Attack Key for the United States against Honduras
The attack will be the key for the United States to beat Honduras in the upcoming World Cup qualifier in San Jose, California. The American defense will be in disarray without any of the normal starting right backs available to Bruce Arena, and the United States must use a creative and fast attack to beat Honduras.
The U.S. will be without its best center forward, Bobby Wood, but Jordan Morris can offer more speed and more aggressive direct play than Jozy Altidore who plays with less urgency. Because Wood is unavailable, using Morris allows the United States to get behind the Honduran defense and create scoring chances.
Clint Dempsey, Christian Pulisic, and Sebastian Lletget are all available to play as the line of three attacking midfielders behind Morris (if he starts over Altidore), and among those three, look for Dempsey to play as the playmaker in the middle with Pulisic and Lletget possibly flanking Dempsey.
Darlington Nagbe is another wing option, but so far, Nagbe has only played left wing which is where Pulisic, the better player, usually starts.
The United States cannot claim that they are forced to field a weakened attack with those players because those players are by and large better than what the United States has been able to field over the last couple of decades. Sure, the United States had Landon Donovan and Dempsey as wings, but the overall skill and speed of the attack wasn’t as good as the four players the United States has available against Honduras.
Arena has Michael Bradley and Kellyn Acosta to play as the defensive midfielder and box-to-box midfielder behind the line of three attacking midfielders, and that’s too much overall skill and athleticism to reasonably complain about. The United States do have some shuffling to do in the defense, but the attack should be able to compensate for it.
It will be interesting to see just how courageous Arena will be with his lineup. Will he trot out the likes of Alejandro Bedoya, Sacha Kljestan, and Altidore, or will be really look to field an aggressive and technical midfield and attack?