The United States Men's National Team looks to move past its Gold Cup struggles as it takes on Peru on September 4th. Peru has been playing well recently, finishing third at the 2015 Copa America and the Peruvian national team is currently ranked 48 by FIFA.
While the U.S. should be considered the favorite in this match it will not be an easy game The U.S. has a 2-2-1 all-time record against Peru. These teams last met in the 2000 Gold Cup with the USMNT winning 1-0.
Peru will be missing veteran striker Paolo Guerrero (Flamengo), the most accomplished striker at the international on the roster named for the September FIFA window by head coach Ricardo Gareca. In Guerrero's absence expect Peru to rely heavily on Jefferson Farfan (Al Jazira).
Farfan will be a handful for the U.S. defense due to his blazing speed and technical ability. While Farfan will likely be deployed as a striker, he is a dangerous playmaker who will need to create chances in order for Peru to win.
On the defensive side, the Peruvian's have two highly skilled Bundesliga defenders in Carlos Zambrano (Eintracht Frankfurt) and Carlos Ascues (Wolfsburg). Zambrano is a strong and physical defender and could make things difficult for Jozy Altidore.
Despite this match being a friendly, the USMNT will be desperate to get a positive result and build momentum ahead of its Confederations Cup Playoff against Mexico. Peru is a strong opponent: it was the third-placed team at the 2015 Copa America, and this is substantially the same roster that competed in Chile this summer.
The U.S. squad isn't anywhere near full strength as Fabian Johnson, DaMarcus Beasley, Kyle Beckerman, Nick Rimando, Timothy Chandler are all injured and Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley will join the squad after this match.
With all the missing players, this friendly as well as the next match against Brazil will provide Klinsmann with opportunities to experiment with the squad.
There are still many unanswered questions about the USMNT defense and with several key defenders injured these matches may not provide many answers.
Few players can be considered locks to start against Mexico in October, and the performances by players in this friendly could determine whether they feature against Mexico.
Without Clint Dempsey, Jozy Altidore will be a key player. Altidore had been in a slump the past few months, including during the Gold Cup.
Injuries, poor play and suspensions took a toll on Altidore's form and led to questions about whether he deserved a call-up. However after scoring in his last two MLS matches, Altidore's form is on the rise.
SV Sandhausen (Bundesliga 2) forward Andrew Wooten is one of the few new faces in the squad. Wooten has been in stellar form for Sanhausen, scoring five goals in the first five matches of the Bundesliga 2 season. Expect Wooten to earn his first cap in this match, although it is unlikely he starts.
Klinsmann has named Brad Guzan the starter for this match and suggested that Guzan will also start against Mexico. It seems as if Brad Guzan will be the starting goalkeeper for the foreseeable future, so do not expect TIm Howard to play.
The U.S. should defeat Peru, but expect a close match. Jurgen Klinsmann has many tough choices to make and it will be interesting to see if he deploys an experimental lineup or a lineup that is more likely to face Mexico.
Expect this friendly to have an intense atmosphere as this match is crucial to the U.S.' preparation for the Confederations Cup Playoff against Mexico