U.S.A. vs. Austria
November 19, 2013, 11:45 am PT; Ernst-Happel-Stadion in Vienna, Austria
TV: NBC Sports Network
The U.S. National Team hopes to end the 2013 season on a high note and has just one friendly with Austria on Tuesday remaining on the schedule. Jurgen Klinsmann and his team are looking to punctuate their 16-3-3 record this year with a win against the 53rd-ranked team in the world.
The U.S. is 2-1-1 against European opponents this year, highlighted by a 4-3 win over Germany at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C., in June. Coming off of a scoreless draw against Scotland on Friday, things are looking up for the Americans in their final test of the year.
“I believe if you draw a game and win the next one it becomes a really good week,” said goalkeeper Tim Howard, who at 34 years old is the senior member of Klinsmann’s current squad. “We’re going to Austria, another tough game away from home. If we can get the victory and end on a high, everybody’s going to feel really good.”
Coming off of a scoreless draw with Scotland on Friday, the U.S. is looking at another tough challenge in Austria, who finished out of the running for the 2014 FIFA World Cup and will have players vying for playing time under Head Coach Marcel Koller as they begin preparations for the 2016 European Championships.
Austria has gone 4-4-1 this year, including 4-2-1 in World Cup qualifying matches, though it finished third in its group behind Germany and Sweden to miss out on qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. The roster for the friendly is very similar to what was used in the most recent round of World Cup qualifying matches.
Meanwhile, the U.S. has already assured itself of the best winning percentage in team history, exceeding the .750 in 2005 and 2012.
A big storyline of this year’s success has been the emergence of Sounders FC’s Brad Evans as the starting right back. A midfielder with Seattle who has shown the versatility to play multiple positions, Evans has started the last seven games that he was available at right back for the U.S., including five World Cup qualifying matches.
On Friday against Scotland, he was subbed off for Eric Lichaj in the 72nd minute, but Klinsmann said afterward that Evans is still in command of that position heading into the final months before the World Cup in June.
“Our right back is Brad Evans,” he declared after the match on Friday. “He has that spot right now. Behind Brad, there’s some space.”
Evans is joined on the national team by Seattle teammate Eddie Johnson, who earned his 60th career cap on Friday, making his 10th start of the year. He has five goals and one assist this year in 16 appearances.
This match will mark the final fixture for the FIFA World Cup draw, which will be held on December 6 in Brazil.