Monday, August 09, 2004

Heating Up

Big week ahead for US soccer, starting with 3 midweek MLS games on Wednesday and a full schedule on the weekend. Then, on the 18th, the USA will be in Kingston to kick off the semifinal round of World Cup Qualifying against Jamaica.

The last three qualifying meetings between the two countries in Kingston, have all ended scoreless (the 1990, 1998, & 2002 campaigns). We've never lost to Jamaica, ever, so that would be very disappointing. A draw would be fine, considering this is the hardest game of the semifinal round. I expect Jamaica to have a hard time scoring, so a 1-0 win seems like a solid prediction.

The rosters for the game should be announced soon, and I'll provide my analysis when that happens. Brad Friedel is definitely out, while Clint Mathis is banged up. I'm curious to see if Bruce Arena thinks Eddie Gaven is ready to be a major contributer, or if he goes for the veteran leadership of Earnie Stewart instead. Another thing to watch is if Tim Howard or Kasey Keller will be in goal. The English Premier League season starts this weekend, so he may not call in both men.

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