USA soccer World Cup preview

USA soccer World Cup preview

Kayla Grizzle, Staff Writer

Since the last World Cup in 2010, Team USA has taken measures to improve its players, performance and coaching staff.

Under the direction of new coach Jurgen Klinsmann, Team USA won 7 out of its 10 CONCACAF qualifying Hexagonal matches to qualify for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

The other three teams qualifying from the CONCACAF region are Costa Rica, Honduras and Mexico. The U.S team finished four points ahead of the runner up, Costa Rica, to top the group for the Hexagonal.

The two teams to beat the U.S. in qualifying were Costa Rica and Honduras in 2013.

Klinsmann has completely revamped the team to adopt his playing style since he took over for former coach Bob Bradley by bringing in unexpected players and changing the old strategies.

“He (Klinsmann) doesn’t care if you play in division one colleges, he doesn’t care if you play Major League Soccer, he doesn’t care if you play in the Premiere League,” said CONCACAF reporter/broadcaster Sean Wheelock in a FIFA TV interview. “He is casting an extremely wide net. He’s finding these players and it’s been very refreshing in my opinion… It’s completely revitalized the U.S. squad.”

With the help of star players goalkeeper Tim Howard, midfielder Michael Bradley, and forwards Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey and Chris Wondolowski, Klinsmann’s strategy is developing Team USA into a better team than previous years.

One player not included in the final 23-man roster going to Brazil is Landon Donovan, who has produced 57 international goals for the U.S in all competitions. The closest player to that number on the team is Dempsey with 36.

During the World Cup group drawings, Team USA was placed in Group G alongside Ghana, Portugal, and Germany.

All three are ranked in the top 40 in the FIFA world rankings.

Team USA’s first match will take place on Monday, June 16, against Ghana in the city of Natal, the team that knocked them out of the Round of 16 in 2010. Ghana knocked the U.S. out of the 2006 World Cup in Germany.

If Team USA were to beat anyone in its group, Ghana would be the most likely, but if the past is any indication of what will happen, Team USA will struggle for even that win.

Portugal, which is the next match, will also prove to be a tough team to beat with soccer superstar Cristiano Ronaldo on its side.

The toughest opponent will be Germany, a team assumed to move forward with first place in Group G.

“Of course we want to beat Germany to pull off a sensation,” Klinsmann said in article on “But we think they will already be qualified before our meeting in the last match of the group.”

The last time Team USA reached the Round of 16 was in 2002 against Mexico. The team was eliminated by Germany in the quarterfinals, 1-0.