A Clint Dempsey-less USMNT take on Denmark in an international friendly this afternoon; hoping to pick up another win having defeated Panama in February thanks to goals from Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley.
Seattle Sounders man Clint Dempsey has had to withdraw from the squad thanks to a hamstring injury, but it could prove a positive thing due to the team needing to prepare for life without him much like when Donovan announced his retirement. Klinsmann had taken some flak for dropping the iconic former LA Galaxy man in order to ensure the team could cope without him in the run up to the World Cup in Brazil, and the World Cup itself.
Who? Denmark vs USA,
Where? NRGI Park, Aarhus, Denmark
When? Wednesday March 25, 3 p.m. ET, (ESPN2, UniMas)
Players to Watch
The 23-man roster named by Jürgen Klinsmann includes a mixture of veterans, fringe players and young talent, with 5 MLS based players in the team.
Jozy Altidore is expected to be handed the captaincy in Dempsey’s absence, although Michael Bradley could also take up the role. Both will start in what should be a 4-4-2 formation, with Altidore leading the line.
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Altidore will be the target man in the game and Klinsmann will want to see how the Toronto FC forward can work with Aron Jóhannsson as his strike partner. The partnership between Altidore and Jóhannsson is still new, because the two have not started together since 2013.
Gyasi Zardes will hope to be given another chance to impress after a breakout game against Panama in February. Only 23, the young LA Galaxy man is likely to see some game time but he hope it will be more than a 10-minute cameo. Klinsmann seems to be ready to give Zardes the time needed to prove himself.
Elsewhere, a debut could be given to Club Leon goalkeeper William Yarbough as Nick Rimando is the only capped goalkeeper in the squad due to Tim Howard’s continuing international hiatus. Also in with a chance of making a first USMNT appearance, more likely as a substitute, is fellow Liga MX star Ventura Alvarado who currently plays for Mexican giants Club América.
Klinsmann recently told the media of Yarbough and Alvarado:
“That’s two new faces that we want to better integrate into the team. We want to see us now really zooming in and starting to prepare for the summer. We want to see individual answers to problems that we have at the back of our minds.”
Denmark are W2-D1-L2 in their last five, and sit top of their Euro 2016 group, above Portugal.
The Danish roster includes Tottenham’s Christian Eriksen, who will prove a handful for the US defense. A lethal set-piece taker and free-kick king, the Tottenham playmaker has had a productive season in the Premier League so far and hopes to carry that form into the national side.
Other notable names include former Arsenal striker Nicklas Bendtner and Copenhagen’s Thomas Delaney who is of Irish-American descent. It is a first-team roster for the home side making the challenge even harder for Klinsmann’s men.
Obviously the US would want a win, but the result Klinsmann will be looking for is a good team performance and the integration of this new roster to lay the foundations ready for upcoming games and of course the Gold Cup in July.
Denmark will prove a tough test, which makes it hard to pick a winner. The last meeting between the two ended in a 3-1 win for the Danes, although the US picked up a win by the same scoreline when they hosted them at the StubHub center in 2007.
GOALKEEPERS: Cody Cropper (Southampton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS: Ventura Alvarado (Club America), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers), Brek Shea (Orlando City SC), DeAndre Yedlin (Tottenham Hotspur)
MIDFIELDERS: Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Julian Green (Hamburg), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Danny Williams (Reading), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
FORWARDS: Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht)