The Boys in Green host the USA in an international friendly at the Aviva Stadium (kick-off is at 20:08), in what will be John O’Shea’s 118th and final appearance.
REPUBLIC OF IRELAND
Ireland’s first home game since the infamous 1-5 World Cup playoff defeat to Denmark sees them host the USA in Dublin.
On Monday night, Ireland were soundly beaten 2-0 by France at a rain-soaked Stade De France.
Chelsea’s Oliver Giroud and Lyon attacker Nabil Fekir got the goals for the French in the first-half.
There were three debuts for Ireland on the night. Derrick Williams started at left-back, Shamrock Rovers forward Graham Burke came on with twenty minutes left and Shaun Williams came on with ten left.
Captain Seamus Coleman was ‘disappointed’ in how his side squandered possession so cheaply in the France game and challenged his fellow teammates to improve their possession game for tonight’s fixture.
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill, speaking in his pre-match press conference on Friday, paid tribute to the soon-to-be-retired O’Shea.
“I know people shower praise on someone who is just about to leave, but he has really been a great influence and to have him around and for him not to retire just after the Euros was particularly great for myself.
“I wanted him around at the time and his influence is there for all to see.”
Ireland are winless in their last four games (two competitive and two friendlies), scoring only one goal in that time, and the last win was when James McClean netted against Wales to capture a Euros playoff place.
Jeff Hendrick trained yesterday, so he could be in line for an appearance, but Shane Long is definitely out with a knee injury. Burke could be in line for his second cap, and Bohemians’ custodian Shane Supple could also win his first cap if he makes an appearance tonight.
Ireland have been heavily criticised for their uninspiring performances as of late, but it is hard to justify this opinion when France are a world-class outfit who are among the favourites for the World Cup, therefore one would feel that the Boys in Green will have an ideal opportunity to be more adventurous and play football in the Aviva, particularly in the final third.
USA caretaker coach Dave Sarachan has named a youthful 25-man squad for tonight’s game versus Ireland and for their friendly against France on June 9th in Paris.
Seven players have been left out of the squad and ten have come in for the two aforementioned games.
Walker Zimmermann (who is one of the seven left out), 18 year-old Josh Sargent and Timothy Weah bagged the goals for the Stars and Stripes on Monday night in a 3-0 friendly win versus Bolivia at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania.
Sarachan has been known to look towards youth since he took over and he has continued that theme with the squad here. 23 years and 102 days is the average age of the squad for the two upcoming friendlies in Europe.
18 of the 25 man squad have five caps or less, so the squad is very much inexperienced when it comes to the international fold.
“We’re excited about the chance to add some of the veterans from Europe as well as the younger guys in MLS who have been part of our group since November,” said New York native Sarachan to ussoccer.com.
“The games against Ireland and France will bring increasingly more difficult challenges, so we felt it was important to bring in some players that offer a bit more experience.
Since Sarachan, who will be replaced as head coach after the World Cup, took charge of the USA, his squad has had an average of less than 24 years in each game. The Yanks are also unbeaten under Sarachan’s tutelage since he took over from Bruce Arena in October 2017; winning two and drawing two of their four games played in that time.
In previewing tonight’s game against the Irish, Sarachan was in complimentary mood when discussing the Boys in Green in his pre-match press conference.
“This will undoubtedly be our biggest test since the draw with Portugal. Therefore, we expect a real test, a good match, a hard game, which is what these games should be.
“They are going to be up for it, so we know it will be a game that requires maximum concentration.”
Following on from the disaster of not qualifying for the World Cup in Russia for the first time since 1990, in which Jurgen Klinsmann was sacked after a poor start and Arena left his role as head coach as a result, the USA will no doubt want to start afresh and blood youngsters in friendly games until their next qualification phase.
In the FIFA world rankings, Ireland lie in 31st place in the world and USA lie in 24th place.
The USA have kept three clean sheets in a row (3-0 vs Bolivia, 1-0 vs Paraguay and 0-0 vs Bosnia and Herzegovina) and have not conceded a goal since their 1-1 draw with Portugal in November 2017.
Both sides have met each other seven times before tonight’s game. Ireland winning three of those, USA winning two and there have been two stalemates.
The last time the sides met was in November 2014 at the Aviva, in a game where the home side ran out 4-1 winners. Anthony Pilkington, James McClean and a brace from Robbie Brady meant Mix Diskerud’s equaliser for the USA was merely a consolation in the end.
Having missed out on the luxury of playing in this month’s World Cup, Ireland are next in action on September 6th, when they play Wales in their UEFA Nations League opener.
Republic of Ireland EVS; Draw 11/5; USA 13/5
Republic of Ireland 2 – 1 USA
Republic of Ireland
Injured: Shane Long (knee)
Republic of Ireland squad:
Goalkeepers (3): Colin Doyle, Conor O'Malley, Shane Supple.
Defenders (11): Seamus Coleman, Matt Doherty, John Egan, Shane Duffy, Kevin Long, Darragh Lenihan, Declan Rice, John O'Shea, Enda Stevens, Derrick Williams, Greg Cunningham.
Midfielders (9): Callum O'Dowda, Harry Arter, Jeff Hendrick, David Meyler, Eunan O'Kane, Alan Browne, Shaun Williams, James McClean, Daryl Horgan.
Forwards (3): Jonathan Walters, Shane Long, Graham Burke.
United States squad:
GOALKEEPERS (3): Bill Hamid (Midtjylland/DEN; 5/0), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC; 2/0), William Yarbrough (Club León/MEX; 3/0)
DEFENDERS (9): Cameron Carter-Vickers (Tottenham Hotspur/ENG; 2/0), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest/ENG; 15/1), Matt Miazga (Chelsea/ENG; 5/1), Shaq Moore (Levante/ESP; 0/0), Erik Palmer-Brown (Manchester City/ENG; 1/0), Tim Parker (New York Red Bulls; 0/0), Antonee Robinson (Everton/ENG; 1/0), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna/MEX; 17/0), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 50/0)
MIDFIELDERS (10): Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls; 3/0), Joe Corona (Club America/MEX; 21/3), Luca de la Torre (Fulham/ENG; 0/0) Julian Green (Stuttgart/GER; 9/3), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 2/1), Keaton Parks (Benfica/POR; 1/0), Rubio Rubin (Club Tijuana/MEX; 6/0), Kenny Saief (Anderlecht/BEL; 2/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 4/0), Tim Weah (Paris Saint-Germain/FRA; 2/1)
FORWARDS (3): Andrija Novakovich (Reading/ENG; 2/0), Josh Sargent (Werder Bremen/GER; 1/1), Bobby Wood (Hamburg/GER; 37/11)