What to watch for: France vs. USA

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Fabian Johnson’s debut for the US could provide needed attacking punch from midfield. (Photo credit: Getty Images)

 

Here are some other things to watch for from Friday’s USA-France friendly:

The debut of Fabian Johnson

Klinsmann’s USA side needs playmakers, and while Clint Dempsey has shown some signs playing in a free role behind a lone striker, finding attacking midfielders to drive the attack in a 4-3-3 system (or any system for that matter) hasn’t been easy.

Enter Johnson. The Hoffenheim midfielder is set to make his debut, and he just might get the starting nod in the absence of Landon Donovan. If he can show that he’s a good creator and threat going at defenders, Johnson could start putting pressure on some established players for minutes.

The continued evolution of Timmy Chandler

A revelation at left back, Chandler has found a new home with the national team, and his continued work partnering with Brek Shea on the left is just the kind of young-player revelation Klinsmann has to love watching.

That said, Steve Cherundolo isn’t getting any younger, so we’re left to wonder if Klinsmann will give Chandler any time at right back. If so, Chandler could face a familiar foe in France’s Franck Ribery.

Brek Shea on European display

The interest by European clubs in Brek Shea has been an ongoing theme in 2011, and with news of Shea heading to train with Arsenal, there’s even more talk about the young midfielder making the move abroad. The France game is just the kind of game that could turn that transfer talk on its head.

Shea is a safe bet to start, and some time off after the end of the FC Dallas season might give him the energy he needs to really push France’s defenders.

Onyewu looks to continue dominant form

Oguchi Onyewu’s dominating displays in the US team’s recent friendlies were extremely encouraging and leave little doubt that, for the time being, the Onyewu-Carlos Bocanegra pair is the clear-cut, first-choice centerback tandem. If Klinsmann chooses not to go with Orozco, then look for Onyewu to keep up the outstanding form he is enjoying for Sporting Lisbon.