'It's going to take all hands on deck'

[USA-MEXICO] Goalkeeper Tim Howard has come right out and said it: he and his USA teammates are out for revenge.

Being thumped, 4-2, by your bitterest rival will do that to a team, yet re gardless of the result in Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field Wednesday (TV: ESPN2, Univision, live, 9 p.m. ET), Mexico will reign as Concacaf champion. The first match for Jurgen Klinsmann as U.S. head coach is one of the most competitive he will ever face, and it’s also just six and a half weeks removed from a painful defeat.

“We need to win the game,” said the U.S. keeper on the federation’s Web site. “It’s important for us, for the rivalry, and it’s important to get off to a good winning start. There’s a lot of challenges that have to be met with the travel, the recovery and the lineups, and again just a lot of adapting. It’s going to take all hands on deck and hopefully we get it right with a good performance and we can build from that.”

Howard and his teammates had best be brimming with precision as well as inspiration, for instead of bringing a weaker team to this friendly than it fielded at the Gold Cup, the Mexico squad is perhaps stronger. Only Javier Hernandez, who suffered a concussion training with Manchester United during its tour of the U.S., has been omitted. Pablo Barrera (twice), Andres Guardado and Giovani dos Santos scored at the Rose Bowl that day and are in Philadelphia.

Also included are four of the five players suspended for the Gold Cup after testing positive for the banned anabolic agent clenbuterol: Christian Bermudez, Guillermo Ochoa, Antonio Naelson and Francisco Rodriguez. The fifth, Edgar Duenas, is not in the squad.

The original USA team named by Klinsmann has lost three players. Robbie Rogers of Columbus has replaced Maurice Edu, and Zach Loyd of FC Dallas was named to take over for Tim Chandler. Defender Clarence Goodson, a mainstay at the Gold Cup, suffered a strained hamstring playing for his Danish club Brondby last weekend and was excused. No replacement was named.

In a first for this rivalry, the USA squad includes four Mexican League players: Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca), Edgar Castillo (Club America), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis) and DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla). Travel problems delayed Beasley’s arrival until Tuesday, and he is one of several options Klinsmann has at left mid. Castillo, Rogers and Brek Shea are also in contention to play on the left flank, where Landon Donovan played much of the time for predecessor Bob Bradley.

The absence of Edu won’t leave the USA short-handed in the middle. Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones, the regular central duo in the Gold Cup, are in the squad, Torres is primarily a central player, and Real Salt Lake captain Kyle Beckerman adds his energy and drive, not to mention those very cool dreadlocks.

Castillo is a possibility at left back and given the plethora of midfielders on the roster, he may get a chance to play alongside captain Carlos Bocanegra. Goodson’s absence could open up the other centerback spot for Tim Ream, whose rough outings at the Gold Cup prompted Bob Bradley to bench him, or Orozco Fiscal, who played at Lincoln Financial Field last season during the Philadelphia Union’s expansion year and has several years of experience in the Mexican League. Like Castillo and Loyd, Orozco Fiscal has just one cap.

Steve Cherundolo has been training for several weeks after suffering a severely sprained ankle in the Gold Cup final, but didn’t play last weekend for Hannover on the first day of the Bundesliga season. Loyd can play either outside back position, as can Heath Pearce.

Freddy Adu and Juan Agudelo -- who started five of six Gold Cup games -- are among the choices up top, as is Edson Buddle, a member of the 2010 World Cup squad who since leaving the Galaxy has played for FC Ingolstadt in the German second division.

The exclusions of Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore will give the USA a very different look as Klinsmann begins the process of learning about the team he has been hired to redesign.

“It’s still Mexico,” said Donovan prior to the team’s training session Tuesday. “It’s still an important game for us in that way, but big picture, the important thing is starting to learn what the expectations are and how’s it’s going to be going forward with Juergen.”

8 comments about "'It's going to take all hands on deck'".
  1. Andrew Post, August 10, 2011 at 9:01 a.m.

