US all-time leading scorer and LA Galaxy star Landon Donovan raised questions about the starting lineup that US manager Jurgen Klinsmann fielded on Sunday against Portugal in the Americans' second World Cup match, stating that "the way they're playing could potentially be a weakness."
Without the injured Jozy Altidore, Klinsmann opted for Clint Dempsey as the lone forward in a 4-5-1 formation, but Donovan believes the Seattle Sounders man needs a strike partner to be effective.
"I think historically Clint doesn’t play as well without a big target forward next to him or someone else next to him," Donovan said in the lead-up to the match on ESPN. "So it seems to me that they're playing more in a defensive posture. I think maybe if they go a goal down then they'll decide to throw on another forward.
"But I think the goal now probably is to try to get a point out of this game and then move on to the final game. Jurgen is rolling the dice a little bit, it's a little bit of a dangerous strategy, but it may work out in the end."
Donovan was cut by Klinsmann during World Cup camp in May and signed on with ESPN to offer World Cup analysis. And on Sunday, he was doing some reporting as well, stating that, "Other guys are dealing with injuries that haven't been reported yet."
"We saw the other night that they didn't look good from a physical standpoint. A lot of guys looked tired, guys you would expect to do a lot better in the physical aspect not holding up well," Donovan said. "It's going to be interesting to see what happens how they hold up with a heavy field, a sandy field, all the heat."
It's a game that presents an opportunity for the US to clinch qualification to the second round with a victory. But a draw or a loss will make for a nervy third and final match against Germany on June 26.
"I think Jurgen has made it very clear with the lineup that this isn't a game where we're going to try to necessarily possess the ball the entire game and dictate the game," Donovan said. "It'll probably a more conservative approach.
"We'll see how it plays out in the end, but I think it sends an interesting message to your team when you play [with a 4-5-1 formation], but hopefully the guys are on board with it and they get through the game and without conceding a goal to Cristiano [Ronaldo]."
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