Soccer US National TeamWorld Cup

5 Most Important Players for the USMNT at the 2014 World Cup

5 Most Important Players for the USMNT at the 2014 World Cup

United States National Team
Getty Images

Coming off an impressive showing against Nigeria in their final pre-World Cup friendly, the United States heads to Brazil with confidence ahead of their meetings with Ghana, Portugal and Germany. Which players will be counted on to help lead the team at the World Cup? Here are five players who will help determine the Stars and Stripes’ fate in Group G.

Tim Howard, GK

Tim Howard
Getty Images

Tim Howard, GK

Tim Howard
Getty Images

Tim Howard collected his 100th career cap in net for the United States during their 2-1 win against Nigeria in their World Cup send off. The 35-year-old English Premier League veteran has been a steadying force in American soccer since his debut back in 2002. Howard will be counted on to help keep the United States’ defense organized in Brazil.

Fabian Johnson, D

Fabian Johnson
Getty Images

Fabian Johnson, D

Fabian Johnson
Getty Images

Fabian Johnson is on the fast track to becoming one of the future stars of American soccer. The talented 26-year-old has been a standout in the United States’ recent friendlies, combining strong defensive instincts with his attacking style from the right back position. Johnson’s contributions will be a major factor in determining the Americans' ultimate fate in Brazil.

Michael Bradley, MF

Michael Bradley
Getty Images

Michael Bradley, MF

Michael Bradley
Getty Images

The team’s best all-around player, Michael Bradley does a little bit of everything for Coach Jurgen Klinsmann’s side. Strong tactically and a workhorse defensively, the 26-year-old Bradley has collected 86 caps since his debut back in 2006. A breakout star of the 2010 World Cup, Bradley’s ability to hold the ball and jump-start the offense will be counted on heavily once play gets underway for Team USA on June 16.

Jozy Altidore, F

Jozy Altidore
Getty Images

Jozy Altidore, F

Jozy Altidore
Getty Images

Jozy Altidore has been a bit of an enigma in his career with the national team. When at his best, the physically powerful forward can overwhelm opponents with his size and speed. Coming off his best showing of 2014 in the United States’ win over Nigeria, he’ll be counted on to provide a goal-scoring punch for the Americans in Brazil.

Clint Dempsey, F

Clint Dempsey
Getty Images

Clint Dempsey, F

Clint Dempsey
Getty Images

Team captain Clint Dempsey’s contributions as a leader will be just as important as his goal-scoring abilities in Brazil. A long-time veteran of American soccer with 105 caps and 37 goals scored since 2004, Dempsey also has established a long and distinguished career in Europe, having scored an American record 57 goals with English Premier League sides Fulham and Tottenham Hotspur. His leadership skills will be a key component for the USA.