55° Good Afternoon
55° Good Afternoon

U.S. takes on Czech Republic tonight at 8

United States head coach Bob Bradley looks on

United States head coach Bob Bradley looks on as his players stretch at Princeton University. (May 20, 2010) Credit: AP

In the first of two friendlies on American soil, the United States takes on the Czech Republic tonight (ESPN, 8 p.m. EST) in Hartford, Conn., in what will be head coach Bob Bradley's final chance to fine tune his roster for the World Cup.

He is scheduled to announce his final, 23-man roster Wednesday on ESPN after 12 p.m.

Bradley has said he will use this game more to take a look at bubble players, rather than test out his projected starting 11 against a competent opponent. We could see some of the team's regular starters, such as Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley, not suited up so Bradley can include and evaluate more players. He's only allowed to dress 23 of the 30 guys on the roster with six substitutions maximum.

The Czechs blew the Americans away in the opening game of the 2006 World Cup -- a 3-0 win that put the United States immediately on its heels. The team coming to Hartford, however, is very different. Regulars such as Tomas Rosicky and Milan Baros did not make the trip. 

Some of the same questions that the Americans faced entering training camp are still out there. Who will pair with Jozy Altidore up front? Who will pair with Bradley in the middle? Will captain Carlos Bocanegra play on the left, or in the middle? At right back, Jonathan Spector or Steve Cherundolo?

The most anticipated question, however, is how Oguchi Onyewu will do in his first game back from his October knee injury. The Clemson product is eager to get back out there and fortify the Americans' back line.

Also of note, roster-wise, USA Today reports that this year's team may be the youngest one the United States has brought to a World Cup since 1994. Right now, the 30-player team's average age is 26.5. A majority of the team is in their mid 20s. Twenty of the 30 players are between 23 and 28. Goalkeeper Marcus Hahnemann is the oldest player at 37 (he'll be 38 on June 15), while Jozy Altidore, 20, is the youngest.

I'll be providing in-game commentary on the blog later, so check back for details.


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