By PATRICK MACDONALD
The U.S. Men’s National Team is in Arizona to face the Mexican National Side in its final friendly before the pre-World Cup camp and sendoff in May. Despite the match falling on a non-FIFA sanctioned date, Jurgen Klinsmann brings one of his strongest sides as stars Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey and Landon Donovan will take the field together. What else can be expected from tomorrow night’s matchup?
This is a friendly in name only between two bitter rivals and Mexico has fired the opening salvo. Puebla has refused to release DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco much to Klinsmann’s ire. “We are very disappointed in the decision by Puebla,” he said. “When the match was scheduled, it was with the spirit that both teams would have access to their domestic-based players for what is a very important game for those competing for spots in the World Cup.” Beasley’s place on this team will hardly be affected, but Orozco was more of a long shot, making his chances of going to Brazil are as good as dead.
While Beasley and Orozco must deal with the disappointment of not being released, Bayern Munich was gracious enough to release 18-year-old Julian Green to play in Glendale tomorrow night. Klinsmann was candid when discussing Green. According to the U.S. coach, the main goal for Green in this camp is to get comfortable with the group much like he did in Frankfurt. Klinsmann also said he hoped that they would get to take a look at Green on the field as well. However, he pointed out that they didn’t want to put too many high expectations on the youngster, something that should please many fans with the specter of Freddy Adu still fresh on everyone’s minds.
Green aside, the U.S. brings a very strong roster to Arizona with at least 6 possible starters taking the field. Dempsey, Donovan, and Bradley will be joined by World Cup locks Graham Zusi, Matt Besler, and Omar Gonzalez to give the U.S. a dangerous attack and solid defense in the back.
This match also provides a ton of opportunity for youngsters like DeAndre Yedlin, who as of yesterday had not been filled in on what was expected of him by the coaching staff. With Beasley and Brad Evans left out of the roster and Michael Parkhurst likely to man one of the defensive positions out wide, that leaves Yedlin as the favorite to occupy the other. What are his chances that his performance could lead to a spot on the World Cup roster? “Anything is possible,” according to Klinsmann.
Mexico brings a B+ team with its European based players not being released as well as players still with CONCACAF Champions League duties. On fire striker, Oribe Peralta, has also been left off this roster. That being said, Mexico’s squad is still formidable and will give the U.S. a mighty challenge, especially with national pride between rivals on the line.
The U.S. squad has been the better national side compared to its Mexican rivals in the past year and with a good portion of their A-team in Arizona, its hard to see them not being the dominant side once again. With Glendale’s proximity to Mexico, there should be a heavy contingent of El Tri fans to give the U.S. a raucous atmosphere to prepare for Brazil.
PREDICTION: The U.S. will pass the test and maintain its recent dominance over Mexico with a scoreline American soccer fans have always embraced: Dos a Cero.
Predicted Starting Lineup: