U.S. Men's National Team vs. Chile
Estadio El Teniente; Rancagua, Chile
Fox Sports 1, 3 PM PST
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Three Big Storylines:
- The USMNT turn the page on the Brazil 2014 World Cup cycle and embark on the Russia 2018 World Cup cycle. There were some friendlies at the end of last year, but today the preparations for the next cycle start in earnest. First up is the 2015 Gold Cup this summer with the winner playing the 2013 winner (USA!) for a spot in the 2017 Confederations Cup. While today is not a FIFA sanctioned date, with so many of the USMNT first choice now in MLS this is a much stronger squad than the traditional January roster and many of today's faces will be the same ones you see at the Gold Cup.
- The defense has been in flux in the entire Jurgen Klinsmann era and as such this was always going to be a storyline. Reports out of camp are that the USMNT has been playing with a three man backline in training. Expect Jermaine Jones to continue his conversion to Center Back but the question is who will join him? The only other Center Back in camp with international experience is Matt Besler. The other roster options to form a three man backline are: Steve Birnbaum, Matt Hedges, Perry Kitchen, or Shane O'Neill. Interestingly US Soccer has DeAndre Yedlin listed as a defender but in this system he would likely play more of a winger role.
- Yedlin joins the captain, Clint Dempsey, in representing the Sounders contingent in Chile. Yedlin was a surprise late addition to the roster as he was not in the traditional January camp because he was with Tottenham. Yedlin has not made his debut for Spurs first team as of yet, there are reports that this is mostly due to a lack of match fitness. This call up is likely the result of a good relationship between Jurgen Klinsmann and Tottenham to get a player both teams have a vested interest in up to match fitness.
For those of you new to the Gamethread posts, this is where your author discusses the game from a Sounders point of view. Yedlin (Once a Sounder, Always a Sounder) was covered in the Three Big Storylines but Dempsey is of more immediate concern. Dempsey embarks on his fourth World Cup Cycle with the USMNT as the Captain. In the Jurgen era of US Soccer there is no time for nostalgia, see 2010 World Cup Captain Carlos Bocanegra, so Dempsey will be looking to prove he deserves to keep the armband and be among the first names on the team sheet.
Estadio El Teniente only holds 15,500 spectators and has a track surrounding the field. The stadium has an interesting history as it hosted Seven World Cup matches in 1962 including a Quarterfinal that saw Czechoslovakia eliminate Hungary 1-0. The stadium will host two Copa America 2015 matches this summer including Mexico v Ecuador and this is the third time that the Chile National Team has played there. The stadium is about 50 miles south of Santiago at 500 meters above sea level, so altitude will not be a concern.
Enjoy your first Sounder at Heart Gamethread of 2015!
U.S. Men's National Team By Position
GOALKEEPERS: Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Jon Kempin (Sporting Kansas City), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
DEFENDERS: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Matt Hedges (FC Dallas), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), Perry Kitchen (D.C. United), Shane O'Neill (Colorado Rapids), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
MIDFIELDERS: Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Luis Gil (Real Salt Lake), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Dillon Serna (Colorado Rapids), Brek Shea (Orlando City), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
And here is the lineup:
<blockquote class="twitter-tweet" lang="en"><p><a href="https://twitter.com/hashtag/USMNT?src=hash">#USMNT</a> lineup: Rimando; Birnbaum, Jones, Besler; Yedlin, Bradley, Dempsey (c), Diskerud, Shea; Altidore, Wood <a href="http://t.co/kjUFE4cHSp">pic.twitter.com/kjUFE4cHSp</a></p>— U.S. Soccer (@ussoccer) <a href="https://twitter.com/ussoccer/status/560555068630380544">January 28, 2015</a></blockquote>
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