Wednesday, January 11, 2006

Strong Enough Opposition?

Yesterday’s announcement that the US will take on Guatemala at the Deep Dish was welcome. It’ll be nice for the FCD faithful to see El Pescadito run around a bit, but I’m a little concerned about the lack of pre-WC friendlies on the docket. I mean, shouldn’t the Fed have started working on this immediately following our win over El Tri on September 3rd? Here’s the current ’06 schedule, with current FIFA ranks for each opponent.

Jan 22 vs. Canada, FIFA Rank: 84
Jan 29 vs. Norway, 38
Feb 10 vs. Japan, 15
Feb 19 vs. Guatemala, 56
Mar 1 vs. Poland at Germany, 22
Mar 22 at Germany, 16

In 2002, Bruce had the Gold Cup, plus a trio of matches in Europe to help prepare the troops. There were 14 pre-World Cup matches in total (*Gold Cup):

*Jan 19 vs. S. Korea, W 2-1
*Jan 21 vs. Cuba, W 1-0
*Jan 27 vs. El Salvador, W 4-0
*Jan 30 vs. Canada, D 0-0 (4-2 pks)
*Feb 2 vs. Costa Rica (Final), W 2-0
Feb 13 at Italy, L 0-1
Mar 2 vs. Honduras, W 4-0
Mar 10 vs. Ecuador, W 1-0
Mar 27 at Germany, L 2-4
Apr 3 vs. Mexico, W 1-0
Apr 17 at Ireland, L 1-2
May 12 vs. Uruguay, W 2-1
May 16 vs. Jamaica, W 5-0
May 19 vs. Holland, L 0-2

Rumor has it that there are four more matches in April and May yet to be announced. While Il Bruce won’t be able to meld his MLS and Euro-based players together until then, it’d be best to get the starting XI together to face top flight competition. Hopefully the opponents will be closer to the Japans and Germanys of the world than the Canadas and Guatemalas My ideal lineup: El Tri, Brazil or Argentina (top competition), Nigeria (Strong African team), and Sweden (top 15 & WC bound).

Heal fast, Mastro.

No comments: