USA vs. Ireland match preview: Young squad faces tougher challenge

So far, so good

USMNT coach Dave Sarachan ran out a very youthful lineup and they impressed with a resounding 3-0 over an overmatched Bolivia side. But now the test gets more difficult. A home game against an understrength side that didn’t qualify for the World Cup is one thing. A road game against a team that made it to the Round of 16 at Euro 2016 is quite another. The opponent: Ireland.

The display that the young players put on against Bolivia was quite impressive. Three players scored their first international goal: Walker Zimmerman, Josh Sargent and Tim Weah. Oddly enough the worst player on the field was Christian Pulisic, but it was very obvious that he was exhausted after a long club season in Europe.

Other players who impressed were Antonee Robinson, who played in a beautiful cross on Weah’s goal, and Rubio Rubin. One of the most impressive and easily noticeable things about this game was something that many fans haven’t seen out of a US team in a long, long time: intensity and desire.

Those young guys wanted to be there and they wanted to win, even if it was just a friendly. That is the mentality and attitude the US desperately needs if it wants to start winning at a high level going forward.

Prior to this Bolivia game, interim manager Dave Sarachan had said there would be a number of changes to the roster before the trip to Ireland and France. Those decisions came out on Tuesday.

Going home

Christian Pulisic, Alex Bono, Alejandro Guido, Lynden Gooch, Ethan Horvath, Matthew Olosunde and Walker Zimmerman.

Coming in

Tyler Adams, Tim Parker, Will Trapp, Zack Steffen, William Yarbrough, Shaq Moore, DeAndre Yedlin, Luca de la Torre, Kenny Saief, and Bobby Wood.

Several of the players have been around the national team long enough to be considered experienced veterans, primarily Yedlin

and Wood. Plenty of these guys are young and somewhat inexperienced following the theme of the post-World Cup failure rebuild. The extra experience of some of these players will be key as the US steps up the level of competition with a game against Ireland followed by a game against France.

Like the US, Ireland failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia this summer. The difference is, they were much closer than the US. They finished second in their group (two points behind Serbia) and managed a 0-0 draw on the road in Denmark in the first leg of the home and home playoff before getting run out of the building in Dublin to the tune of 5-1.

Despite missing the World Cup, the Irish still have a very talented squad capable of getting results, as evidenced by their run to the knockout rounds of Euro 2016.

They are also led by a distinguished manager in Martin O’Neil, who has managed in England with Norwich City, Leicester City, Aston Villa, and Sunderland as well as in Scotland with Celtic. However, recent form has not been good. The Irish are winless in four straight games, with their last win coming on October 9th against Wales. During the four game winless stretch (that includes one draw and three losses) they have been outscored 9-1. The roster for this game is a strong one with the likes of Shane Long and Jonathan Walters leading the attack and Shane Duffy and Seamus Coleman rallying the defense.

Notes:

  1. After playing Ireland, the US moves on to play France. Ireland played France on May 28th and fell 2-0
  2. Rumors have flown around that the GM spot for the USMNT is more than likely going to go to Earnie Stewart; Stewart played in multiple World Cups for the US and been the Technical Director of NAC Breda and AZ Alkmaar in the Netherlands, as well as the Philadelphia Union in MLS
  3. Since missing the World Cup, the USMNT is unbeaten with a 2-0-2 record.

When, Where
June 2, 2018
Aviva Stadium
Dublin, Ireland
3pm ET kickoff
Live on ESPN2, UniMas, Univision Deportes, ESPN3, DIRECTV NOW and Sling Orange (7-day free trial)

All-Time Series
USA trails 2-5-2

Last Meeting
November 18, 2014
Aviva Stadium
Dublin, Ireland
Republic of Ireland 4 – 1 USA

Current FIFA Ranking
USA: 24
Republic of Ireland: 31

Next Game
June 9, 2018
International Friendly
USA @ France
Groupama Stadium
Lyon, France

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