The annual January camp for the USMNT has become more of a "January and a bit of February" sort of thing under Jurgen Klinsmann. It's also become more controversial, as Klinsmann has declared that the player pool isn't as fit as he'd like. That didn't go over very well, especially after Pierre Barrieu - the USMNT's fitness guru for all three World Cups under Bruce Arena and Bob Bradley - said he was confused by the current state of things. Never a dull moment I guess.
Regardless of all that, today's game against Panama is a chance to end a long run of poor form. Neither side will be at full strength, but los Canaleros are closer to the genuine article and will be very motivated after the way qualifying ended.
Kickoff time: 4:00pm EST
Venue: StubHub Center (Carson, CA)
TV/Streaming: In English, you'll want to go with ESPN. There are two Spanish options: UniMas and Univision Deportes. If you want to stream the game, WatchESPN (English) and Univision Deportes (Spanish) are the relevant apps/sites.
USMNT Starting 11: Brace yourselves. 442 - Nick Rimando; DeAndre Yedlin, Jermaine Jones, Matt Besler, Brek Shea; Miguel Ibarra, Michael Bradley, Mix Diskerud, Gyasi Zardes; Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore.
Of course, I've also seen it reported as a 4231 with an attacking midfield trio of Ibarra, Dempsey, and Zardes underneath Altidore. We'll see at kickoff. Either way, that left side...dios mio, man.
EDIT: US Soccer is calling it a 4231:
Panama Starting 11: ESPN has Panama in a 442 - Penedo; Parris, Escobar, Cummings, Ovalle; Stephens, Godoy, Sanchez, Davis; Blackburn, Perez.
Don't be surprised if that's not 100% accurate. Good news for the USMNT: Harold Cummings is not a good defender. Neither is Leonel Parris.
EDIT: Yup, it was wrong. Marcos Sanchez is on the right,
Match previews: Let's start with US Soccer's game notes, which are extensive as per usual. MLSsoccer has plenty of coverage, too: Here's a piece on how Klinsmann wants to use Michael Bradley, while the USMNT boss makes a point I actually do agree with regarding fullbacks in MLS. Scott French also got quotes from the squad on today's opponent, and we close with bad news for D.C. United: Steve Birnbaum has what's being called a "minor" knee injury. Let's hope it's super-minor, or some other term that isn't awkward like "super-minor" is. Over at Top Drawer Soccer, Will Parchman fleshes out the argument that the USMNT's fitness problem is about training too often rather than lazy or naive players.
As for the formation, don't be surprised if the 352 has in fact been thrown out:
Four more likely than three at the back. Always subject to change on the day. RT @ZachTheFiveTwo any insight on a starting 11?— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) February 7, 2015
What are you drinking?: I've been stopped up lately, so a lot depends on whether I end up spending a whole night sleeping with my mouth open. If that's the case, I'll probably be drinking hot green tea to fix my sore throat. If not? Heavy Seas Deep Six, an English-style porter that I've taken to in the last couple of weeks.
This is your place for pre-game, in-game, and post-game discussion.