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USMNT prepares for meeting with northern neighbor

The U.S. Men’s National team is back in action tonight in a friendly with Canada. Crew SC’s Ethan Finlay, Tony Tchani and Wil Trapp are all looking to earn their second senior caps for the Stars and Stripes. 

The international friendly will be held at StubHub Center and kickoff is set for 10:15 p.m. ET. The U.S. won the first of its two scheduled friendlies following the squad’s annual January training camp. A 3-2 win over Iceland on Sunday kicked off the 2016 campaign on a positive note.

But there were other positive takeaways from the match, including two international debuts for Finlay and Tchani. USMNT Head Coach Jürgen Klinsmann lauded the Crew SC players for their performances, acknowledging, “it’s a huge accomplishment for any player when he gets his first cap.”

He describes Finlay as, “a first cap player that really deserved to get the start because he not only played a really good season with Columbus, he also, throughout the three weeks of camp so far, every training session, he always pushed it to the limit. […] Overall, he was fully engaged, he was full of energy and he did absolutely fine.”

Klinsmann has also been impressed with Tchani’s physical strength and his ability to play on both sides of the ball.

“Tony is a player with huge capabilities,” he says. “I would describe him mostly as a No. 8. He’s a both-way player—he’s strong in defensive situations, he’s strong physically, he’s strong in the air, but he can also go forward. He’s very elegant in the way he brings along the ball on the ground. So it’s really interesting to see Tony over the longer period of time, integrate himself in a new group of people and get a sense for it.”

Finlay and Tchani could make a second appearance in tonight’s match, and Trapp’s a candidate as well. Looking ahead to tonight’s match, Klinsmann says his team will have a similar approach to the Iceland meeting.  

“There are two big objectives now: obviously getting the older players or the established players into a rhythm, into a good start in 2016 because it’s just a couple weeks away from end-of-March games and World Cup qualifying, so that’s priority number one, is get them going and get them into rhythm.

The other part is definitely use substitutions for players that you want to see and you want to give them a taste of the senior team level and help them at the same time in many training sessions throughout the January camp. The younger groups to get that head start as well, to be prepared for the huge Olympics qualifiers at the end of March against Colombia.”

Trapp will participate in that home and away series against Colombia with the U-23 squad and any experience with the senior team can only aid the young national talent. With a handful of younger players participating in January camp, it’s boosted the preparation for the Rio qualifiers.

Tonight’s match against Canada will be a trial for both the senior and U-23 U.S. teams for their upcoming qualifiers. Tune in to FS1 at 10:15 ET for the international friendly between the Red, White and Blue and their northern neighbors.


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