The United States' send-off series concludes on Saturday with a match against a formidable foe. Jurgen Klinsmann and the USMNT face their toughest challenge yet -- and a good warm-up for Ghana -- when they take on Nigeria in Jacksonville.
For the better part of two decades, Nigeria have been known as African football's great underachievers. They have a massive soccer-loving population, but their FA has been constantly wrapped up in controversy, while their coaching hires haven't always been great. All that has changed with Stephen Keshi, who guided the team to an Africa Cup of Nations title, a solid showing in the Confederations Cup and comfortable qualification for the 2014 World Cup.
Nigeria offers a good combination of athleticism and skill in attack and has a rock-solid midfield, anchored by John Obi Mikel and Ogenyi Onazi. Their style of play -- especially with their talented wingers cutting inside -- will give the U.S. a good idea of what they'll face in Ghana. And they're better than the Black Stars in defense and goal, so it couldn't be a better warm-up.
Expect Jurgen Klinsmann to play just about all of the players he wants to start against Ghana in this match, if not all 11. That means we're likely to find out who's won the battle for the starting positions at left midfield and left back. On the evidence of the two friendlies played, it should be DaMarcus Beasley at left back, but there's less separating Brad Davis and Alejandro Bedoya in midfield. There's also a question at central defense; John Brooks was excellent against Turkey and might have an argument to supplant one of the incumbents at that spot.
Match date/time: Saturday, 6 p.m. ET
Venue: EverBank Field, Jacksonville, Florida
TV: ESPN (U.S. - English), UniMas (U.S. - Spanish), BT Sport 2 (U.K.)
Online: ESPN3 (U.S.), BT Sport (U.K.)
Listings via LiveSoccerTV.