2014 World Cup: 5 Ways the USMNT Can Survive the Group of Death

2014 World Cup: 5 Ways the USMNT Can Survive the Group of Death

Germany Ghana USA Portugal
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Most football experts, including myself (if you want to call me an expert), predict that in the coming weeks the USA will be ousted from Brazil in a swift three games. The odds are against Gulati's guys, again placed into one of the tournaments most formidable foursomes. But not all hope is lost. It would not be shocking to any so-called experts if the Yanks got a result in any of their group stage games to reach the knockout stage.

5. Emerging Striker

Aron Johannsson
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5. Emerging Striker

Aron Johannsson
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Roughly 832 minutes of competition ago Brian McBride scored the last goal by an American striker in the World Cup and the US front men have gone cold turkey since. Flash forward twelve years and Jozy Altidore has the opportunity to score more goals in Brazil than for club (1 for Sunderland). Or could Aron Johannsson, after a 20-goal campaign with AZ, bring his magic touch to the tournament?

4. Inexperience

Landon Donovan
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4. Inexperience

Landon Donovan
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Even though the 2002 squad had twelve returning World Cup vets, the squad went to Korea with a sizable haul of inexperienced MLSers (Landon Donovan, DaMarcus Beasley, Josh Wolff, Clint Mathis) who all contributed. Lacking the fear of the spotlight, it turned out to be the most successful American World Cup team ever (aside from the third place finish in 1930). A similar situation could pan out in 2014 with 18 newbies to the party.

3. Team Chemistry

Mixx Diskerud
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3. Team Chemistry

Mixx Diskerud
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If it is one thing the United States does not lack is team chemistry. That invaluable characteristic will be of utmost importance if the Stars and Stripes are facing adversity at any point in Brazil.

2. Success Versus European Opponents

Jozy Altidore
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2. Success Versus Top Opponents

Jozy Altidore
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Since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as head coach on July 29, 2011, he has coached his squad in 20 games against teams that will be in Brazil. His record in those games stands at nine wins, four draws, and seven losses. The figure is respectable but keep in mind the Americans have away wins at Italy and Bosnia and Herzegovina and drew the Russians, 2-2, on their turf. Watch out Germany and Portugal.

1. Tim Howard

Tim Howard
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1. Tim Howard

Tim Howard
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A recent Rant Sports slideshow had Tim Howard as the fifth-best keeper in the field. The placement is valid but there are times when the 35-year-old can escalate himself to the world's finest. Example: the 2009 Confederations Cup. With a suspect US backline combined with facing top-notch strikers in American killer Asamoah Gyan, world-class Cristiano Ronaldo, and the ageless wonder Miroslav Klose, game-in and game-out Howard will have to answer.

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