WTWF: US v Slovakia 11/14/09

The USMNT opens up a 2 game European swing tomorrow Morning in Bratislava, Slovakia at 10AM on Fox Soccer Channel.

A few things to watch along with your breakfast tomorrow AM...

Brad Guzan should get the start in net with Tim Howard choosing to remain in the UK. The 25 year old has impressed in limited club duty at Aston Villa and is seemingly the net minder of the future for the states. Would love to see him take control of a back line that needs to find a cohesiveness fast.

The LB and RB positions are obviously up for grabs. Jonathan Spector has found a solid spot in the West Ham defense which should help him improve immensely over the remainder of the season, can he make that RB position on the USMNT his as well? Steve Cherundolo has the experience though and deals with faster players a little better, I would imagine each one gets a start over the next two weeks.

Who slots in next to Carlos Bocanegra in the middle....Chad Marshall will probably get the nod after a successful Gold Cup this summer but how he holds up against European competition will be a solid test of his mettle. There is the possibility that Onyewu will not be back at full fitness by next Summer so the US needs to make sure they are comfortable with other options. It is also worth watching if Bocanegra is able to take charge and provide the leadership that backline needs.

Sacha Kljestan started 2009 with a lot of hype following his hat trick v Sweden. After falling out of favor with BB, he has been called up again. Does he get and shot and if so, does he prove himself to be the offensive mind that the US needs in the midfield.

Dax McCarty, a talented young forward from the FC Dallas seeks his first cap and hopefully BB is able to get him in there to see how he performs against international competition.

Benny Feilhaber seemed to lose his way over the final two qualifiers, seeming to overthink the game when he had the ball. His instincts and touch are unrivaled on the team and it will be interesting to see if he can gain some international confidence with a solid performance...even as a sub.

Robbie Rogers will probably get the start on the left side of the midfield with Donovan staying in LA. Other than Bradley Jr., Donovan, and Dempsey, the midfield slots for next summer are up for grabs. As with McCarty and Kljestan, a spot on that team can come a little closer if someone like Rogers steps up with a quality performance over the next two games. His pace his dangerous but to just get the ball and bolt down the wing is not what a quality winger is made of. Smart passes, creativity, and a directness are all key qualities to look out for in the midfield tomorrow.

Michael Bradley has been on good form for his club side recently and in a change of roles, he's actually one of the more experienced midfielders in this squad. As always seems to be the case with him, he must keep his composure and remember that this is just a friendly. His intensity is a huge quality but he must harness it.

One must think that Conor Casey and Jozy will start up front but you would have to think that either Jeff Cunningham or Eddie Johnson gets a shot as a sub; probably only 1 makes the 18 for the bench though. Both bring a pace to the field that neither Jozy or Casey can match, so it will be interesting to see if they can harness that into a solid striker performance. A couple quality efforts on net would be a positive sign, along with some good team work with whoever else is left out there. Personally, I still think Dempsey is the best option next summer but let's not beat a dead horse and let BB experiment some as this is the time to do that.

If I had to predict something, which I hate doing, I would say 2-1 Slovakia with a Jozy goal. But how the hell can anyone really expect to say something like with any shred of credibility, it's a shot in the dark...I have as good a shot as your sister at predicting the outcome.

Anywho, watch.

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