U.S. faces off against Poland at Soldier Field

U.S. faces off against Poland at Soldier Field

Saturday, Oct. 9, 2010
5:10 PM

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.

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

[PHOTO] Joe Maddon, Miguel Montero patch things up over a drink

Despite the Cubs ending their 108-year World Series drought, Miguel Montero made offseason headlines for all the wrong reasons when he complained about his role in the Cubs' 2017 championship campaign.

Montero criticized Maddon's communication skills, catching rotation and bullpen decision-making after the team's Grant Park celebration. Maddon brushed off the criticism, and last week at spring training Montero said he hadn't spoke with the Cubs' skipper.

That tension appears to be all but a thing of the past, as Montero posted this picture of him and his manager sharing a drink together sporting nothing but smiles.

It's safe to say Montero would describe his relationship with Maddon now as: #WeAreGood.

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Five Things to Watch: Blackhawks clash with Wild tonight on CSN

Watch as the Blackhawks take on the Minnesota Wild tonight on CSN and streaming live on CSNChicago.com. Coverage begins at 6:30 p.m. with Blackhawks Pregame Live. Then stick around after the final buzzer to watch Blackhawks Postgame Live for highlights and analysis.

Click here to watch the game or download the NBC Sports App, your home for live streaming coverage of the Blackhawks.

Five Things to Watch:

1. Road warriors.

The Blackhawks have won six straight games away from the United Center, and are looking to make it a seventh in Minnesota tonight. They've scored the game's first goal in four of those wins, and in the other two, overcame 1-0 deficits to beat Dallas 5-3 and Edmonton 5-1, the latter of which they scored five unanswered goals.

2. Corey Crawford vs. Devan Dubnyk.

Crawford hasn't quite been the same since undergoing an emergency appendectomy on Dec. 3, but he turned in probably his best outing since then in the Blackhawks' last meeting against Minnesota on Feb. 8 when he stopped 35 of 38 shots in a 4-3 overtime win. He essentially stole two points, and prevented the Wild from picking up the extra one. Across from him tonight will be Dubnyk, who leads the league in wins (32), goals against average (1.97) and save percentage (.934).

3. Jonathan Toews on fire.

After a tough offensive drought earlier in the season that lasted longer than expected, the Blackhawks captain has six goals and 10 assists in his last 12 games, and upped his point total to 37, which now ranks fifth on the team. In the last meeting against Minnesota two weeks ago, Toews had a three-point night and scored the game winner in overtime. 

4. Mikael Granlund among league's most underrated players.

File Granlund under the category of players who don't get enough attention. He has 17 goals and 36 assists in 58 games this season, and his 53 points is tied with Jeff Carter and Artemi Panarin for 13th in the NHL's scoring race. The next highest point total on the Wild is Eric Staal with 45, an eight-point gap between him and Granlund. The 24-year-old forward registered his first career hat trick earlier this month, and also had a 12-game point streak just two weeks ago.

5. Ryan Hartman's closing in on 15 goals.

In Saturday's 3-1 loss to Edmonton, Hartman defended his teammate by fighting an Oilers defenseman that was practically twice his size. He called it a "no-brainer" to stick up for Tanner Kero and did well in the scrap, but it led to an Oilers power play and 10-minute misconduct which didn't do the Blackhawks any favors. He responded in a great way Sunday by scoring the game's first goal that helped his team win 5-1 in Buffalo. The next goal he scores will be No. 15, which would give the Blackhawks six 15-plus goal scorers on the year. They had only four a season ago.

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