Friday, August 12, 2005

USA vs Trinidad preview (8/17)

G-Hartman, Howard, Keller
D-Albright, Berhalter, Conrad, Onyewu, Vanney
M-Armas, Beasley, Convey, Donovan, Lewis, O'Brien, Reyna, Ralston
F-Cunningham, McBride, Quaranta, Twellman

Announced two days ago, and Beasley has already been ruled out with injury. The list of guys unavailable is a big one:

Beasley, Casey, Cherundolo, Ching, Gibbs, Hejduk, Johnson, Mastroeni, Noonan, Pope

Pope and Hejduk are suspended, the rest are out or still nuring injuries. It is Trinidad after all, and we're at home, so it shouldn't be too difficult. Obviously Bruce likes what he sees in Conrad, but I think that he wouldn't call in Berhalter unless he was going to use him, since he's missing a league game. So look for Berhalter to start alongside Onyewu, with Albright (the de-facto 3rd choice right back) on the right. Since this is a home game, we should be attacking most of the time, so Convey could get the start on the left and play a big role in the attack, like he did against Costa Rica. Although, Vanney can supply a mean cross.

Armas looked decent in the Gold Cup and gets another look. But I'm not sure if there's room in the midfield with O'Brien, Reyna, Lewis, Donovan, and Ralston. All of those guys could start, with Donovan playing behind McBride up top. One of Cunningham and Twellman may be in the lineup, but it doesn't seem likely since they haven't been called up in a while. At least we have some forwards on the bench this time. Quaranta is another guy who has put himself in the mix and should be an offensive sub, probably for Ralston. Armas will probably come on to help kill the game late.

Last time around, we won this fixture 2-0 with Razov and Kirovski leading the attack. We have a better team now, but it seems like we win every game 2-0. At least Trinidad should not score more than once; a combination of their poor offense and our strong defense. We haven't let in more than one goal in eight games. If we beat Costa Rica by three, we can do the same with Trinidad. This win will virtually seal qualification.

Prediction: USA 3-0 Trinidad

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