by Harrison Crow (@harrison_crow)
I could spend about 2,000 words attempting to express my disdain for MLSsoccer.com's website changes and their "cleaning up" of the chalkboard data from previous years. It's not enough to take it down from MLS matches, they're also doing it for all international games too. Which, frankly sucks. Because all the cool things that I would attempt to do in a preview is now pretty limited.
Let's talk about things that are somewhat relevant to this match and being that things are about to get pretty random, let's bulletize it.
- Denmark has an ELO of 1734, ranking them 28th in the world according to ELO.net
The US has played 10 matches against foes with an ELO between 1700 and 1800 in the last 24 months. The most closely comparable according to their scores and rank was Azerbaijan whom the Yanks played just before the World Cup. The US dominated on shots with a 21-9 advantage with 11 of those 21 coming from inside the 18. Not sure if that gives us any real insight to Denmark but it's an interesting thought.
- If you haven't heard, some Danish magazine is trying to facilitate the nickname of 'Lord' Nicklas Bendtner into actually being just that by purchasing land in his name.
This is just weird and I only wanted to make mention of it rather than actually dedicate a paragraph to it. Europeans are weird.
- Aside from Nick Rimando who is 35, Clint Dempsey is the oldest field player called into this team at 32.
Yes, Dempsey was injured and won't be out on the pitch but I have been wanting to write about Clint Dempsey and his greatness in relation to the USMNT and that opportunity will not continue to evade me.
Dempsey won't be around forever. Donovan's retirement from MLS and Beasley's retirement from international duty is a nasty foreboding little balloon tied around Deuce's wrist reminding me of the inevitability of his departure. Enjoy him while he lasts, America.
- Watch out for Christian Eriksen; he'll be the best player on the pitch against the US
Sick free kick
And sick little fancy pass...
Eriksen is a walking highlight package that doesn't just make fantastic plays that are exciting and fun, they translate to meaningful events on the pitch. Squawka ranks him as a top-10 player by their unique brand of rankings and is fixed in the top-five in key passes, shots created, and shots taken.
Denmark is a weird and rather confusing team. On one hand they're not a top European team and they sit rather mediocre on the world scale. However, they have a world class player that is just coming into his prime and posses all the pieces to make the rest of Europe rather uncomfortable. They might not be highly rated but they've got the right pieces to accent the inherent flaws within the US system as it stands.
Dempsey being gone complicates things and maybe forces Jurgen Klinsmann's hand, previewing off how this roster may look in two years. I'm not going to try and "guess" at a starting line-up because that's stupid (and I would fail miserably). Maybe he goes with one striker, maybe he goes with two. Maybe he goes with Yedlin in an attacking position, maybe Gyasi Zardes starts out wide again. The possibilities are many, and your ideas about who he sends out are as good as mine.
The only three things that I want see are:
- Denmark with less than five shots inside the 18 yard box.
- The USMNT with more than five shots inside the 18 yard box.
- The USMNT beating Denmark in shot ratio.
Call me stat obsessed, call me single-minded, call me naive. I believe these things matter and will go a long way to helping the US become a better team. Not to mention it'll also giving us some positive indicators that this might actually be a competent club both in attacking and on the defensive side of the ball.
We find out at 3pm Eastern Time.