France vs. United States
Groupama Stadium — Lyon
Saturday, June 9 — 3 pm ET
WATCH: ESPN, UniMás, UDN
After a 2-1 loss to Ireland last Saturday in Dublin (a step up in competition from the 3-0 win over Bolivia on Memorial Day) the young US national team will face the ultimate test Saturday when they take on World Cup contender France in Lyon.
The match will be the final for Dave Sarachan’s side until a busy fall, which includes a friendly against Mexico on Sept. 11 in Nashville and reportedly matches against Brazil, Colombia, Argentina, England and Italy.
“France is going to be a really good test for us and a very good experience for everyone on this team. We’re all excited,” Columbus Crew SC goalkeeper Zack Steffen said. “I think we just go in with our game plan and want to show everybody who’s watching what we’ve got and go in and play as a team, work for each other, have fun and enjoy the experience.”
United States Outlook
A modest four-match unbeaten streak came to an end last Saturday in Dublin when Alan Judge netted the 90th-minute winner to send the US to a 2-1 defeat to Ireland. The Yanks led 1-0 at the break thanks to Bobby Wood’s 12th international goal in first-half stoppage time.
Graham Burke leveled for Ireland, which bounced back from a 2-0 loss to France to improve to 6-2-2 all-time vs. the United States.
New York Red Bulls defender Tim Parker, Fulham's Luca de la Torre and Levante’s Shaq Moore each came off the substitute’s bench in the second half to make their USMNT debuts, while midfielders Julian Green (right foot) and Kenny Saief (right knee) were held out of the squad due to injuries.
This match serves as the World Cup sendoff for a France squad that has lofty expectations in Russia later this month. Didier Deschamps’ team ran roughshod over Ireland, winning 2-0, on May 28 with Chelsea’s Olivier Giroud and Nabil Fekir from Lyon striking before halftime.
They followed that up with a 3-1 victory over Italy in Nice on Friday with Barcelona’s Samuel Umtiti and Atletico Madrid striker Antoine Griezmann gave France a two-goal lead before the half-hour mark. Leonardo Bonucci pulled the Azzurri within a goal in the 35th minute, but Barcelona forward Ousmane Dembele put the game away with a 63rd minute goal, his second for Les Bleus.
The United States are 0-3-0 all-time against France and have been outscored, 10-0. Loïc Rémy came off the substitute’s bench to score the 72nd-minute winner in a 1-0 victory for Les Bleus in front of 70,018 fans at Stade de France on Nov. 11, 2011
Players to Watch
United States — Zack Steffen. After a rusty Bill Hamid made some blunders, including one that resulted in Ireland’s equalizer, fans on social media were clamoring for Steffen in net against France. The Crew SC goalkeeper has been outstanding in MLS play, having set a club shutout streak that spans five matches and 505 minutes.
France — Paul Pogba. The midfielder had an uneven first year with Manchester United, butting heads with Jose Mourinho on more than one occasion. While his return to the Reds will be one of the summer’s biggest questions, there is no doubt Pogba can be extremely influential with France. A return to his prior form at Juventus could put France on the podium next month.
United States Roster
|GK||Zack Steffen||Columbus Crew SC||2/0|
|GK||William Yarbrough||Club Leon||3/0|
|D||Cameron Carter-Vickers||Ipswich Town||3/0|
|D||Eric Lichaj||Nottingham Forest||15/1|
|D||Erik Palmer-Brown||Manchester City||1/0|
|D||Tim Parker||New York Red Bulls||1/0|
|D||Jorge Villafana||Santos Laguna||18/0|
|D||DeAndre Yedlin||Newcastle United||51/0|
|M||Tyler Adams||New York Red Bulls||4/0|
|M||Joe Corona||Club Tijuana||22/3|
|M||Luca de la Torre||Fulham||1/0|
|M||Rubio Rubin||Club Tijuana||8/0|
|M||Wil Trapp||Columbus Crew SC||5/0|
|M||Tim Weah||Paris Saint-Germain||3/1|
|F||Josh Sargent||Werder Bremen||2/1|
|GK||Alphonse Aerola||Paris Saint-Germain||0/0|
|GK||Hugo Lloris||Tottenham Hotspur||97/0|
|GK||Steve Mandana||Olympique Marseille||27/0|
|D||Lucas Hernandez||Atletico Madrid||4/0|
|D||Presnel Kimpembe||Paris Saint-Germain||2/0|
|D||Benjamin Mendy||Manchester City||6/0|
|D||Adil Rami||Olympique Marseille||35/1|
|D||Raphael Varane||Real Madrid||41/2|
|M||Paul Pogba||Manchester United||53/9|
|M||Corentin Tolisso||Bayern Munich||8/0|
|F||Nabil Fekir||Olympique Lyon||11/2|
|F||Antoine Griezmann||Atletico Madrid||53/20|
|F||Kylian Mbappe||Paris Saint-Germain||14/3|
|F||Florian Thauvin||Olympique Marseille||4/0|