Other Sports Forum

Other Sports Forum

NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, MLS, EPL, you name it. Talk about it here.

World Cup in one week!! What is your unbiased opinion of the USA squad?

jeremytwoface's picture
June 5, 2014 at 9:35am
94 Comments

The World Cup starts one week from today and I was wondering what people thought the USA's chances are. I know there has been a little discussion about it before, but I figured I would put it in a centralized place. (sorry in advanced for the length)

 

First and foremost, I think the process FIFA uses to pick the groups needs to change. In no way should Mexico be in an easier group than the US when the US cruised  through qualifying and Mexico had to win a playoff game to get there.

No for my prediction... This is as unbiased as I can get.

I think the US will beat Ghana without too much problems. I think all they will be hearing up to that game will be how Ghana has knocked them out of the last 2 Cups. I think that's enough motivation to come away with a win. Hopefully it's a big win because they may need the differential. I'm going to say it will be a 3-1 win for the US.

Next is Portugal which will be tough. Most people believe that Portugal is just Ronaldo and 10 other guys. I believe that to an extent, but they are still a strong team. I think if the US can come away with a draw here, it would be perfect. And I believe it's very possible ---- 1-1 draw is my prediction.

Ok... It comes down to this. Hopefully, Germany will have won both of their games up to this point. That would put Germany with 6 points, the US with 4 points, Portugal with 1 and Ghana with 0. If that happens, Germany might play almost a "B" squad or not play as hard to avoid injuries. That's really the only chance I give the US. Germany is in my top 3 or 4 of teams that could win the whole thing. If Germany doesn't try as hard or plays a "B" team, I could maybe see the US squeaking out a draw... But even Germany's B team is excellent. In all actuality, I see the US losing this one by at least 2 goals. I will go with a 3-1 victory for Germany.

So this is where goal differential is vital. If it plays out as above (all hypothetical), the US will have a 0 goal differential. It then will come down to whether Portugal beats Ghana and by how much... And it is also important how much Germany beats Portugal by.

 

Hopefully 3 weeks and about 5 or 6 hours from now we will be heading to the group stage.... But from what I've seen from our back line the past few games and the fact that they are going to have to stop the likes of Christiano Ronaldo and the crazy Germany attack, I'm not sure it's going to happen. Not to mention that, even if they do get out of the the group stage, they will probably be facing Belgium in the Final 16.... I wouldn't give them too much of a chance in that game either.

 

So what do you all think?

SOF_Buckeye's picture

It's soccer; I have no opinion.

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." Woody Hayes

-10 HS
Hovenaut's picture

So...you're saying it's not futbol?

I am not the Last Dragon, therefore I do not possess the power of the Glow.

+3 HS
SOF_Buckeye's picture

Well, I kind of put it in the same category of impressionist art, mimes, and Italian military history; it exists, but I have no interest.

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." Woody Hayes

-2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

 

I am not the Last Dragon, therefore I do not possess the power of the Glow.

+4 HS
hodge's picture

"Well, I kind of put it in the same category of impressionist art, mimes, and Italian military history; it exists, but I have no interest."

But Giuseppe Garibaldi was such a badass...

+2 HS
SOF_Buckeye's picture

Indeed; though the mystery of when Romans became Italians still remains.

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." Woody Hayes

-1 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

It's soccer; I have no opinion.

Then why are you here? 

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+14 HS
SOF_Buckeye's picture

To offer my non (unbiased) opinion. It's an offer you don't have to accept. 

Also, this is 11W, But I guess I mistakenly stepped into an UEFA Champion's League blog...

"The harder you work, the harder it is to surrender." Woody Hayes

-10 HS
Borrowed Time's picture

to offer an opinion of no opinion is pretty weak hahaha

+2 HS
sivaDavis's picture

Also, this is 11W, But I guess I mistakenly stepped into an UEFA Champion's League blog...

 I guess you don't realize 11W has an "Other Sports" section. 

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

Also, this is 11W, But I guess I mistakenly stepped into an UEFA Champion's League blog...

 

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

DJ Byrnes's picture

I'm slowly but surely talking myself into this USA squad. I've gone from "we're going to get throttled too" to "eh we might be able to surprise some people" in about a week. When it kicks off, I'll probably be on the "USA is a straight dark horse" train.

