France vs. USA: Clint Dempsey and Players Who Will Shine for USA
The United States Men's soccer national team has an upcoming friendly against France, and with Landon Donovan sitting out because of the MLS Cup, many of the team's young stars are getting a chance to shine.
Considering that France has already qualified for the European Championship and will likely be giving their younger players a chance to prove themselves, this is a perfect game for Jurgen Klinsmann's squad to get back to their winning ways.
It won't be easy, but if a few key players can step up and play like they're capable of, then the US has a real shot to come out with a victory.
Which players will shine for the USMNT? Read on to find out.
5) Tim Howard
With the loss of Landon Donovan, the USMNT is going to have to play near perfect defense to come out on top of the French squad.
That means Tim Howard is going to have to have another excellent game. Howard is one of the better goalies in the world and consistently makes amazing saves for the US, but he may get tested often in this matchup.
Without Donovan, the United States' attack will be a less potent, and that should lead to more chances for France. Howard will have to play great in the goal, while also directing his defense into position to make stops.
If anyone can lead the defense into stifling the French attack, it's Howard. He's been a fixture on the national team for a while because of his excellent play, and there's no reason to expect that he'll fall from form.
4) Jozy Altidore
Jozy Altidore hasn't scored for the national team since the Gold Cup victory against Guadeloupe.
However, he has been playing exceptionally well for his club team lately, scoring 10 goals in his 19 appearances with AZ. He's played exceptionally well in Europa league play, scoring six goals in just six games.
He needs to bring that play with him when he makes national team appearances. In the last two years, he's only had four goals for the USMNT. That's a terrible showing for the young striker, but with his level of skill, you have to expect that he'll turn it around sometime soon.
I think the contest against France will be the game where he does just that. He has quite a few games under Klinsmann under his belt and should be getting comfortable with the game plan by now.
That will allow him to focus on just his play, which should translate to a more confident Altidore who can score goals like his does for AZ.
3) Oguchi Onyewu
As I said earlier, the US defense could be facing an aggressive attack from the French side. While Tim Howard will be holding the USMNT down in goal, he's going to need some help.
That help will likely come from Oguchi Onyewu. Earlier this year, many thought Onyewu might never be playing with the national team again. However, the defenseman had a couple of outstanding performances in the last round of international friendlies.
He played exceptionally well against Ecuador, holding back their attack with key stops throughout the whole game. He's going to have to a similar game in this matchup to keep France from dominating.
A solid performance here could go a long way to securing his spot on the 2012 Olympic team.
2) Brek Shea
Brek Shea has been playing very well of late. His energy and creativity have been fun to watch in his first few games with the USMNT. He's also shown a great ability to hook up with his teammates, especially in the friendly against Ecuador.
His play has even lead to rumors about him being picked up by a Premiership squad, specifically Arsenal. If he can have a good showing against France, that could lead to those rumors becoming reality sooner, rather than later.
Look for him to continue making big plays out of the midfield. He's quickly becoming one of the US' best playmakers from his position, and I expect he will continue creating chances in the upcoming game.
1) Clint Dempsey
Without Landon Donovan, the USMNT needs to have a leader who can make plays in the attacking third. That guy is going to be Clint Dempsey.
Dempsey has been outstanding of late. He was creating chances left and right for the US in their last friendly, and he showed a lot of effort in the loss.
He has more experience than almost anyone on the squad in the Premiership and Europa Leagues and he'll need to draw on that in this game if he hopes to lead his squad to victory.
Look for him to create opportunities for his teammates often against France and take a few shots on goal himself. The US has a solid defense, but they've had trouble scoring under Klinsmann. Dempsey has a chance to change that with a solid showing in this friendly.