The U.S. Men’s National Team will play its last game of 2014 on Tuesday when they face the Republic of Ireland in Dublin at Aviva Stadium. Kickoff is set for 2:45 p.m. ET and the game will be broadcasted live on ESPN2 and UniMas.
After a year of much success, including a World Cup performance that saw the USA advance out of the “Group of Death” alongside eventual tournament-winner Germany, MNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has used these last few months to test new players and bring a crop of youngsters into the mix as he and the team focus on this new cycle that culminates at the 2018 FIFA World Cup in Russia.
Forward Rubio Rubin is one of the new faces starting to make an impact for the MNT. The Utrecht forward made his National Team debut last Friday, Nov. 14 at Craven Cottage during the 2-1 loss to Colombia. He started up top beside veteran forward Jozy Altidore in front of an almost sold-out crowd that welcomed the 18-year-old into the national spotlight –a moment he had always dreamed of.
“I couldn’t believe how many Colombians were there, it was crazy,” Rubin said of the atmosphere at Craven Cottage. “But you want to play in games like that where it’s tough and playing against fans that are not on your side. It was definitely like a dream come true to me. Getting my first cap and making my debut as a starter is something I dreamed about this past summer and in my past 18 years, so I’m really excited for me and my family. I wasn’t really nervous; just more anxious, doing my thing and working hard for the team.”
Rubin will perhaps have another opportunity to work hard for the team on Nov. 18 when the USA and Ireland face each other in the MNT’s final game of 2014. Klinsmann is excited to have the team face a strong European squad to cap off what has been a memorable last twelve months.
“Having the last game in Dublin against Ireland, I think is awesome,” Klinsmann said. “It’s awesome because it’s a huge football nation. They just missed out on the World Cup but right now they are in a good run for the European Qualifying campaign; they’re doing extremely well. Having that game in Dublin is fantastic and hopefully we’ll underscore our year in a positive way with the right result there.”