In their Gold Cup quarterfinal matchup against Jamaica, the United States went to a one striker formation with a band of three attacking midfielders behind Jozy Altidore, deploying the 4-2-3-1 formation that droves of fans have been calling for. Against Jamaica's three man back line, Bob Bradley's strategy worked about as well as he could have hoped. Despite a slow start, the USMNT dominated possession and eventually scored twice, notching a deserved 2-0 victory. Against Panama, don't expect too much to change.
Panama defeated the United States when the two teams met in the group stages, but a repeat of that game seems unlikely. Bob Bradley played a 4-4-2 setup that played into Panama's hands in that match, and as Martin Shatzer of Black And Red United explains, the 4-2-3-1 is here to stay, at least for this match.
Confidence is high with the U.S. since they dominated the run of play in the second half against Jamaica. Their passing was crisp, their possession was tidy, and they finally looked ready to play to their potential. We should expect to see the same formation and lineup for the U.S. as was on the field for a good chunk of the second half of that game - meaning that Landon Donovan will start in place of Alejandro Bedoya, and Juan Agudelo will start in place of Jozy Altidore as the lone forward in a 4-2-3-1 arrangement.
The one point of contention there is that Alejandro Bedoya will be dropped - Bradley could just as easily drop Sacha Kljestan and move Clint Dempsey into a central role, another thing a lot of fans have been calling for lately. That's nit-picky, though. The point is, the United States' change in formation is working for them, and it will likely produce a different result than the first Panama match.
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