Pre-Game Hype: MNT vs. Italy

THE BASICS

USMNT vs. Italy

Location: Luminus Arena (Genk, Belgium)

Time: 2:45pm ET

TV: FS1, UniMas

Follow on social: @AmericanOutlaws

Watch with you #AOFamily at one of nearly 200 chapter bars

THE HYPE

An “interesting” 2018 comes to a close as the MNT takes on Italy in Belgium of all places. The World Cup came and went. It remains to be seen if U.S. Soccer will name a head coach before the end of the year. And, needless to say (but we will anyways) the current crop of youth players will finish the year with a mixed bag of results. As fans there is both a sense of optimism and pessimism as we roll over to 2019.

How’s that for a some hype?

A bit of solace from this all? Since we missed out on qualifying last fall the MNT has seen 19 debuts for the senior side (17 of them under the age of 24).

“MNT head coach Dave Sarachan began 2018 by saying this would be a year of opportunity and experience for players, and as the year closes he has lived up to that promise. A total of 51 players have earned at least one cap in the 10 matches so far, including 19 first-timers – a figure that sits third all-time for debuts in a calendar year behind only 1992 (21 debuts, 21 GP) and 2007 (20 debuts, 18 GP). Including the debuts of Tyler Adams, Cameron Carter-Vickers and Weston McKennie in last November’s draw in Portugal that figure rises to 22, meaning Sarachan’s 11-game tenure has seen more debuts than any other modern-era MNT coach in the same time frame.” – U.S. Soccer.com

Here’s the MNT roster for today*:

Weston McKennie and Luca de la Torre have departed camp.

We called Ethan Horvath as a starter last match, but got Guzan instead so maybe, just maybe, we’ll see our Brugge boy in goal today. Sebastian Lletget returned to the squad for the first time since March of 2017 (lisfrac injury) against England and may get the start tonight.

Sargent? Kid deserves a look. Adams? Let’s go. Pulisic? Do the damn thing. Weah? Hell yeah.

Let’s dip back into the past though real quick.

Go ahead and watch Clint Dempsey score on Italy from February of 2012; the only win the MNT has against Italy (overall record: 1-7-3)

ITALY ROSTER BY POSITION:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Alessio Cragno (Cagliari; 0/0), Gianluigi Donnaurumma (AC Milan; 11/0), Salvatore Sirigu (Torino; 18/0)

DEFENDERS (7): Francesco Acerbi (Lazio; 2/0), Cristiano Biraghi (Fiorentina; 4/1), Leonardo Bonucci (Juventus; 84/6), Mattia De Sciglio (Juventus; 36/0), Gianluca Manchini (Atalanta; 0/0), Emerson Palmieri (Chelsea/ENG; 1/0), Daniele Rugani (Juventus; 7/0)

MIDFIELDERS (6): Nicolò Barella (Cagliari; 3/0), Roberto Gagliardini (Inter Milan; 5/0), Vincenzo Grifo (Hoffenheim/GER; 0/0), Stefano Sensi (Sassuolo; 0/0), Sandro Tonali (Brescia; 0/0), Marco Verratti (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 28/1)

FORWARDS (6): Domenico Berardi (Sassuolo; 4/0), Federico Chiesa (Fiorentina; 10/0), Moise Kean (Juventus; 0/0), Kevin Lasagna (Udinese; 2/0), Leonardo Pavoletti (Cagliari; 0/0), Matteo Politano (Inter Milan; 1/0).

Italy are 2-3-5 in 2018 and unbeaten in their last three matches, most recently drawing European Champs Portugal 0-0 in their last UEFA Nations League group stage on Saturday.

Regardless this afternoon you can meet up with your #AOFamily for a beer, see some friendly faces ahead of the holidays, and watch our MNT take on fellow World Cup-missers Italy in the season finale of this sordid saga.

We love you forever and ever.

XOXO,

AO