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The international break has begun and the US has scheduled the first of two friendlies against Poland on Saturday at Soldier Field in Chicago. Though the game is virtually meaningless for most US fans, this game will have some interesting talking points and some players to watch for the future of the US Men’s National Team

1). Eric Lichaj: Looking to make his first CAP with the USMNT, Lichaj is a promising prospect that needs to be monitored closely. Lichaj, a 21-year old outside back, recently signed a new three year deal with EPL side Aston Villa. He made his first two competitive appearances for the club in August and coaches abroad are loving his potential. The US is in dire need of a reliable outside back that is not named Bornstein so look for Bob Bradley to insert Lichaj as a second half sub.

2). Eddie Johnson: 4 years ago, I would have said Eddie Johnson would be the go-to forward for the USMNT, however, he has struggled to fit in at a club anywhere in the prime of his career. Luckily, due to some injuries at Fulham, the 26-year-old has been getting some much needed playing time. Regardless of his performance, Johnson should be on Bradley’s radar at all times because of the extreme lack of depth in forwards for the national side.

3). Jermaine Jones: The long awaited debut of the 28-year old Schalke 04 defensive midfielder has finally arrived and fans could not be more excited. The German-American footballer grew up playing with the German national team, however, switched affiliations in 2009 to become eligible for selection with the USMNT. The midfield has the greatest depth for the US, but expect Jones to fight hard to prove to Bradley he made the right choice to wear the US Home Jersey

4). Clint Dempsey: When the roster was first released for this friendly, Bradley listed Dempsey as a forward. Why? Dempsey has been slotting up top at Fulham thanks to injuries to Bobby Zamora and Moussa Dembele. Watch to see how Dempsey partners with Jozy Altidore up top and see if the chemistry between US fowards has a possibility of existing. Right now, I’m liking Dempsey back in his old winger position, but I’m excited to see the creativity he will inevitably bring up top.

5). Michael Parkhurst: The center back position was unusually weak in the 2010 World Cup, with Oguchi Onyewu struggling to find any sort of form during the summer. Onyewu has yet to make an appearance for AC Milan this season whereas Parkhurst has been getting plenty of playing time for the Danish Superliga side Nordsjaelland. If Onyewu continues to struggle for form and playing time, the position is Parkhurst’s to win.

Written by Chris Behrens, writer for SoccerProse.com


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