U.S. Men vs. El Salvador
Raymond James Stadium; Tampa, Fla.
Feb. 24, 2010 @ 7 p.m. ET
ESPN Classic and Galavision
It was a bit of an eye opener but the second and third stringers did not fare very well against Honduras in their friendly earlier this year. The domestic league players get another chance against El Salvador who should prove easier opponents. Bob Bradley is still looking for Altidore’s strike partner and as yet there are no front runners.
I hope Bradley sticks with Robbie Findley giving him another start against El Salvador or if not then substantial minutes off the bench. He is fast and elusive, likes to work wide, creates chances for others, and scores enough goals to be considered a serious possibility as second striker behind Jozy Altidore. On defense he likes to track back to help out.
He is a very different player from the more direct Brian Ching and Conor Casey. They create a certain amount of redundancy when paired with Altidore. That is why Fabio Capello likes pairing Wayne Rooney with Emile Heskey or Peter Crouch.
The other reason why I would like Findley to get a chance is the fact with him in the team, the USA can exploit his speed and versatility to make inroads into the somewhat suspect and unsettled England defense at least in its present state at the World Cup. This should be part of Bradley’s future calculations.
To beat England in the opener might might be entirely wishful thinking and not entirely necessary in qualifying for the group of sixteen. But a win will be ever bit as memorable as the one against Spain at the Confederations Cup. More importantly, it will instill a sense of self belief and confidence to go further than they have done since the 2002 World Cup.
Part of the Confederations Cup success was built around Charlie Davies giving Landon Donovan a choice in attacking options. With Findley, Donovan can launch a fast counterattack, linking up with him to go wide or find Altidore in a more direct route.