When the US national team faces Ireland on Tuesday at the Aviva Stadium in Dublin, it will be the team’s final game of 2014, bringing to a close a year that has seen the USMNT compile a 6-4-4 record thus far.
Following a late 2-1 friendly defeat to Colombia on Friday, the roster from which head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will pick his final team of 2014 remains a healthy mix of established veterans and promising youngsters hoping to break into the regular first-team rotation.
Klinsmann will, however, be without the likes of entrenched starter Jermaine Jones, the oft-starting DeAndre Yedlin and the hot-handed Lee Nguyen — all three of which were sent back to their respective MLS teams to prepare for this weekend’s conference championship first-leg games. Veteran defender DaMarcus Beasley also left the team after Friday’s game to tend to personal matters in Mexico.
The absence of Jones and Yedlin, who together made up the right side of defense on Friday, could mean Fabian Johnson returns to his regular home at right back and World Cup standout Matt Besler returns to the starting lineup once again.
Heavy squad rotation, with an emphasis placed on breaking in first-time national teamers, has been the theme of the USMNT’s four post-World Cup friendlies. Tuesday should see that trend continue in the attacking positions as Klinsmann has hinted Stanford University forward Jordan Morris could make his senior-team debut against the Irish, while Rubio Rubin hopes to earn his second international appearance following a promising debut on Friday.
Heading into Tuesday, the two sides find themselves in very different places of their respective competition cycles. Ireland is in the middle of 2016 European Championships qualifying, while the USMNT has nearly seven months until its next big competition, the 2015 Gold Cup, a tournament for which they do not have to qualify.
Robbie Keane and Darron Gibson will be unavailable for selection by Martin O’Neill on Tuesday, as Keane was released back to the playoff-competing LA Galaxy and Gibson picked up a minor knee injury in Friday’s 1-0 Euro 2016 qualifying defeat to Scotland. Defender Cyrus Christie and forward David McGoldrick will each be handed their international debuts on Tuesday, according to the BBC.
Tuesday’s matchup will be the two nations’ first meeting since 2002, a 2-1 friendly win for the Irish. Ireland leads the all-time series against the Americans, 4-2-2.
Stay tuned to ProSoccerTalk for expansive coverage of Tuesday’s friendly, including lineups, updates, and post-game recap and analysis.