5 Reasons Not to Sleep on USMNT in 2014 World Cup

2014 World Cup: 5 Reasons Not to Sleep on USMNT

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The United States exploded after their victory over Ghana. Both teams are extremely familiar with each other, as Ghana knocked USA out of the last two World Cups. After Portugal's debacle against Germany, the Americans find themselves in good position heading into their second group matchup. With a win or even a draw against Portugal on Sunday, USA increases its chances of making it to the knockouts. Here are five reasons not to sleep on USA.

5. Defense Stepping Up

geoff cameron
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

5. Defense Stepping Up

geoff cameron
Kirby Lee - USATODAY Sports

Heading into the game against Ghana, USA's defense consisted of two converted-offensive players and two inexperienced players. Many thought this defense was going to have problems, even with Tim Howard backing them up, but the defense gained a ton of experience in yesterday's matchup. Although Ghana had the ball much for much of the game and they had 21 shots, USA's defense benefited from this game.

4. Influence of German-Americans

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4. Influence of German-Americans

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Jurgen Klinsmann brought over some German players when he was named the manager for the USA squad. It turned out to be a smart decision, as Fabian Johnson, John Brooks and Jermaine Jones have played well for the USA team. Julian Green and Timothy Chandler have potential, but they are backups for now. Without Brooks yesterday, USA would've likely tied with Ghana.

3. Jurgen Klinsmann

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3. Jurgen Klinsmann

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After Jurgen Klinsmann made his comments on how USA winning the 2014 World Cup was unrealistic, people around the country started to ridicule him. Two weeks later, the only thing people can do is respect Klinsmann because he has done something Bob Bradley and Bruce Arena couldn't do by beating Ghana. Klinsmann has this team playing well at the right time.

2. 4-4-2 System

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2. 4-4-2 System

kyle beckerman, michael bradley
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Klinsmann made the switch to a 4-4-2 system before the friendlies, and the switch was a smart one because it helps the defense. Klinsmann wanted to free up Michael Bradley on the offensive side, and this system does just that. Also in this system, Alejandro Bedoya is given the flexibility to play on both sides of the field.

1. Tim Howard

tim howard
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

1. Tim Howard

tim howard
Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

Although he is 35 years old, Tim Howard is one of the best goalkeepers in the world. Asamoah Gyan, Sulley Muntari and Kevin Prince-Boateng had numerous opportunities, but Howard was there to stop them. Yes, Andre Ayew scored a goal in the 82nd minute, but that was a lucky one as it just was out of Howard's reach. If USA advances to the knockout stages, Howard will be the main reason why.

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