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Soccer World Cup

World Cup 2014: USMNT Needs Omar Gonzalez To Step Up This Summer

Steven Bisig-USA TODAY Sports

To succeed in the 2014 World Cup set to kick off in Brazil next summer, the USMNT will rely on central defender Omar Gonzalez. Gonzalez is a solid defender for the Los Angeles Galaxy, and carries that over into his play for the USMNT. His experience anchoring the defense throughout qualifying will be essential to USA’s efforts to make it through the group stages.

The key to winning at the international level is a solid defense. Offense looks great on paper, but when it really comes down to it, it’s the teams with the best defense that consistently win in the knockout stages. World Cup Finals tend to end with a low score because the teams that get there have high-level defenses.

Gonzalez is essential to the USMNT’s 2014 World Cup effort because of his size. The 6-foot-5 defender wins headers better than any defender that the USA has had in the past few years. His aerial skill will be able to offset strong crosses from some of the world’s best midfielders and keep the USA alive in games that they are expected to lose.

If the USMNT makes it to the knockout stages, it will be based on the play of the defense, but Gonzalez will be the most important member. Gonzalez will be the key to keeping goalkeeper Tim Howard from being peppered by opposing headers and allow for the USA to capitalize on offense.

Taylor Sturm is an SEC Basketball Writer for RantSports.com. Follow him on Twitter @TSturmRS or add him to your network on Google.