There hasn't been a lot going on that has made Aston Villa fun to watch lately, but today's friendly between the Republic of Ireland and the United States could provide a temporary remedy if the right factors fall into place. The Villa-vs-Villa showdown that we saw in the USMNT's 1-2 loss to Carlos Sanchez's Colombia last week could be even more feisty here.
For Aston Villa fans, the main interest in the United States squad will of course be whether or not goalkeeper Brad Guzan gets the start. He did against Colombia and played 69 minutes in which he gave up one goal. He seems likely to get another go tonight. If he does, he could face a stiff test from an Ireland team who have scored the second-most goals in Group D Euro qualifying with ten in four matches. In fact, only three of the fifty-three teams in Euro quals have scored more than Ireland (England, Poland, Spain) while three others have also scored ten (Croatia, Czech Republic, Netherlands).
If you're looking to Ireland, Ciaran Clark and Shay Given are your only Villa hopes. Both have been called up, but neither featured in the side's 1-0 loss to Scotland on Friday. Given that this a friendly, though, there's a good chance that both could see the pitch and set up a defensive duel between Villans everywhere. Ireland will be looking to get back to positive form after the close loss, which came thanks to a beautiful five-touch short corner from Scotland.
And of course there is Roy Keane who may do anything at any time and surprise us all. His presence alone makes the match worth watching, I'd think.
Match Date/Time: Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. local, 2:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Aviva Stadium, Dublin, Ireland
TV: ESPN2 (U.S.), Setanta Sports Ireland (Ireland), Premier Sports (U.K.)
Online: Watch ESPN