The USMNT finishes off this international window with a trip to Switzerland. In last year's World Cup, both teams had a broadly similar tournament: Both finished 2nd to a traditional European power in the group stage, and both took a more prominent opponent to extra time in the round of 16 before losing.
Of course, the difference is that the Swiss actually managed to mount attacks somewhat frequently, even against teams that had more talent in their lineup. And now, under Vladimir Petkovic, they'll provide a stiff challenge for Jurgen Klinsmann's USA. There are plenty of Bundesliga and Serie A regulars in the Swiss squad, and any team that can field Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka is going to be dangerous going forward. The hope for USMNT fans is to see their side do something more than hang on for dear life when faced with a talented opponent.
Key player: Rubio Rubin
Last time we were here I said Alejandro Bedoya wouldn't be misused, and Klinsmann immediately played him in a central midfield pulley system, which is not really an ideal use of him. So I hesitate to say that I want to see Rubin playing off Jozy Altidore up front. I'm worried that he'll now be a right back.
Anyway, Rubin's tricky play on and off the ball is important, because last week the US essentially scored on their only two attacks, both of which were bolts-out-of-the-blue-sky raids. This team needs sustained attacking play and ideas beyond "lob it in over the top, see what happens," and Rubin might be able to help with that in the absence of Clint Dempsey.
And if he's playing right back, I'm so so sorry.
Key question: Can we please see a performance that isn't disappointing?
As with most games in the Klinsmann era, the scoreboard flattered the USMNT last week. Denmark probably should have scored a fourth at some point, and it's arguably even more odd to see the US get 2 goals out of nothing. 4-1 seems like a fairer description of what happened in Aarhus.
I don't really care about winning or losing friendlies. They exist as dry runs. The point is to play well and make steps towards winning competitive games, and that's where things went wrong last week (and pretty much for the last year). The USMNT looked unprepared and was again trying a new tactical plan. There's no evidence that all of this tinkering is leading anywhere, and there's no evidence that it's benefiting the players.
If the US plays well and loses to Switerland due to bad luck or a spectacular goal, I'll be happy. If the US wins the game but does so with a lot of emergency defending and scores via a terrible Swiss mistake, it'll be more of the same ol' same ol' from Klinsi. Today, the performance matters. Let's see a process that might lead to continued success rather than hoping for a series of lucky breaks and great goalkeeping.
Match date/time: Tuesday 3/31, 6:00pm local, 12:00pm EST
Venue: Stadion Letzigrund (Zurich)
TV: Fox Sports 1 (English), UniMas (Spanish), Univision Deportes (Spanish)
Online: FoxSportsGo (English), Univision Deportes En Vivo (Spanish)