The United States Men's National Team has its first friendly this afternoon as they take on Iceland in Carson, California. For the USMNT, this is a big game as they will be looking to get off on the right foot in 2016 after a disappointing 2015.
The Goal for the USMNT: Win and play well.
What to Watch For
1) Make no Mistake: this is a big game for the USMNT. You can say all you want about friendlies not mattering or it's still early in 2016, but this one is huge. The USMNT had a very poor 2015 and will need to get off right and get a win in California. They have two World Cup Qualifying matches in March (against Guatemala) and will need confidence going into them. A win against Iceland will go a long ways towards that.
2) The Goalkeeper Question: So Tim Howard is not in camp (thinking of the Colorado Rapids perhaps). Brad Guzan has been benched at Aston Villa (at VILLA!). Nick Rimando is enjoying his preseason with Real Salt Lake and Clint Irwin is shunned as he used to play for the Rapids. And Bill Hamid of D.C. United is out for six months. So in camp the Stars and Stripes have David Bingham, Sean Johnson and Luis Robles. I would love to see Robles start and get the chance to show he is the man. And with the form of Howard and Guzan, it is not out of the realm of possibility for him (Robles) to be the starter for the qualifying matches and Copa America Centenario.
3) The Current Roster--here is how the roster breaks down for the Iceland friendly:
DEFENDERS--Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Eric Miller (Montreal Impact), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders)
MIDFIELDERS--Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Mix Diskerud (New York City FC), Jermaine Jones (unattached), Perry Kitchen (unattached), Darlington Nagbe (Portland Timbers), Lee Nguyen (New England Revolution), Tony Tchani (Columbus Crew SC), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC)
FORWARDS--Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Ethan Finlay (Columbus Crew SC), Jerome Kiesewetter (VfB Stuttgart), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders), Khiry Shelton (New York City FC), Gyasi Zardes (LA Galaxy)
How to Watch
Match Date/Time: Sunday, 31 January 2016 at 1:45 PM MST
Venue: StubHub Center--Carson, California
Television Information: ESPN2, UniMas, Univision Deportes
Live Stream: Watch ESPN