Friday marks the first of two crucial World Cup Qualifier matches for the USMNT. After their weak performance in the first two games of the final round of the World Cup Qualifiers, they really need to step it up and preform or risk not qualifying at all. The first match will be against Honduras at Avaya Stadium in San Jose tomorrow, and U.S. Soccer is trying to get fans excited and riled up behind their team.
There will be events throughout San Jose. The AC Hotel San Jose Downtown – Marriot will boast pre-game activities, a bar takeover, video games and a pop up shop today and tomorrow. Also tomorrow, U.S. Soccer will host their traditional FanHQ Market at the San Pedro Square Market. It will be a night filled with food, drinks, music, team merchandise and even guest appearances. And that’s not all, U.S. Soccer is pulling out all the stops and introducing a special edition watch, and having scavenger hunt throughout San Jose with life-size cutouts of the MNT players. They encourage fans to find the cut outs, upload photos and hashtag them #FindtheMNT.
However, with all this excitement, the team still needs to really focus and not get too caught up in the fun: these matches are life and death in terms of qualifying. So what do we need to watch for?
Well first, here is who you wont be seeing: Fabian Johnson, Bobby Wood, DeAndre Yedlin, and Eric Lichaj are all injured. With so many injuries, the rest of the team is going to need to step up.
Christian Pulisic is one of the men to watch, the 18-year old has talent far beyond his years. He combines a youthful creativity with a wiseness that can make him a driving force in this game. If he can push the ball up the field towards Dempsey, the USMNT will be looking good. Now in the defense, one of the biggest question marks has been around the goalkeeper. Howard is poised to take that role after his recent recovery from a groin injury. The big question is: can he be the powerhouse who the world fell in love with during the last World Cup?
To find out the fate of the USMNT fans can tune in at 7:30 on FS1, Univision, UDN, or follow the game on Facebook at Twitter at @ussoccer and @ussoccer_esp.
Photos courtesy of ISI.