February 28, 2012
Three U.S. teams playing Wednesday
Jurgen Klinsmann has never won a game against Italy. Neither has the United States National Team, which has been racked by a slew of injuries that have left the squad depleted almost from front to back. That's it in a nutshell as the team puts its three-game winning streak on the line on Wednesday against the three-time World Champs at Stadio Luigi Ferraris in Genoa, Italy, one of three U.S. games on tap for the leap-day FIFA date.
Timmy Chandler (left hamstring strain), Landon Donovan (bronchitis), and Jose Torres (right hamstring strain) have all been forced to withdraw from the squad and were replaced by Brek Shea and Sacha Kljestan.
The removal of Donovan from the team means he and Clint Dempsey have yet to team up under Klinsmann, who after wins against Venezuela and Panama, goes into a stretch that includes games against Italy, Scotland and Brazil, as well as Canada, before opening World Cup Qualifying.
“I’m excited about getting everybody together and challenging a world-class team like former World Cup winner Italy on their home soil," said Klinsmann. "I think we have put a very competitive roster together. This roster was co-developed with the U-23 team because we wanted them to have a great preparation game before they go into Olympic Qualifying in March. Our roster is highly competitive and ready to give Italy a real fight.”
The U.S. Women kick off the day with their opening match of the Algarve Cup against Denmark at 12 p.m. ET. Following shortly after, the Men take on the Azzurri at 2:30 p.m. ET, live on ESPN2, ESPN3 and Galavision.
The U.S. Under-23 MNT closes the day out with the only game on the home front, facing Mexico's U-23 squad at 9 p.m. CT at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Tickets for the U.S. U-23 match are still available at ussoccer.com or by calling 1-800-745-3000. The U-23 match will be broadcast live on Univision.
The U.S. Women will be looking for their seventh win in as many games this year when they face Denmark. The match will be played at the Municipal Stadium in Lagos, Portugal. The U.S. Women are coming off a thrilling 2-1 come-from-behind victory against New Zealand on Feb. 11 at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. Alex Morgan tallied the game-tying goal in the 88th minute and the game-winner in the third minute of stoppage time. The U.S. Women have won the Algarve Cup eight times, including seven of the past nine years.
The tournament gives them the first of two looks at some of the best teams in the world as they prepare for the 2012 Olympics. In addition to Denmark (tied for 12th), the U.S. group also includes Japan (No. 3), and Norway (tied for No. 12), as four of the top five teams in the world are on hand for the event, with No.2 ranked Germany in group A. In less than a month, the U.S. will play a pair of games in Japan, against the reigning world champs and host, and Brazil.
The last game on tap for the day has the U.S. Under-23 Men's National Team in its final tune-up match heading into the 2012 CONCACAF Olympic Qualifying. The U-23s host Mexico at FC Dallas Stadium in Frisco, Texas. The match is a prelude to the U.S. U-23's Olympic Qualifying, with the group stage running from March 22-26 at LP Field in Nashville, Tenn.