Three big storylines to follow in Czech Republic-USA

[CZECH REPUBLIC-USA] Jurgen Klinsmann will send out the youngest team of his tenure as U.S. national team coach when the USA faces the Czech Republic on Wednesday in Prague. Of the 18 field players likely to dress, the average age is 22.8, and just three of them started in the 2014 World Cup. Here are three Czech Republic-USA storylines.

Search for No. 1 in goal. Tim Howard's decision to sit out the 2014-15 national team season means Jurgen Klinsmann must find a No. 1 in goal, at least through next summer's Gold Cup.

The obvious choice is Brad Guzan, the only other keeper starting for a top-flight club in Europe. But Klinsmann has also brought in Nick Rimando, the No. 3 keeper at the World Cup and the lone player who has flown in from MLS for the game. Rimando and Guzan are at 35 and 29, respectively, the oldest players in Prague.

The job is Guzan's to lose, though Rimando should get a chance in at least one of the two October friendlies that will be played in the United States.

Huge opportunity for backups. This is far from a full-strength squad with few options in midfield, so this will be a chance for Mix Diskerud and Joe Corona to step out of the shadows and take on key roles in central midfield.

Diskerud, who turns 24 in October, made the World Cup team but did not play in Brazil; Corona, who turned 24 in July, was on the 30-player short list but did not survive the Stanford camp.

Both are starting for their club teams -- though Cesar Farias, the coach who put Corona back in the lineup, was fired by Xolos over the weekend -- so Klinsmann is counting on them for the new cycle.

Both Diskerud and Corona have heretofore been played a variety of midfield roles. With Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman both in their 30s, Klinsmann will need to groom successors in central midfield.

Newbies in for a look. Klinsmann has up until now been very reluctant to look at new players, in part due to his preference to concentrate on the World Cup, but circumstances dictated that he fill out his roster for the Czech Republic with young players, six of whom are uncapped. The ranks of Americans in Europe has slimmed down considerably as MLS has upped what it will offer players to stay at or return home.

No. 3 keeper Cody Cropper plays for Southampton's U-21s, Joe Gyau is with Borussia Dortmund II, its U-23 team, 18-year-olds Emerson Hyndman (Fulham) and Rubio Rubin (Utrecht) only made their pro debuts in the last month, while Jordan Morris (Stanford) is still in college. All are long-term prospects. (The sixth uncapped player is Tijuana left back Greg Garza, who turned 23 two weeks ago but is already in his fifth pro season.)

Only twice before has Klinsmann brought in players with as little pro experience: Terrence Boyd when he was at Borussia Dortmund II in 2012 and Julian Green, who played most of last season with Bayern Munich II, for the World Cup.

Several of the newbies could earn their first cap. Besides Jozy Altidore, only Bobby Wood of the five forwards on the roster has been capped, and he's played only one game.

U.S. Roster:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Cody Cropper (Southampton/ENG), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa/ENG), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
DEFENDERS (7): John Brooks (Hertha Berlin/GER), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City/ENG), Timmy Chandler (Eintracht Frankfurt/GER), Greg Garza (Tijuana), Fabian Johnson (Borussia M'Gladbach/GER), Michael Orozco (Puebla), Tim Ream (Bolton Wanderers/ENG).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes/FRA), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg/NOR), Julian Green (Hamburg/GER), Emerson Hyndman (Fulham/ENG), Alfredo Morales (Ingolstadt/GER), Brek Shea (Stoke City/ENG).
FORWARDS (5): Jozy Altidore (Sunderland/ENG), Joe Gyau (Borussia Dortmund II/GER), Jordan Morris (Stanford Univ.), Rubio Rubin (FC Utrecht/NED), Bobby Wood (1860 Munich/GER).
3 comments about "Three big storylines to follow in Czech Republic-USA".
  1. Walt Pericciuoli, September 2, 2014 at 9:52 a.m.

    I like what he is doing. Again expanding the pool and forcing more competition for places on the team. Let's give him the time now to develop the new team.

  2. Andrea Hana, September 2, 2014 at 11:39 a.m.

    Lately, the Czech team has not been the set of players that it has been in years past. They didn't qualify for the WC, either. I think it's a great time for Klinsmann to take the opportunity to get some newbies out to get a little playing time. With my husband being Czech, this game will be interesting! I'll be cheering on US while he'll be shouting "Česky! Do toho!" Should be fun! :)

  3. cisco martinez, September 2, 2014 at 11:45 a.m.

    Klinsmann needs to start developing players, we are giving him a contract extension, this is where we need to start showing results from the U-17, U-20's, and Olympic team. The development of our youth systems and MLS is the key to our success. We need to remember the success of the 1999 U-17 class where we introduced Landon Donovan, Beasley, Convey, and Oneywu.

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