The USA closes out its 2018 men's schedule with a friendly against Italy on Tuesday in the Belgian city of Genk.
Like the USA, the Azzurri are trying to rebuild after failing to qualify
for the 2018 World Cup and will field a young team. But unlike the USA, Italy has a permanent coach in place, Roberto Mancini
, and has been tested in a series of competitive matches.
With Italy's UEFA Nations League campaign behind it -- it finished second in its group -- Mancini will use the match on Tuesday to continue to test young players. Just six starters from the 0-0 tie
with Portugal in the final Nations League match in Milan were retained.
Italy's squad includes 19-year-old AC Milan keeper Gianluigi Donnaurumma
, who already has 11 caps, and
18-year-olds Sandro Tonali
(Brescia) and Moise Kean
(Juventus), who are among six players looking for their first cap on Tuesday.
“We need to get to know them better,
to see them in action,” Mancini told RAI television. “I think there are many talented players out there. They just need to gain some experience, to ensure that we can have a bright future
ahead of us.”
That sounds very familiar to what U.S. interim coach Dave Sarachan
has been saying the last year as he's given 22 players their first cap in the 11 games he's
been in charge.
All the U.S. matches have been friendlies, but the last six games have been against 2018 World Cup finalists. The USA beat Mexico (1-0), tied France (1-1) and Peru (1-1)
and lost to Brazil (2-0), Colombia (4-2) and England (3-0). Of those games, Thursday's match against England at Wembley was probably the poorest performance.
"Over the course of 12
months," Sarachan said at Monday's press conference, "in all the matches we've played, we've made it somewhat hard on teams -- whether it's getting in on tackles or blocking passing lanes or making it
difficult for teams to really create a lot of chances. I thought in the England game we lost that element a little bit." Lineup changes.
With Weston McKennie
back at Schalke 04, Tyler Adams
, one of four players in the U.S. team still in the MLS playoffs, should start in midfield. Aaron Long
, Adam's New
York Red Bulls teammates, could get a start in the back after an encouraging debut in October against Peru. Ethan Horvath
, who plays in Belgium for Club Brugge, might get his first start of
2018. Sarachan said 18-year-old Josh Sargent
, who scored in the 1-1 tie with Peru, was ready to go after sitting out the England game with an ankle injury. Series.
The only U.S. win in the 11-game series came in the last meeting between the two teams in 2012. Clint Dempsey
's goal gave the USA a 1-0 win in
Genoa -- the first big victory of Jurgen Klinsmann
's tenure. No player from either team was called in for Tuesday's game. U.S.
Brad Guzan (Atlanta United FC; 60/0), Jonathan Klinsmann (Hertha Berlin/GER; 0/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 2/0) DEFENDERS
: John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 36/3), Reggie Cannon (FC Dallas; 1/0), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Swansea City/WAL; 6/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 1/0), Matt Miazga (Nantes/FRA; 11/1), Shaq
Moore (Reus/ESP; 4/0), Jorge Villafana (Portland Timbers; 20/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 57/0), Walker Zimmerman (LAFC; 3/1) MIDFIELDERS (10):
Kellyn Acosta (Colorado
Rapids; 22/2), Tyler Adams (NY Red Bulls; 8/1), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC; 5/0), Romain Gall (Malmo/SWE; 0/0), Julian Green (Greuther Fuerth/GER; 15/4), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 4/1), Christian
Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 22/9), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht/BEL; 3/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 10/0), Tim Weah (Paris SG/FRA; 8/1) FORWARDS (2):
Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER;
5/2), Bobby Wood (Hannover 96/GER; 44/13).
Alessio Cragno (Cagliari; 0/0),
Gianluigi Donnaurumma (AC Milan; 11/0), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino; 18/0) DEFENDERS (7):
Francesco Acerbi (Lazio; 2/0), Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina; 4/1), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus;
84/6), Mattia De Sciglio (Juventus; 36/0), Gianluca Manchini (Atalanta; 0/0), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea/ENG; 1/0), Daniele Rugani (Juventus; 7/0) MIDFIELDERS (6):
(Cagliari; 3/0), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter Milan; 5/0), Vincenzo Grifo (Hoffenheim/GER; 0/0), Stefano Sensi (Sassuolo; 0/0), Sandro Tonali (Brescia; 0/0), Marco Verratti (Paris SG/FRA; 28/1)
Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo; 4/0), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina; 10/0), Moise Kean (Juventus; 0/0), Kevin Lasagna (Udinese; 2/0), Leonardo Pavoletti (Cagliari; 0/0), Matteo Politano
(Inter Milan; 1/0). Note:
In parentheses are caps and goals.