JACKSONVILLE, Fla. – Saturday’s match against Nigeria (6 pm ET; ESPN and Univision) should help prepare the US national team for both the weather they’ll be faced with in Brazil and their first World Cup opponent in group play.
The forecast calls for thunderstorms and humid 90-degree weather.
“It’s great preparation. We need it,” midfielder Michael Bradley told reporters on Friday at EverBank Field. “We had a few weeks of it early on when we were in Northern California, but to get to New Jersey then to Florida, where there’s the humidity to go with the heat, is important. We know what it’ll be like in Brazil. We expect that, and to now have some days playing in this is going to be important.”
USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann said Nigeria are a lot like Ghana -- the USA face the Black Stars in Natal on June 16 -- in that they possess dangerous attacking players who move around the field in different positions and they are always a threat in transition.
“They’re very fit and very physical, which is good for us because it’ll give us a little bit of a wake-up call,” Klinsmann said on Friday. “This is what at this point we really need.”
The US said they will focus on Nigeria’s weakness to help them better understand how to prepare for their match against Ghana.
Klinsmann pointed out that while watching Nigeria’s last match against Greece he noticed plenty of technical individual talents, but that at times the Nigerians were a bit overconfident in their approach.
How the US counter those efforts could give fans an idea about how well they’ll respond to the challenge when it matters next week against Ghana.
“It’s a physical team, an athletic team, a team with guys who individually can cause you trouble,” Bradley said. “No two teams are the same, but certainly there are similarities there when you’re talking about Ghana. I think it will be a good test for us, a good chance to get out and get another 90 minutes under our belts.”