When: April 2, 2014
Where: University of Phoenix Stadium, Glendale, Arizona
TV: Pre-match coverage begins at 11pm ET on ESPN2 and WatchESPN. Game kicks off at 11:15pm ET on ESPN, UniMas and WatchESPN.
The United States will face Mexico for the first since their 2-0 victory over “El Tri” last September.
Essentially made up only of Major League Soccer talent, after Puebla FC refused to release defenders DaMarcus Beasley and Michael Orozco, this will be the last time head coach Jürgen Klinsmann will have a chance of watching players before he names his squad for the 2014 FIFA World Cup preparation camp.
With many players “on the bubble” when it comes to being called to represent the national team for this summer’s World Cup, players like DeAndre Yedlin, Nick Rimando, Matt Besler, and even Chris Wondolowski will have only one more chance to impress the coaching staff.
Not only is this a big game for players wanting to make the squad, this is also a huge game for USMNT captain Clint Dempsey, who came off a very poor performance versus Ukraine, as he looks to prove he has what it takes to lead the red, white and blue.
Players to watch: Clint Dempsey and Julian Green
The 18-year old Bayern Munich forward, who recently pledged his allegiance to the USMNT, will be available and is expected to play. Green is currently on the outside looking in when it comes to being called up for this summer’s World Cup, but that won’t stop him from trying to prove to the coaching staff that he has the intangibles that would make him a role player this summer.
Klinsmann himself has said that he will not put too much pressure on Green to perform as he understands he is a work in progress:
“We don’t want to put any type of pressure on [Julian] or too high of expectations. At the end of the day, he’s a player to be developed. Developed mainly in his club from one point to the next, and we are going to help this development. How everything can then proceed is up to him. We take his pace, we take his development there and have a very close eye on him.”
As stated earlier, Clint Dempsey has been coming off very poor performances for the National Team. At times he looks uninterested and not capable of captaining the team in the World Cup. Despite not playing the last two games for Seattle Sounders FC due to a suspension, Dempsey has looked good in the early part of the MLS season, and USMNT fans hope this will translate into a good outing for the captain.
The match coverage kicks off at 11PM ET and can be seen on ESPN. Also, if you watch on ESPN3.com, they will provide additional cams including ones fixed on the American Outlaws and Mexican fans, as well as tactical cams.
Here’s my predicted starting XI for the US Men’s National Team: