Stuart Holden’s return gives the US more penetration

Stuart Holden.jpg
The USMNT meet Denmark, today at NRGi Park, Aarhus, 8:30 p.m. local time (2:30 p.m. ET), and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN Classic at 2:25 p.m.
There maybe a reason for Bob Bradley’s faith in Jonathan Bornstein. They both began their national careers on 20 January, 2007 against Denmark and Bornstein repaid his coach’s faith by scoring the game winner. Memorable debuts for both.
The teams have a very even 1-1-3 record but this is the first encounter on Danish soil. Benny Feilhaber will be back in familiar territory as he plays for AGF Aarhus.
Bradley will be missing Clint Dempsey, Chad Marshall, and Steve Cherundolo who have returned to their clubs. Instead, he has Ricardo Clark and Stuart Holden in the squad after their MLS duty got over following the Dynamo loss to the Galaxy.
Against the Slovakia, the US despite its superior ball possession became a long distance shooting threat with its inability to penetrate the defense in the final third. The US went down the middle with its inability to effectively widen the game and find overlapping positions. The lack of service saw Altidore drift deeper down the pitch.
Holden will bring his speed, versatility, and crossing ability to good effect. He can be utilized down both wings. Sacha Kljestan should occupy left midfield. Feilhaber occupies the central midfield position.
It will be interesting to see if Michael Bradley shows the same sort of discipline which he brought to the holding midfield position against Slovakia. His link up play with Feilhaber was a highlight. I think Ricardo Clark is a much better defensive prospect and could be used as a substitute if Bradley wants to hold the score.
Conor Casey is frankly a terrible choice to partner Jozy Altidore. He is like Altidore except for the talent. A quicker smaller player like Jeff Cunningham will be a better choice, given his versatility. With his assist record he gives as much as he gets and I can see him providing the vital link into the box along with Holden.
Intriguingly, Edgar Castillo of Tigres is in the roster. FIFA has granted him a one match special dispensation to play even though he has already represented Mexico. The Spector- Bocanegra central partnership worked well against Slovakia. I don’t see why Bornstein gets to play but maybe against Denmark, there is some historically good karma. But I would put Castillo and Clarence Goodson in the line up.
The Danes will be marshaled by Christian Poulsen, no stranger to controversy and hard tackles. Ask any Swede. They score few, concede even fewer. Scoring however, has been a problem for them in the last few matches and they have cooled off considerably, losing their last qualifier against Hungary. Both their top scorers are not in the squad with Soren Larsen not being picked and Nicklas Bendtner out with a groin injury. Morten Olsen has picked players who did not exactly feature in the World Cup run up. Look for them to capitalize on set piece opportunities.
The match is another opportunity for the USA to get out of the CONCACAF zone and experience what a well organized defense looks like. The Slovaks were hard to break down and the Danes will be equally challenging.

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