JAMIE HILL - Wednesday, August 10, 2011
Less than two months after suffering a painful 4-2 loss to Mexico in the final of the CONCACAF Gold Cup, the US Men's National Team has an opportunity to avenge its defeat.
While the disappointment of late-June's loss and the subsequent failure to qualify for the 2013 Confederations Cup will have a lasting sting, the Americans will have another chance to beat Mexico, albeit on a lesser stage, when they suit up against El Tri this Wednesday night at Lincoln Financial Field in Philadelphia.
Even though this friendly will be the United States' second consecutive match against their neighbors to the south, it will be Jürgen Klinsmann's first match in charge of the national team. Klinsmann was unveiled as the replacement for previous coach Bob Bradley just 11 days prior to the August 10 tilt.
The German called 22 players to Philadelphia, a motley crew that consists of a mixture of new faces and players who were national team regulars under Bradley's reign. Klinsmann chose to omit several European-based players who are preparing to begin their league seasons, such as Oguchi Onyewu, Clint Dempsey, and Jozy Altidore.
At goalkeeper, the stalwart Tim Howard is expected to receive the starting nod on Wednesday. In lieu of more experienced backups, Klinsmann chose to invite DC United's promising young prospect, Bill Hamid, to serve as second goalkeeper.
The German manager also opted for a number of defenders lacking in USMNT experience. Tim Ream, who still has only six caps, returns to the US team. Meanwhile, a trio of players with just one appearance - Edgar Castillo, Zach Loyd, and Michael Orozco - will look to build their resumes.
Klinsmann will have myriad options in the middle of the park, with no fewer than five central midfielders in the squad. Jose Francisco Torres, Ricardo Clark, and Kyle Beckerman re-join the team after missing out on the Gold Cup.
Landon Donovan and DaMarcus Beasley, who have a combined 229 caps, will be prime candidates to man the flanks. However, FC Dallas winger Brek Shea will hope to translate his stellar MLS play in the current season to the international stage.
Up top, Edson Buddle has been recalled from FC Ingolstadt in the German 2. Bundesliga, while Juan Agudelo and Freddy Adu will be in contention for places in the starting lineup as well.
Jürgen Klinsmann's first roster has been marred by several injury setbacks. Timothy Chandler, Maurice Edu, and Clarence Goodson suffered minor injuries and will remain with their clubs.
Mexico will be eager to extend their three-match winning streak against the US, which began with the 5-0 rout in the 2009 Gold Cup final. The US then fell to El Tri in a close 2-1 qualifier loss at Estadio Azteca, before again coming up short in the 2011 Gold Cup final.