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

jeremytwoface's picture

I'm the same way... 

I've gone from saying "no chance" when the draw came out to "It could happen".

If we go out and throttle Ghana, I'll probably think we could win the whole thing.... Then we will probably get beat by Portugal and Germany and get knocked out.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+2 HS
Bolt's picture

I'm still extraordinarily skeptical with the draw. If we had to land in this group, we landed in it the best way possible though. The order in which we play these three teams plays to our advantage more than any other possible combination. We'll know whether we have a shot after the Ghana match (it's nice to get your most winable match first) and can see how Ronaldo's going to try to hold up against Germany who should give him a pretty good run around and hopefully weaken him further. Getting Germany last is the key. One can reasonably hope that the Germans to beat both Ghana and Portugal and maybe take their foot off the pedal in the final group match. 

Plus we've got this going for us...which is nice:

http://www.espnfc.us/fifa-world-cup/story/1863620/ghana-witch-doctor-say...

+1 HS
BuckToAsT's picture

Ronaldo has patellar tendinosis, so there is hope.

+3 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

Did you hear the story about the witch doctor from Ghana??? Look it up if you haven't....

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+4 HS
LexingtonBuckeye's picture

Yes, I heard this story. And my oh my, is it worth every second. I hope he brews up a strong batch for Ronaldo and lets just throw the entire German squad in the cauldron while we're at it. Go Go USA.

+1 HS
Hovenaut's picture

Also not a soccer/futbol/sport of the world guy, but spending some time overseas it's not difficult to understand how passionate people are about the sport.

The patriotic juices are up for the WC - I know USA has a tough draw, but hoping they can defeat Ghana and Portugal. Germany as well, and Klinsmann helps our cause there, but I can't see that happening.

I've tuned into every Cup since '94. This one will be a little more special as my soon-to-be four year old has taken a liking to soccer.

USA! Go 'Murica! (shout-out to the southern folk)

I am not the Last Dragon, therefore I do not possess the power of the Glow.

+2 HS
FloridaBuck's picture

Actually no one really says that in the south, its just as much of a joke here really.  Although I cant speak for true southerners as I was born in Cleveland and lived in Cbus for four five years of magical times at tOSU.

But I digress...I agree, I think the US has a good shot against Portugal and Ghana.  I can see the US moving on from the group stage with a little bit of luck.  Beating Germany though would probably take a minor miracle; I think the German squad wins it all.

+2 HS
Hovenaut's picture

No disrespect to the south - Ohio native myself, spent some years in sw VA, still catch myself throwing out a "ya'll" every now and then.

I've called it soda instead of pop for years...#lostyouth

 

I am not the Last Dragon, therefore I do not possess the power of the Glow.

+2 HS
VABuckeyeInsanity's picture

I was born in Ohio, live in SW VA and have family in OH and PA!  I teach English, but my speech is all messed up!  HAHA  People in this part of the South don't really say 'Merica, it is a joke around here as well.

+3 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

Right on....

I love to see the younger generation get into soccer more. In my generation, soccer was seen almost as a "girly" sport compared to football, baseball and basketball.

I'm not saying everyone has to like soccer, but you can even see on this board that people actively try to pick out soccer threads just to negatively comment on them. Plus, if you don't want the US of A to be a leader in the world of soccer, you're just plain un-Amurican.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

Optimistic Buckeye Pessimist's picture

USA needs to win against Ghana and that's easier said than done.  Ghana is a very tough team.  

If we can do that, I don't think draws against Portugal and Germany are unreasonable.  I think that if we could play a good defensive game against Portugal, we'd have a decent shot to get 3 points from them, but we'd have to be sound defensively and essentially "ugly" up the game and win on scrappiness.  

When we play the Germans, they may be playing for nothing, so I think we may have a shot to draw.  If the Germans are playing for a required win when they play us, I think this game will be a good measuring stick for US soccer, one where I'd be thrilled with a draw.  

Read my entire screen name....

+6 HS
osu07asu10's picture

It is tough to have strong positive feelings when Klinsmann lays the truth down like that. That being said, we've never had more talent and skill on the roster even if it is young and green. 

I think you're pretty spot on in that if we are to get 3 pts in a game, it will come from Ghana. No doubt Klinsmann will have the boys ready for Germany, and Portugal is a world class team.

