The United States men’s national team looks to continue to stabilize its footing as a program when its youth-heavy squad takes on Iceland on Sunday in California.
After losing five of six in depressing fashion, the Yanks picked up four of six points in their first two matches of World Cup qualifying.
Now Jurgen Klinsmann will look to keep the ship steady despite a roster featuring a majority of unproven players (at the international level).
[ VIDEO: Zardes, Parker talk USMNT camp ahead of friendlies ]
The USMNT hasn’t played Iceland since 1994, and has a 2-2-2 record in competitions dating back to 1955.
It’s Iceland’s only match-up of the international window, and comes on the heels of a 1-0 defeat of Finland and a 2-1 loss to UAE.
This is far from a full-strength squad for coaches Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson, who travel with 18 players. We won’t see Gylfi Sigurðsson (Spurs), Kolbeinn Sigþórsson (Nantes) or Alfreð Finnbogason (Olympiakos).
Former Bolton, Chelsea and Barcelona man Eidur Gudjohnsen will be in the mix for Iceland. Now with Shijiazhuang Ever Bright of the Chinese Super League, he’ll bring 83 caps and 25 goals to the match. Well-rated 20-year-old PSV Eindhoven center back Hjörtur Hermannsson will also be in the fold.
[ MORE: Klinsmann explains roster: “Make a point” ]
Matt Miazga left camp to get a medical with Chelsea, and he’s signed for the Premier League giants. In his place is Michael Orozco.
PST’s Andy Edwards has a nice post on five players with plenty to gain from this match — and Friday’s match-up with Canada — but we’ll proffer another thing to watch.
With Brad Guzan a backup at Aston Villa and Tim Howard growing older, three MLS keepers can make a statement. RBNY’s Luis Robles hasn’t been capped in ages, while Chicago’s Sean Johnson has yet to make a dent on the USMNT pitch. Could San Jose’s David Bingham get a look?
USMNT’s Icelandic-Alabaman, Aron Johannsson, won’t be playing in this match, but offered a rundown of views on Iceland to USSoccer.com. Also, sheep eyes:
I didn’t travel much around Iceland growing up, but people really like going to the mountains and enjoying the hot springs. You can’t find them many other places. I don’t like traditional Icelandic food, which includes sheep eyes, ears and tongues. Mostly just old people eat it. Instead, I grew up eating the same stuff as everyone like chicken and fish.
Oh, the “old people” of Iceland! So zany with their sheep eyes!
U.S. Roster by Position
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Luis Robles (New York Red Bulls)
DEFENDERS (9): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders FC)
MIDFIELDERS (8): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Jermaine Jones (unattached), Perry Kitchen (unattached), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew SC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS (6): Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)