras it will be interesting to see if Bradley sticks with Beasley and Wynne – I like what he was trying to do, but fear that it just leaves us too exposed in the back.

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