I don't see us advancing out of the group stage but I will sure cheer like hell, and also watch every game imaginable. 

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

+6 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

I definitely don't see us winning. I think it would be considered pretty successful if we get out of the group and win our first game in the knockout stage.

Hell, I would be ok with just getting out of the group.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+5 HS
northwoods buckeye's picture

I think his comment is, frankly, 100% on the money. I respect him for making such a blunt public assessment of the team (very German). A leader needs to understand the capabilities of his subordinates. We'd think he had been hitting the crack pipe if he was out there saying he thought US is going to win it all. Hopefully, the team takes it as a challenge. The coach of the 1980 US ice hockey team famously told his team that they didn't have enough talent to win on talent alone. And that's the case here. I agree that this is probably the best roster the US has had yet. MLS keeps getting better, but it's not to the level of the elite European leagues yet. When the US roster has more names that play with top flight clubs, I will feel better about our chances. 

Conan! What is best in life?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

+5 HS
osu07asu10's picture

I'm not upset that he said it, I respect it. I'm just saying it is hard for me to really get excited about the team with such a blunt assessment from the leader of the USMNT.

"They don't know what they don't know." - Coach Mick

+2 HS
rdubs's picture

Urban said something similar before we won 24 straight games...

+4 HS
Unky Buck's picture

I was thinking the same exact thing. Our coaches have said it multiple times and more recently about how far our OL needs to go and how they're "just not there yet." It's the same, honest assessment I want to hear from coaches. It's not say he's not going to coach the hell out of these guys, but he's also realistic as to where we are on the totum poll of international soccer. We have quite a ways to go before we get there.

...

+2 HS
northwoods buckeye's picture

"America loves a winner and will not tolerate a loser!" Gen George S Patton

Conan! What is best in life?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

+1 HS
VABuckeyeInsanity's picture

This is one of the things I like about Klinsmann, he keeps it real.  People don't like the truth all the time, but what he is saying is factual.  Can they play the best 7 games of their lives?  Sure!  But that is what it is going to take to pull this out and that just isn't reality.  Either way I will be cheering my heart out for them.

+2 HS
sivaDavis's picture

 No doubt Klinsmann will have the boys ready for Germany Portugal, and Portugal Germany is a world class team.

Portugal is Mexico with a bit more skill and pace (Ronaldo) The Germans... well now that's a whole different monster. Klinsi will try his best but a draw against Germany in what might be a needed win for Germany would be vital in USAs chances in this cup.

"I've had smarter people around me all my life, but I haven't run into one yet that can outwork me. And if they can't outwork you, then smarts aren't going to do them much good." - Woody Hayes

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Correct Optimistic - I am glad we open up with Ghana - that was a nice thing and yes they are tough but beatable. FS1 - noted that Renaldo's leg might keep him down a bit. If we draw against Port. then we have a good chance to advance. Personally its Brazil's championship to lose, that home cookin is going to be tough to beat. 

+4 HS
Groveport Heisman's picture

Why ain't you on the damn field is what im wondering seattle?

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

+1 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Missed my calling years ago - played year round up until a couple of years ago - got a chance to practice with the old Cleveland Crunch years ago. Left knee is done and when I say done I mean DONE

+1 HS
MikeEagleBuckeye's picture

I'm cautiously optimistic at the US's chances in group play.  Reportedly, egos are flying wild in the German camp, and they don't play well together even though they have all the talent in the world.  Now with the injury to Ronaldo, The US may have a chance at surprising a lot of people!

+3 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

I would put a 97% chance on him playing...

I think there's a little bit of gamesmanship going on here.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

-1 HS
Chief B1G Dump's picture

I think Belgium is going to play soccers version of Tressel-Ball and make a deep run. 

USA has no shot to win it, but can at least give us some excitement and make it out of group play. 

Brazil and Germany are on a big time collision course into mind, and I believe they would meet in the semis. Winner of that one takes the cup. 

+2 HS
BucksfanXC's picture

I'm the opposite of DJ, the more I read and see the worse I feel. We are playing with line-ups and formations in these friendlies but we have looked horrible. Turkey could and should have scored about 6 goals against us, but just missed wide open shots and we won't always get those breaks. We haven't seen an attack like Germany can put on us. Don't get me started on Ronaldo, I don't care if his leg is broken in two, he can run circles around us with a leg and a half (hahaha).

