October 13, 2009
By Michael Lewis
BRADLEY ON COSTA RICA
'We will give everything we have to win'
During Saturday's post-game press conference, the first question asked of U.S. national coach Bob Bradley was by a Honduran reporter:
|Bob Bradley has some interesting decisions to make for the Costa Rica game
Linda Cuttone/Sports Vue Images
Since the United States had qualified for the World Cup, would the Americans take Wednesday's qualifier against Costa Rica in Washington, D.C. seriously?
The fourth-place Hondurans (4-4-1, 13 points), who face a must-win situation at lowly El Salvador, need the CONCACAF group leader U.S. (6-2-1, 19) to beat or tie fourth-place Costa Rica (5-3-1, 16) to reach the World Cup for the first time in 28 years. Honduras would advance if both Central American sides were tied on points due to a superior goal differential.
"We want to win the group and in order to win the group we have to beat Costa Rica," Bradley said after the 3-2 win. "We haven't lost at home. We will play a very good team. We will give everything we have to win that match."
Whether Bradley will deploy an optimum lineup is a different story.
He is expected to rest a several front line players for the RFK Stadium encounter (ESPN2, 8 p.m.).
There is no reason to start standout midfielder Landon Donovan or goalkeeper Tim Howard unless the game the game is on the line in the 75th minute and beyond.
Bradley probably will want to have a lineup that includes veteran performers and players who haven't gotten that much playing time. For example, Oguchi Onyewu, who hasn't seen any action for A.C. Milan, could start at central defense.
With that in mind, here is one possible starting 11:
Goalkeeper -- Brad Guzan. Defenders -- Jonathan Bornstein, Onyewu, Jimmy Conrad, Steve Cherundolo. Midfielders -- Jose Franciso Torres, Michael Bradley, Benny Feilhaber, Frankie Hejduk Forwards -- Jozy Altidore, Kenny Cooper (or Brian Ching).
Hejduk, who is a right fullback with Columbus, has played in the midfield.
The fourth-place side will get another opportunity to qualify for South Africa in a home-and-home, total goals series against the fifth-place team from South America (that could be Argentina) on Nov. 14 and 18.