BRIAN SCIARETTA - Friday, June 8, 2012
The United States national team opens its 2014 World Cup qualifying campaign tonight with a home game in Tampa against Antigua & Barbuda.
US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann will have to make his way without his two left backs as Fabian Johnson is still injured with a calf injury and Edgar Castillo is out with a hamstring injury.
The US will likely elect to start with Clarence Goodson and Carlos Bocanegra in central defense. At right back, Steve Cherundolo is the obvious pick. At left back the likely choice is Nordsjaelland's Michael Parkhurst who played on the left with his club occasionally this season.
In the midfield, Michael Bradley, Jermaine Jones, and Jose Torres are the top candidates after playing most minutes in the three previous friendlies.
Landon Donovan should begin the game at right wing and Clint Dempsey will also start. At forward, Jozy Altidore has now been with the team for more than a week and he should be fully caught up.
The US enters into the game with more questions than answers. The US previously played three friendlies in the run up to Antigua and Barbuda and results have been mixed.
In the first game, the US easily dispatched Scotland 5-1 but then they fell to Brazil 4-1. In their last game they were lethargic and drew Canada 0-0.
Antigua and Barbuda are not expected to put up much of a fight against the Americans but the question will be how much confidence the game gives the US team heading into a tricky matchup against Guatemala on the road on Tuesday.