It's safe to say that today's United States vs. Puerto Rico match is a strange one. The USMNT just announced their roster for the Copa America Centenario, but it's not the same roster that will be available for today's game. No fewer than twelve players - Zach Steffen, Eric Lichaj, Matt Miazga, Tim Ream, Emerson Hyndman, Caleb Stanko, Danny Williams, Alfredo Morales, Paul Arriola, Julian Green, Fafa Picault, and Amando Moreno - in the squad for today's game are not part of the Copa roster. It's no coincidence that most of those players are under 23 years old, while 25 year old St. Pauli attacker Fafa Picault is a dual national eligible for both the US and Haiti.
Essentially, this camp is to keep some players - those who just finished their European season or whose Liga MX duties are over - busy and active before the real Copa camp begins. It will allow Jurgen Klinsmann to check in on some players on the fringes of the squad in case of future injuries as well.
The game itself should not offer much of a challenge, given the fact that players eligible for Puerto Rico were at some point eligible for the US as well. There was a period of time where a healthy Puerto Rico Islanders side in the USL pulled some solid players in, and a few - including NYCFC goalkeeper Josh Saunders - ended up declaring themselves eligible for El Huracan Azul.
However, the Islanders dissolved after throwing in with the less stable NASL during US Soccer's last "great" lower division upheaval, and that pipeline is gone. The current squad does include former MLSer and current Tampa Bay Rowdies fullback Jeremy Hall, but beyond that features ten players from the Puerto Rican league and six more from the American college ranks. The game is more important as an exhibition that draws in a crowd in Bayamon than it is anything else.
Nonetheless, we may get a chance to see some players like Hyndman and Arriola differentiate themselves from their peers. Every game is an opportunity, right? And thankfully there will be a USMNT to follow when Klinsmann is not given a contract extension following Russia 2018. These youngsters may be important to the future coach's push to take the USMNT to a new level.
Yes, I am closing this piece with a look towards a post-Klinsmann USMNT. That's where I'm at with our men's national team right now.
Location: Estadio Juan Ramon Loubriel (Bayamon, Puerto Rico)
Kick-off time: 12:00 noon Eastern
Available TV: Fox Sports 1 (English), UniMas (Spanish), Univision Deportes (Spanish)
Available streaming: Fox Sports Go (English), Univision Deportes app (Spanish)
For listings in other countries, check out LiveSoccerTV.com.
Treat this as tonight's gamethread.