I have and do still think there is a chance. I think the best case scenario is the one JeremyTwoFace presented. I think worst case we lose all three games and go scoreless. I think there's a 30% chance either one of those happens. I hope Yedlin and Green and the young guys gets some good experience and get onto good top level European club teams in the next year or two and we are strong going into 2018. I'd love to have a quarterfinals or semis showing in Russia, have 2022 stripped from Qatar and given to the US and have a chance to win our first World Cup at home in 2022 and be in attendance.

“Any time you give a man something he doesn't earn, you cheapen him. Our kids earn what they get, and that includes respect.”  - Woody

+1 HS
RedStorm45's picture

I don't follow soccer/futbol that much, and definitely not enough to know about odds and such.  So what am I about to say is based on some quick reads and discussion with more hardcore fans.

I personally don't think we will get out of Group Play.  There appears to be a lot of question marks, and that's not a good thing heading into a loaded draw.  But one of my buddies thinks we will make it out and the lose the first game after that - with a win over Ghana, and then we just need to play one great game against either Portugal or Germany, which is doable.

I'll be watching intently for sure.  Re: Ghana - isn't there some crazy stat that no country has lost to the same country in three consecutive World Cups?  Something like that.  And Ghana beat us in '10 and '06.

+1 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

 Re: Ghana - isn't there some crazy stat that no country has lost to the same country in three consecutive World Cups?  Something like that.  And Ghana beat us in '10 and '06.

That wouldn't surprise me... It's pretty rare to even PLAY the same team 3 years in a row... But to lose to them every time? I'm sure it hasn't happened. 

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

-1 HS
buckeyes7222's picture

Surprisingly, the one team no one seems to be talking about is Spain, which is only a good thing for them. They're still the team to beat in my mind, although Germany may have the best talent.

I also think people underestimate Ghana. Too many people chalking that one up as a win already. They've beaten us twice for a reason.

That said, I think the US have a chance. Very important to find a way to get at least three points from the first two games and give ourselves a chance.

+1 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

I'm somewhere between getting out of the group and going winless - ha!

Honestly, this team is so hard to read.  When you watch them, they look good attacking and yet completely frazzled in the defensive third.  This is completely opposite to how a conventional American team generally appears to play.  The Turkey match has me more worried than before - it seemed as though Turkey was dangerous throughout and just couldn't finish the deal.  I don't like that the US is still experimenting with lineups and formations even.

Yet, when you look back at some of the results this team was able to produce over the past year and a half to two years, it gives me a sense of belief they could do something special.  The results at Italy, Russia, and B-H, along with good results against Mexico, makes me think Jurgen has something up his sleeve that will allow this squad to "rock the boat" in Brazil.  Almost all of those results came without Donovan, and I feel like Jurgen is targeting that style and type of play in order to get results in the WC.

A win against Ghana is crucial - a loss would be a death knell.  I'm one who thinks some are downplaying how good Ghana really are, but at the same time Jurgen is putting all his cards on the table to beath Ghana.  It's a knockout game, as he's said.

+1 HS
northwoods buckeye's picture

I agree the draw needs to be fixed. There's no way that the #1 team from CONCACAF and the #2 and #3 teams from Europe should be in the same group. I would propose that the top 3 teams from Europe, top 2 from South America, top teams from the other confederations (Africa, Asia/Oceania (lumped together), North/Central America). Then fill everyone else in based on world ranking.

Here's my opinion on US odds:

Win every game in group: 0%

Win against Ghana and Portugal, tie/lose to Germany: 10%

Beat Ghana and tie both Germany and Portugal: 20%

Beat Ghana and tie either Germany or Portugal: 40%

Beat Ghana, lose against both Germany and Portugal: 20%

US gets blanked or only manages a tie with Ghana: 10%

 

Conan! What is best in life?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

+5 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Nice job Northwoods - haven't seen the Group Of Death percentages broken down like that before.

+2 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

The problem with the draw is that FIFA uses it's crappy rankings for the top seeds. Switzerland should NOT be #7 in the country.

