June 2, 2014Weighing the odds for the USMNT
Jurgen has selected his final 23-man roster for the trip to Brazil to represent team USA in the World Cup. Many have been ultra critical of Klinsmann's exclusion of now the leading goal scorer in Major League Soccer history Landon Donovan. The question perhaps was answered with Landon's current form and motivation since the start of this MLS campaign Donovan has endured a sluggish start. Finally Landon scored twice last in the Los Angeles Galaxy victory over the Philadelphia Union 4-1 and his lone goal tied the Chicago Fire 1-1. Perhaps Galaxy head coach Bruce Arena has to send Jurgen Klinsmann a thank you for motivating Landon to step up to a challenge. Unfortunately that performance came too late for him to make the 23-man squad.
More pressing issues lie ahead for team USA as they go into upcoming friendly game before this summer's tournament in Brazil. Also how will the US men's national team perform in their so-called group of death? The tournament has set the USA up against Ghana in the first round of the group stage. Following after will be Portugal in the second round and the Germans in the final round of the group stages. After Tuesday night's sluggish win against Azerbaijan courtesy from two goals off the bench from Mix Diskerud and Aron Johannsson. The dismal and slow display clearly depicted Jurgen' search for a starting eleven to play against Ghana in the first round of the group stage.
Klinsmann will have one more match to play before he makes his final selection for the crucial game against Ghana. Brad Davis, Johannsson and Diskerud all have left a very positive mark to their credit books with the USA boss. Following Sunday afternoon's victory over a more credible Turkey courtesy of goal each by both Dempsey and Fabian Johnson. The first round match against Ghana will be a crucial game for the USMNT. Ghana will take on the United States and Germany will play Portugal. Depending on the outcome the Portuguese have against the Germans will dictate how the Os Navegadores come out against Jurgen's side.
Interesting prospect for USA supporters will be the scoring capabilities with the likes of Aron Johannsson who led AZ Alkmaar in the Eredivisie with 16 goals. Under current form Johannsson looks like the strongest choice to lead the stars and stripes going forward in attack. Jozy Altidore has failed to replicate any kind of form or attacking prowess since his acquisition to Sunderland FC. Leading the midfield should fall to the shoulders of Michael Bradley since his return to MLS from Italy. Bradley has been easily able to manage any obstacles thrown at him so far. The problem for USA will be how their defense will be able to handle pressure. Pressure, which will definitely be coming from a more technical and talented Portugal and Germany in Group G.
The group at first look does in fact look quite grim on paper, but even without Landon Donovan, Jurgen Klinsmann has the stars and stripes playing with something they have been lacking for many years, confidence. The first game will be crucial, as there will not be much time or opportunities to make up against Portugal in the second game or Germany in the final game of the group. With a win against Ghana will aide the US in their hopes to progress after the group stage. A win against Ghana will hopefully not only give USA the extra boost of confidence to take on both Portugal and Germany but will also set the tone for their tournament experience overall. The United States will have a obvious one in four chance to progress beyond the group phase. Even though the group favorites are evidently Germany and Portugal, but as two heavyweights fight over the top spot. The fight for the second position to progress can slip from one of the heavyweights into the hands of a worthy contender.
Posted by Gio Franco at 1:09 PM