The United States would love to save a bit of face from this international break, but they have a heck of tall task in doing so.
Switzerland stands in the way of Jurgen Klinsmann’s USMNT as they attempt to find the cure for what ails them: a leaky back line that becomes even worse as the second half wears on.
The States are now 1-4 in their last five matches, and 2-4-1 since their World Cup ended with a loss to Belgium. After Tuesday’s Noon ET matchup with the Swiss, they’ll face Mexico on April 15 before turning up for the Gold Cup with road matches against Germany and the Netherlands.
[ MORE: How will they line up? ]
The Yanks are 1-3-3 all-time versus the Swiss, but won in Basel the most recent time the two nations matched up, as Michael Bradley scored a winner back in 2007. Those were different times, with the US going 19W-1L-4D. How long ago was it? Maurice Edu and Danny Szetela helped the goal get going, and Bradley was barely more than 20 years old and had a full head of hair.
Switzerland is coming off a 3-0 win over Estonia in a Euro qualifier last week, and before that tied Poland 2-2 in Krakow in November. The Swiss were knocked out of the World Cup by Argentina in the first match after group play, and stumbled in their first two Euro qualifiers before rebounding to top San Marino and Lithuania.
Stanford forward Jordan Morris has left the U-23 camp fresh off a strong performance against Bosnia and Herzegovina, and could very well see time considering Clint Dempsey left camp early and Aron Johannsson is dealing with a toe infection. Surely fans are interested in seeing Julian Green and Gyasi Zardes in their advanced positions, but Klinsmann has proven unpredictable.
A big question is what Klinsmann wants to do in goal. Nick Rimando has not inspired in recent performances, and William Yarbrough is being scouted by Mexico as well. Wouldn’t it make sense to give the 26-year-old a taste of what it’s like to wear the Stars and Stripes? Or, given their recent defensive lapses, is that just what Klinsmann is hoping to avoid by keeping Rimando between the sticks.
John Anthony Brooks was the only member of the States’ back four to show much promise in the match against Denmark, though that surely isn’t saying much. Klinsmann could opt for a major shakeup, starting Ventura Alvarado alongside Tim Ream.
And the X-Factors! Few are expecting Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United) and Danny Williams (Reading) to feature, but could they play a role?