Buffalo's soccer bars, Més Que and The Library are sure to be packed on Wednesday night as the US Men's National Team takes on a powerhouse Brazil side that may be lacking some of their big names, but is still mega talented.
Here are some of the things to look out for Wednesday night:
- A great battle in the central midfield. Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley were absolutely brilliant in the central midfield on Saturday night against Scotland, but Brazil is a whole new animal. Sandro, a nasty defensive midfielder who playes for Tottenham, presents a much more daunting challenge for Jones and Bradley.
- Neymar. An unbelievably gifted striker who plays for Santos in Brazil, he scored his first international goal for Brazil against the United States the last time the two teams faced each other in 2010. Still only 20, get to know Neymar. He'll star for the Brazilians in the Olympics, and when and if he ever decides to play in Europe, his price tag is sure to top €50 million.
- Clint Dempsey's role. Dempsey is back in the fold, although he won't start for the US after being held out of Saturday's win over Scotland with a groin injury. Look for Dempsey to come on as a substitute in the second half, and we'll see if Jurgen Klinsmann uses him as a second striker.
- The strikers. And Dempsey's role on Wednesday night brings us to the big question. What of the American striker situation? Jozy Altidore, best case scenarion, also will be used as a substitute against Brazil. Terrence Boyd, who got the start Saturday night, was largely invisible. Will they continue with Boyd it be Herculez Gomez up top, or Chris Wondolowski, who is in unbelievable form for San Jose in MLS?
Slowly this team is showing more and more what Klinsmann is trying to hammer home as we head into the World Cup 2014 cycle. The red, white and blue dominated possession until late in the second half against the Scots when the game was well wrapped up.
Wednesday night's clash is a giant litmus test for the USA. The Scotland win was great, and a lot of fun to watch, but Wednesday night, despite it being an exhibition, is mammoth to chart this team's progress.
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