The United States' men's national team will host Bosnia and Herzegovina Sunday in a friendly in Carson, California, in the team's first official outing of 2018.
With most major overseas competitions in full swing, both sides have called up a number of debutants and left their top stars out of the squads. The match should give the younger players a chance to stake their claims for regular call-ups, and fans perhaps shouldn't read too much into the final result.
Here is everything you need to know about the fixture.
Date: Sunday, January 28
Time: 9:30 pm ET/2:30 p.m. GMT (Monday)
Venue: StubHub Center, Carson
TV Info: FS1 (U.S.)
Live Stream: Fox Sports GO
Fans hoping to watch some of their favourite players duke it out will be disappointed to learn the likes of Christian Pulisic, Edin Dzeko, Asmir Begovic and Fabian Johnson will all be in Europe, maintaining their focus at club level.
Instead, the hosts will rely on a number of debutants and younger players―although those new names still won't have a head coach to impress in training and during the match.
The Stars and Stripes still haven't appointed a replacement for Bruce Arena, who resigned in October. The state of the setup can perhaps be best described by this tweet from Sports Illustrated's Grant Wahl:
There's a lot of work to do for the U.S., who need to rebuild from the ground up after their embarrassing qualification campaign for the 2018 FIFA World Cup ended in disaster. Fortunately, there's plenty of talent to work with―even without the likes of Pulisic and Johnson.
In goal, Bill Hamid is the only player called up with experience in the setup, and the 27-year-old has just four caps. He's long been overlooked by the Stars and Stripes so has an excellent opportunity to prove he belongs in the team―and perhaps should be the starter until a prospect like Ethan Horvath takes the next step.
The trend continues in defence, where Justin Morrow is the most experienced player―with three caps.
There's more experience further up the pitch, where the likes of Gyasi Zardes, Paul Arriola and Jordan Morris have already enjoyed productive careers with the national team. But fans will likely be more eager to keep an eye on the surprise call-ups like Rubio Rubin―who doesn't even have a club, per Steven Goff of the Washington Post:
For Rubin, the winter camp and match against Bosnia present a golden opportunity to get his career back on track. The 21-year-old forward failed to live up to the hype at Utrecht and couldn't find a permanent home in Denmark or Norway. But back on home soil, he should find a new contract if he impresses.
Bosnia have called up just one player with double-digit caps―Haris Medunjanin, who plays his football in the U.S.―and are expected to experiment with formations and tactics, like the hosts.