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Friday, May 25, 2012
U.S. versus Scotland preview


On Saturday against Scotland, the United States plays the first of three friendlies leading up to a pair of World Cup qualifiers against Antigua & Barbuda and Guatemala. Here are five notes to get you ready for the first of five American games in the next 18 days.

•  Landon Donovan has not played in the United States' last eight games, his longest absence from the team since his debut in October 2000. If he starts against Scotland, he will break Jeff Agoos' American record with his 125th career start.

•  After defeating Slovenia in November and Italy in February, the U.S. could win three straight games against European teams for the first time since a three-game win streak over Switzerland, Sweden and Poland from October 2007 to March 2008. The U.S. is 1-3-2 all time versus Scotland but is unbeaten in the last three meetings, and two of the losses came more than 60 years ago.

•  Following one win in Jurgen Klinsmann's first six games, the U.S. has won four straight for the first time since a six-game run during World Cup qualifying in 2008. All four victories have been by one goal; the only other time the U.S. won four in a row by a single goal was at the 1993 Gold Cup.

•  With Brek Shea's absence from the roster, no player will have appeared in every game of the Klinsmann era. Shea leads the United States with eight chances created in the previous 10 games, but he had only one in his last five international appearances.

•  A strong presence moving forward from his left-back spot, Timmy Chandler was another notable omission from the squad. Chandler was tied for second on the team with 122 passes completed in the attacking half under Klinsmann, despite appearing in only six games. Only Shea, with 130 passes completed, had more in the attacking half of the field.