With three weeks of competition in the U.S. Men's National Team's January camp complete, standout Fire fullbacks Matt Polster and Brandon Vincent are set to join the youthful USMNT in the side's first friendly of 2018.
Acting head coach Dave Sarachan will lead the U.S. against Bosnia and Herzegovina Sunday (Jan. 28) at StubHub Center in Los Angeles. An appearance in the match would mark Vincent's second career international cap -- and first since early 2016 -- while Polster is seeking his inaugural senior team outing after seven appearances at the U.S. U-23 level.
Tune into FS1 and UniMas Sunday night to keep an eye out for Polster and Vincent before their arrival into Fire preseason camp in Florida in the days ahead. Below is a complete preview of Sunday's friendly courtesy of MLSsoccer.com's Sam Stejskal:
USA vs. Bosnia and Herzegovina
StubHub Center – Carson, Calif.
Sunday, Jan. 28 – 8:30 pm CT
WATCH: FS1, UniMas
The US national team will kick off a decidedly less-interesting-than-it-should’ve-been 2018 on Sunday, when they’ll host Bosnia and Herzegovina in a friendly at StubHub Center in their first match of the new year.
The pain of missing out on the 2018 World Cup isn’t exactly fresh, but it’s still lingering as caretaker head coach Dave Sarachan continues to try to find new talent to help the team return to the World Cup in 2022.
He’ll have plenty of fresh faces to choose from on Sunday, with the match serving as a bookend to a January camp that included a bevy of intriguing young players. Columbus goalkeeper Zack Steffen and Real Salt Lake defender Justen Glad are among the 15 players who will be hoping for their first caps this weekend, while New York Red Bulls youngster Tyler Adams will be aiming for another solid runout after a strong USMNT debut in the team’s 1-1 draw at Portugal in November.
Will any of the players we see on Sunday turn into major contributors for the USMNT? It’s a bit early to make that call, but the match might just serve as a coming out party for one or two top prospects.
We don’t know what the lineup will look like, but we do know the US roster for Sunday’s match will be extremely light on international experience.
Sarachan will field an XI that won’t have a high number of total caps, but it won’t necessarily be young. It’ll be interesting to see how he strikes the balance between playing the kids and rewarding vets who haven’t ever gotten much of a chance with the USMNT. Will he play Glad, Steffen, Adams and the like? Or will older players like Ike Opara, Justin Morrow and Christian Ramirez get their chance? That’ll be one of the main storylines to keep an eye on Sunday night.
Bosnia and Herzegovina Outlook
Like the US, Bosnia is coming off an unsuccessful World Cup qualifying campaign, failing to advance to Russia after finishing third in Group H of UEFA qualifying behind Belgium and Greece. Like the US, they’ll send an inexperienced roster to Sunday’s friendly, with star players Edin Dzeko and Miralem Pjanic staying back with their European club teams.
Sunday’s game will also be the first match in charge for new head coach Robert Prosinecki, who took over on Jan. 4 following three years in charge of Azerbaijan’s national team. He’ll look to get his tenure off to a solid start before facing off with Mexico in a daunting friendly in San Antonio on Wednesday.
The countries have met just once since Bosnia and Herzegovina began play as a national team in 1992, with Jozy Altidore netting a hat trick to power the US to a 4-3 friendly win in Sarajevo in August 2013.
Players to Watch
USA – Justen Glad The 20-year-old Real Salt Lake center back established himself as perhaps the best young defender in MLS last year, playing solidly for RSL and showing well for the US Under-20 national team during their run to the quarterfinals of the U-20 World Cup. He’s still got to take a couple of big steps to earn consideration as a USMNT regular, but he might have a good chance on Sunday to show his stuff at the international level. A strong game could be a jumping off point for a big year for him.
Bosnia and Herzegovina – Haris Medunjanin. The Philadelphia Union center midfielder is easily the most experienced player on Bosnia’s roster, with his 56 caps more than the rest of the team combined. The 32-year-old figures to play an important role right from the start on Sunday; he’ll look to set the tempo with his solid passing and veteran knowhow.
Another player to keep an eye on? Forward Elvir Ibisevic. The cousin of Bosnian international and former St. Louis resident Vedad Ibisevic, Elvir, an Iowa native, spent time with US Soccer's U-17 residency academy before heading to the University of Nebraska-Omaha in 2016.
|GK||Alex Bono||Toronto FC||0/0|
|GK||Cody Cropper||New England||0/0|
|D||Danny Acosta||Real Salt Lake||0/0|
|D||Justen Glad||Real Salt Lake||0/0|
|D||Nick Lima||San Jose||0/0|
|D||Justin Morrow||Toronto FC||3/0|
|D||Ike Opara||Sporting KC||0/0|
|M||Tyler Adams||NY Red Bulls||1/0|
|M||Paul Arriola||D.C. United||15/2|
|M||Russell Canouse||D.C. United||0/0|
|M||Marky Delgado||Toronto FC||0/0|
|M||Ian Harkes||D.C. United||0/0|
|M||Brooks Lennon||Real Salt Lake||0/0|
|M||Kelyn Rowe||New England||3/1|
|F||Juan Agudelo||New England||27/3|
Bosnia and Herzegovina Roster
|D||Besim Serbecic||FK Radnik Bijeljina|
|D||Darko Todorovic||FK Slobada Tuzla|
|M||Haris Medunjanin||Philadelphia Union|
|M||Tomislav Tomic||Olimpija Ljubljana|
|M||Adnan Secerovic||Mladost Doboj Kakanj|
|M||Luka Menalo||Siroki Bijeljina|
|M||Stjepan Loncar||Siroki Brijeg|
|M||Marian Cavar||Eintracht Frankfurt|
|F||Nemanja Bilbija||Zrinjski Mostar|
|F||Elvir Ibisevic||University of Nebraska-Omaha|
Matt Polster interview video courtesy of Wazee Digital.