World Cup 2014: USA Had Most Impressive Qualifying Run

By Taylor Sturm
Winslow Townson-USA TODAY Sports

Hailing from the CONCACAF region, the U.S. Men’s National Team isn’t as heralded as many of each region’s top team. However, the USA was one of the first teams to qualify for the 2014 World Cup and dominated in CONCACAF play outscoring opponents 15-7.

It’s not the way that the United States performed in all of their World Cup Qualifying, but the way that they performed at the end in the Hexagonal when it really counted. The USMNT lost two games throughout the final stages of qualifying – a stunner against Honduras and a disappointing 3-1 loss away from home in Costa Rica.

CONCACAF is considered a weaker conference compared to ones such as UEFA (Europe) and CONMEBOL (South America), but the region is getting consistently better. No one would have expected Panama to make the daring run in the qualifiers like they did and absolutely no one expected Mexico to play as poorly as they did.

The USMNT had it rough facing a good team every time they played a game. Unlike the final UEFA qualifiers, there isn’t a team in the group for a major power to beat up on. Jamaica didn’t do very well, but they still had opportunities to win every game that they played. The Hexagonal aspect of CONCACAF play really makes the top teams have to focus or they will miss out on the World Cup.

The United States may be drawn into a group of death and not make it to the knockout stages, but, if they can get back a likely difficult group stage, expect them to go to at least the semi-finals. The difficult set up of the CONCACAF region qualifying will have prepared the USMNT for the rigors of the 2014 World Cup in Brazil; expect big things from the USA.

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

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