International Friendly Preview: Slovenia - USA
The U.S. faces off against Slovenia a year after their memorable World Cup encounter, looking to break its goal drought and snap a seven-game losing streak on European soil.
By Nick Rosano
|Slovenia (4-4-2): S. Handanovic; Brecko, Suler, Cesar, Jokic; Lazarevic, Vrsic, Bacinovic, Birsa; Ljubijankic, Matavz.||
Goalkeepers: Samir Handanovic (Udinese), Jasmin Handanovic (Maribor), Vid Belec (Crotone)
Defenders: Miso Brecko (Köln), Bostjan Cesar (Chievo), Branko Ilic (Lokomotiva), Bojan Jokic (Chievo), Matej Mavric (Kapfenberg), Miral Samardzic (Serif), Marko Suler (Gent)
Midfielders: Armin Bacinovic (Palermo), Josip Ilicic (Palermo), Andraz Kirm (Wisla Krakow), Rene Krhin (Bologna), Dejan Lazarevic (Padova), Darjan Matic (Krybas), Ales Mertelj (Maribor), Dare Vrsic (Oimpija)
Forwards: Valter Birsa (Genoa), Zlatko Dedic (Dynamo Dresden), Tim Matavz (PSV), Zlatan Ljubijankic (Gent), Nejc Pecnik (Krylya Sovetov)
|USA (4-4-1-1): Howard; Cherundolo, Onyewu, Bocanegra, Chandler; Johnson, Edu, Beckerman, Shea; Dempsey; Altidore.||
Goalkeepers: Bill Hamid (D.C.United), Tim Howard (Everton)
Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rangers), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover 96), Clarence Goodson (Brondby), Alfredo Morales (Hertha Berlin), Michael Orozco Fiscal (San Luis), Oguchi Onyewu (Sporting Lisbon)
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Michael Bradley (Chievo Verona), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Fabian Johnson (Hoffenheim), Jermaine Jones (Schalke 04), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew), Brek Shea (FC Dallas), Danny Williams (Hoffenheim)
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (AZ Alkmaar), DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Edson Buddle (Ingolstadt)
||DID YOU KNOW?|
- This will be only the second time the U.S. has met Slovenia. The two sides previously met in a memorable encounter in Group C of the 2010 World Cup. Landon Donovan and Michael Bradley scored to lead the U.S. to a 2-2 draw after going down to goals from Valter Birsa and Zlatan Ljubijankic. Maurice Edu had a potential winner ruled out in controversial circumstances.
- The U.S. brings back eight players, including seven starters from that World Cup match, while Slovenia brings back 10 players, including eight starters.
The U.S. fell 1-0 to a Loic Remy goal in its friendly in France last Friday. The team will be looking to improve a 1-4-1 record under head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, who was appointed at the beginning of August. In those six games, the U.S. has scored just two goals while conceding five.
- The U.S. will have a tough time reversing its goalscoring troubles against Slovenia; the Balkan country's defense has been one of the stingiest in Europe over the past four years, conceding the second-fewest goals of any European team in World Cup 2010 qualifying and finishing behind only Italy, Russia and the Netherlands in terms of goals conceded in both World Cup 2010 qualifying and Euro 2012 qualifying.
- This will be the first game in charge of Slovenia for its new head coach, Slavisa Stojanovic. Previous coach Matjaz Kek left the post by mutual agreement after the team finished fourth in its Euro 2012 qualifying group. Despite missing out on Euro 2012, Slovenia ended its campaign on a high note, denying Serbia a chance at qualification with a 1-0 home win on Oct. 11.
- Stojanovic has opted for a slightly younger squad, including four uncapped players while leaving out veterans Aleksandar Radosavljevic and Robert Koren. Talismanic striker Milivoje Novakovic, who plays his club soccer at Köln, missed out through injury.
- The U.S. will be seeking to snap a streak of seven straight losses on European soil. The team's last win in Europe was a 3-0 decision in Poland on March 26, 2008. Carlos Bocanegra, Oguchi Onyewu and Eddie Lewis were on target for the U.S.
- Donovan pulled out of the squad to focus on the MLS Cup final, while Stuart Holden and Jose Francisco Torres are absent thanks to long-term injuries. However, Oguchi Onyewu has been pronounced fit after concerns over a groin strain.
- Hertha Berlin defender Alfredo Morales and D.C. United goalkeeper Bill Hamid both have the chance to earn their first senior caps for the U.S., though neither is likely to start.
- U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley could have the opportunity to face off against two of his Chievo teammates, as defenders Bostjan Cesar and Bojan Jokic are both on Slovenia's roster.
- The match will kick off on Nov. 15 at 12 p.m. ET and can be seen in the U.S. on ESPN2, ESPN3.com and Galavision.
Top 3 Predictions
Slovenia 1-2 USA
- 19.08 %
Slovenia 1-0 USA
- 14.47 %
Slovenia 1-1 USA
- 11.84 %
|International Friendlies (FR)||Nov 15, 2011||Slovenia 2 - USA 3|
|World Cup 2010 (WC)||Jun 18, 2010||Slovenia 2 - USA 2|
|Mar 22, 2013||Slovenia 1 - Iceland 2||WCQE|
|Nov 14, 2012||Macedonia FYR 3 - Slovenia 2||FR|
|Oct 16, 2012||Albania 1 - Slovenia 0||WCQE|
|Oct 12, 2012||Slovenia 2 - Cyprus 1||WCQE|
|Sep 11, 2012||Norway 2 - Slovenia 1||WCQE|