BRIAN SCIARETTA - Tuesday, January 29, 2013
The United States national team will open its busy 2013 schedule on Tuesday night when it hosts Canada at Houston's BBVA Compass Stadium.
US head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has stressed that this game is an important part of preparation for the start of the final round of World Cup qualifying which begins on February 6 with a visit to Honduras.
Klinsmann also went onto add that as many as eight players from this January camp could make the roster for the game against Honduras. The annual January camp usually features players from MLS and Scandinavian leagues on winter break.
The US players with the most at stake in the game are central defenders Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez who are aiming to break into the full national team in 2013. Central defense has been an area of concern for the US team in 2012 with Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu, and Clarence Goodson all struggling.
After recovering from ACL surgery, Gonzalez was a big part of the Galaxy's run to a second straight MLS Cup. Besler is also coming off an impressive season with Kansas City where he won the MLS defender of the year.
Norwegian based midfielders Mikkel Diskerud and Josh Gall are also expected to play a role in the game after playing in November's 2-2 draw with Russia to close out the 2012 schedule.
At forward, Klinsmann is likely to give minutes to Eddie Johnson, Will Bruin, Juan Agudelo, and Chris Wondolowski. Last week in a closed door friendly the US team defeated Club Tijuana's reserve team 3-0 and Bruin scored two goals.
Canada is entering in the game off a lopsided 4-0 defeat last week to Denmark. Last year Canada was eliminated from World Cup qualifying and in their final game they were thoroughly outclassed by Honduras in an 8-1 drubbing.
The two teams most recently met last June in Toronto when they played to a dull 0-0 draw.