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US vs Azerbaijan preview: All eyes on Donovan-less 23 as prep rolls on

May 26, 2014, 4:20 PM EDT

Jürgen Klinsmann AP

Tuesday night’s World Cup preparation match is going to get loads of attention, especially as United States 23-man roster snubs continue to complain about Jurgen Klinsmann’s decisions.

Unhappy Landon Donovan, Clarence Goodson and others won’t be on hand for the States, which will test out Klinsmann’s final unit for the first time since last week’s roster announcement.

As an aside, I understand the frustration and anger from anyone omitted from the roster, but these guys aren’t exactly bathing themselves in glory, are they? Unless this is a symptom of a sick locker room, part of me wishes Donovan could’ve left his vocal response in line with his classy Facebook post.

And so all eyes will be on any youngster that hits the pitch on Tuesday at 10 p.m. ET against Azerbaijan, a sneaky and stingy squad that’s performing as well as it ever has in national history.

Led by Berti Vogts — you’ll remember him from March’s hullaballoo when he was added to Klinsmann’s US staff — the Milli are ranked No. 85 in the world and should be a win for the States (especially on the road halfway across the planet).

But Vogts led the nation to a 1W-6D-3L record in a relatively-weak UEFA World Cup qualifying group, including home draws with Russia and Israel and a win over Northern Ireland. The road wasn’t kind to the Azerbaijan side, but the only time it lost in qualifying by more than one goal were 2-0 and 3-0 losses to Portugal.

Unless you follow Topaz Premyer Liqası — the Azerbaijan’s top flight — you won’t recognize too many names on Tuesday, but keep in mind that this is a stingy team.

That’s good for the States, who needs to find a way to break through on goal and also won’t be challenged too much on a back line that has many US supporters concerned. The Yanks have allowed two goals in back-to-back matches, and have a 1W-2D-2L record in their last five matches (all friendlies).

Still the firepower will be in full — sorry, Landon Donovan fans — on Tuesday for the first time in a while. The States truly should pop up a multiple-goal win and fans will certainly be monitoring, and overanalyzing, how Klinsmann’s arranges his Starting XI. Yes, the World Cup excitement is going to plow ahead toward fever pitch, and Tuesday should get pretty loud in San Francisco.

For more on the match, and Azerbaijan, check out Soccerly’s preview here.

  1. mbfloyd1 - May 26, 2014 at 6:37 PM

    I am disappointed in the comments of those who did not make the team. I had hoped for a bit more professionalism. Perhaps their absence is better for reasons we have no way of knowing, but attitude plays a big part in an athlete’s success. If only players from the 30 can be called in to replace an injured player, then we will have a very interesting situation.

    • jwelch2007 - May 26, 2014 at 7:46 PM

      I would have to respectfully disagree. While I understand your point, I dont feel as though an of the players have trashed Klinsmann but rather just expressed their disappointment about being left off the 23. You have to think that these men have worked their entire career and life trying to earn a spot on a WC roster to represent their country so of course it hurts. I would be confused if they didnt have some strong emotions. You add in the fact that the media is literally EVERYWHERE and anything they say is going to be repeated. Just food for thought.

  2. jbq2 - May 26, 2014 at 8:36 PM

    The sins of the son are also the sins of the father. Klinnsman has dug himself a nice big hole. He handled this situation with all the aplomb of a bottle of nitroglycerin. Ghana, Portugal, and the Panzers can smell the controversy. The U.S. squad is torn between Donovan and Klinnsman. Even T Howard said that Donovan should be there. Klinnsman is not playing to win but for the experience for 2018. He brought three pet black ducks (Yedlin, Brooks, Green) along for the ride. They will quack and quack and quack as they gurgle their way out of Brazil.

    • sophandros - May 26, 2014 at 10:16 PM

      Hey, jbq2, could you try to be more racist?

      • lyleoross - May 27, 2014 at 11:26 AM

        Agreed, someone needs to remove that post, how repulsive.

        BTW – JK has been nothing but complimentary about the removed players, calling them professional, and stating that they were disappointed, and noting that they would be, and that is expected. He’s also stated that it is a call of the coaches, putting himself squarely on the hot seat for the decision.

        If you want to find a controversy, you can, but that doesn’t mean there really is one.

    • atxnole - May 27, 2014 at 12:30 PM

      Dude. I didn’t necessarily agree with your viewpoint but was able to respect your opinion.. until you decide to throw away any good will with those last two sentences. I can only hope the 7 upvotes are from people who didn’t bother to read your entire post. I’m embarrassed for you.

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