The U.S. men's national team plays its final match of a busy and memorable 2009 today when it takes on Denmark in Aarhus (2:30pm, ESPN Classic/Galavision/ESPN2 after Ukraine-Greece).
Both teams will be missing several key players, with the Americans playing without Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Clint Dempsey (as well as injured regulars Oguchi Onyewu, Jay DeMerit and Charlie Davies). The Danes will be missing Nicklas Bendtner, Jon Dahl Tomasson, Dennis Rommedahl and Daniel Agger, to name a few.
That doesn't mean today's match won't be useful in providing U.S. coach Bob Bradley with chance to see how some new faces stack up against what will still be a talented Denmark team.
U.S. fans will be especially interested in seeing who starts at forward and at left back today. Eddie Johnson and Jeff Cunningham are both vying for the chance to fill in for Charlie Davies and one of them should get the start today ahead of Conor Casey, who was largely ineffective against Slovakia (and who is not in the 18-man roster for today's match).
At left back, Jonathan Bornstein has been the regular starter, but with Edgar Castillo and Heath Pearce both in camp, you would imagine that Bradley will give one of them a chance to start. (UPDATE-Edgar Castillo is in the 18-man gameday roster. Pearce is not.)
Denmark will offer a good challenge for whoever Bradley starts at forward or left back. Central defender Simon Kjaer is one of the most highly-regarded young defenders in Europe, while the midfield tandem of Christian and Jacob Poulsen will make things difficult for whoever the Americans deploy in midfield or at left back.
What will be interesting to see is whether Denmark plays in the 4-3-3 it uses traditionally, or if the rash of injuries will force the Danes into a 4-4-2. Either way, the Americans will likely trot out a 4-4-2. The real question is who will partner in central midfield with Michael Bradley. Will it be Ricardo Clark, or will it be Benny Feilhaber. Feilhaber will be playing in his club's stadium and seems like a safe bet to start, but he could also be deployed on the left flank to make room for Clark in the middle, with Stuart Holden looking like a good bet to start on the right wing.
SBI will be providing a live commentary on the match so please feel free to follow the match here. For now, what do you think of today's match? Who would you like to see start at left wing, central midfield and left back today?
Share your pre-game thoughts below.