Best: Semi Finals 1930
Group: G (vs Portugal, Ghana & Germany)
Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann
Jurgen Klinsmann has revamped this national team since taking over and I must say he has put together arguably one of the best USA sides that will grace the World Cup. Its unfortunate that they have been drawn into group G – the group of death. He recently announced his final 23 man squad, and caused an uproar with the exclusion of Landon Donovan. Donovan is the MLS and USA National Team all time top scorer. I feel he would have brought experience to a fairly young side. Klinsmann seems to have his eye on the future though. Yes, they’re drawn into such a tough group and are widely expected to finish 4th, the Americans have the edge in terms of their support – a reported 180 000 American fans are flying to Brazil to back their team! In football, a good backing can give any team a lift, even if they’re the underdogs.
Player to Watch
Jozy Altidore is the 24 year old on whose shoulders American dreams are pinned. He has had a pretty uneventful season with Sunderland. He is my player to watch because he has ridiculous talent when on song (case and point: his hat-trick against Bosnia). Despite his goal drought, I get the impression that Altidore’s main contribution to the World Cup will be as a play maker – creating chances for Aron Johannsson & Chris Wondolowski. If he comes good in Brazil he can be lethal.
The biggest problem for Klinsmann is that they’re drawn into group G! His other problem is lack of experience. Donovan would have provided that had he been included in the squad. A footballer may be young, talented and enthusiastic (like Julian Green) but its a different ball game on the world stage, where experience counts when you’re required to deliver results.
So Can They do it?
Win the World Cup? Probably not. Make it out of Group G? It will be difficult, but not impossible. Klinsmann’s strategy for getting out of the group will probably be to try and hold Germany and Portugal to draws and win against Ghana. Will the tremendous support that they will have make a difference?
Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Tim Howard (Everton), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake).
Defenders: DaMarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nürnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Mönchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC).
Midfielders: Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Alejandro Bedoya (Nantes), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Brad Davis (Houston Dynamo), Mix Diskerud (Rosenborg), Julian Green (Bayern Munich), Jermaine Jones (Besiktas), Graham Zusi (Sporting Kansas City).
Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Sunderland), Clint Dempsey (Seattle Sounders FC), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)
(Images courtesy of Wikimedia Commons)