101212_antiguatraining_isi_usmnt1011123491 John Todd/isiphotos.com
One Question, Five Answers

Will A&B Park the Bus or Push for a Victory?

The Benna Boys could bunker defensively and try to keep the game close. Or they could come out swinging and put on a show for their fans. We asked Klinsmann and key players to share their expectations.
BY John Godfrey Posted
October 12, 2012
7:15 AM
ANTIGUA—When the U.S. hosted Antigua & Barbuda back in June, the Benna Boys bunkered in their defensive half as long as they could, and the strategy helped the visitors stay close. The Americans eventually won, 3-1, but the strategy frustrated the Yanks and the match was much closer than that score line indicates.

Tonight's rematch will be played at Sir Vivian Richards Cricket Grounds in Antigua in front of an expected crowd of 10,000. Will Antigua & Barbuda deploy similar park-the-bus tactics in order to keep the game close? Or will they come out fighting and look to put on a good show in front of their fans?

We asked U.S. men's soccer coach Jurgen Klinsmann, captain Carlos Bocanegra, and a few key players what they expected to face Friday night. Here's what they told us.

Jurgen Klinsmann: What they did against Jamaica, what they did against Guatemala—they gave everything they had and they had opportunity to win games. They had Guatemala right there, in Guatemala. It took Guatemala a long time to score that goal. Even after Guatemala scored its goal Antigua had two or three 100% chances to score goals. They’ve proved in those previous four games that they can compete. They are physical, they are hungry, and they know that the soccer world is watching and they don’t want to miss that opportunity.

Carlos Bocanegra: I don’t know. You never know. I would think they’re going to go for it a little bit because they’re at home, they want to win, and they have nothing to lose. This is their last home qualifier so it’s going to be a fun night for them. For us, it’s a very important game. Sometimes when you have that nothing-to-lose energy, it’s easier to play like that. So we just need to make sure we don’t give them too much space and stay organized at the back, because they have a couple of guys who can do some stuff. I’m curious to see how they come out tomorrow.

Sacha Kljestan: A pretty organized team that’s going to sit back a little bit. They’ve done a good job in only giving up one goal. They’ll be difficult to break down and they’ll be playing for their lives in front of their home fans. So, they’re going to be giving more than 100%, that’s for sure.

Graham Zusi: They’re playing for their lives so I think there’s going to be a lot of emotion. It’s going to be a battle. It may not be the prettiest game, but I think if we can weather the storm a little bit early on and then gain control of the game, I think we’ll be all right.

Michael Bradley: You have to give them credit. They’ve shown that they’re pretty organized and pretty disciplined. They’re pretty committed to what they’re doing and what they do to make the game hard on the other team. We got a good taste of that in Tampa when we played the first game. For the game tomorrow in front of their fans, I’m sure they’ll be that much more committed to the same.

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