The US has traveled to Dublin, Ireland for game 2 of a 3 game series of friendlies this summer. The Yanks got off to a hot start on Monday, May 28th as the US easily defeated a weak Bolivian team 3-0. Now the US will face a stiffer test on the road at Aviva Stadium against The Boys in Green as the Irish team is affectionately known. We are breaking down what you need to know about this international friendly.
When: Saturday, June 2 (today) at 1:00 pm Mountain Time
Where: Aviva Stadium in Dublin, Ireland
How to watch: ESPN2, Unimas, and Univision
What you need to know about the US: As mentioned earlier, the US had a very solid showing against Bolivia only 5 days ago. However, as part of interim coach Dave Sarachan’s preparation, he has excused a handful of players after the Bolivia game and called up some others. The reason for that is two fold, first it is to give players coming off of long European club seasons a rest, and second is to continue to test the various young and less proven players in the US player pool. The most notable departure being Christian Pulisic who had a taxing year with Dortmund. Key additions to the squad are DeAndre Yedlin and Bobby Wood.
One change Sarachan hasn’t made is the commitment to youth. Only three players on the 25 man roster were born before 1990 with fifteen of those players being under 23. With that youth comes inexperience at the senior level, with nineteen of the player having 5 international caps or less. The experience of playing together against a decent European nation will be invaluable to the continued growth of the squad. The US will hope to build on their momentum from last Monday when 3 young players all scored their first international goals in Walker Zimmerman, Josh Sargent, and Tim Weah.
What you need to know about Ireland: Ireland was a whisker away from qualifying for the 2018 edition of the World Cup. They made it as far as a UEFA playoff against Denmark for the last European spot in the tournament. Their hopes were dashed however when they lost 5-1 on aggregate in the home and home series. The last time Ireland hosted the United States was on November 18th, 2014 where they drubbed the US 4-1 in Dublin. Ireland holds a strong advantage all time over the US with a record of 5-2-2 with all 9 of the matches between the two nations being friendlies.
This Irish squad will be significantly more seasoned than their North American counterparts. As a comparison, this Irish squad shares a combined 477 caps, with John O’Shea of Sunderland contributing 118 of those caps. The US on the other hand has a paltry 192 caps combined.
Our prediction: Today’s match will be about growth and learning, that is the most important thing. It will be a tough, physical match against a more experienced opponent on their home turf. Despite flashes of potential that we are sure to see from the young Yanks, this game will end 3-1 in favor of Ireland.