The USA vs Ukraine friendly match will take place this Wednesday, March 5, 2014 (11:00 AM Pacific) at the Antonis Papadopoulos Stadium in Cyprus. Originally scheduled to be held in Ukraine, the match was moved to Cyprus after the instability in the Eastern European country made it unsafe to host an international match. Furthermore, the Ukrainian Federation had called off the match on Monday, but it was re-scheduled after fans and politicians alike clamored for the match to continue as scheduled.
Klinsmann’s Roster Choices
Klinsmann will use this match, the only FIFA Match Day prior to the World Cup, in order to take a close look at the European based players. In fact, the only players called up for this match that do not play in Europe are Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders), Michael Bradley (Toronto), and Liga MX player Edgar Castillo (Xolos Tijuana).
Related: USA Roster vs Ukraine
Klinsmann decided to leave out many of his star players based out of the MLS, such as Landon Donovan, Eddie Johnson, Omar Gonzalez, Graha, Zusi, and Matt Besle. It is clear that Klinsmann wants this match to test out his European based players, and he wants to give them a fair chance at impressing him.
The USMNT will face off against Ukraine, the highest ranked team (FIFA) not to make it to the World Cup. Given that the USA will face two European teams (Portugal and Germany) in the World Cup, Ukraine will be a good training experience for the USMNT. Furthermore, Ukraine is a tough squad that was just barely knocked out of the World Cup by a resurging French team.
Out of the two European teams the USA will face in the World Cup, Ukraine most closely resembles Portugal. Portugal have amazing wingers in Ronaldo and Nani, Ukraine’s counterparts would be Yevhen Konplyanka and Andriy Yarmolenko. Although these players are not the same quality as the Portuguese, they should give the American defenders a good example of what they will face in the World Cup.
There is also the issue of how focused the Ukrainian squad will be for this match. This friendly game means nothing to them, they are playing on a neutral ground, and their country finds itself in a very difficult situation. It would be a shame if the Ukrainian squad did not play it’s hardest, they have a good team that would provide the USMNT with a great test, and their fans would surely enjoy a temporary distraction from the political turmoil.
USA vs Ukraine Prediction
Klinsmann chose a fairly good roster, although it is missing some very good players based out of the MLS. Klinsmann will very likely give some playing time to the players that haven’t earned a spot in the World Cup squad yet, so we might see a USMNT that is a bit unorganized. The big question is whether Ukraine will play to its level, or simply show up to fulfill its commitment.
The players that will be on the field for the USA will be fighting for a spot in the World Cup, they will certainly try their hardest. The Ukrainians don’t have much motivation to win this match. I predict the USA vs Ukraine match will end in a 2-1 victory for the USMNT.
USA vs Ukraine Television
The USA vs Ukraine match will be televised on ESPN 2, Unimas, ESPN 3, and Univision Deportes.
USA vs Ukraine Highlights
The USA vs Ukraine match highlights will be uploaded as soon as the match ends.