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United States vs. Belgium: Complete Preview, Team News, Prediction

MEXICO CITY, MEXICO - MARCH 26: Players of US national soccer team attend a match between Mexico and US as part of FIFA 2014 World Cup Qualifier at The Azteca stadium on March 26, 2013 in Mexico City, Mexico. (Photo by Miguel Tovar/Getty Images)
Miguel Tovar/Getty Images
John D. HalloranContributor IIMay 27, 2013

On Wednesday, the United States men’s national team will take on 15th-ranked Belgium in an international friendly in Cleveland, Ohio.

The game is the first of a five-game stretch for the U.S. and the first of two friendlies before the Americans resume World Cup qualifying with games against Jamaica, Panama and Honduras in June.

Here is your complete preview of the game.

 

When and Where to Watch?

The game kicks off at 8 p.m. ET and will be televised on ESPN2, WatchESPN and Unimas. If you can get to Cleveland, tickets are still available at USSoccer.com.

If you’d prefer to watch the game among fellow USMNT fans, check out this list of home bars for American Outlaws’ chapters throughout the country.

 

U.S. Roster Notes

There were two late additions to the U.S. roster. On Tuesday, Jurgen Klinsmann added Seattle Sounders’ Brad Evans to the team. Evans can play anywhere through the midfield or the back line and was likely added to give the U.S. some depth at the right-back position (once again bringing up the question as to why Steve Cherundolo wasn’t called up).

On Thursday, Houston Dynamo left-back Corey Ashe was added to the roster. Ashe gives the U.S. some cover at left-back considering Fabian Johnson and Edgar Castillo will both likely miss the game due to club commitments.

Hoffenheim’s contingent of Fabian Johnson and Danny Williams will both likely miss the match as Hoffenheim has a game on Monday. With their win on the last day of the Bundesliga season, Hoffenheim avoided automatic relegation and earned the right to play in the promotion/relegation playoffs against Bundesliga 2 side Kaiserlautern. Hoffenheim won the first leg 3-1.

Tijuana players Joe Corona and Edgar Castillo will both definitively miss the Belgium game as they prepare for the second leg of their Copa Libertadores quarterfinal matchup against Atletico Mineiro. The two teams tied the first leg, 2-2.

Terrence Boyd and Michael Bradley will be late arrivals to camp having both played on Sunday. Boyd picked up a goal and an assist in Rapid Vienna’s final game of the season, finishing with an impressive 17 goals this year. Bradley played in the Coppa Italia final on Sunday, but Roma lost 1-0 to rival Lazio in that match.

The Major League Soccer contingent will also be arriving fresh off weekend games as Eddie Johnson, Brad Evans, Omar Gonzalez, Brad Davis, Sean Johnson, Graham Zusi and Matt Besler were all in action this weekend.

 

The Belgium Roster

The Belgians bring with them one of the most impressive rosters in the world, highlighted by some of the most promising youngsters in all of Europe.

Their veterans include Vincent Kompany (Manchester City), Thomas Vermaelen (Arsenal), Daniel Van Buyten (Bayern Munich), Jan Vertonghen (Tottenham), Moussa Dembele (Tottenham) and Marouane Fellaini (Everton).

Their youngsters include Thibaut Courtois (Atletico Madrid), Christian Benteke (Aston Villa), Kevin De Bruyne (Werder Bremen), Eden Hazard (Chelsea) and Romelu Lukaku (West Bromwich Albion).

Courtois still has one more game this upcoming weekend with Atletico Madrid and will miss the match. Daniel Van Buyten will likely be a late arrival after being a part of Bayern Munich’s squad this weekend in the Champions League final.

It is also interesting to note that Courtois, De Bruyne and Lukaku are all officially owned by Chelsea—they are playing on loan with their current teams.

 

Prediction

Facing a stacked Belgian team and missing some of its key players, the U.S. is likely in for a long night. Without Fabian Johnson or Edgar Castillo to lock down the left side of the defense and possibly missing Michael Bradley to shut down the passing lanes in front of the back line, the U.S. will struggle to contain Belgium’s talented attackers.

The U.S.’ struggling offense will likely lack any sustained possession and find it difficult to break down Belgium’s experienced back line when they do have the ball.

This one will probably get ugly in a hurry.

Final score: Belgium 3-0 United States.

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