Yanks for coming - USA World Cup Preview
Football, or soccer, is constantly growing over the pond in America, with the growth of the MLS seemingly getting bigger year on year. About to enter their tenth World Cup finals, the US people were getting very optimistic about their chances this time around, until the group draw…
Being the best side, rankings wise, in North America, USA were handed a bye to the third round of qualifying with Mexico, Honduras, Jamaica, Costa Rica and Cuba. For the third round, they were drawn in Group A alongside Antigua & Barbuda, Jamaica and Guatemala. Finishing with 4 wins, 1 draw and 1 loss at the hands of Jamaica, USA topped their group with 13 points. This took them into the fourth round of qualifying where they would play Costa Rica, Jamaica, Honduras, Mexico and Panama home and away, with the top three sides qualifying automatically, and the fourth going into a play-off match. They stormed through the group, finishing top, 4 points ahead of Costa Rica. USA went through the group without conceding a goal at home throughout. Losses against Costa Rica and Honduras helped them to get through alongside the US, but it reality, it was a breeze for the Americans.
Goalkeepers : Tim Howard (Everton); Brad Guzan (Aston Villa); Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)
Defenders : DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders); Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy);Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City); John Brooks (Hertha Berlin); DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla); Geoff Cameron (Stoke City); Timothy Chandler (Nurnberg); Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach)
Midfielders : Michael Bradley (Toronto FC); Mikkel Diskerud (Rosenborg); Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes); Jermaine Jones (Besiktas); Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo); Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake); Julian Green (Bayern Munich); Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City)
Forwards : Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders); Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar); Jozy Altidore (Sunderland); Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
Standby : Brad Evans (Seattle Sounders); Clarence Goodson (San Jose Earthquakes); Michael Parkhurst (Colombus Crew); Joe Corona (Tijuana); Maurice Edu (Philadelphia Union); Terrence Boyd (Rapid Wien); Landon Donovan (LA Galaxy)
World football was shocked when Jurgen Klinsmann left Landon Donovan out of his 23-man squad, denying the 32 year old his fourth World Cup finals and a chance to increase his 156 caps for USA, pushing him closer to Cobi Jones’ 164. In terms of the squad who made it, it’s an aging squad, with a few surprises in the shape of Julian Green and Chris Wondolowski.
Clint Dempsey : The former Premier League man has had a storming start to life back in the MLS with the Seattle Sounders. With 105 caps to his name, Dempsey’s one of three players with over 100 caps in the squad for Brazil. He also goes with the most goals in the squad and with 9 goals for Seattle in 16 games, Dempsey is going to be a key figure in the American side in what is the group of death.
Michael Bradley : Another representative from the MLS, Bradley also made the return to, technically Canada, with Toronto FC and has impressed from the off. He’s formed a relationship with English striker Jermain Defoe, and as a midfield anchor Bradley is vital in the USA team this summer. Strong on the ball, the former Roma player has proved his ability time and time again, and will be hoping to take his form down to Brazil.
Tim Howard : Now 35 years old, the Everton man is one cap away from 100 for the national team. With what is a fairly weak defence and against some of Europe’s best sides, whoever is in goal for the US is going to have a massive job keeping them in the group games. I think it’ll be Howard as he is a better goalkeeper, but recent performances from both Guzan and Rimando will push Howard all the way.
Possible Starting Line-Up :
Put into the group of death alongside Germany, Portugal and Ghana, the USA are going to face a struggle if they are to get out of the group. If they have their best game, I believe they could beat Portugal and Ghana but without a key match winner amongst their ranks, the US could easily lose all three. If they do scrape through, likely in second, they will face the winner of group H, which even if its Belgium, is quite a winnable game.