It’s that time of the soccer, sorry football loving world becomes so enamored with the sport, that we’ll hear about it on every network. It’s also the time of the year where football pundits spend most of their nation won’t win the World Cup, and that each of their players are horrible. Then they have to spend the next article after a win, drinking the coolaid about the team winning the World Cup. Now try being an American, a fan of the national side, and knowing you’ll probably never win. Oh and go into the World Cup without the greatest player to play for you guys, Landon Donovan. Fun isn’t it? writes Stephen Brandt.

The United States is in Group G, with Ghana, Portugal, and Germany. Three nations who could really put a big dent in the World Cup plans. Fundamentally, all these clubs have to do is harass the defense and it will break. To say the US isn’t strong in the back, is being really nice. Going into this calender year, the US National team has thrown many pairings at the back. Omar Gonzalez and Matt Beisler, Geoff Cameron JA Brooks, just to name the centre halves. DaMarcus Bealsey at LB and whomever start at right back will be another change in the back. For most of the year it was Brad Evans at right back, but he’s a midfielder and didn’t make the squad. The sad thing is, it might be Timmy Chandler, Geoff Cameron, Matt Beisler, and Beasley. Oh and Beasley has been playing for 11 years with the USMNT. That’s not enough to scare Germany and Portugal, but very few scare them.

The midfield is where all the talen is, with Michael Bradley, Jermiane Jones, Mix Diskerud, Kyle Beckerman, among many are sitting waiting to pounce. Michael Bradley has had a stellar last year, coming home to the MLS from Roma. He’s emerged from the pack this cycle as the second best outfield player. If he gets good link up play with Kyle Beckerman behind him as a holding midfielder, the play is as good as you can get for the USA. Mix Diskrud, and Graham Zusi provide the width for the side. Both have made their name in the last year with the team. With Bradley, they’ll be the veterans of the side in 2018.  Fabian Johnson, Brad Davis, and Alejandro Beydoa all provide depth, or will have a spot start depending on the tactics in the diamond midfield. Julian Green, the annointed next greatest player of all time, is only 18, might get a minute or two, was kept on the squad probably over other midfielder and legend Landon Donovan.

Up front is really fun for the USA. Clint Dempsey the captain, Aron Johannsson, Jozy, Altidore, and Chris Wondolowski, all will get their turns in the top. The normal pairing uptop is Dempsey and Altidore. While that’s on paper a decent setting, Jozy has had one of the worst years a striker could ever have. He couldn’t score for club and country all year, until the friendly against Nigera over the past wekeend. Aron Johannson, is a very young player who can put a shift in. Wondolowski, the poacher, is in his first World Cup at 31, will get a shift, if a sneaky goal is needed. There’s not much anyone has to say on Dempsey, as he is the star, the captain.

There is, and won’t be for a couple years any controversay between the pipes. Tim Howard is one of the top 20 goalkeepers in the world right now. He’s backed by two players who could take a team in a tournament pretty far. Aston Villa’s Brad Guzan is Howard’s replacement, and has shown during stretches that Howard isn’t around that he can do the damage needed. Nick Rimando is a grizzled old vet at 34, won’t see the field at all. He’s been around so long that his club he started with in the MLS isn’t aroudnu anymore.

Where will the USA go in WC? Not out of the first round. The best case is that they finish third after beating Ghana, and tying either Portugal and Germany. Four points, but hey we’re all in for 2018 right?


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