After somewhat nervily progressing through to the Concacaf World Cup qualifying Hexagonal, the United States round off what has been something of a mixed year by taking on Russia in a friendly match in Krasnodar.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s led his side to high profile friendly victories over Italy and Mexico in 2012, but also suffered disappointing results against Jamaica and Guatemala. With the U.S.’ final round of qualifying set to begin next February, Klinsmann will be eager for a morale boosting result against one of Europe’s form teams.
Experienced squad members Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan and Steve Cherundolo are all missing but there is an opportunity for some of the country’s young talent to make their mark. The trio of Josh Gatt (Molde), Joe Gyau (St. Pauli) and Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg) have all been included after impressing in some of Europe’s lesser leagues, while Juan Agudelo returns to the senior setup.
Should the inexperienced members of the squad get a run out then they will get a real test away to a Russia team that has begun life in exemplary fashion under new boss Fabio Capello. Russia have won all four of its qualifiers to date for the 2014 World Cup, including a 1-0 victory over Portugal last month.
Capello is likely to field a strong side against the U.S., with the likes of Alan Dzagoev, Roman Shirokov and Aleksandr Kerzhakov all in the Italian’s squad. There is also interest for Russia in a first call up to the senior squad for Denis Cheryshev. The forward has been impressing for Real Madrid’s second team, Castilla as well us for the Russian Under-21 side.
D: Anyukov, Berezutsky, Ignashevich, Kombarov
M: Denisov, Shirokov, Faizulin
F: Dzagoev, Kerzhakov, Bystrov
D: Chandler, Cameron, Bocanegra, Johnson
M: Jones, Williams, Bradley, Kljestan
F: Altidore, Gomez
Prediction: The United States have had some notable results in friendlies away from home this year and getting anything in Russia would certainly add to that list. But with Dempsey and Donovan missing, Russia will be strong favorites to get the victory.
Russia 2-1 USA
Where to watch: The international friendly kicks off from the Stadion Kuban, Krasnodar, at 10 a.m. ET. Coverage will be provided by ESPN2, with a live stream available on ESPN3.