Who Should the United States Start vs. Honduras in World Cup Qualifying?

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“The United States are not good enough to be arrogant about how they play.” Those were Alejandro Moreno’s words for ESPN about the United States after the loss to Costa Rica, and it was presumptuous on Bruce Arena’s part to think Clint Dempsey didn’t need to start.

The last time the United States played Honduras the U.S. used a 4-1-3-2 formation, and using that set-up again makes sense. The U.S. should look to attack Honduras rather than trying to beef up their defending in the midfield. The injection of Dempsey with Christian Pulisic should improve the U.S.’s passing and attacking because Dempsey and Pulisic have a great understanding and thrive when playing together. Not using Pulisic as a playmaker feels like a mistake, and against Costa Rick, Arena had him out on the wing.

Geoff Cameron and Tim Ream were scapegoated for the U.S.’s loss to Costa Rica, but maybe starting the two center backs together again after they’ve just played together will pan out. Cameron and Ream were too far apart last game leaving the middle too open, but that’s an easy fix that they are well aware of.

Fabian Johnson and Darlington Nagbe were criticized last game, but Johnson was pretty active and aggressive in his passes and runs  into the final third. If Nagbe is reverted back to his left wing position where he can cut in from the left off the dribble and advance the ball into the attack, then he should be more effective than in the loss to Costa Rica where he played as a center midfielder without any real playmaking ability.

Here is World Soccer Source’s preferred lineup vs. Honduras on Tuesday:

Goalkeeper: Tim Howard

Right Back: Eric Lichaj

Center Back: Geoff Cameron

Center Back: Tim Ream

Left Back: Jorge Villafaña

Defensive Midfielder: Michael Bradley

Right Wing: Fabian Johnson

Center Attacking Midfielder: Christian Pulisic

Left Wing: Darlington Nagbe

Forward (First Striker): Bobby Wood

Forward (Second Striker): Clint Dempsey

 

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