In the spirit of patriotism, Soccer Stud reader JJ Hendricks emailed me this week to talk turkey. This is what transpired, including his thoughts on this summer’s team, our chances, our weaknesses, and who he thinks coach Bradley will start against England.
Soccer Stud: What made you become a U.S. men’s soccer fan and how long have you been following the team?
JJ Hendricks: I’m from the US and I’ve always like US sports teams and the US Soccer team is no different. The first time I remember cheering for the US team was at the 90 World Cup. I was 10 years old and in Europe during the tournament. Everyone was watching the games and I got excited for the US even though they didn’t do much that year.
In light of 2002 World Cup success for the team, and 2006 failure, what do you expect this summer?
I’m expecting the US to get out of the first round and maybe into the semi-finals but I don’t think they will do much beyond that. I’m a realist and the US team is definitely not as strong as lots of other teams.
As a spectator, what concerns you most while watching the team play?
During the last two games I’ve been concerned about the porous defense. We have let in too many goals against relatively weak teams (didn’t make world cup). We have to stop that from happening if we are to have a chance.
What do you like most about the team?
The attack during the last two games and even before that has shown signs of brilliance. Really quick, short passes that get their way through the defense. We might not have scored on them, but those moments are really fun to watch.
What formation and starting eleven do you expect to see on June 12 against England?
I expect the US to start with a 4-4-2. I think Bradley likes that formation and the team has been pretty successful with it. (Editor’s note: I like the 4-2-3-1 in this case)
How far does the team need to go this summer to be a success?
The US has to get out of the group stage and at least play a close game in the quarterfinal, but I would still consider that just barely a success. To really be a success they need to make it to the semi-final at least.
Here are my projected starters:
Howard Bocanegra – Onyewu – Goodson – Cheruldolo Dempsey – Clark – Edu – Donovan
Altidore – Gomez