The United States' World Cup preparation will include a match versus Scotland at famed Hampden Park on November 15 (3 p.m. ET, ESPN2). The two sides will square off in Glasgow in the Americans' first post-World Cup qualifying match and as one of two November friendlies. The next one will be four days later, reportedly against Austria if they do not have a play-off for a spot in Brazil.
Whereas Jurgen Klinsmann has normally tested the U.S. by pitting them against some of the best teams in the world, Scotland is a break from that. The Scots are fourth in their World Cup qualifying group and were never really in contention for a spot in Brazil. They haven't qualified for a major tournament since 1998 and when they met the U.S. last June in Jacksonville, FL, the Americans rolled to a 5-1 win, but Scots did walk away with a 1-1 draw when the two teams met in Scotland eight years ago.
Klinsmann has scheduled friendlies against European teams with regularity since taking over the U.S., lining up Belgium, Germany and Bosnia and Herzegovina on the Americans' three FIFA friendly dates so far this year. In 2012, he put the U.S. up against Russia, Scotland and Italy and Belgium, France and Slovenia the year before despite not taking over until August of 2011. The U.S. is 4-3-1 in those matches, and 3-1-1 in Europe.
There is only one FIFA international date in 2014 before the end of the European season, making each time the U.S. meets up before next May of huge importance. The November matches against Scotland and (probably) Austria will be key for Klinsmann and his team, but they may not have a full squad available to him. The European players will be available to play, but because the matches fall in the middle of the MLS Cup Playoffs, guys like Clint Dempsey, Omar Gonzalez and Matt Besler could be left with their clubs.
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