Tuesday, May 23, 2006

US National Team Send Off Series

US vs. Morocco
The US National Team plays Morocco tonight in Nashville as the first step in the send off series to Germany for the World Cup. I am not going to be making any predictions for these matches, as Arena has stated that he will most likely be using all of the players in order to get them match time and test out some ideas. These should be interesting matches.

Playing Morocco makes sense as the US team plays Ghana in the first round. Morocco are also one of the better African nations when it comes to world football. Cameroon or Nigeria would have been slightly stronger opponents, but Morocco fill the need for this match on two levels; an opponent and they are from Africa so their style of play will be closer to Ghana than say a Japan would be.

Venezuela is not that bad a choice. They don't suck like a Grenada or Cuba would have, but they are not Columbia or Chile. They should still give the US side a good test, considering their build up.

Latvia is the only questions mark here. I am really not sure what this is going to prove. I wasn't even aware that Latvia had a national side, or even pro players. I am sure that the US could have been able to schedule another non-World Cup opponent for this match. New Zealand comes to mind, as they have some players in the EPL. Austria or Romania maybe, as they might have provided a good test. Anyone thought of playing Mexico? I doubt that they would have really wanted to play each other, as the Mexican players might have not wanted to lose to us before the World Cup.

In reality, what matters most is that the US teams gets as much match time together. If that means playing Latvia, then that is better than only playing 2 matches. I would have liked to seen the US add maybe a 4th match, one in Belgium or Hamburg, against Belgium or Denmark. I think getting a match in against a European side would provide a good test against the US squad, considering they are playing 2 European teams in the first round.


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