WORLD CUP PREVIEW: USA

WORLD CUP PREVIEW: USA

COACH – Jurgen Klinsmann
BEST SHOWING – Semi-finals 1930
QUALIFICATION – Finished 1st in CONCACAF
TOURNAMENT ODDS – 250/1
FIXTURES
June 16th – Ghana (2300 BST, Natal, BBC)
June 22nd – Portugal (2300 BST, Manaus, BBC)
June 26th – Germany (1700 BST, Recife, BBC)

 

Button Germany Button Portugal Button Ghana

 

The USA did what they always do in qualifying from the CONCACAF with relative ease and avoiding the mishaps that Mexico went through. Their home campaign was impressive in that not one opposition team scored on US soil but away from home, losses to Costa Rica and Honduras blemished their record.

Recent friendlies have been a mixed bag too. Wins over Bosnia & South Korea have been cancelled out by defeats to Austria & Ukraine and a goalless draw with Scotland was no laughing matter for Jurgen Klinsmann.

Weaker groups would have seen the US optimistic about advancing to the knockout stages again but since returning to the World Cup in 1990 after a 40 year absence, the Yanks have alternated between group stage exits and the knockout stages. This time around, if the sequence holds true, a first round exit is on the cards.

Klinsmann sets the USA up to be more functional than fancy but this squad don’t look as strong as previous American teams.

Tim Howard should return in goal for the Americans. Oguchi Onyewu’s efforts for Sheffield Wednesday were in vain as Klinsmann has preferred a youthful look to his defence, winger turned full back DaMarcus Beasley being the oldest at 32.

Geoff Cameron and Omar Gonzalez could be the preferred central pairing with Tim Chandler and Fabian Johnson competing for the right back slot.

Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones could pair up in midfield but Kyle Beckerman could also play a part in the centre of the park. Graham Zusi, Mikkel Diskerud, Brad Davis and Alejandro Bedoya are the wide options along with youngster Julian Green.

Clint Dempsey should play the role of playmaker just behind the lone forward. Landon Donovan has been left out so the striking options are Jozy Altidore, Aron Johannson and Chris Wondolowski – hardly a strikeforce to strike fear in opponents.

 

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ONE TO WATCH

08 WORLD CUP GONZALEZGonzalez was selected with the 3rd pick of the 2009 MLS draft by Los Angeles and in his first season was awarded the title of MLS Rookie Of The Year.

His performances attracted interest from Europe and he was loaned out to the Bundesliga and FC Nurnberg. He never played in Germany though as he got injured in a training session.

Already hailed as one of the finest centre-backs in LA Galaxy’s brief history, Gonzalez uses his 6′ 5″ frame to cut an imposing figure and is an asset in both defensive and offensive set pieces.

A diamond in the rough, Gonzalez has all the tools to be a top defender. He needs to improve certain aspects of his game to go to the next level, notably his discipline.

 

HERE COMES D-JUDGE
D-Judge

‘No Landon, No Hope’ is what I’ve heard from some corners and although Landon Donovan is one of the USA’s all-time greats, there’s no room for sentiment.

This USA squad is one of the weakest I’ve seen them produce in some years. They’re good enough to hang on in tough games and they’re good enough to frustrate stronger opposition – but there are genuine fears of a zero goals, zero points campaign Stateside.

The US hopes will be pinned on Clint Dempsey and some American fans will pray that Jozy Altidore will look more like the AZ Altidore rather than the Sunderland Altidore. They’re functional rather than flair-addled and can grind away but a lack of punch will struggle to put better teams away.

With the nature of CONCACAF being as it is, it’s not the easiest to gauge how good the US truly are. Friendly defeats against Austria and Ukraine should be cause for concern although a 2-1 win over Nigeria will provide a much-needed confidence boost, especially for Altidore who bagged a brace.

Klinsmann will have to provide a coaching and tactical masterclass to see the USA’s tilt for World Cup glory last longer than three games.

The Ghana game is key. If they can avoid defeat against the Black Stars and find a way to repeat the 2002 heroics against Portugal, who knows? It’s unlikely however.

 

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VERDICT

If the USA advance I’ll run down my street waving Old Glory.

 

world cup Brasil emblem 01

Landon Danovan (D-Good)
Owls Alive
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TWITTER: @OwlsAlive or @DGood83


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