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domingo, 9 de outubro de 2016
USA vs. New Zealand | International Friendly Preview
USA vs. New Zealand Tuesday, Oct. 11, 8 pm ET RFK Stadium, Washington, D.C. TV: ESPN, UniMás
The US national team return to one of their most familiar haunts of all time for their final match before the Hexagonal round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying opens next month.
With massive matches against Mexico and at Costa Rica looming, coach Jurgen Klinsmann will get one more chance to evaluate his players in a game setting when the Yanks host New Zealand at venerable RFK Stadium in the heart of the nation's capital. The US are 15-3-5 all-time at the home of D.C. United and have not lost there in their last 14 visits.
Tuesday's clash marks the third meeting between these two nations. They first met in the group stage of the 1999 Confederations Cup in Mexico, the US triumphing 2-1 via goals from Brian McBride and Jovan Kirovski en route to a third-place finish in that tournament.
Four years later the US defeated the “All Whites” – a nickname derived from their kits, in contrast to rugby's All Blacks – by the same scoreline in Richmond, Virginia, in the Yanks' final tune-up match before that year's Confederations Cup in France. Kirovski scored in that one too, as did current LA Galaxy president Chris Klein, with both assisted by Eddie Lewis.
Competing for Columbus and Costa Rica
Thanks to their first-place finish in Group C of the semifinal round of CONCACAF qualifying, the US face their toughest opponents in the first two games of the Hex. First they renew their border rivalry with Mexico at MAPFRE Stadium, home of Columbus Crew SC and the “Dos a Cero” mythology, on Nov. 11. Four days later they visit San Jose, Costa Rica, where they are winless (0-8-1) all-time in qualifiers vs. Los Ticos.
“These friendly games are about getting our group ready for Mexico and Costa Rica,” said Klinsmann. “For the guys coming in, it’s a chance to prove their point. ... When it comes to roster spots for November, the fight is on.”
Big fish in a small pond
A nation with a domestic population of less than five million, known for more devotion to rugby than the round sort of football, New Zealand nonetheless manage to make some noise in the beautiful game. They've qualified for two World Cups, 1982 and 2010, and surprised the pundits by going undefeated in South Africa six years ago, holding Italy, Paraguay and Slovakia to draws – though it wasn't enough to earn them a spot in the knockout stages.
It's both a blessing and a curse that the Kiwis compete in the minnow-heavy Oceania confederation. With Australia having bolted for Asia in 2006, New Zealand always have the inside track on qualifying for major international tournaments ahead of their smaller, humbler island counterparts. But their regional competition does little to truly prepare them for global opposition, and entails long down spells between events.
That said, a cohesive team collective anchored by talents like Marco Rojas and Winston Reid could make the All Whites a tough out for the US.
Several members of the current All Whites pool ply their trade in North America. San Jose Earthquakes defender Kip Colvey is in the current New Zealand squad and played 20-plus minutes vs. Mexico on Saturday. Portland Timbers goalkeeper Jake Gleeson was called in by his country but subsequently ruled out of Tuesday's game due to what New Zealand Football dubbed “a minor groin injury.”
GOALKEEPERS (3): David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), William Yarbrough (Club Leon, Mexico)
DEFENDERS (6): Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca, Mexico), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Tim Parker(Vancouver Whitecaps FC), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle, England)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana, Mexico), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland, England), Perry Kitchen (Hearts, Scotland), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Danny Williams (Reading, England)
FORWARDS (4): Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Terrence Boyd (RB Leipzig, Germany), Julian Green (Bayern Munich, Germany)
GOALKEEPERS (3): Stefan Marinovic (SpVgg Unterhaching, Germany), Tamati Williams (RKC Waalwijk, Netherlands), Jake Gleeson (Portland Timbers FC – withdrawn due to injury).
DEFENDERS (8): Andrew Durante (Wellington Phoenix, NZ), Sam Brotherton (University of Wisconsin), Michael Boxall (SuperSport United, South Africa), Kip Colvey (San Jose Earthquakes), Themi Tzimopoulos (PAS Giannina FC, Greece), Winston Reid (West Ham United, England), Deklan Wynne (Whitecaps FC 2), Liam Graham (Chesterfield FC, England).
MIDFIELDERS (7): Clayton Lewis (Auckland City FC, NZ), Michael McGlinchey (Wellington Phoenix, NZ), Matt Ridenton (Wellington Phoenix, NZ), Te Atawhai Wihongi (Auckland City FC, NZ), Henry Cameron (Blackpool FC, England), Moses Dyer (Eastern Suburbs AFC, NZ), Ryan Thomas (PEC Zwolle, Netherlands).
FORWARDS (5): Kosta Barbarouses (Wellington Phoenix), Chris Wood (Leeds Utd, England), Monty Patterson (Ipswich Town FC, England), Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory FC, Australia), Rory Fallon (Truro City FC, England)