The United States gets a final chance for a tune up against Canada on Tuesday, before the pressure of the final round of World Cup qualifying begins with a trip to Honduras next week.
There will be a much different look between the two U.S. sides, though, with the friendly against Canada falling outside FIFA international dates, meaning that only domestic-based players are involved.
Jurgen Klinsmann will be expecting some of his fringe players to impress against Canada.
But following a training camp in Los Angeles, Klinsmann has said that the match in Houston represents a big opportunity for the players involved to make an impact.
“We want them to express themselves, we want them to really show that commitment that they’ve shown for three and a half weeks packed into 90 minutes and go at them, play fast-paced soccer, be there for each other, do a lot of movement off the ball and really keep pushing it,” he told the US Soccer website.
“Obviously we want to see players that step it up now and also want to be regarded as a key element for the Honduras World Cup qualifier, so there’s a lot at stake for the players in this Canada game.”
Among the players with the biggest desire to make an impression on Tuesday will be LA Galaxy center-back Omar Gonzalez. The 24-year-old returned from a torn ACL last year and claimed the MVP award in the Galaxy’s MLS Cup final victory over the Houston Dynamo.
Klinsmann doesn’t yet appear set on a back four and Gonzalez could potentially stake a claim to partner Geoff Cameron against Honduras.
The man likely to start alongside him against Canada will also have hopes of a place when the competitive action begins. Matt Besler won the MLS Defender of the Year award and will be looking to help shut out the Canadians.
Canada will also not be at full-strength and come into the match on the back of a 4-0 defeat to Denmark on Saturday. If there defense is equally as porous then the likes of Chris Wondolowski, Eddie Johnson and Juan Agudelo should be on the lookout for goals.
D: Morrow, Besler, Gonzalez, Morales
M: Beckerman, Zusi, Feilhaber, Davis
F: Johnson, Wondolowski
D: Henry, Attakora, Jakovic, Morgan
M: Ledgerwood, Dunfield, Bekker, Teibert
F: De Rosario, Ricketts
Prediction: Canada struggled in a heavy defeat to a purely-domestic-based Denmark side on Saturday and should again find things tough against the U.S. Much will depend on the experienced faces like Dwayne De Roasario to try and knit the young players together and show intensity against their local rivals. While Canada should play with plenty of passion, the U.S. has far more quality and look set for a comfortable victory.
USA 3-0 Canada
Where to watch: The international friendly will kick-off from BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas, at 9 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN 2, with a live stream available on ESPN3.
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