Bradley will be supported by Danny Williams. Klinsmann is high on him,Clay Matthews Youth Jersey, and though there are those who claim this stems from some sort of German-American nepotism - that word just won't leave the US national team alone - the kid can play. If he can stop up the impending Italian counter-attacks and get the ball back up to playmakers like Dempsey, his performance will go along way towards not only beating Italy, but securing a starting spot come World Cup Qualifying,Santonio Holmes Jersey.
This is where the match will be won and lost. Contrary to popular internet speculation, Klejstan is not in Klinsmann's doghouse. The manager appears to prefer Torres to the Anderlecht string-puller,Jason Pierre-Paul Youth Jersey, but his call-up adds anoter potential flavor to an already crowded midfield. Though Kyle Beckerman's swift and safe return to fitness will add depth to the player pool, Michael Bradley has shown repeatedly why he's an all around better player. This isn't the "headless chicken" Michael Bradley however, that many maligned in years past. At Chievo he has setttled into more of a deeper playmaking role. The man still has an ungodly engine, but his fine form and familiarity with the Italian league will see him pull the strings against Italy. How well he paces his team through the match will almost certainly decide the final result.
The US has never beaten Italy.
Should Jurgen Klinsmann's charges beat Italy Wedneday, it will be a first.
By Jacob Klinger
With the recent injury to Oguchi Onyewu (knee ligament damage) and the late withdrawal of Timothy Chandler (pulled hamstring), the defense is as in flux as ever. The veteran savvy of Carlos Bocanegra should help hold down the fort, but his center back partner will have a lot to say about that. Italy will likely give the US some room to breathe and do not present the most imposing of physical specimens. Michael Parkhurst would seem a natural fit, yet it looks like Clarence Goodson will get the nod instead, Klinsmann is all about the posession, so Goodson's distribution will be under close scrutiny. That said, if he can keep Alessandro Matri and co. off the scoresheet, Klinsmann will gladly accept a wayward pass or two.
Hopefully plural. Jozy Altidore is the country's best striker hands down and he plays best with a strike partner. While Jozy's skillset has grown and diversified with AZ Alkmaar - 13 goals this season - he still benefits from the presence of a fellow back line-pesterer. Edson Buddle did the job just fine against Slovenia, snagging a goal and otherwise displaying some solid holdup play. Unless Jozy's completely mutated,Steve Smith Jersey, he and the team need this. Buddle's no Robin though, he knows his way around the box and could snag a goal of his own. Terrence Boyd could get some time as many fans are waiting to see what the Dortmund prospect can do on a full team international level.
HAVE YOUR SAY . . . Looking for something else against Italy? Don't think Fab can play left back? Should Goodson even start? Is Jozy ready for a lone striker assignment? Who's better Edu or Williams? Let it all out in the Facebook comments section below.
For as much as Klinsmann and company will look to score a historic win over Italy, this match is a test and it's not pass/fail. What the match will best reveal is just how willing Klinsmann and his team are willing to take the game to a top-notch team that will willingly let them do so. How well the US manages this opportunity will say plenty about it's attacking mentality heading into World Cup Qualifying. There, the US will find plenty of space to play in, though against weaker opposition. The Italy match will test the same dissecting skills, only against a much thicker defense,Champ Bailey Broncos Jersey.
Barring any health concerns, Howard will start in goal. At most, Guzan will get a half, but don't bet on it. Howard needs to gel with his defenders just as much as they need to gel with each other, whoever they might be.
More importantly, though, Klinsmann will have the chance to evaluate a near-first choice squad against the stiffest competition his side has faced since his hiring in July. Despite injuries and illness ruling out Landon Donovan, Jermaine Jones, Timothy Chandler and Jose Francisco Torres, the Italy match promises to tell fans and coaches alike plenty about the National Team.
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The outisde backs have been a point of much contention in the buildup to the match. Klinsmann originally promised to play his men exclusively in one position, but with a mini injury crisis in the wake of Chandler's withdrawal - a tellingly sad indication of the US's lack of depth at left back - it has been widely speculated that Fabian Johnson will fill in on the left flank. On the other side, Steve Cherundolo looks likely to man his regular position at right back. If any of the defense is a late scratch, though, utility man Jonathan Spector could see time in the back line.
On the left wing, Brek Shea and his pace and strength will be responsible for keeping Italy as pinned back as much as possible,LeSean McCoy Eagles Jersey. Clint Dempsey, nominally on the right will play as much of a traditional No. 10 role as anyone on the pitch Wednesday. He'll pinch in early and often, allowing the fullbacks room to overlap, but also to create chances through the heart of the Italian defense. Dempsey's already netted 16 times for Fulham this season, but Shea has shown a troubling degree of hesitance in front of goal lately for that Nats. Still, the tandem of Johnson and Shea on the left will be handful for any defense, if they can pull Italy wide and serve the two strikers with a respectable stream of crosses, the US should capitalize on its plethora of poachers.
Jacob Klinger is a regular contributor to Soccer 365, where his column Ready Set America appears weekly. Jacob also regularly writes for No Short Corners. He is currently a journalism student at Syracuse University. His love for the game goes back as far as he can remember, but was truly christened during the United States' cardiac qualifying campaign for Korea/Japan 2002. Between classes and columns, he still plays. You can follow him on Twitter @MrJacobK or email him at [email protected]
The biggest test will be the back line's ability to stay organized. Like Bradley before him, Klinsmann expect the fullbacks to provide width, but Italy will be extra keen to counter against the slower pairing of Bocanegra and Goodson. Fabian Johnson, a natural midfielder may find himself especially vulnerable. His saving grace, both in attack and defense, may be his speed.