U.S. versus Italy preview

February, 28, 2012

The United States is in Genoa on Wednesday to face four-time world champion Italy (2:30 ET on ESPN3). While most of the first team will be present, the Americans are still without Landon Donovan, who will miss the game with bronchitis. He and Clint Dempsey have yet to play together in Jurgen Klinsmann's nine games as coach.

Here are five notes to get you ready for the match:

• The U.S. is 0-7-3 all time versus Italy, losing it most recent meeting 3-1 in the group stage of the 2009 Confederations Cup. The 10 games are the most the U.S. has played against any country without winning at least once. Believe it or not, the next team on the list is Bolivia, against whom the U.S. is winless in six meetings, most recently in 1999.

• The Americans' minus-28 goal difference against Italy is their worst against any country except Mexico (minus-62). Most of those routs were long ago, as Italy defeated the Americans four times between 1934 and 1952 by a combined score of 25-1. Five of the last six meetings have been decided by one goal or less.

• The U.S. is without the valuable attacking presence of left back Timmy Chandler, who will miss the match with a hamstring strain. In the Klinsmann era, Chandler leads the team in passes completed into the final third (75), and his quality has also been evident in the Bundesliga, where he leads Nuremberg with 192 passes completed into the final third.

• One of the late call-ups to the squad, Brek Shea is the only player to appear in all nine games under Klinsmann. He created seven scoring chances in the first five matches, more than any other player in all games under Klinsmann. But Shea has struggled recently, creating only one scoring opportunity in his past four matches.

• Despite only two starts and four appearances under Klinsmann, Michael Bradley leads the team with nine crosses completed and 13 passes completed into the penalty box. In Serie A, Bradley leads his Chievo squad with 48 passes completed into the penalty area, 19 more than any other player.


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