 

They should rank teams based on how they preform in qualifying... not how they preform in friendlies. They should take into account goal differential and home field advantage.

Another problem is that they draw based on location.... The US had as equal of chance to be drawn into Brazil's group as Honduras, simply because they are both from North America. The US was ranked 13th at the time and Honduras was ranked 34th.... Doesn't seem fair to me.

I don't see why they don't do it how the NCAA tournament is seeded... rank the top 32 teams, put the top 8 in the first pod, the next 8 in the second pod and so on... 

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+1 HS
northwoods buckeye's picture

i agree FIFA's rankings are crappy, but that's what there is to work with. I would like what you're proposing, after separating the top teams from each region. I think that each region's best team should get a more favorable draw, because FIFA's rankings are prone to favoring a strong region (Europe) over a weaker one (Africa) due to "strength of schedule". Ghana (#37) is ranked near such European powerhouses as Wales (#41) and Armenia (#38).

Conan! What is best in life?

To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and to hear the lamentation of their women.

+1 HS
Jack Fu's picture

The problem isn't the FIFA rankings themselves; the problem is that after the top eight seeded teams, they group everyone else based on geography, not ability. Each group consists of:

  • One top-8 seeded team
  • One team from either South America or Africa
  • One team from Asia or North/Central America
  • One team from Europe

The US goes into every draw knowing their group is going to consist of one of the top-8 teams, one (another?) team from Europe, and a team from either South America or Africa. As the best team in North/Central America, the US is almost per se going to be in the/a Group of Death, pretty much every time, because they are a very good team taking up a space that in another group would have been Honduras or Costa Rica or whoever. This is a great example of a much fairer way to do it. But it's FIFA we're talking about here, and nothing about anything they do is "fair," so it'll never happen.

+1 HS
buckeyes7222's picture

I just disagree with the 90% chance you're giving us to beat Ghana... Although I'm not trying to be negative! USA!

+1 HS
Unky Buck's picture

I think there's a very real possibility that the US squad can move on but even if they do, they won't go far. I think 2018 is when we'll start talking about a possibility of the US doing something on this stage.

I kind of think along the lines of you, JTF. It all depends on how many goals we can score against Ghana with a win. I would think 3-4 would be necessary because I don't see us scoring more than 2-3 goals in the other 2 games combined.

I've also said it before and will again...Germany going 3-0 in this grouping is absolutely vital for the US to advance. If they lose to Portugal, it's over for us. I don't think we can compete with Germany all that well. With some solid defense, even though I think our back line is a little questionable, I think we can contain Ronaldo and Portugal. That's a HUGE if but it's certainly within reason. If we do that, come away with a draw, we'll be in good shape. Again, it's not so much that I think they'll go very far if they get past group play, but it'd be great to get some experience for these young guys for 2018.

...

+2 HS
Squirrel Master's picture

I watch US matches but don't follow any of the leagues play. Occasionally I check out highlights Sunday mornings on the fox soccer network.

I think the US is better at ball control then they ever have. They don't have the dynamic scores or players that the elite teams have but they are a better team then the last world cup team. I think as a team they are capable of the B team in the group. Then I think it will take a miracle or some stellar play to go from there. When they put together that run to qualify, they looked really good. Could have competed with some of the best. If they can play like that, I could see them being a surprise team to knock out a contender somehow. I'm just not sure they can be that good again.

My guess is they beat Ghana (and erase that dreaded curse) by 2-0. They beat Portugal 2-1 and lose to Germany 2-0. Germany wins the group and US is the B team.

I saw a UFO once.......it told me to have a goodyear!

+1 HS
LexingtonBuckeye's picture

As tough as our group is, at least we are playing the teams in the order I would prefer. Ghana, Portugal, then Germany. If things shake out in our favor, and with a little bit of luck, we can get out of the group. I think the expectation for this team, in this cup, is merely to put up a fight. If we get out of the group, I will consider that a great win. If we advance from there, I might cover my entire body in an American flag tattoo. I'm going to enjoy the ride, enjoy the games, and pull for my country. One nation, One team. Go Go USA.

