If you think of Italy as the overrated team that failed in the last World Cup you would be out of date. Sure, Italy is not as grand as it once was. But currently residing in a range with France, Russia, Bosnia and the Czech Republic, Italy is actually a team with offense. In their last 10 they have 7 wins, 2 losses and a draw with a +10 goal difference. Signature wins in that time are over Spain, Slovenia and Ukraine.
For the United States this is another match pitting Jurgen Klinsmann's still being reinvented side against another team better than they are. Due to illness the Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey pairing still waits. Other injuries will force positional juggling, but does give Sacha Kljestan an opportunity to be seen by the coach. Like all friendlies there are more important things than a win. Will there be a permanent answer at left back? Can the ignored break into the conversation? How is Dempsey best used? Can Jozy Altidore learn to operate as a lone striker? Can the stronger possession game turn into chances created?
Today's friendly is on ESPN2 with coverage starting at 11:30 AM Pacfic.
The US starting lineup is: Howard, Cherundolo, Goodson, Bocanegra, Johnson, Bradley, Edu, Williams, Dempsey, Shea, Altidore
This is your gamethread
(Also worth discussing: The USWNT beat Denmark 5-0 this morning with Alex Morgan scoring twice and assisting once and Hope Solo picking up the shutout. Fellow Sounder Sydney Leroux also scored a goal)