This is a game about opportunities.
This matchup allows Coach Jurgen Klinsmann to scout Yanks based abroad who are vying for an opportunity only 23 guys will get: a nine hour flight to South America and a chance to sink their boots into a Brazuca this summer. USMNT staples like Timmy Howard, Jozy Altidore and Clint Dempsey will look to cement their place in the final World Cup roster, while the young gunners like Juan Agudelo, Aron Johannsson and John Brooks are hoping to impress Klinsmann enough to add a Brazilian stamp to their passports. A wise, famous and fictional police officer by the name of Roger Murtaugh once said, “I’m too old for this…” but you know who isn’t? Oguchi Onyewu and Jonathan Spector, two guys who will also be champing at the bit in this fixture for an opportunity at World Cup glory yet again.
It’s an opportunity to prove something as a team too. To prove 2014 will continue to come up all red, white and blue. We passed our first test against South Korea last month, but it only gets tougher from here. Our Ukrainian foes may have failed to qualify for the World Cup, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t our stiffest competition of 2014 yet. The Yellow and Blue are ranked 18th by FIFA, making them the highest ranked team who won’t be in Brazil, and a team we have never defeated. That changes Wednesday.
This is also an opportunity for us to prove that the beautiful game can transcend. In a time of political unrest and awful violence, our boys have a chance to don the Stars and Stripes proudly along side the Yellow and Blue and be beacons of hope together in a time that may seem hopeless for many Ukrainians.