+2 HS
Buckabroad's picture

Here in Germany, this group is all that is spoken of. Germany lives and dies by having its (imo) world-best and deepest mid-field play effortlessly as a unit. When that scheme rolls, they press teams high at midfield and slice them apart with their fast counter game. If that happens, only Spain's 80% ball-possession style of play or Argentina's precision passing-game can prevent them from winning it all. At the moment, however, numerous key midfielders are injured or not at 100% (Khedira, Schweinsteiger, Gündogan, Bender, Özil among others). If the German mid-field falls, their weaknesses in the defense will be horribly exposed and they will not survive this group.

Long story short: If the midfield does not find health and cohesion, Germany will fall, possibly even to the US squad.

"The minute we stop expecting greatness, we become Wisconsin."

+3 HS
Seattle Linga's picture

Forgot about the Spanards - They will be a tough out!

+2 HS
Buckeye06's picture

My prediction is about the same as the OP, Beat Ghana, tie Portugal, and hope Germany beats them both so a tie gets both teams through and our German coach talks to his boy to make sure both teams advance in a 0-0 draw.

Based on FIFA rankings, the USA has been better than Belgium in 2014 thus far (not saying that matters since it's not common opponents).  In the knockout phase, it's 1 lucky bounce, or one hand-ball (called or uncalled)

+1 HS
DJ Byrnes's picture

somebody is also going to need to explain the psychology of people coming into World Cup threads to declare how much they dont care 

Californian by birth, Marionaire by the Grace of President Warren G. Harding.

jeremytwoface's picture

 

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+8 HS
Go1Bucks's picture

USA wins Group G.

Yep, I said it.

Go Bucks!

+2 HS
aboynamedtracy's picture

It's been 8 hours; have you sobered up yet?

My guess: 3 straight draws. Germany 7, Portugal 4, USA 3 & Ghana 1.

Go1Bucks's picture

I also believe that there was no DRAW for group play, period.  This was a setup.  They want a rematch against Ghana, and then 2 more roadblocks to prevent US participation in any further rounds. 

Go Bucks!

+1 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

 

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+4 HS
Groveport Heisman's picture

Hey I love soccer and played quite a bit of select growing up,but the thing I love more then the game itself is cheering on the U.S.A. against other Countries. They are like Mattas Buckeyes when I fill out my brackets for the NCAA, I always have the Buckeyes winning the title no matter how ridiculous others may think it is. I picked U.S.A. in the 11w tourney and will act like they have a reasonable chance to win every single match,because that is how I honestly feel. Might have to pull out the trusty old scope if we face off with the Germans.

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

+3 HS
Ahh Saturday's picture

US
Howard, Bradley, and Dempsey mean that this team will have talent and experience all over the field.  I like Wondolowski’s  habit of being in the right place at the right time, and think he’ll score at least one key goal in the group stage.  The bane of this team will be the back line, but Howard can erase a lot of mistakes.
Ghana
Most vulnerable. Essien is old, Boateng has been on a vacation that would make a retired French actress (or even Donovan) look busy and nobody knows where Asamoah will even play.  Lots of talent, but a coherent team would be a surprise.  US wins.
Portugal
Very good across the board, a team that can be more than just the fighting Ronaldos except sometimes they seem to forget that and just bog down waiting for Senor Pretty Boy to do something.  In qualifying play they lost to Russia, drew against Northern Ireland once and Israel twice!  They can be beaten, and certainly a draw is not hoping too much. US wins.

Germany
Another game that looks dire but is far from hopeless.  Germany is dealing with injuries and if they’ve qualified for the next round before the match against the US they might choose to rest some key players.  US draws.
 

+5 HS
Groveport Heisman's picture

Great prognosis Saturday.

Mark my words..I don't need acceptance. I'm catching interceptions on you innocent pedestrians.

+3 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

I hope you're right...

I will say that I believe Wondo will only get into the game as a sub. Altidore is Jurgen's first choice up top with Dempsey... and even though he is in a rut right now, he is still playing very well. Whether he is scoring goals or not, he holds the ball up and keeps possession until help arrives and that will be key against their opponents in the group stage.... That's something that I don't think Wondo can do very well.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+2 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

I'll go a step further and say I'm not sure how much Wondo will even play - I'm extremely high on Aron Johannsson and I feel like he could be one of the breakout players of the tournament.  But, he's got to be given a chance on the pitch.  It'll be interesting to see who Jurgen goes to off the bench first and how he views the pecking order at striker.

