USA vs. Netherlands: Can the Americans Put a Squeeze on the Orange Machine?
The US national team travels to Amsterdam to face the Dutch, in what is sure to be an interesting matchup for the Americans.
In friendlies like this on the the eve of the World Cup, each player needs to look at the time they have with the national team as a tryout for a spot on the squad that will travel to South Africa.
A few players to keep an eye on for this one include:
Defense: Clarence Goodson and Heath Pearce.
Midfielders: Maurice Edu, Stuart Holden, and Jose Torres.
Also the two forwards, Eddie Johnson and Robbie Findley.
The US is going to have to withstand the Dutch attack
Regardless of how many No. 1 or No. 2 players are going to be on the field Wednesday for the "Orange Machine," the United States' backline is going to be tested for the entirety of the match.
The US needs to be on their game in terms of marking up. Holland will take advantage if they have lapses in this area.
Also, the midfield needs to be constantly aware of counter-attacks.
When the US has the ball, can they keep possession
This is where guys like Clint (pictured above) need to use their ability to maintain possession to try and make the Dutch run after the U.S.
I'm going to be watching to see if the guys that are trying to make the team, like Holden and Torres, try to do this.
I believe that the US will have to find a way to keep possession for extended stretches during the game to have a chance to get a result in this one.
How tight the US plays in the midfield is crucial
One of my keys when I watch any soccer match is to see how well a team is playing in the midfield.
The midfield is where the real war happens; bodies are flying around, sliding tackles are being made, and tugging and grabbing are not always called.
This is where, in my mind, a team wins or loses a game.
If the US can frustrate Holland by not letting them get into a rhythm in the middle, then it will be very difficult for them to create many attacking opportunities.
Overall, can our keeper play better than their keeper
Having the privilege to see Tim Howard shut down Argentina in a friendly two years ago, I'd say that, yes, he will be the better keeper during the match.
As long as the US can mark well, and not give the Dutch too much space to shoot, Howard will give them a chance to pull the upset.
Even in a friendly match, it would be really nice to see this squad of mixed starters and journeyman beat what is considered to be one of the best teams in the world.