After an embarrassing defensive display that saw the United States fall to Denmark, 3-2, they wrap up their European adventure with a friendly against Switzerland on Tuesday (12 p.m. ET, FS1). With Nicklas Bendtner haunting the U.S. backline's dreams, the team will try to bounce back against a debatably tougher Swiss side. Ranked 12th in the latest FIFA World Rankings, Switzerland have established European stars such as: Fabian Schar, Granit Xhaka, Gokhan Inler, and Xherdan Shaqiri. They are also high on confidence after defeating Estonia 3-0 in Euro 2016 qualifying.
It's no secret that the USMNT are struggling. With a ragtag bunch of defenders and little chemistry among them, it could be another long day at the office in Zurich. Not all hope is lost, though, with the attack looking somewhat dangerous in the hands of Michael Bradley and Jozy Altidore. It will be a difficult opponent, but the U.S. has the talent to turn around recent form and put up a strong performance. Here are some key areas of the game to keep an eye on:
No one should be expecting miracles. It is going to be another inexperienced backline on Tuesday. While we shouldn't be expecting a great performance, it is not too much to ask for our defenders to look like competent professional soccer players instead of whatever this is:
Jozy chasing McBride
Believe it or not, Jozy Altidore is only three goals away from tying the legend Brian McBride on the USMNT all-time goalscoring chart. At only 25 years old, the much-maligned striker sits fifth on the prestigious list. Jozy is in fantastic form since returning to MLS and his confidence is showing in every game he plays. A confident Jozy is a dominant attacking force with the ability to put a team on his back and carry them a long way. With Aron Johannsson out in this game, look for Klinsmann to revert back to a lone striker system.
The General needs support
Michael Bradley is the heart and soul of this team. While the Denmark game was the first official time Bradley captained the side, he has been a leader ever since his first cap. His name is the first name on the lineup sheet every game. Unfortunately, the role of his midfield partner is not as concrete. Many players over the years have been tasked with the role, but currently the job is wide open. Alejandro Bedoya shifted to the central midfield spot last game and looked ineffective. Bedoya is a great work rate player, but doesn't possess the technical ability or the offensive capabilities to complement Bradley in a flat midfield. A more defensive-minded player such as Alfredo Morales or Danny Williams could get the look against Switzerland giving Bradley a little more freedom to attack.
Xherdan Shaqiri is a dynamic attacking player. He is capable of producing a game-changing moment anytime he's on the ball. Defending him will prove to be a very difficult task for a vulnerable US backline. Expect him to attack down the right side and to cut in on his favored left foot. It will be a long day for the left side of the American defense trying to contain him.
Our Blue Hell
Now with all the boring soccer stuff out of the way, lets talk about what really matters. Kits. The new blue away kits are god-awful. All hyperbole aside, these are the worst USMNT kits I've seen since becoming a supporter. I truly believe my four year old nephew could design a better kit on MS Paint. What have you done to us Nike?
Instead of predicting a lineup Klinsmann will pick, here is a lineup I'd like to see: