BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, May 29, 2012
After a convincing 5-1 win over Scotland on Saturday, US national team will take on world power Brazil on Wednesday night in a friendly at Fed Ex Field in Landover, Maryland.
The US national team has now won four games in a row but on Wednesday they will have their strongest test since Jurgen Klinsmann was hired last August. The game against Brazil will be the second in a five game series that concludes with the first two World Cup qualifiers.
Klinsmann has said that he wants to keep a similar lineup throughout the games. Against Brazil, the US however should have Jozy Altidore back at forward. It is unclear yet if Clint Dempsey will be able to play. He is recovering from a groin injury.
The US defense will likely be Tim Howard in goal with Steve Cherundolo at right back and Fabian Johnson at left back. Klinsmann said that he believes Johnson has been one the best left backs in the Bundesliga in the final three months of the season.
In central defense, captain Carlos Bocanegra will likely be partnered with Oguchi Onyewu who saw minutes as a sub against Scotland. Onyewu arrived at camp late due to the late Portuguese Cup final but should be ready to take the place of Geoff Cameron who started against Scotland.
One of the highlights of the US win over Scotland was the midfield chemistry. Prior to that game, Klinsmann had struggled to figure out how to get Maurice Edu, Jose Torres, Jermaine Jones, and Michael Bradley to play effective together. All four are central midfielders but were a cohesive unit on Saturday.
Those four are likely to start again unless Dempsey is healthy. If Dempsey is healthy, Edu will likely be the one to sit in place of the Fulham star.
Landon Donovan enjoyed a career night against Scotland where he scored a hat trick and had an assist on the final goal. He is the team's all-time leading scorer with 49 international goals. He was explosive on the right wing and that is where he will play against Brazil.
Young central forward Terrence Boyd earned his first international start against Scotland but he is likely to sit in place of the experienced Altidore who is coming off a strong Eredivisie season with AZ Alkmaar.
Brazil enters the game coming off an impressive 3-1 win over Denmark in Germany. It is not the top Brazilian team but it does include 20 year old Santos forward Neymar who could become Brazil's next great star.
The United States has faced Brazil 16 times and has a 1-15 record. The only win was at the 1998 Gold Cup semifinals when a second half goal from Preki and a career performance by goalkeeper Kasey Keller gave the Americans a historic 1-0 win.