Jozy Altidore will wear the captain's armband when the US national team meets the Czech Republic on Wednesday (2:15 pm ET, NBCSN) in the team's first match since the 2014 World Cup, and it will take two men – at least at first – to fill the Tim Howard-shaped hole at the goalkeeping position.
Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann also announced to reporters on Tuesday that veterans Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando will split time between the pipes when the USMNT face their Eastern European opponents in Prague.
#USMNT coach Jurgen Klinsmann confirmed Brad Guzan and Nick Rimando will each play a half against Czech Republic.— Kyle McCarthy (@kylejmccarthy) September 2, 2014
Longtime starter Howard announced a year-long sabbatical from international duty last month, citing a desire to spend more time with his family and focus on his club duties with Everton FC.
Klinsmann's selection of the 24-year-old Altidore, whose pivotal role in the team was underlined by the impact of his tournament-ending injury in the Yanks' World Cup opener vs. Ghana, as stand-in captain is fitting given the youthful squad selected to face the Czechs at the dawn of a new cycle leading up to Russia 2018.
Altidore will lead his squad into action in the absence of incumbent skipper Clint Dempsey, who remained at home along with the rest of the USA's MLS-based contingent, Rimando being the only exception.
Klinsmann went on to lament the struggles dogging former FC Dallas winger Brek Shea, who has fallen out of favor at English Premier League side Stoke City but nonetheless earned a call-up for this week's friendly.
Klinsmann on Brek Shea's inabiltiy to find a new club: "He's stuck at Stoke...It's an absolute bummer. It's bad." #usmnt— Jeff Carlisle (@JeffreyCarlisle) September 2, 2014
Shea's inability to break into the Potters' lineup or even wrangle a move to another club is a “bummer,” said Klinsmann, who again claimed that US players did not earn much serious interest on the European market even after their impressive performances in the "Group of Death" at Brazil 2014 this summer.
Klinsmann admitted Brek Shea's situation to remain at Stoke was a "bummer" & suggested there was a lack of Euro offers for MLS WC players— Brian Sciaretta (@BrianSciaretta) September 2, 2014