Slovenia-USA positional breakdown

Midfielders, depth bolster Americans' attack



Udinese's Samir Handanovič is a hot transfer topic in Europe. In the Algeria win, we saw just a glimpse of why that is so. He can make some highlight reels saves. 

GOALKEEPING

 

Tim Howard
is ready to shake off rib pain to put in another hero showing. He'll
need to be on his toes if Milivoje Novakovič is allowed to tee up from
distance straightaway. 

Center backs Boštjan Cesar and Marko Šuler are unspectacular, but
solid. Wingbacks Mišo Brečko and Bojan Jokić, however, can be greatly
troubled by clever wing play. It helps them that Cesar and Jokić play
together at Chievo.

DEFENDERS

The
fullbacks don’t
nearly contribute in attack as much as the team needs them. Jay DeMerit
is not
a world beater and Oguchi Onyewu is visibly hampered despite his fitness
claims. Lots of weaknesses.
Slovenia also could alter the midfield approach, but Valter Birsa and
Robert Koren will be expected to create their offense. Holding player
Aleksander Radosavljevič displayed what a good distributor he is against
Algeria.

MIDFIELDERS

Despite 86 minutes of excellence against England, there may be a change or two here. If Bob Bradley slides Clint Dempsey to "small forward" from the wing, it might be a good idea to involve the crossing of Stuart Holden.

Novakovič is the front man, and a tricky one at that. Zlatko Dedič is the gnat that won't stop buzzing, buzzing, buzzing - and he likely starts. It isn't the best tandem in the finals, but they are certainly far above the worst.

FORWARDS


Folks in Slovenia are a bit scared of powerful runner Jozy Altidore. He could also do aerial damage as the opponent's do not have his ladder. It is unclear which of the other three strikers, if any, will get a starting nod.

 The boss is somewhat secretive, has basically installed
one general system to run with and prepares obsessively. Unlike
Bradley, Matjaž Kek has had to overcome
significantly greater odds to even qualify for the competition.

MANAGER

A 1-1 tie against England is a good start for
first-time World Cup manager Bob Bradley. Then the Swiss head coach
credits Bradley’s tactics in 2009 against Spain in playing a part in the
biggest upset of the 2010 World Cup.

While their back-up forwards are dangerous and more
experienced than their American counterparts, the other names are not as
impressive and possess less international experience compared to the US
squad.

BENCH

With any possible line-up, Bradley will have style
options off the bench at forward and in midfield. Despite an off showing
in his last appearance,  Jonathan Spector could prove key because he
can play all three spots.
Make no mistake, this is the biggest game in Slovenia's
soccer history by far. They will be drilled with instruction and fired
up. They absolutely do not want to fall behind, but their impressive
cohesion sends a message that the U.S. don't either.

OVERALL

The US have everything set up how they want and are
rightful favorites to beat Slovenia. But that alone gets them nothing.
They need to avoid mistakes and create chances against an organized team
defense to do the business.