The United States will take on Mexico in a friendly on Wednesday in Mexico City, in front of a hostile crowd. For most of them, it will be their first time at the famed Estadio Azteca. Good luck!
As part of his team-building for the 2014 World Cup, U.S. head coach Jurgen Klinsmann wanted to take his team to the Azteca and essentially throw them to the wolves. The thinking is that once they have seen the Azteca, everything else will pale in comparison and, this being a friendly, it is better to be overwhelmed there than in a qualifier.
To that end, Klinsmann has filled his roster with mostly fringe national team players who very well might play key roles in qualifying and at the World Cup, but are not established senior team players. As a result, these are players who have not played at the Azteca (or in many other hostile environments) before. Wednesday should change that, as a slew of MLS and Liga MX players, and a few others, take to the Azteca field in a U.S. shirt. It's not the best team that the U.S has to offer, but friendlies are not about wins and losses. They are about building and experience, something the players on this roster will get their share of in Mexico City.
Landon Donovan is obviously the big name on the team, and will be expected to provide leadership to the inexperienced group. Also, Tim Howard will be in goal, while several in the midfield have their share of experience. Easily the weakest spot on the team is in defender, where there is almost no experience of note. Going up against Javier "Chicharito" Hernandez and the rest of Mexico's potent attack, that inexperienced defense will really have their hands full.
Defenders: Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), Steven Beitashour (San Jose Earthquakes), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Edgar Castillo (Club Tijuana), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim).
Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Joe Corona (Club Tijuana), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Jose Torres (Pachuca), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
The match kicks off at 8 p.m. ET on Wednesday, and can be seen live in the U.S. on ESPN2 and ESPN3 in English. It will be broadcast in Spanish on Univision.