Contention At 2018 World Cup Is A More Reasonable Goal For USMNT
Recently, USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, made some unsavory comments regarding the team’s 2014 World Cup chances. Paraphrasing Klinsmann, the 2014 World Cup championship is not a reasonable objective for the young squad.
This is not due to the lack of talent and depth of the Americans; but rather due to their unfortunate draw into the “group of death.” Playing against two of the top international teams, as well as a Ghana team that has a history of upsetting United States’ World Cup chances, is enough to make even the head coach question his team’s chances.
The United States would have to play “out of their mind” to top the group or even come in second. Germany have evenly distributed talent from their forwards down to their goalkeeper; Portugal, currently, have the best player in the world; and Ghana have a burly attack with the Ayew brothers, Sulley Muntari, Kevin-Prince Boateng and Michael Essien. Even for a 100 percent patriotic American soccer supporter and self-proclaimed “American Outlaw,” I have to side with Klinsmann on this one.
Klinsmann is not saying he does not believe in his team; on the contrary, he believes his team is moving in the right position. Before the 2010 World Cup, the USMNT was nowhere close to the advancements that were facilitated by both Bob Bradley and Klinsmann. The coach has taken “the yanks” to new-found heights, as they are currently No. 13 in FIFA’s international rankings. The players selected by Klinsmann are expected to be in Russia four years from now. Age and form of crucial players such as Clint Dempsey and Tim Howard, as well as their group draw, will remain potential obstacles for a realistic World Cup championship opportunity.
Four years from now, many of United States’ core, young players will be more mature and will have plenty more caps. As well, Klinsmann has a knack of finding American players overseas who have dual-citizenship, including Mikkel “Mix” Diskerud and Aron Johannsson, two players who I think will become the future’s Clint Dempsey and Michael Bradley.
The future is bright for American soccer, but if Klinsmann and the USMNT do not live up to their potential, then Klinsmann’s job and the team’s international presence will be in jeopardy.
Collin Ruby is a Soccer writer for RantSports.com, follow him on Twitter @Collin_Ruby