Going into a crucial World Cup qualifier without your two best options at left back might seem like something to be extremely worried about, and U.S. Men’s
National Team fans certainly are beginning to worry about Jurgen Klinsmann’s dwindling options at a weak position. But the reality is a weak left back isn’
t likely to matter against lowly Antigua & Barbuda, cleats for soccer a team that is comprised mostly of players plying their trade for USL Pro side Antigua Barracuda FC.
No, the area of the field where Klinsmann should really be focusing on heading into this Friday’s match at Sir Vivian Richards Stadium is the midfield. The
players he deploys there will ultimately decide how successful the American attack is and if the U.S. take home three big points heading into their final
third round qualifier against Guatemala.
The first thing Klinsmann has to decide is whether he wants to deploy a three-man midfield or four-man midfield. Klinsmann has alternated between the two
throughout his tenure, but in the U.S. team’s most recent game, a 1-0 win over Jamaica in September, Klinsmann chose to play four midfielders and the
results were extremely positive.
The Americans dominated possession in that match, passing the ball around sharply against a Jamaica team that was content to sit back and look for
counterattacks. The U.S. only scored once in the match, but created a bevy of chances.
If Antigua & Barbuda, who are playing for their World Cup lives, intend to sit back and throw bodies behind the ball as Klinsmann has said he expects, then
the U.S. should once again go with a four-man midfield. soccer cleats on sale No, there are no real outside midfielders on the roster (Landon Donovan and Brek Shea have been ruled
out with injuries), but that was also the case against the Reggae Boyz last month and the U.S. still dominated possession for large stretches.
Constructing the U.S. midfield begins with the defensive anchor, the No. 6. Danny Williams played that role excellently against Jamaica, and he is the front
-runner to handle that role again. With Williams’ range and defensive bite helping the back four snuff out Antigua & Barbuda counters, the U.S. should be
able to limit the hosts to few chances and that would allow for more possession.
That’s where Michael Bradley steps in. Klinsmann has stated previously that he sees Bradley and Jones more as No. 8s, or central midfielders with more
advanced, attacking responsibilities, and Bradley should fill in now that he has recovered from the injury that sidelined him from September’s qualifiers.
It is no secret that Bradley can shoot from distance and make late runs into the penalty area. Both those attributes could come in handy against Antigua &