Wednesday, September 05, 2007

USMNT in need of an opponent.

So as it was rumored yesterday, the Catalonia match set for October 13th has been canceled for the USMNT. As this has only happened six weeks before the match date, the USSF should now be in scramble mode trying to find a replacement opponent and venue for a match on the 13th of October. As I always enjoy trying to help out the USSF, I came up with a list of five countries that according to the FIFA website, do not have any matches scheduled for the 13th.

- Cameroon
- Canada
- Croatia
- Ivory Coast
- Ghana

If you consider any of these possible match ups, all would be good tests for the USMNT. Each side brings something that would provide a great challenge for the Yanks.

Cameroon are ranked right ahead of the USA in the current FIFA rankings, so it isn't like we would be playing Montenegro or Bermuda. Considering the recent lack of African match experience, matching up against Cameroon in Europe would kill two birds with one stone; give the USMNT more European match experience as well as match experience against African nations and their style of play. The chance to possibly have Samuel Eto'o return to international play against the USA would be an equally a great attraction.

Canada would be one of those mouth watering rematches that CONCACAF could use. As the result of the Gold Cup Semi-Final match probably still stings with the Canadian Soccer federation, scheduling a rematch either in Europe (most ideal) or in Toronto should be pretty easy to do. Considering it looked like Canada was going to go on to beat the USA, Canada should no longer be looked upon as an oversight in CONCACAF.

Croatia currently doesn't have a match scheduled (not sure if this is an error or not on but if they are available, this is a match that should be pursued. The #6 ranked country according to FIFA would be a great test for the USA. Facing them in Croatia would be the exact type of situation Bob Bradley and his boys need to get a taste of for World Cup Qualifying. Croatia has a Euro 2008 qualifier on the 17th of October, so they should be in the market for a warm up match.

The Ivory Coast can provide several of the required tests that the USSF should be looking for. Matching our defenders up against Didier Drogba would be an eye opening experience for those who aren't in the Premier League. The Ivory Coast will already most likely be in Europe as they are scheduled to face Austria on the 17th, so why not see if they are interested in a match at Stamford Bridge?

The final country I suggest the USSF try and schedule is Ghana. The chance for a rematch from the final group match in the 2006 FIFA World Cup should be enough to get the USSF on the phone for this match up. Facing off against a Ghana lead by Michael Essian should be a good test for the USMNT. It could also be a great chance for Bradley to decide on whether or not he forces Freddy Adu's hand in which nation he wants to play for.

Any of these five countries would provide a good match up for the USMNT. Any of these could be held outside of the USA, even if it is only being held in Toronto. Having matches outside of the comfort zone of the USA will go a very long way towards getting the players more prepared for tournaments that aren't the Gold Cup. If we want our team to do well, they need more challenges outside of the USA.



Blogger Edward Lee said...

After his massive success at the U-20 World Cup, Adu can't seriously be thinking of playing for Ghana, can he? Is he even eligible to switch sides?

1:22 PM  

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