5 Fixes USMNT Must Make Before The 2014 World Cup

5 Fixes USMNT Must Make Before The 2014 World Cup

Jurgen Klinsmann
Winslow Townson - USATODAY Sports

The USMNT may have won the first two matches of its send-off series leading up to the 2014 World Cup, but they have been far from perfect. There are still some serious concerns about how the team will fare against some of the best teams in the world in Ghana, Portugal, and Germany. Here are five fixes the USMNT must make before they begin group play at the 2014 World Cup.

5. Jozy Altidore Scoring Goals

Jozy Altidore
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

5. Jozy Altidore Scoring Goals

Jozy Altidore
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

It's been a while since Altidore scored after a rough season with Sunderland, but he needs to build up some confidence by scoring a goal before the World Cup gets underway. He's done well at everything else during the last two friendly matches, but he needs to put the ball in the back of the net before traveling to Brazil. The U.S. needs a striker that can score goals to get out of the Group Stage, and they need Altidore to be that striker.

4. Center Midfield Spacing

Kyle Beckerman congratulates Michael Bradley after scoring a goal
Getty Images

4. Center Midfield Spacing

Kyle Beckerman congratulates Michael Bradley after scoring a goal
Getty Images

This wasn't a huge issue with Jermaine Jones and Michael Bradley playing side by side, but with Jurgen Klinsmann switching to a diamond midfield, there's a lot of empty space that is sometimes too much for Jones to handle by himself. One possible solution is to put a more disciplined player like Kyle Beckerman in tandem with Bradley, but the U.S. needs to find some way to limit the extra space for opponents in the midfield.

3. Finishing Scoring Opportunities

USMNT Send-Off Series Azerbaijan
Kyle Terada - USATODAY Sports

3. Finishing Scoring Opportunities

USMNT Send-Off Series Azerbaijan
Kyle Terada - USATODAY Sports

The U.S. may not sit back and be passive during this World Cup, but that doesn't mean they're guaranteed to get a wealth of scoring opportunities, so the ones they do get they have to finish. They let some great scoring chances go to waste against Turkey due to indecision and lack of execution, and that needs to be cleaned up before they get to Brazil.

2. Organization in the Back Four

USMNT V Mexico DeAndre Yedlin
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

2. Organization in the Back Four

USMNT V Mexico DeAndre Yedlin
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

First, Jurgen Klinsmann has to decide on a back four, and then he needs to get that group playing well together and communicating effectively, which is a whole other challenge. It almost doesn't matter which four players form the back line, as long as they stay organized and don't give opposing strikers clean shots, because those will end up in the back of the net against Ghana, Portugal, and Germany.

1. Careless Turnovers in the Midfield

Jermaine Jones
Getty Images

1. Careless Turnovers in the Midfield

Jermaine Jones
Getty Images

The back four is an issue, but you pile onto those problems with careless play in the midfield that puts the back four on its heels. The U.S. wants to move quick and push forward when they get possession, but that sometimes leads to careless passes that give opponents a scoring chance on the counter attack. The U.S. has to value the ball more in its own half or they're going to get steamrolled on the counter attack time and time again in Brazil.

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