World Cup Team Preview: United States

Their Manager: Jurgen Klinsmann 

Their Squad:

Goalkeepers: Tim Howard (Everton), Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Nick Rimando (Real Salt Lake)

Defenders: Demarcus Beasley (Puebla), Matt Besler (Sporting Kansas City), John Brooks (Hertha Berlin), Geoff Cameron (Stoke City), Timmy Chandler (Nurnberg), Omar Gonzalez (LA Galaxy), Fabian Johnson (Borussia Monchengladbach), DeAndre Yedlin (Seattle Sounders)

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), Aron Johannsson (AZ Alkmaar), Chris Wondolowski (San Jose Earthquakes)

Projected Formation: 4-2-3-1

Match Schedule:
·         United States vs. Ghana, June 16, Natal, 6 p.m. EST
·         United States vs. Portugal, June 22, Manaus, 6 p.m. EST
·         United States vs. Germany, June 26, Recife, 12 p.m. EST
Why they will win the World Cup:
Destiny. According to Men in Blazers, the United States are destined to win the tournament and lift the World Cup trophy. The American Outlaws will be making themselves heard at every occasion, and could give the USMNT the boost that they require against opposition that do not have as many fans in attendance. Should the “Von Trapps” earn a victory against Ghana in the qualifying match, they have a very realistic of qualifying if they can gain a result against Portugal. Once they reach the knockout stages, anything can happen, however it will require the absolute highest level of commitment to produce the results they seek.

Why they will not win:
The Group of Death. Should the USMNT not earn a win against rivals Ghana, it makes qualifying out of the group nearly impossible. It would require results in consecutive matches against Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo and the absolutely stacked German national team. Both would be tall orders for any team, let alone a squad that just cast off one of their most experienced players, Landon Donovan.

Three players to watch:

Clint Dempsey:
When Jurgen Klinsmann named Deuce the captain of the squad in the run up to the World Cup, he hoped to inspire the type of performances and mentality that the US will need to succeed in Brazil. Dempsey is known to have a selfish streak as a player, but he has been on fire recently scoring 7 goals in April with the Seattle Sounders. The USMNT needs him to continue that form and keep a cool head on his shoulders if he is going to be the backbone and leader of the team as expected. 

Michael Bradley: 
Bradley is one of the most accomplished midfield players in the history of American soccer. He has played in the top leagues in five countries and has been a mainstay in the squad since his father brought him to train with the World Cup team ahead of the 2006 tournament in Germany. This spring he returned to North America on a $10 million transfer from Roma to play with Toronto FC. He looks like Lex Luther and is equally as menacing, capable of scoring spectacular goals and delivering decimating tackles. Partnering with Kyle Beckerman or Jermaine Jones allows Bradley to make runs forward where he can deliver the attacking edge that the USMNT needs.

Tim Howard: 
If the United States hope to gain anything from this World Cup, Tim Howard will have to be in the form of his life. Undoubtedly, Howard will be called upon in the matches against Portugal and Germany where he will face some of the most potent attacking forces in the world. Howard is a top quality keeper accustomed to facing dynamic attacking forces with Everton, however the USMNT does not have a similar quality defense in front of him. Howard will be playing with the hopes and dreams of an entire country in his hands and we will see whether he can produce another miracle

It will take a run of special performances just to get the US out of the Group of Death, but it is certainly no impossible task. I think a second place finish is a very realistic possibility and see them reaching the quarterfinals before being eliminated.