Manchester City kick off their tour of the United States with a match against Sporting Kansas City on Wednesday. The Premier League champions pay a visit to the reigning Major League Soccer titleholders in what promises to be a fantastic encounter.
City recently released the squad list for their tour of the USA, and there are a few interesting notes to take into account.
Of course, the most notable news comes in regards to the squad's litany of World Cup talents. Fans in Kansas City hoping to see any of the large number of players who made the trip to Brazil will be left disappointed by their absence from this match.
The crew from Argentina—Sergio Aguero, Pablo Zabaleta and Martin Demichelis—as well as tournament host Fernandinho, new signing Bacary Sagna and skipper Vincent Kompany will be absent through the entire tour. Aleks Kolarov looks most likely to wear the armband here in lieu of the Belgian.
City's five group-stage exit victims—Joe Hart, James Milner, David Silva, Yaya Toure and Edin Dzeko—will join the team after leaving Kansas City.
That's not to say that City haven't brought a top squad. Players like Samir Nasri, Gael Clichy, Jesus Navas and summer signing Fernando missed their respective nations' World Cup rosters and are thus set to take part in the tour. The most recent addition, Willy Caballero, will also be present.
Alvaro Negredo, who also missed Spain's squad and in all likelihood would be joining Navas on this trip, broke a bone in his foot in the recent match against Scottish side Hearts.
"The Beast" took to Instagram to share his disappointment with City fans, showing off his boot. "I want to let you know that its going to be hard for the next few months," Negredo stated in the caption. "I fractured my 5th metatarsal and will be out a few months. I will be back stronger than ever."
There are some players on the roster who may be auditioning for new teams as well. Negredo was thought to be one such player, with Simon Jones and Kieran Gill of the Daily Mail reckoning Real Madrid would replace Alvaro Morata with the 28-year-old. That might be out of the picture for now.
Jack Rodwell, Scott Sinclair, Milner, Micah Richards, Stevan Jovetic and Matija Nastasic are just a few names that have been touted as potential exits during this offseason.
Negredo's injury ought to keep Jovetic around barring a new major signing, while Nastasic will stay as well, as long as Eliaquim Mangala's saga goes on. The rest are all English, and thus City must take care with them so as to adhere to home-grown rules in the Premier League.
And as with most pre-season tours, this match should give fans a look at some younger players in the City system.
John Guidetti, Emyr Huws and Karim Rekik have returned from their loan spells at Stoke, Birmingham and PSV, respectively, and will be looking to impress Manuel Pellegrini and his staff. Additionally, this will be many fans' first look at Elite Development Squad defender Jason Denayer, a 19-year-old Belgian who was nominated for EDS Player of the Year after last season.
On the other side of the ball, we have Sporting KC.
The club formerly known as Kansas City Wizards has been extremely successful since their rebrand in 2011. They've been regular-season champs of MLS' Eastern Conference twice and won the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup in 2012 before last fall's MLS Cup triumph over Real Salt Lake.
SKC are led by two key parts of the United States' World Cup squad in Graham Zusi and Matt Besler. The duo, fresh off helping their team to the round of 16 in Brazil, were recently handed new long-term deals by the club to make both of them Designated Players.
Besler was also named captain of the club for this season, while Mexico's savior Zusi provided the corner kick from which John Anthony Brooks headed the USA to victory over Ghana. Both have featured regularly since returning from Brazil and should feature here to some extent.
The club's third DP, forward Claudio Bieler, has been vastly overshadowed by one of MLS' biggest breakout stars in Dom Dwyer.
Dwyer, 23, spent a number of years in Norwich's youth ranks before moving to the USA, playing a year at the University of South Florida. A successful loan spell at third-division Orlando City served as a notice for what was to come, and Dwyer currently sits tied for second in MLS scoring on 14 goals.
His most notable, perhaps, is better known for the celebration and not the goal. The result? Have a look.
Dwyer's youthful approach and wonderful talent have certainly thrilled SKC fans this season, and he might make some new ones on Wednesday.
SKC coach Peter Vermes was a solid player himself, earning 67 caps for the USA and winning an MLS Cup with the then-Wizards in 2000. He then became the first coach to win the Cup with the same team as both player and coach last season.
All in all, there's certainly a lot in store for this match. Manchester City hope to kick off their tour of the USA on a positive note, while SKC look to thrill their dedicated fans with a victory over the reigning English champions.
Regardless of the result, this is sure to be a great show for both sets of fans and football fans in general.