Change was in vogue as the United States tied Poland on Saturday to open a pair of fall friendlies. And there will surely be more as coach
Colombia will have an extra day to rest following a 1-0 win over Ecuador at Red Bull Arena in Harrison, N.J., on Friday. It was the latest promising result for the South American mid-tier side, which narrowly missed a berth for South Africa 2010. Mexico had to work hard for a 1-0 win over Los Cafeteros last month, and the Colombians had defeated Venezuela 2-0 four days earlier.
The opposition looks roughly equivalent in strength to Poland, which tested the United States adequately in a 2-2 draw in Chicago, a contest more notable for the personnel and formation adjustments than for the meaningless result itself.
The most significant U.S. changes for Tuesday's friendly outside Philadelphia (8 p.m. ET, ESPN2 and Galavision in Spanish) should come along the back line, where Bradley could even start an entirely new back four.
Bradley could partner one of them with
Everyone agrees that the U.S. player pool continues to develop, and everyone seems to see a promising crop of young center backs. So what's the point in potentially weakening another position, center midfield, to add one more body into the center back fray?
Edu looks like the No. 3 option at holding midfielder at the moment. That's a fairly important role if the United States is going to use two screeners in front of the back line, just as Bradley chose to do over the weekend. Edu seems a better option by some measure over current No. 4 choice
"Obviously, we know that with his club team he plays in the midfield and we'll continue to try to look at the talents of all our guys and figure out good ways to put them on the field," the U.S. coach said of Edu. "I thought, all things considered, in one of his first starts with the national team in the back, there were some good things."
Whoever lines up at center back will surely be tested by highly regarded young Colombian striker
"If he gets in a footrace, he usually does pretty well," U.S. assistant
Marsch said the United States can expect to see midfielder
Colombia's young side is once again under direction from
Back on the U.S. side, Bradley liked what he saw from debutante midfielder
Two others could make their international debuts Tuesday. It may still be a little early for the 21-year-old
Pearce and Shea give Bradley the opportunity to make over the troubled left side, where neither Bocanegra nor left-sided attacker
Then again, Holden could be even more dangerous as the Americans find themselves on a better pitch Tuesday. The temporary grass field in use two months ago in New Jersey against Brazil was painfully slow. And last week's thick, narrow field at Soldier Field was similarly subpar. PPL Park, the nifty new home of the expansion Philadelphia Union, should provide a more useful surface (and certainly a wider one).
"He was active, worked hard, took the first goal well and had some other chances that made a difference in the game," Bradley said of Altidore. "It's nice to see him get on the score sheet because that's something we need him to do on a more consistent basis."