The Unites States National Team plays the second of their two European friendlies to close out 2013 with a clash against Austria, in Vienna on Friday. Jurgen Klinsmann will be targeting an improved performance from the one his side put in during a dour goalless draw against Scotland last week, as he seeks to build momentum ahead of the 2014 World Cup.
Klinsmann is again without some of his chief creative talent in captain Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Graham Zusi and will be looking to examine some of his fringe talent with next summer firmly in mind. Young forward Aron Johansson came on as a substitute in Glasgow on Friday and again caused a spark for the side. Klinsmann believes the AZ Alkmaar man, born in Alabama but raised in his parents’ home country of Iceland, is getting increasingly comfortable in the U.S. setup.
“He’s still fresh to our team, he’s getting more and more comfortable in the group, and I think you see the qualities that he has,” he said after the Scotland match, according to USSoceer.com. “It’s good to see that process. Now, if we want to do that from the beginning or as a sub, it’s important to see that he has the confidence, the qualities to step it up. It’s really nice to watch.”
The U.S. have met Austria twice before, with the first meeting coming at the 1990 World Cup. Austria were 2-1 winners on that occasion with current U.S. assistant coach Andreas Herzog in the Austria side. In their most recent contest, the U.S. came out on top 3-0, in Vienna, in 1998.
Unlike their opponents, Austria will not be going to the World Cup this time around. Marcel Koller’s side finished third in a group containing Germany and Sweden as their wait to make it to soccer’s showpiece will now extend to at least 20 years. They can, though, call upon the quality of Bayern Munich defender David Alaba, who operates in a midfield role at international level. Stoke City’s Marko Arnautovic and Aston Villa’s Andreas Weimann will also be danger men for the U.S. to watch.
D: Orozco, Gonzalez, Brooks, Beasley
M: Bedoya, Bradley, Jones, Shea
F: Johansson, Altidore
D: Garics, Prodl, Dragovic. Fuchs
M: Kavlak, Alaba
Harnik, Ivanschitz, Arnautovic
Where to watch: The international friendly will kick off at 2.45 p.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by the NBC Sports Network and UniMas, with a live stream available on NBC Sports Live Extra.
Sports reporter, mainly focusing on my native sport of soccer, but also dabbling in some tennis and Formula One.