The first game of our US Tour begins with a difficult challenge against Sacramento Republic in the searing California heat. Republic are currently flying high and fighting fit lying 2nd in the US second tier(United Soccer League Western Conference) despite their 4-0 defeat to LA Galaxy II on Saturday.
Sunderland on the other hand have completed just one pre-season game and have recently arrived in the country off the back of a 14 hour flight. On paper it looks like a walk over but in reality it's an incredibly tough opening fixture of our US pre-season tour.
Sacramento can boast a fully fit squad for the visit of Sunderland. Boss Paul Buckle will see this game as a blessing, giving him more time to assess his squad following back to back defeats, conceding 8 goals in his first two games as The Republic head coach.
Jet lag and rust will be the biggest concern for the Black Cats in this opening game which will be a stern challange to the fitness levels.
Early reports claim Adam Johnson failed with his application for a visa and has not travelled with the squad, though that has yet to be officially confirmed. Of the players linked with a move away from the Stadium of Light, Liam Bridcutt and Will Buckley have both travelled while Santiago Vergini, Charis Mavrias and Valentin Roberge have stayed behind and will continue their pre-season with the U21 squad. Youngsters Duncan Watmore and Tom Beadling have both travelled.
Dick will again be expected to rotate his squad each half to help everyone get minutes under their belt.
One to Watch