+1 HS
OldColumbusTown's picture

Great synopsis.  I agree on all your points - now we just need to hope the US are at the top of their game to take advantage.  As others have mentioned, the order of games in this draw is important because getting 3 points in the first game tends to give a side a huge leg up on advancing from the group.  It also helps that the US will get a nicked-up Ronaldo in the Amazon after having faced Germany, and a somewhat injury-riddled German side in the last match with a chance that 1) they've already guaranteed advancement, or 2) they've been beset by a toll of injuries.

One can hope!

+1 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

I will say this....

If Ghana beats us again, they will be my #2 behind TSUN.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+3 HS
LexingtonBuckeye's picture

So much this. I wish I could upvote a hundred times.

45OH4IO's picture

I watched Germany's friendly and their D got ripped up a bit. 

Portugals entry passes are outlandishly good, but that was the only takeaway I got watching their last friendly.

ghana is solid, but not spectacular at anything.

honestly, the US could go anywhere from 0-3 to 3-0. The problem I have watching this sport is all the match fixing makes me wonder what is legit or not...

+1 HS
45OH4IO's picture

Im impressed by the Dutch. Watch out for them.

+1 HS
Run_Fido_Run's picture

It's a tough group on paper, but with the WC in Brazil, at least they avoided having both a Euro power and a South American team in their group (although I'm guessing that Portugal is reasonably well-supported in Brazil?). Would they be better off in Group B with Spain, Netherlands, Chile; Group D with Uruguay, England, Italy; or Group E with Switz, France, Ecuador? I doubt it.

Still, I don't see the U.S. advancing in this group. They will be life-and-death simply to beat or tie Ghana. I can see them giving up like four goals to Portugal. They'll have a nice moral victory (e.g., a 1-2 loss) to Germany.

If they get out of group play, I see a handful of elite Euro teams plus numerous South American teams. I tend not to like mid-level non-South American teams in this one - Greece, USA, Croatia, Russia, Bosnia. And marginal non-South American teams like Japan, Australia, Korea figure to have a rough time. 

Hope I'm wrong about the USA, but not especially optimistic.

+2 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

Group B is nasty. I think the Spanish, Dutch and Chile all have the potential to win that group. I think either one of them could easily get past the first round or two of the knockout stage.

Group D is pretty tough too, but I think it's pretty on par with with USA's group. Group E is alright, but I think the Swiss are largely over-rated. 

If they get out of the group, they play someone from what is regarded as the easiest group.... The problem is that it will probably be Belgium who should be really tough.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+1 HS
gonzogrover's picture

We're going to win the damn thing. We have a top 5 keeper in the world, a defense that's beginning to gel, a midfield general who can command a match and enough attacking options to win a higher scoring match. I believe.

And no the part of me that's not a fanboy knows that Ghana in the first match is a must win. Get a draw off of either Portugal or Germany and we can go through. Portugal may be without Cristiano Ronaldo, or at least with a lesser version of him and Germany may already have their place in the knockout stages sealed before we play them so they could be resting a few guys. Get out of the group and anything can happen. Survive and advance.

+4 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

I love your enthusiasm.... 

Not sure Timmy Howard is top 5. I wouldn't even say he's top 5 in the World Cup. You have Casillas, Neuer, Courtois, Joe Hart.... pretty tough to beat some of those players.

He will have to play like a top 5 keeper if the US is going to win the whole thing.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

-1 HS
Jack Fu's picture

I don't think he's the best keeper on the roster.

[/Villa supporter]

+1 HS
KeithMC33's picture

My major concern about this team is the back 4. Watching the game against Turkey, they struggled mightily and it was fortunate that Turkey didn't come away with more goals. Granted we were missing Beasley, but the 2 in the Center need to step it up.

When this draw came out, i didn't give the USA a chance in hell of advancing. I hope they can beat Ghana and Portugal but i just don;t see it happening. It's a real shame because we have a good nucleus, but i just don't think we have enough to overcome our opposition. Normally i am a very optimistic person, but i am very nervous to watch the US play in the next couple of weeks. I am really holding out hope that I am completely wrong about this and we do well!  

