There is a different spirit of air coming into the United States Men’s National Team summer schedule beginning tomorrow against Belgium. Gone are the panicked headlines and doubts of whether Jurgen Klinsmann can lead the U.S. to the 2014 World Cup. This was largely due to the five day stretch in late March that saw the U.S. win 1-0 over Honduras at home and a historic 0-0 draw at the Azteca Stadium versus Mexico. With the “monkey off their backs”, the United States enters into an even more crucial month of friendlies and World Cup qualifiers. Here is a preview of the next campaign on the road to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.
vs Belgium May 29th (Cleveland, Ohio ESPN 8pm): The fifteenth ranked team in the world comes stateside with experience and a desire to prepare for their World Cup qualifier versus Serbia on June seventh. The U.S. will have a roster similar to the one at Azteca in March and will see the return of former international Stuart Holden. Klinsmann has praised Holden’s discipline and dedication in his injury comeback and will most likely play Holden for his first international appearance since 2010.
vs Germany June 2nd (Washington D.C. ESPN2 2:30pm): In celebration of U.S. Soccer’s centennial, the German National Team—Klinsmann’s former team as a player and coach—will come play the Yanks in the nation’s capital. Germany has one of the best squads in the world, and it will be another test for any lineup Klinsmann puts out. This match will be another measuring stick for Klinsmann, but is mostly in honoring game of the hundred years of U.S. Soccer.
vs Jamaica June 7th (Kingston, Jamaica beIN Sports 9:30pm): The U.S. will return to World Cup Qualifying in the Hexagonal versus a Jamaican team that caused them problems in the group stage. At 0-2-1 Jamaica will be looking for a key victory at home and will be confident hosting in Kingston after defeating the U.S. 2-1 last September.
vs Panama June 11th (Seattle, Washington ESPN 9:30pm): For the first time ever, Century Link Field—home of the Seattle Sounders—will host the United States Men’s National Team for a World Cup qualifier. The passionate Northwest soccer fans and “noise designed” stadium will give the Yanks a strong home field advantage versus Panama, who is currently leading the Hexagonal. Panama is coming off of a victory over Honduras, who the U.S. lost to on the road.
vs Honduras June 18th (Salt Lake City, Utah ESPN 10pm): The U.S. will be seeking revenge against a strong Honduras side at the intimate “Riot”. After four matches, this will be the final chance for the U.S. to earn points in qualifiers until the Fall. This match will test the stamina and depth of both teams.
The Gold Cup (June-July): The CONCACAF Gold Cup is held every two years and will be a chance for some of the younger U.S. players to showcase their talents and potentially make the Fall camp.
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***All times Eastern