U.S. vs Guatemala Preview

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by Deny Gallagher

USMNT Writer

It has been a terrific run of play for the United States in the lead up to the 2015 Gold Cup. On Friday, the United States has one last test against Guatemala before the tournament starts next week. Here are three things you need to know to get you set for kick off.

Changing of the Guard

Thursday the United States Soccer Federation announced that Michael Bradley has taken over the captain’s armband from Clint Dempsey.

The move comes after the Sounders man’s antics during the U.S. Open Cup loss to the Portland Timbers. Out of frustration Dempsey ripped up the referee’s notebook, and was ejected from the match. The Open Cup Committee would later hand down a two year ban from the tournament, while MLS would give the forward a four game suspension.

“I had a very, very good conversation with Clint about what happened during the Open Cup, but also about how we want to approach things,” said manager Jurgen Klinsmann. “For the time being we thought it’s the best thing to give the captaincy to Michael Bradley and let Clint focus on what he’s all about. Clint is about scoring goals. We need Clint Dempsey badly with the National Team.”

As for Michael Bradley, this honor has been a long time coming. Many believed that the midfielder should have been given the armband two years ago when Carlos Bocanegra retired. Klinsmann would not comment if this was a permanent move, but did reiterate that it is the correct move for right now.

Must Win

For as long as any of us can remember winning the Gold Cup has been a priority for the United States. This past week Klinsmann turned up the pressure even more stating that anything less than a winning the Gold Cup will be a disappointment.

“The message to the team is very straightforward: We are under the expectations of winning this tournament,” said Klinsmann. “Even if we know that teams like Honduras, Costa Rica and Mexico all are very good teams and can also beat us, you’ve got to be on top of things. “

Klinsmann also stated that he is expecting teams to defend them for 90 minutes, and strike on set pieces. This is a big reason why the friendly against Guatemala is so important. Sure, it is a great thing to beat Germany and the Netherlands in friendlies, but playing a match similar to what the United States will experience over the next month is more important for their Gold Cup aspirations. 

Projected Starting XI

Jozy Altidore

Clint Dempsey

Michael Bradley

           Gyasi Zardes                                                                       Alejandro Bedoya

                                                         Kyle Beckerman

        Fabian Johnson    Ventura Alvarado  John Brooks        Timmy Chandler

Brad Guzan


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