Friday, May 28, 2010

World Cup - The United States of America - Part 3

This is it for the US Preview, and here I will deal with the strikers. To be honest, it's the easiest part. Jozy Altidore is talented, and he has such an amazing physique that he is almost unplayable when on form. But he is not a big time goal scorer. And he is very young and inexperienced.

He will start for the US. I would start Clint Dempsey up top with him, but Bob Bradley may leave Altidore up there on his own.

And the rest of the strikers on the US squad; Not good enough. Nowhere near good enough.

The one who was good enough, and whose emergence during the USA's qualifying campaign was huge, is Charlie Davies. Unfortunately, his celebration of qualification involved a friend driving drunk. Davies was severely injured in the resulting car crash, missed the remainder of the season for his club, Sochaux in France, and still is nowhere near fit to play in a high level football match. The Yanks will really miss him.

Herculez Gomez led the Mexican league in scoring, but he is 28 years old, and this is the first real success he has had. If he can continue to show the ability to finish he might be a useful late game substitute. If he scores only 1 goal, and it is a late goal that secures a draw against England, or a win against Slovenia, his inclusion will be justified, but I think that is the absolute ceiling of what we can expect from him.

All told, the US goals will have to come largely from the midfield. If Altidore can effectively hold up play and get his midfielders the ball moving forward, the US should score enough goals to advance out of the group stage. Unfortunately, the second position in this group will probably play Germany in the round of sixteen. On the other hand, if the US were to get something against England and win the group, it looks like a much easier road to the semi-finals.

I am predicting a draw on June 12th, 1-1, but England will most likely still win the group. Getting into the knockout stages will be a solid performance from this team, especially after a disappointing 2006.

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