Ahead of their final two-game stretch of the year, USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann said there will be opportunities for his young players in Friday’s matchup with Colombia at Craven Cottage in London.
The U.S. will follow up the major clash on Fulham’s home field with another friendly against the Republic of Ireland on Tuesday, but Klinsmann has his side focused solely on Colombia’s No. 3-ranked squad and is encouraging all his players to show their highest level.
“The message to all of them, whether it’s the young guys or the veterans, is to go out there and make your case,” Klinsmann said to USSoccer.com. “Be confident. Take risks. Show your quality. If we can get our guys to have that belief, we have shown that we can beat the best teams in the world."
The Yanks will look to make a strong finish in 2014 after some ups and downs. Following their Round of 16 appearance in World Cup, they’ve gone undefeated with a victory over the Czech Republic, and two draws with Ecuador and Honduras.
"We want to finish off a great 2014 on a high note,” Klinsmann said. “It’s going to be a big benchmark for us to compete against a team with the quality of Colombia, but that’s what we came here to do. We’re not here just to put on a good performance – we came to win."
Klinsmann listed 25 players on the roster for the Colombia match, perhaps signaling that proven stars like forward Jozy Altidore and defender DaMarcus Beasley will see action but so could emerging players like forwards Jordan Morris of Stanford University and Utrecht's Rubio Rubin.
Colombia head coach Jose Pekerman brings 16 players from a squad that reached the quarterfinals in Brazil, including Real Madrid star James Rodriguez, Porto’s Jackson Martinez and River Plate’s Teofilo Gutierrez, who’s tops on the team with 13 goals. In particular, Rodriguez was a revelation during the World Cup, earning the Golden Boot award with six goals in five games
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (D.C. United), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Sean Johnson (Chicago Fire), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders DaMarcus Beasley (Houston Dynamo), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt), Greg Garza (Club Tijuana), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), Jermaine Jones (New England Revolution), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Hamburg), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Miguel Ibarra (Minnesota United FC), Jordan Morris (Stanford), Rubio Rubin (Utrecht), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Goalkeepers: Andres Castellanos (Independiente Medellin), Jose Cuadrado (Once Caldas), Camilo Vargas (Santa Fe)
Defenders: Brayan Angulo (Ludogorets), Santiago Arias (PSV Eindhoven), Pablo Armero (Milan), Eder Balanta (River Plate), Daniel Bocanegra (Atletico Nacional), Pedro Franco (Besiktas), Jeison Murillo (Granada), Cristian Zapata (Milan)
Midfielders: Abel Aguilar (Toulouse), Carlos Carbonero (Cesena), Edwin Cardona (Atletico Nacional), Juan Cuadrado (Fiorentina), Alexander Mejia (Atletico Nacional), Juan Quintero (Porto), James Rodriguez (Real Madrid), Carlos Sanchez (Aston Villa)
Forwards: Carlos Bacca (Sevilla), Yimmi Chara (Deportes Tolima), Teofilo Gutierrez (River Plate), Jackson Martinez (Porto), Adrian Ramos (Borussia Dortmund)
Prediction: Colombia over USA, 2-1
Start Time: 2:45 PM ET
TV Channel: ESPN
Live Stream: A live stream is available at Watch ESPN here