After conceding two late goals against Denmark last week, the United States will again be up against tough opposition in Switzerland, who boast players such as Xherdan Shaqiri, Gökhan İnler and Ricardo Rodriguez.
The test is made even harder with another injury issue; as Aron Johannsson has been ruled out of action with an infection to further complicate things for Jurgen Klinsmann’s already experimental USMNT.
Who? Switzerland vs USA
Where? Stadion Letzigrund, Zurich, Switzerland
When? Tuesday, March 31, 12:00 pm ET (FOX Sports 1, UniMás, UDN)
Players to Watch
Jordan Morris is a late replacement for Aron Johannsson; and the current Stanford striker also spent time with the Seattle youth set up in the USL Player-Development League. He has been capped once before but could potentially start, having opened the scoring for the US under-23 side in their 5-2 victory over Bosnia and Herzegovina. An exciting prospect regardless, perhaps this game is still too early for him.
Altidore is a certain starter, although who partners him is unclear due to Johannson’s withdrawal from the roster. Gyasi Zardes was disappointing against Denmark, so it remains unclear if he will be given the start or not.
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Michael Bradley should captain the side again, and hope to replicate his performance against Denmark; this in turn should inspire his teammates to do the same. It was actually against Switzerland in 2007 that Bradley scored his first international goal.
Ventura Alvarado will surely not be involved after his disastrous addition to the team led to the capitulation of a 2-1 lead and ended up in a 3-2 loss. Yedlin should be involved again despite limited playing time at Tottenham; and the man between the goalposts should still be Nick Rimando, as Klinsmann is unlikely to risk throwing on his two uncapped backups.
Switzerland are a tough team to beat, evidently as they are undefeated in their last four games. Three of those have been wins too. They possess a number of good players and despite a heavy loss to France they had a good World Cup and carried that into their Euro 2016 qualifying.
Currently third in their European Championship qualifying group; the Swiss will be looking for yet another win here. They won on Friday night, easily dispatching Estonia 3-0. They are their groups second highest goal scorers, only behind group leaders England.
For the Swiss, watch out for Ricardo Rodriguez, who has been labelled as one of the best prospects in Europe, and subsequently linked with a host of clubs including Manchester United. He is a real athlete, who is adept going forward as much as he is defensively.
Then there is the star man, Inter’s Xherdan Shaqiri, who has been nicknamed ‘the Alpine Messi’. He has 15 goals for his country, in 42 caps. A great career so far for a player who is still only 23 years old. The US defense will have a real task on their hands to contain him.
Switzerland provide much tougher opposition in all aspects on the field than Denmark, and are ranked 12th in the FIFA World Rankings, leaving the game statistically very much in Switzerland’s favor.
With the performance against Denmark weighing on their minds, the USMNT really needs a win here. Conceding late goals has become all too common, and despite the promise showed by Jordan Morris he is still young and only playing at college level against experienced defenders.
Switzerland will no doubt feel confident of a win, with seemingly no better time to play a disrupted and low on confidence US side. That said, this sport is unpredictable and the expectation to lose could spur the US to victory.
The USA have played Switzerland a number of times, their most recent meeting was in 2007; with a 1-0 victory courtesy of a Michael Bradley goal.
If the USA can at least not concede late goals like their previous games that will be a bonus, if anything is to be gained at all. Also, if they do pull off a win, well, what a statement that would be.
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), Jordan Morris (Stanford)