Preview: USMNT to face Peru in tune-up for CONCACAF playoff vs. Mexico
Who: US national team vs. Peru
When: Friday, Sept. 4, 7 pm ET
Where: RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C.
37 days — that’s all that stands between Jurgen Klinsmann’s US national team and an Oct. 10 showdown with Mexico in the CONCACAF Cup, CONCACAF’s place in the 2017 Confederations Cup on the line.
On Friday, Klinsmann’s bunch will square off against a Peru side that finished third at the 2015 Copa America. It will be the USMNT’s penultimate tune-up ahead of next month’s clash at the Rose Bowl.
WITHOUT THE BIG STARS
For one game, the USMNT will be without Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey, the squad’s two most recent captains. The veteran duo will join up with the USMNT following their Major League Soccer games this weekend, which means a few extra minutes for a select few fringe players, most notably Danny Williams, Mix Diskerud, Jozy Altidore and Aron Johannsson.
Between Bradley’s late arrival and Kyle Beckerman’s absence from the squad, Williams figures to see major minutes alongside and/or replacing Jermaine Jones, who returns to the USMNT after three months out with a groin injury. Klinsmann says Jones will play against Peru, but is nowhere near 90-minutes fit.
GUZAN REMAINS NO. 1, HOWARD BACK AS NO. 2
Klinsmann confirmed this week that Brad Guzan will retain the no. 1 goalkeeper spot despite the return of longtime no. 1 Tim Howard following a year-long sabbatical post-2014 World Cup. Guzan, who assumed the no. 1 shirt in Howard’s absence and played every minute of the USMNT’s fourth-place finish at the Gold Cup, has been chosen to start in goal through the game against Mexico.
VETERAN DEFENDERS RECALLED
Welcome back, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez! Oh, how USMNT have missed you guys (Gonzalez was on the 2015 Gold Cup roster, but played sparingly). After watching John Brooks and Ventura Alvarado struggle to forge a reliable partnership over the Gold Cup’s three-plus weeks — and looking progressively worse in failing to do so — the return of battle-tested center backs like Besler and Cameron will have USMNT fans hoping a return to the bench is in short order for the early-20s duo for the future.
Hilariously enough, now that Cameron has won a starting center back job at Stoke City — something Klinsmann insisted necessary to be considered for the position with the USMNT — the 30-year-old will probably end up back at right back, at least in the short term, with Fabian Johnson and Timothy Chandler on the injured list. Cameron, of course, was Stoke’s regular starter at right back when he was told to win at job at center back.