USA Vs. Jamaica, 2011 Gold Cup Quarterfinals: Does USMNT Have A Different Plan For A Different Foe?

Take a look at the three opponents that the United States has faced thus far in Gold Cup and you will see three teams that look nothing like Jamaica. In all three games, much like his entire reign as the United States men's national team, Bob Bradley has utilized a similar strategy. He's deviated from his preferred setup for some friendlies and for a couple of notable failures - the World Cup qualifier against Costa Rica at Saprissa being the worst - but these have been rare occasions. The 4-4-2 with two wide players who come inside and two deep-lying midfielders has been the USMNT staple, regardless of situation.

Against Canada, his strategy worked to perfection. So much of Canada's success is based around Dwayne De Rosario, and the United States' base strategy is great for denying him the ball. The result of the game was predictable, as the United States shut off supply to DDR and they won 2-0.

Panama and Guadeloupe play a similar style to the United States, but their game is based more on long balls up to the forwards than anything else, where as the United States tries to use their wingers as playmakers. With both teams playing a similar style to each other and the USMNT with a couple of deep lying midfielders, those areas of the pitch went unused, for the most part, in both games. 

The results of both games weren't terribly surprising, though the loss to Panama was a bit of a shock. Unlike the match against Canada, the United States did not have any kind of serious tactical advantage in their next two games, and as a result, they looked very average. Against Jamaica, they will be coming up against a team that is nothing like the previous three that they have faced, and it will be interesting to see if Bob Bradley has a different plan.

Most people who follow the USMNT closely probably just thought 'no,' as Bradley seems tactically dogmatic at times. However, based on Jamaica's strengths, weaknesses, and tactical setup, Bradley should probably consider changing things up. Jamaica prefer a 4-3-3 setup where all of the midfielders have defensive responsibilities and the wingers pose the biggest threat going forward. This is likely a bad matchup for the United States' preferred setup. So, does Bradley have a change in strategy in mind?

Probably not, so United States fans are left hoping that talent wins out. Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan will be the two most gifted players on the pitch, but if Jamaica is able to keep them in check, it's going to be a long day.

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