Ahead of the USA’s friendly against Switzerland in Zurich on Tuesday, here’s three things to watch out for as Jurgen Klinsmann’s side conclude their Euro-trip with their second friendly in a week after losing to Denmark 3-2 in Aarhus last Wednesday.
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Can the USMNT stop their slump since the World Cup (2-4-2 in friendly matches) against a Swiss side who is ranked No. 12 in the world and were one of the eight top seeds in Brazil last summer?
It’s going to be a tall order…
We saw a pretty rigid 4-4-2 formation against Denmark last week and it just didn’t allow the U.S. to dictate the tempo of the game. Michael Bradley and Alejandro Bedoya were outnumbered in midfield, so maybe this time we will see a three-man central midfield to match up with Switzerland’s likely 4-3-3 formation. Danny Williams could come in as the holding midfielder as Klinsmann will once again use this game as a learning exercise to see where his large pool of players is at.
Ream, Williams, Green to start?
Speaking of Williams, there are a few other players who did not feature against Denmark who you may expect to start in Switzerland. You’d imagine Bolton Wanderers defender Tim Ream would start in defense, either at left back or center back, and Bayern Munich winger Julian Green would get a run out as his nightmare loan at Bundesliga side Hamburg continues. This is a chance for Klinsmann to mix up his squad even more, as his experimenting may drive some fans made but it really has to be done to see which players who ply their trade over in Europe are progressing and regressing, just as MLS guys got their chance in January to show JK what they are all about. I’d start Ream, Williams and Green against the Swiss.
Who to go with in goal: Cropper, Yarbrough
Okay, we know what Nick Rimando can do as the USA’s No. 3 ‘keeper. Let’s see how one of the young guys fares. With Brad Guzan left off the squad to focus on Aston Villa’s battle against relegation and Tim Howard still on his year-long sabbatical from the USMNT, Tuesday provides a chance for young U.S. goalkeepers Cody Cropper and William Yarbrough to get their first senior cap. Cropper, 22, is on the books at Southampton in the PL and has been in and around several USMNT squads without getting a cap. Could Tuesday be his time to shine and stake his claim to lead Team USA through 2016 Olympic qualification?
As for Yarbrough, 26, he is very much an unknown quantity after being picked up from Mexican side Club Leon as both his parents are U.S. citizens but Yarbrough grew up south of the border. Many believe Yarbrough will get the nod due to his advanced age, but it will be intriguing to see who Klinsmann starts in net and how they cope with stepping up to their first full international.