(author's note: Welcome back to Sounder at Heart's 2016 Weekend MLS and USMNT Gamethreads. Let's pick up right where we left off last year and use the same format. As usual, any suggestions and feedback are appreciated, use the comments or you can find my e-mail in my profile. Let's do this, 2016!)
Three Big Storylines:
- 2016 is a big year for the USMNT. The fourth round of Concacaf World Cup Qualifying will pick back up in March and finish in the fall. March will also see a home and home for the U23 Olympic team with Colombia, with the winner heading to Brazil. And maybe most importantly, Copa America Centenario will be held from June 3-26 in the United States. This camp is the first step to preparing for those competitions.
- What type of lineup will Jurgen Klinsmann go with? There is a chance he uses one of the upcoming two games (USMNT plays Canada on February 5th) as a de facto U23 game in preparation for Colombia. If so, expect to see Seattle Sounders' Jordan Morris and VfB Stuttgart's Jerome Kiesewetter renew their strike partnership that was promising at Olympic qualifying. The USMNT roster is about evenly split between senior international players such as Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore and U23 prospects.
- Iceland brings a mostly Scandinavian based squad to California for this match and will also be in preseason form. Iceland will participate in their first ever major tournament in this summer's Euro 2016 Final taking place in France. Iceland qualified by finishing second in a group that included Czech Republic, Turkey, Netherlands, Kazakhstan and Latvia to earn the coveted berth.
From a Sounders Point of View:
Clint Dempsey is not with the USMNT for January camp, opting to build fitness with his club team this year. But the Sounders are well represented in Brad Evans and Jordan Morris.
Expect Evans to start one of the two matches and Morris to get his first official playing time as a professional soccer player. It will be intriguing to see how Morris deals with the spotlight and expectations his signing saga with MLS has brought. And Sounders fans are mostly just hoping for an injury free return for team captain Brad Evans.
TV and Streaming Listings:
Here is your Sounder at Heart USMNT International Friendly Gamethread. Watch with us