Goal.com's Luis Bueno analyzes U.S. coach Bob Bradley.
The United States national team is better off with a 4-4-2 - or whatever variation of it, so long as there are two forwards up top. Bradley tried to solve the glut at central midfield by starting Michael Bradley, Maurice Edu and Jermaine Jones. The outcome? A U.S. side that did not produce much attack in the first 45 minutes of play. With Juan Agudelo on the field with Jozy Altidore, the U.S. was much more effective.
The Americans are deep at central midfield but it seems Bradley and Edu are the top central midfield pair, and the rest of the midfielders - Jones, Benny Feilhaber, Sacha Kljestan - are all somewhere below in the pecking order. Stuart Holden may have had something to say about that but he was not around to state his case and thus Bob Bradley is left with sifting through those players on the roster.
What Went Wrong?
Aside from the five-played midfield to start the match, the backline was shaky. Perhaps relying too much on Oguchi Onyewu was not in the team's best interest. Onyewu is clearly not the same player he was, or at least the same player he was headed towards becoming before his devestating injury. The plan with him should be to get him to being a useful player in the back and not the rock that stabilizes the backline.
Perhaps that rock will eventually be Tim Ream but the second-year Red Bull player did not play. Ream is part fo the future of the national team's defense, a future that will be accelerated as long as Onyewu has less-than-stellar efforts. Jay DeMerit was also shaky at times and Carlos Bocanegra wasn't a steadying presence either. Perhaps that shakiness can be attributed to Argentina's magic - Lionel Messi can make the best defenders look silly. But the defense needs to be more of a strength on the U.S. side, and Bradley has to pull the right strings to make that happen.
Where To Go From Here?
Against Paraguay, Bradley must start some of the players who did not see action, or much of it. Agudelo and Altidore should pair for one half, or better yet start Agudelo and Edson Buddle. Jozy Altidore is more promise than production and Buddle offers an intriguing change of pace. Also, Timothy Chandler showed enough to warrant another look.
The formation must feature two forwards, though. That much is evident. And playing against a Paraguayan side which gave up three goals in the first half hour against Mexico on Saturday, the Americans must show more offensive ferocity and must put more goals up on the scoreboard.
Follow Goal.com on to get the latest soccer news directly. Check out Goal.com's page; be part of the best soccer fan community in the world!