The U.S. men's national team heads into tonight's friendly vs. Paraguay searching for its first win of 2011, but also searching for the right combination of players as the team draws closer and closer to this summer's Gold Cup.
Tonight's friendly (8pm, Fox Soccer Channel) should provide a showcase for some talented youngsters who impressed in Saturday's match against Argentina. Juan Agudelo and Timmy Chandler should both feature against Paraguay.
LP Field is expected a good crowd for the match, with more than 23,000 tickets sold as of late last night. Fans from across the country have converged on Nashville for this rare game in the South.
Here is my Fox Soccer preview on tonight's match, which should offer us a good luck at some new faces, whether it be as starters or second-half substitutes.
Here are some more observations as we draw closer to game time tonight:
Oguchi Onyewu didn't train on Monday and was apparently nursing a hip strain. The injury could rule him out for tonight.
Benny Feilhaber has not trained with the team since joining camp from AGF Aarhus. He picked up an ankle injury in his final game before the break.
Tim Howard wasn't at training on Monday, but is expected to be with the team for tonight's match.
Bob Bradley discussed Mixx Diskerud and Tim Ream on Monday and stated that both had struggled a bit to adjust to the advanced speed of play in a first-team camp, but that both had made progress.
Bradley wouldn't confirm whether Juan Agudelo would be starting, but it sounded like a good bet.
Based on availability and Bradley's comments, here's a lineup we could see tonight:
The field at LP Field was in excellent condition and with rain expected in the forecast, the match should be played at a fast pace.
When asked about returning to Nashville, where he scored a hat-trick two years ago, Jozy Altidore said the city is a lucky place for him and agreed that it might be the country music, joking that he listens to Johnny Cash.
Going along with the German invasion of the national team theme, Clint Dempsey was asked if he would be learning German soon to help communicate with his new German-born teammates. "I might have to get Rosetta Stone," Dempsey joked.
While nothing is official, and there's still plenty of time left before the Gold Cup squad is chosen, it sounds as though Juan Agudelo would miss the Under-20 World Cup if he joined the senior team for the Gold Cup.
That's all for now. Please feel free to share all your pre-game thoughts and opinions in the comments section below, and be sure to check in for SBI's Match Night Commentary tonight from Nashville.