    Personally i am excited to see how Klinsmann shapes this team. This game howerver, will not be any indication of what lies ahead. Only 12 days after being named head coach he is to coach against Mexico with a make shift squad. 3 injuries have cost the team 3 experienced players and now he has to rely on the likes of Robbie Rogers (puke), Tim Ream ( 2 years away from being effective), and Edgar Castillo (jury is out on him).
    I do not expect much from this game other than Klinsmann evaluating players. I'm sure he will see what Aston Villa, and Monchengladbach have deduced from Bradley: He is not an elite player and doesn't belong in Europe. Becherman belongs only in the MLS, Ream is a couple years away and needs experience overseas. Torres and Beasley deserved a regular spot on the team all along and the reinvention of Adu is for real.

  2. Paolo Jacobs, August 10, 2011 at 10:09 a.m.

    I don't think Timmy should come and say the US r lookin for revenge... Ur just asking for punishment by a very good Mexican team that holds possession very well... Let's face it, missing Deuce will be big, I hope the US plays very competitely and makes a game of it while it learns how what Jurgen wants from them

  3. John Foust, August 10, 2011 at 11:12 a.m.

    Still wish Luchaj and Holden (if he's fit) would have been named ... Luchaj presented an intriguing profile with his overlapping play. Does anyoneknow if he's injured?

  4. Alberto Mora, August 10, 2011 at 12:42 p.m.

    What Coach Klinsmann will be doing is observe what players are suitable to start his team, this is basically an "scrimmage" after all he is the first real Coach for the US since Bora Mulitinovic for those fans interested in the process on the making of our National team take the players names and keep the records.
    As for Tim Howard and his statement shows his inmaturity, "revenge" will be only if he says that before a real competitive match.

  5. Carlos Thys, August 10, 2011 at 1:40 p.m.

    Ugh, not good: Game kickoff temperature will be over 86 degrees F on the field. Humidity will be just below 50% and will rise steadily over the 110 minutes of the match (45 + halftime + secnd half). Who schedules this nonsense? Sure, we should honor Philadelphia's stadium and faithful fans with a home hosting for a USMNT match. That's a-okay. But on August 10? We're lucky we don't have the 100 degree heat of just 10 days ago there. Hey, US Soccer, if you just have to have a August 10th match on the calendar, can't you schedule it for, oh I dunno, New Hampshire, Milwaukee....or Seattle? (Now wouldn't that make more sense?) I want to see sport/running. Not guys trying to conserve energy or worrying about overheating. Rather expensive tickets to just see a "walkabout."

  6. Philippe Fontanelli, August 10, 2011 at 1:43 p.m.

    The U.S. midfield is going to be the deciding factor as the defense is very weak including the goalkeeper/s. JK likes the attacking game and he is very keen on the left footed/sided players, Thank God. Thus finally Donovan will be in the position that he is the best at and he should have been all the time. But BB was blind and so is Arena. I'll bet you all that due to the above there will be Five midfielders in this game with Donovan in the middle as a playmaker and an attacking midfielder moving up with the attack joining the solo forward as the second forward. There will be two defensive midfielders either side of Donovan (one most likely will have attacking/moving up responsibility also), and two midfielders on the flank both to attack and to defend the outside corridors.
    Don't expect too much flair (except Donovan, Adu and Torres)but genuine clever tactics! BTW hope that Castillo is the left back.

  7. John Pomeroy, August 10, 2011 at 2:59 p.m.

    For too long the US has tried to fit players into a fixed scheme instead of developing the scheme to accomodate the players we have. Roles have been too rigid: wide midfielders who always stay on the flanks, 2 defensive midfielders who, in theory at least, stay at home to allow the attackers freedom in front of them, and forwards who wait for service. Defenders should first of all be excellent defenders, and any offense is a bonus. Midfielders and forwards should interchange so that one might advance in the center, then on the wing, then come deep. They are smart enough to know that one of them should stay back in support of the defense, but it doesn't matter which one. Too often the two "defensive" midfielders have been caught upfield, and since the other midfielders felt no defensive responsibility too much space was left behind. A win tonight would be a huge upset. Mexico is really on the rise, and Barrera was a terror in the Gold Cup Final. We can only hope to develop creative players like that.

  8. David Huff, August 10, 2011 at 9:21 p.m.

    I can't believe I have to watch this game on ESPN3 because ESPN has chosen to contunue showing Little League baseball instead, the USSF needs to award its TV contracts to someone other than this "baseball" network.

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