El seleccionado argentino de fútbol, rumbo a la Copa América que el país organizará en julio próximo y con la presencia estelar del crack Lionel Messi, visitará hoy a Estados Unidos, en Nueva Jersey, en la penúltima prueba del equipo principal antes del inicio de la competencia continental.

Por esa razón, el director técnico Sergio Batista calificó ayer como «muy importante» el ensayo con los estadounidenses (19no. del ranking FIFA actual) y repetirá -excepto el arquero- el mismo equipo que le ganó 2-1 a Portugal, el 9 de febrero pasado.

El partido, emitido en vivo por la Televisión Pública (también por TyC Sports), comenzará a las 20 en el estadio New Meadowsland, un escenario fiel a la opulencia norteamericana.

Se jugará con un frío cercano a los cero grados, de acuerdo al pronóstico para la región de East Rutherford, y con un 85 por ciento de las entradas vendidas (77 mil puestas a la venta) con precios variables entre los 40 y 450 dólares.

En el campo de los Giants y Jets de Nueva York, el crack argentino Lionel Messi jugará como centrodelantero por segunda vez, tal como lo hizo en Ginebra, Suiza, frente a los portugueses.

«Es una posición en la que no sólo define sino que participa en la generación de juego. La idea es que tome contacto con la pelota la mayor cantidad de tiempo posible», dijo Batista sobre el goleador actual de su ciclo (3 tantos).

Estados Unidos será el sexto rival del seleccionado principal de Argentina desde que asumió Batista, después de las victorias sobre Irlanda (1-0), el campeón mundial vigente, España (4-1), Brasil (1-0) y Portugal (2-1) y la derrota ante Japón (0-1).

Como acompañantes de Messi, el entrenador nacional insistirá con otros dos rosarinos: Angel Di María y Ezequiel Lavezzi, puntas del Real Madrid y Napoli, respectivamente.

El mediocampo será el predilecto del `Checho`: Ever Banega, Javier Mascherano y Esteban Cambiasso; mientras que en la defensa Marcos Rojo -20 años, debutante el partido pasado- repetirá la misión de reemplazar en el lateral izquierdo al apartado Gabriel Heinze.

La línea de fondo se completará con Zanetti (cumplirá mañana 140 partidos con la selección), Nicolás Burdisso y Gabriel Milito en la zaga; mientras que en el arco Mariano Andújar regresará por el lesionado Sergio Romero.

Argentina, que continuará su gira con un amistoso frente a Costa Rica, el martes próximo en San José, enfrentará a Estados Unidos por décima vez en la historia, que registra seis victorias, un empate y dos derrotas.

Probable formación

Argentina: Mariano Andújar; Javier Zanetti, Nicolás Burdisso, Gabriel Milito y Marcos Rojo; Ever Banega, Javier Mascherano y Esteban Cambiasso; Angel Di María, Lionel Messi y Ezequiel Lavezzi. DT: Sergio Batista.

Estados Unidos: Tim Howard; Steve Cherundolo, Oguchi Onyewu, Carlos Bocanegra y Jonathan Spector; Michael Bradley, Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan y Benny Feilhaber; Jozy Altidore y Edson Buddle. DT: Bob Bradley.

Arbitro: Roberto García Orozco (México).

Estadio: New Meadowsland, de Nueva Jersey.

Hora de inicio: 20 horas.

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