In just a few hours, the US National team opens its 2009 campaign in a friendly against Sweden in Carson, California. The match will feature a US side drawn primarily from MLS (so they may not be as sharp) against what will basically be a Swedish B team.
Still, its a good chance to see some of the up and coming talent who will be competing for spots in the 2009 Confederations Cup and 2010 World Cup teams. And while almost everyone doing a preview of the match has focused exclusively on the US team, kudos go to Andrea Canales for providing a good look into what to expect from Lars Lagerback's side.
For those Stateside, you can catch the match at 5:30 (Pacific) on the Fox Soccer Channel or Galavision. In Western Europe, the game time is 2:30 AM but unless you are in Sweden, you'll need to find it through a streaming web service.
If you are in Columbus, head on over to Claddagh Irish Pub ( 585 S. Front St. ) to join Crew captain and all-around great guy Frankie Hejduk for a USA vs. Sweden viewing party this Saturday, Jan. 24. Hejduk will be signing autographs and engaging in a meet-and-greet starting around 7:30 p.m. and he’ll then be sticking around to watch the match. Four members of the Crew are in Bradley's side for the match including midfielder Brian Carroll, Eddie Gaven and Robbie Rogers and goalkeeper William Hesmer.
In other news this weekend, Clint Dempsey and Fulham had a bit of trouble putting down an upstart Kettering side in FA Cup action.
Also, Javier Saviola, the perpetual Argentine would-be sensation is once again looking for a new team after not fitting in at Real Madrid (which follows being bumped out of Barcelona in 2007). While he is currently linked to Plymouth after a potential deal to Boca Juniors fell through, Saviola remains a talented and potentially explosive player looking for the right situation.
Note to MLS: Take a good look at Saviola (who is available now) before its too late. He could add a creative spark to any team and he'll put butts in seats.