Preview: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Canada

IMAGE, MLSSOCCER.COM

by DENY GALLAGHER

After a 3-2 win against Iceland over the weekend, the United States will be back in action on Friday to take on Canada in the last match of the January camp.

Know The Enemy: Canada

The Canadians will always be an interesting case on the international soccer scene, particularly as the country continues to figure out its soccer identity. Compared to the United States, Canada played a light 12 game schedule in 2015 that included last summer’s CONCACAF Gold Cup. Over that time, however, the Great White North have only lost once — a 1-0 defeat in the group stage to eventual finalist Jamaica. Arguably the side’s best result of the calendar year was a 1-1 draw with Ghana in Washington D.C. last October.

On the player personnel side of things,the roster largely consists of players who play their trade in Major League Soccer and the North American Soccer League. Most notably to local fans is 23-year-old defender Karl Ouimette of the New York Red Bulls. The player will look to earn his 15th career cap in Friday night’s border battle.

Fans of the NASL will be familiar with the Ottawa Fury’s Julian de Guzman, who will more than likely be the maestro in the midfield for the visitors. The 34-year-old midfielder will look to earn his 86th career cap against the United States.

The other two names of note are Orlando City’s Cyle Larin and FC Dallas’ Tesho Akindele. Combined, the players represent the youth movement in Canadian soccer that will look to qualify for the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia. In 14 appearances with Canada, Larin has found the back of the net four times.

The American Perspective

As for the hosts, it wouldn’t be too much of a reach to speculate that the U-23s will get an extended run on Friday night. In the 3-2 win over Iceland, Kellyn Acosta, Jordan Morris and Jerome Kiesewetter all got meaningful minutes in the United States’ first win of 2016.

In the second game of the January camp, expect to see the squad get rotated to give some of the MLS guys a look. This match is very tricky for Jurgen Klinsmann, who will have to balance giving his veterans a run to maintain their fitness, while offering fringe players a shot to proves themselves.

Projected Starting XI

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