Preview: USMNT face Ireland

IMAGE, MATT KREMKAU FOR EMPIRE OF SOCCER

by RYAN BRISTER
Staff Writer

The USMNT will be looking to better recent performances when they play the Republic of Ireland this Tuesday in Dublin.

It’s the second friendly of the international break for the Americans, who lost 2-1 against Colombia on Friday. They are 1-1-2 in friendlies since the World Cup, but would be 3-0-1 if those games had ended after eighty minutes. The number of substitutions tend to change the flow of friendlies in the second half, but Jurgen Klinsmann will no doubt want to see that trend come to an end.

Nick Rimando is expected to start in goal for the USMNT; he and Brad Guzan have alternated starts during Tim Howard’s self-imposed hiatus from international play. Jozy Altidore captained the side on Friday, and it’s reasonable to think he’ll do so again against the Irish.

New England Revolution players Lee Nguyen and Jermaine Jones returned to the U.S. to be ready for the conference finals, as did Seattle’s DeAndre Yedlin. DaMarcus Beasley also left the squad. Jones started and played 90 minutes at center back on Friday; Matt Besler or Geoff Cameron will likely start in his place. Yedlin will give way to Timothy Chandler, who never left the bench against Colombia.

Nobody was called in to replace the players who left the squad, which should open up more playing time for some of the younger players. Rubio Rubin, who started and played 67 minutes against Colombia, is one of five players on the squad who are 22 years old or younger.

The Irish are coming off of a 1-0 home loss against Scotland on Friday. They will be without all-time leading scorer and captain Robbie Keane, who has returned to the LA Galaxy in advance of their upcoming playoff series against Seattle.

Prediction:

The USMNT has been in rough form recently, but Ireland isn’t very good. Americans should be disappointed if they can’t get a win, particularly if Klinsmann’s side plays as poorly as it did against Colombia.

The game will be televised on ESPN2 at 2:45 p.m.