CLEVELAND, Ohio (Sporting Alert) — The United States will test its skills against a very talented Belgium side in friendly football international tonight at the FirstEnergy Stadium in Cleveland, and the game is live on ESPN and ESPN3.com.
Blessed with attacking options such as Chelsea’s Eden Hazard, Aston Villa’s Christian Benteke and West Bromwich frontman Romelu Lukaku, who was on loan this past season from Chelsea, Belgium is expected to have the edge, but USA head coach Jurgen Klinsmann is backing his team to pull off a surprise.
The 15th ranked Belgium national team is currently leading Group A of their UEFA World Cup Qualifying group standings and many criticized the friendly opponents a team they believe wouldn’t be of any real help in the preparation for the forthcoming CONCACAF World Cup qualifiers.
However, Klinsmann remains strong on his decision to play Belgium and gives his reasons.
USA will also face Germany on Sunday, June 2, at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C in another friendly.
“Belgium are one of the rising teams in Europe,” he said. “The more challenging, the better it is.
“If we play weaker teams to build our confidence, we will get a pretty big shock against Jamaica [June 7].
“I always prefer to play against the best teams out there because that is who we will play against in Brazil.”
Meanwhile, the United States will be without striker Landon Donavon, who was left out of the setup by Klinsmann, who thinks the Los Angeles Galaxy star player needs to be more committed to the national setup.
Klinsmann also believes Donavon must trust his teammates more.
With him out, the home side will look to Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey to provide the goals.
Tim Howard leads the back line as usual and could have a very busy night, while Geoff Cameron, DaMarcus Beasley, Jermaine Jones and a returning Stuart Holden are all included in the squad.