Netherlands vs. USA | International Friendly Match Preview
It hasn't been an easy ride for Jurgen Klinsmann's US national team since the World Cup, especially as they have been prone to coughing up goals and results late in games, but they are coming into Friday's match with Netherlands with some momentum.
Klinsmann called in 22 players for this game and next week's match against Germany and the roster is a mix of familiar players from last cycle and players who are looking to make their mark before 2018.
JOZY REPLACEMENT: Aron Johannsson had a bit of an up and down season for AZ Alkmaar in Netherlands, dealing with injuries throughout most of the 2014-15 campaign. But when he was on the field, he produced. The Icelandic-American scored 10 goals in just 1,511 minutes in the Eredivisie, with four of those coming in his last three games. Johannsson should be the starter up top as Jozy Altidore is out of this camp with a hamstring injury and the 24-year-old will want to impress his coach before this summer's Gold Cup. He took another step in the right direction with this effort in training:
THE NEW NO. 1: With Tim Howard deciding to take a year off from international soccer back in August, many expected Brad Guzan to jump right in as US's No. 1 goalkeeper. But for various reasons, Guzan has started just three of the 10 matches since the World Cup. He was also benched towards the end of his season by his club team, Aston Villa. This week, Klinsmann named Guzan the starter for the Gold Cup, and the 30-year-old will be out there to prove that he is, in fact, the best man for the job.
BREKKING AWAY FROM THE PACK: He's playing a new position but Brek Shea seems to be taking control of the left back spot for the US national team. After a few early season bumps with Orlando City, Shea became one of the best left backs in MLS before an injury to Kevin Molino necessitated a move back to the midfield. For the US, Shea scored a goal against Chile after running around a helpless Chilean defender and put away a beautiful free kick against Switzerland. His progression at the spot could be one of the most important storylines to follow for US fans for months to come.
THE NOT-SO-FLYING DUTCHMAN: After finishing third in last year's World Cup, the Netherlands haven't had the best time over the past 11 months. After the World Cup, widely-acclaimed coach Louis van Gaal left for Manchester United, and the team has struggled under new manager Guus Hiddink. They currently sit in third in their UEFA Euro 2016 qualifying group behind the Czech Republic and Iceland and have lost in friendlies to Italy and Mexico. Hiddink has called in his "A" squad, including Arjen Robben, Daley Blind, and new Manchester United attacker Memphis Depay, as this match will be followed by a Euro qualifying match at Latvia.