BRIAN SCIARETTA - Monday, August 9, 2010
The United States national team will return to action on Tuesday night when they take on five-time World Cup champion Brazil in a friendly at the New Medowlands Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
US head coach Bob Bradley has named an 18-man roster that contains mostly players who either played on the 2010 World Cup team in South Africa or were on the 30 man preliminary roster.
The US will be captained again by Carlos Bocanegra who wore the armband through most of the last cycle. Joining Bocanegra in the backline will be Steve Cherundolo, Jonathan Spector, Omar Gonzalez, Jonathan Bornstein, Clarence Goodson and Omar Gonzalez
Gonzalez serves as the only newcomer for the US team. The 6'4" LA Galaxy central defender could make his long awaited international debut against the powerful Brazilians.
With mainstays Oguchi Onyewu and Jay Demerit not with the team, Gonzalez will look to provide skill to stop the South Americans' explosive attack.
The US attack will be lead by Villarreal forward Jozy Altidore who has returned to the Spanish club after a season long loan to then-English Premier League Hull City.
He will be joined by World Cup teammates Robbie Finley, Herculez Gomez and Edson Buddle who will all be looking to recover from a World Cup in which the forwards were unable to score a single goal.
The American midfield will be anchored by Landon Donovan who enters the game with much fanfare after scoring three goals in South Africa and consistently being a thorn in the side of US opponents.
Donovan will be joined by likely starters Maurice Edu, Michael Bradley and Benny Feilhaber who all played well this summer.
They will be joined by Sacha Kljestan and Alejandro Bedoya who both narrowly missed out on the World Cup team but will be looking to establish themselves on the USMNT early in the 2014 cycle.
The goalkeeping position will once again be filled by regulars Tim Howard and Brad Guzan who were regulars throughout the entire cycle.
The US is no stranger in facing the Brazilian team. In the last cycle the two teams played three times with Brazil winning all three. In the most recent game, the 2009 Confederations Cup final, the Americans took a 2-0 lead into halftime only to succumb 3-2 after a fierce second half push from Brazil.
The game will also be the first game for Brazil after the World Cup where they exited in the quarterfinals with a 2-1 loss to eventual runners-up Holland.
The disappointing finish for Brazil led to head coach Dunga being fired and replaced by former Corinthians coach Mano Menezes who will be making his international coaching debut against the US.
Menezes will be looking to rebuild the Brazilian team and the squad he has selected for Tuesday's game contains many players who did not play in South Africa with AC Milan's Alexandre Pato being the key addition.
Brazil will also be led by a trio of Santos forwards; Robinho and Neymar along with midfielder Paulo Ganso. Their defense will be anchored by Barcelona's Dani Alves along with AC Milan's Thiago Silva and Benfica's David Luiz.
While Menezes looks to begin his coaching job with the national team, his counterpart in Bradley could possibly be coaching his last game with the US national team.
Bradley's contract with US Soccer expires at the end of the year and both sides are unsure about the future.
Bradley has admitted to wanting to coach in Europe but has also indicated he would be open to an extension with US Soccer. US Soccer has held talks with Bradley but more advanced talks will likely take place after Tuesday's game.
The US will likely be quite active throughout the rest of this year as rumors persist about the possibility of three potential friendlies being scheduled for the rest of 2010.
The next competition for the US will be next summer's Gold Cup with a place in the 2013 Confederations Cup given to the winner.