Fittingly enough, you are reading a preview about a game no one cares about on a Friday afternoon. You are forgiven for forgetting that the USMNT is facing off against Venezuela tomorrow evening in the first of two Camp Cupcake friendlies. ESPN doesn’t even care about this match after relegating it to ESPN3, and gracing us with the presence of someone besides Ian Darke.
Venezuela is a strong side that currently sits tied for 1st in CONEMBOL World Cup qualifying. Last year the team lost on penalties in the semifinal of Copa America, and will provide a stern test for the Americans. The lack of Wikipedia means my general research on the squad is for naught, but do you really expect any more from me on a Friday afternoon? Just know they are good and should win
Players to Watch
With the emphasis on MLS and Scandanavia players in this camp, the two biggest names available to Jurgen are USMNT Hair King Brek Shea, and German destructor Jermaine Jones. Jones arrived in camp after an 8 week suspension by the German FA for being a gigantic prick. Still better he plays for us than Mexico. It will be interesting to see what Shea can do when he is arguably the most talented player on the pitch. A good performance here will help cement his status as World Cup Qualifying approaches. For Jones the key is to appear comfortable and confident on the pitch after a previous year that has shown both highs and lows for the national team.
I would also say it is important to look at the play of Omar Gonzalez, but the young defender tore his ACL this month, and Americans will have to wait awhile before seeing if he can become an integral part of WC2014 qualifying.
Also Stuart Holden certainly isn’t playing tomorrow, but he took some time to talk to US Soccer while visiting doctor’s in LA. Hopefully there won’t be anymore setbacks this time around and Holden can fulfill the promise. Imagine a lineup featuring Holden, Shea, and Dempsey. Pardon me while I go find a new pair of pants.
Although this is not the US “A” team, expectations should still be for a decent result against a talented Venezuelan side. With Klinsmann getting close to crunch time, it would be nice to see a few more matches where the team can generate chances. Last year’s Slovenia match was a start, but consistency is a key even without the big names.
Not so much of an expectations is a hope of seeing some young potential. With the Juan Agudelo fever cooling off, Yanks need some poor young sap to pin our hopes and dreams of a World Cup title on. At this rate we will be able to field a full team of players who have been crushed by mighty expectations in another 6 years or so. In all seriousness, it would be good to see a few of the younger players show the potential to step up and contribute down the line. With a few potential cupcake matches in the first round of qualifying for the US, the players who do well over the next week will get an even better chance to put on a show later this year.
The match starts at 9pm ET on Saturday, and we expect a classic 1-1 draw with some shoddy US defending, followed by snatching a late and undeserved equalizer