Ready for the United States men’s national team match against Denmark at 3 p.m. ET? Us, too, and here are five things we’ll be monitoring during the contest.
1) Who’s in net? Most would assume Nick Rimando is the most likely to start between the sticks as the bid to fill Tim Howard’s shoes as No. 1 goalkeeper continues, but William Yarbrough (Club Leon) has impressed both Mexican and U.S. officials with his play in Liga MX. Could he get a start or two to open his eyes to the red, white and blue? Southampton’s Cody Cropper nabbing a start would be a big surprise, but Jurgen Klinsmann has done whackier things.
[ MORE: Full USMNT-Denmark preview ]
2) How will Michael Bradley be used? Deep-lying, playmaking or a nice mix? Those are several options as to how the United States’ most effective engine room man can be used, and the absence of Mix Diskerud, Jermaine Jones and Clint Dempsey makes Klinsmann’s decision all the more interesting. How might the USMNT line up? Well, there’s the 3-5-2 Klinsmann has rolled out in recent matches and could be effective against Denmark, and the U.S. head coach has proven he’ll use multiple formations over the course of a half or game.
3) Who will run off Jozy? Critical of his club play or not, Jozy Altidore produces goals up top for the United States. Now with Clint Dempsey hurt, who is going to step up to the plate alongside the Toronto FC man? Aron Johannsson and Rubio Rubin are prime contenders in a 2-man strike force, but a 4-3-3 with Gyasi Zardes and Julian Green flanking Altidore could mimic some of Klinsmann’s summer movements.
4) Better late? The States have struggled in the waning moments of matches since the World Cup. Much of that can be pegged to the large number of substitutes employed as Klinsmann tries to find his best mix for important summer competition, but the opposition subs a lot, too. Can the U.S. build a lead and shut up shop on the road?
5) Better in the back? With Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez home, John Anthony Brooks will be counted on to bring his Hertha Berlin form to the main stage with the Stars and Stripes. Is Tim Ream going to be alongside him? What about dual-national Ventura Alvarado?