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Three(ish) Things to Look for in Tomorrow’s Friendly vs. the Aussies

June 4, 2010
Get Up There, Gooch!

Get Up There, Gooch!

1. Just Stay Healthy

First, don’t expect Jozy to play. In my opinion, if there’s a 5 percent chance of causing any further damage to the sprained ankle, he should sit and just rest up for next week. Second, I’d like to see our hobbling defensive corps continue to build up some stamina and cohesion by keeping the starters in for close to 60 minutes. Lastly, and most importantly, let’s all knock on wood, rub the rabbits foot, and cross our fingers that there are no Didier Drogba like injuries tomorrow.

2. Air Traffic Control

It’s no secret that a major worry for the USMNT is the health and form of Oguchi Onyewu. One of Gooch’s major strengths has always been his able to clear out dangerous balls in the air, a huge reason for our success in last summer’s Confederations Cup. This could be a huge worry next week with the probable starting combo of Wayne “Gorilla” Rooney and Peter “Giraffe” Crouch. Luckily for us, our final tune up will give us a perfect test in the form of Tim “Kangaroo” Cahill and his pogo-stick legs. Known for his ability to turn any ball in the air into a goal, I’ll pay particular attention to Gooch and his mates on free kicks and crosses from out wide.

3. Who Starts at Center Midfield?

The entire focus of this game will be on preparing for England, as opposed to beating Australia. For that reason, the person teaming with Michael Bradley will likely start the England game(barring a terrible performance). While I expect it to be Maurice Edu, Jose Francisco Torres is a possibility. If Edu starts, it will be important to watch his distribution and creativity on offense. On the other hand, if Torres is the choice, it will be crucial to see if he can maintain the defensive intensity he showed in the game against Turkey. In the end, I think that Edu will be the choice based on Bradley’s familiarity with Mo and the increased emphasis on defense.

3b. Watching Up Front

Just like last week, there are questions at striker. With Altidore injured, no matter how probably his return is, Bob Bradley will use this as a test to see who will be Altidore’s understudy, and how well they perform may tell us just how important Jozy’s form is to the team. I think Bradley knows better than to start Dempsey up top, I’m guessing he puts Buddle and maybe Gomez (maybe Dempsey instead of Gomez). Or he may let Buddle lead the line alone with a 5 man midfield. Either way, it will be interesting.

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