Jurgen Klinsmann shocked the American soccer world when he announced his roster with time to spare. It is a new direction and tonight's match against the Land of Fire will begin to show how the United States will set-up against Ghana, Portugal and Germany in the World Cup.
Seattle's Clint Dempsey is still the Captain, but his role is likely to be a bit different than it was. Indications from practice are that he is playing more as a withdrawn forward than a wide attacking player. With Altidore clearing space and Zusi/Bedoya/Bradley providing service he should get plenty of scoring chances.
Sounders FC right back DeAndre Yedlin is probably not starting, and may not even be playing right back.
I'm hearing that Yedlin is primarily being looked at as a wide (right) midfield super-sub. #USMNT— Matthew Doyle (@MLSAnalyst) May 27, 2014
So maybe he actually did beat out Landon Donovan for a spot after all. Of note, at that open practice he was the back-up right back to Fabian Johnson (a natural left-sided player) and the back-up left back was Timmy Chandler (a natural right-side player). Things are kind of confusing right now for a lot of people. I'm one of those people too.
The Land of Fire isn't particularly good. In fact their head coach is also an adviser for the USA. Soccer Power Indexhas them as the 97th best nation in the world. They compare to Moldava (they just tied Canada 1-1) and Montenegro.
Basically the Land of Fire is a kind of like a scrimmage, but against not-yourselves.
I would be remiss if I didn't point out the top 10 things to do in the Land of Fire;
1. 9 out of 11 world climatic zones are found here.
2. The largest salty lake of the planet - the Caspian Sea.
3. Monuments included into UNESCO World Heritage list.
4. A unique Naftalan oil resort.
5. Mud volcanoes.
6. A unique national cuisine of Azerbaijan.
7. Sheki city located on the cross of Silk Road.
8. The spirit of fire and the secrets of the Land of Fire.
9. Baku boulevard.
10. Unique modern architecture.
This is your gamethread.
Here's the lineup. Yedlin is wearing #2, but not starting.
Here's how the #USMNT XI looks on the field…a 4-4-2 with a diamond midfield. #USAvAZE kickoff in an hour… pic.twitter.com/OjlPslJqJ2— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) May 28, 2014