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USA vs. New Zealand, 2016 Friendly: Scouting New Zealand

New Zealand should provide much more of a test than Cuba did for the USMNT.

FIFA World Cup Qualifier - New Zealand v Solomon Islands Photo by Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand will look to improve upon its 2-1 loss against Mexico, as the Kiwis take on the United States Men’s National Team.

New Zealand is 0-2 all-time against the U.S., although both losses were 2-1 and the teams haven’t faced each other since 2003. New Zealand is in good form, going 4-1 in its last five matches. The team played well against Mexico despite not fielding a first choice starting XI.

The U.S. and New Zealand are likely to deploy experimental lineups featuring a mixture of veterans and younger newcomers. New Zealand typically lines up in a 4-4-2.

The Kiwis will be without the starting goalkeeper, Jake Gleeson, as he is recovering from a groin injury. It’s unclear exactly what manager Anthony Hudson’s lineup will look like. Expect to see changes as the Kiwis played Mexico on Saturday and several players went the full 90.

New Zealand Roster:

Goalkeepers (3): Stefan Marinovic (SpVgg Unterhaching, Germany), Tamati Williams (RKC Waalwijk, Netherlands), Jake Gleeson (Portland Timbers FC – injured).

Defenders (8): Andrew Durante (Wellington Phoenix, NZ), Sam Brotherton (University of Wisconsin), Michael Boxall (SuperSport United, South Africa), Kip Colvey (San Jose Earthquakes), Themi Tzimopoulos (PAS Giannina FC, Greece), Winston Reid (West Ham United, England), Deklan Wynne (Whitecaps FC 2), Liam Graham (Chesterfield FC, England).

Midfielders (7): Clayton Lewis (Auckland City FC, NZ), Michael McGlinchey (Wellington Phoenix, NZ), Matt Ridenton (Wellington Phoenix, NZ), Te Atawhai Wihongi (Auckland City FC, NZ), Henry Cameron (Blackpool FC, England), Moses Dyer (Eastern Suburbs AFC, NZ), Ryan Thomas (PEC Zwolle, Netherlands).

Forwards (5): Kosta Barbarouses (Wellington Phoenix), Chris Wood (Leeds Utd, England), Monty Patterson (Ipswich Town FC, England), Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory FC, Australia), Rory Fallon (Truro City FC, England)

Possible lineup:

New Zealand captain and centerback Winston Reid, who plays for West Ham, is the team’s best defender. Reid has been struggling for an abysmal West Ham side, but he should make life difficult for the U.S. forwards due to his strong tackling and good positioning.

Melbourne Victory midfielder Marcos Rojas is the star man in the midfield. Despite being listed as a forward, Rojas’ primary position is right midfield and he will likely start there. He scored New Zealand’s lone goal in the defeat to Mexico.

Rojas possess blistering pace and solid dribbling skill. He is always looking to take on defenders and could cause problems for the U.S. leftback.

Chris Wood is New Zealand’s star striker. The Leeds man has more caps (43) and goals (18) than any other player on this roster. Wood is an excellent finisher when he gets near the eighteen and is very strong. Its possible Wood may not feature in this match as he played the entire game against Mexico.

On paper, the U.S. is certainly more talented than New Zealand, however this match should be close. New Zealand was unlucky to lose to Mexico and is unlikely to sit back and allow the U.S. to dominate the match.