The former U.S. forwards says he is hoping the back line continues to improve in the team's final friendly before heading to the World Cup.
The United States allowed only a single goal in its most recent pre-World Cup friendly, but Turkey certainly had chances to inflict great damage. National team legend Brian McBride hopes to see some progress along the back line in the final game before the Americans depart for Brazil.
The U.S. plays Nigeria at Jacksonville’s EverBank Field at 6 p.m. ET on Saturday. It is the first World Cup side the U.S. has faced in its three pre-Cup matches.
“On the field, you want to continue to see growth through three games,” McBride told Sporting News. “The second game we saw a ton of growth. I’m hoping that during this week they were able to solidify some things in the back.”
McBride said that after watching the 2-1 U.S. victory Sunday over Turkey he was pleased with how the center back partnership of Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler was developing. “The way they worked together, covered for each other, covered for the wing backs … We have pace there, which of course we need.”
He wants to see the outside backs exhibit better spacing, however. Against Turkey, with Fabian Johnson playing on the right sight and Timmy Chandler on the left, “Sometimes it looked like Fabian Johnson was out a little too wide, leaving Geoff Cameron 2-on-1 in the back, and sometimes I felt like Timothy Chandler was tucked all the way in, too far in,” McBride said. “Those are things you get to work on in this month leading up to Brazil. Based on the growth we saw from the first game to the second game, I’m looking forward to that same growth form the second to the third.”
Now a soccer analyst with Fox Sports, McBride will be in Jacksonville as part of a sponsorship agreement with Allstate. Friday night, he will be participating in a surprise visit to a local youth club team and put on an impromptu clinic for the players, who are part of an organization that deals primarily with at-risk youth. The company then will present the team with new uniforms and soccer gear.
Saturday evening, prior to the game at the Allstate Fan Zone tent outside EverBank, McBride will greet fans and sign autographs between 4 and 5:30 p.m. ET.
“The nice thing about this third game is it really puts the emphasis on what they’ll face at the World Cup, with recovery and travel and getting things right,” McBride said.