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Gold Cup Final 2011, USA Vs. Mexico: USMNT Lineup Analysis

Well, all we can say is "wow." Bob Bradley has been accused of being a static, boring manager in his time with the United States. His teams play a rigid style of football, he plays favorites, and his tactics are not very imaginative. That's his reputation, and he's thrown that reputation right out the window with the lineup that he's selected today. If you haven't seen it yet, here's the USA lineup for the Gold Cup final against Mexico.

Bradley has kept with the 4-2-3-1 formation he's been deploying since the loss to Panama in the second game of the group stages, but the personnel selection is pretty unbelievable. Freddy Adu will start the match, presumably as an advanced playmaker, playing just behind Clint Dempsey, who will play as a lone striker. Landon Donovan and Alejandro Bedoya will start on the wings, though it's not entirely clear who will start on which side. Donovan on the left would be a reasonable educated guess.

Dempsey has spent most of his time out wide with the United States, with some occasional late game moves inside to either an attacking midfield or second striker role. He's playing a completely new role tonight as the No. 9, but expect him to drop deep and swap positions with Adu and Donovan a fair bit. 

I can't get over this. Bob Bradley is playing his most technical side with Freddy Adu in the starting lineup and Clint Dempsey as a (likely) false nine. Incredible. Instead of putting in the biggest, strongest, fastest guys he has and trying to beat Mexico in that fashion, he's opted to fight fire with fire. If it works, he looks like a genius.

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.