The first of two September friendlies for Jurgen Klinsmann's USMNT is against an opponent that is hot right now. While Klinsmann has been chopping and changing his squad for most of the year or so since the 2014 World Cup, Peru has a core squad that finished third in this summer's Copa America.
The Peruvians are hoping this team can stay hot through the start of CONMEBOL World Cup qualifying in October. There are a few players in the current Peru squad who may age out of national team contention by the time the tournament rolls around in 2018, but they (looking at you, Jefferson Farfan and Juan Manuel Vargas; Paolo Guerrero also, though he is missing for this match) can deliver their country to the tournament in Russia if they bring their best form to the qualifying competition.
Klinsmann and USMNT have a showdown with Mexico in October, to decide who gets CONCACAF's berth at the 2017 Confederations Cup. That match will mark the likely end of the experimentation period of this cycle. Klinsi can, and doubtless will, continue to shuffle his squad as much as he likes. But most games from here to 2018 count for something, and that something will be qualification for Russia 2018, or tournaments like the Confederations Cup that contribute toward the preparation.
Media coverage hasn't given Klinsmann much margin for error pretty much since he took the decision to boot Landon Donovan out of the 2014 World Cup squad. It's unlikely that will change now, since even the friendlies from here on out will gather greater significance in evaluating USMNT's progress toward landing in Russia 2018 capable of competing for a spot in the last eight or final four of the competition.
Whatever Klinsmann makes of his team's performance against Peru, expect it to be analyzed closely by an increasingly skeptical commentariat.
U.S.A v. Peru
When: 7 p.m. ET, Friday, September 4
Where: RFK Stadium, Washington D.C.
TV: Fox Sports 1, UniMas, UDN
Online: Fox Sports Go, Fox Soccer 2Go, Univision Deportes En Vivo