After months of time and effort put into their respective clubs, the US National Men’s Team is back in full force as summer approaches. The US National Team has not seen this type of time dedication and availability of players since last year’s Gold Cup and before Jurgen Klinsmann arrived on the scene. With a slew of veteran and young prodigies, Klinsmann will have his most complete roster to date, giving him more options and ability to improve the program as a whole. While most players have had some experience with Klinsmann, it will be the first time they are going to play as one unit for a decent stretch of time.
Klinsmann is coming up on a year as the US boss and the next few weeks will be a honest portrayal of how Klinsmann’s philosophies are working. The Yanks will begin their summer schedule with three challenging friendlies which includes Scotland, Canada, and 2014 World Cup host Brazil. The US desires to be a world-class national team with Klinsmann at the helm, fans have been patient through the growing pains of the transition and this summer is the time they should be rewarded with fast, tough, and entertaining soccer. Will Klinsmann and the Yanks summer play shine through the recent US pains? Or will it be back to the drawing board as 2014 quickly approaches.
Roster: The 2012 travel roster has a wide range of veterans and household names including Dempsey and Donovan who will finally play together for the first time under the Klinsmann era. Klinsmann did invite multiple young German-American players but will miss the speed of defender Timothy Chandler who denied his invitation to the camp.
Forwards: Jozy Altidore, Terrence Boyd, Clint Dempsey, Herculez Gomez, Chris Wondolowski
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman , Michael Bradley, Joe Corona, Landon Donovan, Maurice Edu, Fabian Johnson, Jermaine Jones, Jose Torres
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra, Geoff Cameron, Edgar Castillo, Steve Cherundolo, Clarence Goodson, Oguchi Onyewu, Michael Parkhurst
Goal Keepers: Brad Guzan, Tim Howard, Nick Rimando
The Schedule: The US will open the Summer with three friendlies against Scotland, Brazil, and Canada. This will be a good mix of competition for the US as they will be favored versus Scotland and large underdogs against the legendary Brazilians. It will also be a challenge to defeat Canada in Toronto in front of a ruckus crowd. World Cup qualifying starts in the US against the small Antigua & Barbuda, who got their independence when Alexi Lalas was rocking the ginger beard. Then the Yanks will have to hit the road to Guatemala in one of the toughest venues to play in the Americas.
5/26— US vs Scotland 8pm ET Everbank Field Jacksonville, Florida NBC Sports Network
5/30— US vs Brazil 8pm ET FedEx Field Landover, Maryland ESPN2
6/03— US vs Canada 7pm ET BMO Field Toronto, Canada NBC Sports Network
6/08— US vs Antigua & Barbuda 7pm Raymond James Stadium Tampa, Florida ESPN
6/12— US vs Guatemala10pm ET Estadio Mateo Flores Guatemala City, Guatemala
Guatemala's friendly home turf.
What to Watch For:
Donovan/Dempsey: America’s two biggest stars will reunite on the pitch for the first time since last June and the first time under Jurgen Klinsmann. Clint Dempsey just came off his best season ever with EPL side Fulham and is one of the most exciting goal-scorers on the planet looking to continue his hot streak into international play. Donovan has struggled with health and form at the start of his club season at LA Galaxy, but hopefully being reunited with Dempsey will quickly vault him to typically Donovan form. Expect these two stars to be core of anything positive for the Yanks this summer, they must be involved quickly and consistently throughout matches.
Backfield: Defense has always been a sore spot for the US National team and this summer will be challenging in deciding which players work together best in the back. With most of the best US talent at camp (minus Timothy Chandler), Klinsmann will have a talented group of defenders to select from. Veterans Geoff Cameron, Michael Parkhurst, and Oguchi Onyewu are all returning defenders who have had recent absences playing at a national level, and will all be looking to push for a starting spot this summer. For the first time in his tenure Klinsmann has depth in the back, it will be how he uses the talent that could make or break the US defense.
On the Road: Klinsmann’s squad will be tested this summer with visits to Toronto and Guatemala City in road CONCACAF contests. Both venues are difficult to perform in, especially Guatemala, where the fans come out in the tens of thousands just in an effort to see Americans embarrassed. The US have traveled to Europe, but South American road matches are a different animal that not even Jurgen can be fully prepared for. US veteran leaders will need to help Klinsmann as well as younger players in these tough road competitions.
-The US will fair better than their last meeting with Brazil as the Yanks fell 2-0 in an embarrassing performance following the 2010 World Cup. Expect the Yanks to push the Brazilians to their limits but fall short in a 2-1 defeat.
-After a fabulous season winning the Mexican Premier Title with Santos Laguna, Herculez Gomez returns to the US National Team with momentum scoring multiple times throughout the next few weeks.
-The US will dominate the young Antigua & Barbuda 4-0, but will only be able to leave Guatemala City with a 1-1 draw.
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