Gold Cup Final 2011, USA Vs. Mexico: Landon Donovan Up Top, Clint Dempsey Wide Left

When the lineup was released for the United States, most assumed that Clint Dempsey would be playing as the lone striker up top while Landon Donovan played on one wing opposite Alejandro Bedoya. Instead, Donovan is the No. 9, while Dempsey is playing wide left. Bob Bradley seems to be prioritizing speed over size and technical hold-up play at the striker position, which is an interesting and slightly odd strategy against Mexico.

Early on, Mexico are doing an excellent job of keeping the ball. With Freddy Adu and no pure striker in the lineup, it implies that the United States want to attempt to keep possession. However, they've struggled to do that in the opening five minutes of the game, as Mexico are controlling the ball and the tempo. Questionable left-sided players Andres Guardado and Carlos Salcido are showing no signs of injury and fatigue, and they're giving the USMNT some trouble early on.

For more on how the two teams got to this point, check out our USA vs. Panama stream and our Mexico vs. Honduras stream. For more updates leading up to USA vs. Mexico, bookmark this StoryStream. For all of our previous Gold Cup coverage, check out the Gold Cup 2011 section. For more on Mexican football, including the Mexican national team, the Mexico vs. USA game, and the Mexican Primera, check out SB Nation's Mexican football blog FMF State Of Mind.

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