Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010
By Justin O'Neil
The U.S. Mens National Team will field a roster made up of all European based players against Poland at Soldier Field tonight. There will be a large Polish crowd at the stadium, but the U.S. has been used to playing in front of opposing crowds over the years with Mexico and Central American countries fans often outnumbering U.S. supporters.
What to watch for
Jermaine Jones: The German-born midfielder will make his U.S. debut after announcing his intent to play for his fathers country last year. The midfielder missed the World Cup due to injury and has been banged up for much of his career, but U.S. fans will finally see what all the hype is about.
Local talent: Head coach Bob Bradley was the Chicago Fires first coach and led them to the MLS Cup and U.S. Open Cup in their inaugural season. His son Michael is a standout midfielder for the U.S. and played for the Chicago Magic youth team in his formative year. Backup keeper Brad Guzan also played for the Magic and attended Providence High School in New Lenox. Another former Magic star, Downers Grove native Eric Lichaj, will make his national team debut. Arlington Heights native Jonathan Spector will be hoping to reemerge as the after losing his starting right back place before the World Cup.
A win: The U.S. fielded a weaker team in the 2-0 loss to Brazil in August, but have a fairly strong team for tonights game. MLS players were not included because of the leagues schedule, but most of the players the U.S. will look to field over the next World Cup cycle are included. Bob Bradley was given a new four-year contract after the World Cup despite the U.S. offering the job to German coach Jurgen Klinsmann, and a win would help bring confidence in his ability back to fans.
A festive crowd: Chicago has one of the biggest Polish communities in the world, and combined with a strong U.S. soccer following in the area, the friendly should give Soldier Field a great atmosphere. Fans were tailgating three-plus hours before tonights game with fans singing a chanting in the parking lots already, so expect a cheerful crowd during the game, which will be on Fox Soccer Channel at 7:00PM.