ROI & USA To Share The Spoils In Dublin
Republic of Ireland v USA
Ireland take on the USA in Dublin on Tuesday night hoping to earn a win in front of their own fans in the last outing of the year for the side.
Shaun Maloney scored the only goal of the game for Scotland with just 15 minutes remaining at Celtic Park on Friday night to inflict a first competitive defeat on Martin O’Neill since he took charge of Ireland. The Wigan forward’s fine strike earned the Scots a crucial three points in the European qualifiers and moved Ireland down to fourth place in the group with seven points from four games following wins over Georgia and Gibraltar followed by a draw away to World Cup winners Germany in October.
Skipper Robbie Keane brought his international goal tally to 65 with a hat-trick in the 7-0 mauling of Gibraltar last month, while wingers James McClean and Aiden McGeady have each scored twice in the qualifiers to date.
The United States have struggled somewhat since their fine showing at the World Cup in Brazil which saw them reach the last 16 before being knocked out by Belgium in extra-time, picking only one win in four games since and failing to score more than once in any of those matches. Jurgen Klinsmann’s side were defeated 2-1 by another of the World Cup’s more impressive outfits – Colombia – on Friday night at Fulham’s Craven Cottage.
The USA’s solitary win since their World Cup exit came against the Czech Republic (1-0) and Klinsmann’s side then conceded late levellers against Ecuador and Honduras after leading going into the last five minutes while they also conceded Teofilo Gitierrez’s winning goal for Colombia with just three minutes remaining.
Sunderland striker Jozy Altidore’s penalty at Craven Cottage was the second game in a row he has found the back of the net for his country.
O’Neill will again be without the injured Glenn Whelan and James McCarthy in central midfield after both missed out on the qualifier with Scotland and returned to their respective clubs, Stoke and Everton. Darron Gibson has also returned to Merseyside for treatment on a minor knee problem with skipper Robbie Keane released to join back up with his LA Galaxy team-mates ahead of an MLS playoff next week.
Altidore and Aston Villa goalkeeper Brad Guzan are expected to line out for the visitors from the start again with Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron the only other player in the American squad to ply his trade in England, with the majority of Klinsmann’s side earning their living in the MLS.
Head to Head
The sides last meeting came over ten years ago at the old Lansdowne Road in Dublin as both prepared for the 2002 World Cup in Japan and South Korea with the hosts running out 2-1 winners as Mark Kinsella and Gary Doherty netted either side of Eddie Pope’s goal for America. It was a first win in four games, spanning over a decade, for Ireland against the Americans although they still hold the upper hand overall with three wins to two over eight clashes with the USA.
After suffering such a deflating defeat to Scotland it’s difficult to see how the Irish squad will stay motivated for this game, especially since their next competitive match isn’t until March and so the 13/10 on a home win doesn’t hold much appeal. The USA are regularly a team who perform better than the sum of their parts too but this looks like a game with draw all over it for me at 21/10.