+2 HS
FROMTHE18's picture

Worst case scenario is obviously 0 points, which is actually pretty likely considering Portugal and Germany should be defeats (of course its never a given, but on paper they are both defeats) and Ghana is a pretty solid squad. I think the most realistic outcome is 3 points with 1 point or 0 points being quite possible. The US team could get out of the group with an upset victory over Portugal (I just don't see the US team beating Germany) and a win over Ghana, or even a Draw with Portugal and a victory over Ghana may push the US through. Im going to say 3 points.

+1 HS
otrain2416's picture

I think we'll win a game or two don't see us winning all three who knows if we'll move on because Germany is very good and we could slip up a game. In all honesty, its hard for us to compete in this event because all our best athletes are professionals in other sports. Could you imagine Lebron in the middle jumping up for a header during a corner kick if he grew up playing soccer?

These countries put their best athletes into this sport and train their whole lives to play it. My eye opening experience with this was I went on a medical missions trip to Costa Rica last summer. I worked with some of the poorest individuals in extremely low income villages. You know what each village I visited did have that was the nicest part of it? A soccer field. 

+1 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

Ever see the commercials with Kobe in them? He used to play soccer.

It seems like there's more of a shift of the younger generation to playing soccer instead of football and basketball.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

otrain2416's picture

I have not I'll definitely look that one up. Idk how much of a shift has been going on with soccer. I do know lacrosse is one of the fastest growing sport right now in our country. I feel like soccer's one of those sports everyone played when they were five. For me personally, I wish they would get rid of off-sides penalty. I feel like there would be a lot more scoring and the games would be more exciting to watch IMO. 

+1 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

I'm not sure about percentage of youth that are playing soccer, but it's growing in popularity at least.

Here's something from an article I found...

Football remains the most popular sport among young adults, but soccer is the runner-up. Thirty-two-percent of young adults say football is their favorite sport, compared to 13 percent who say soccer, 10 percent who say basketball and just 7 percent who say baseball. Further, soccer fans tend to be much younger than other fans. The average age of Americans who say soccer is their favorite sport is just 37, while the average age for football fans is 46 and for baseball 53. If baseball is America's past, and football is its present, then soccer may be its future.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+1 HS
LexingtonBuckeye's picture

Very interesting statements in that article. When I think about it, it makes a lot of sense.

dubjayfootball90's picture

I am real excited to see the US team up and running. I think they have the chance to make a huge run. I also am pulling for Colombia, since I am half Colombian and have a large portion of my family there.

Either way, super pumped for this. I love the world cup. And the US has good chances to advance pretty far. Let us hope that they do not 'Die Bravely' like they have in the past, and not allow goals in the first 20 minutes of play...

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+1 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

Columbia could make a run as well... It really hurt them that Falcao isn't making the trip though.

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+1 HS
dubjayfootball90's picture

Yea. That was killer news and really upsetting. But it makes me really happy and proud to see them doing so well as a team. Both my teams are in great position (USA and Colombia).

You can feed a bobcat all the chili it wants. That don't mean it's going to crap out diamonds.

+1 HS
TheTeam16's picture

Falcao is one of my favorite players to watch, dude is an artist. I am pretty depressed he wont be at the WC.

+2 HS
Iwearmocs's picture

We're gonna get hammered lol.  But I love the world cup, so much fun

 

+1 HS
NoVA Buckeye's picture

I will say this: This group is not as bad as everyone expects them to be. With that being said, I do not think they will win the World Cup, but dammit I will support them like they will until the bitter end.

The offseason begins when your season ends. Even then there are no days off.

+2 HS
hit_the_couch's picture

USA is better than my Czech squad, but that's not saying much; they're in a tough group and likely won't go to the second round. It should be Ghana and Germany. I'd put money on Germany to win it all...actually I did put money on Germany.

Soccer is just not big here in men's at a high level. At least there's a good women's team for those that watch it.

And then I told her...i'm no weatherman, but tonight's forecast is calling for several inches!

TheTeam16's picture

Missing a few pieces to make it through group play. 

Bradley is a great player, but soccer is one of those games where it takes multiple...unless you have a player on like a Messi or Neymar level.

I think the USA cuts it close but does not get out of the group, just not enough talent and very questionable CB play.

jamesrbrown322's picture

I think that this is the best XI that US Soccer has ever fielded. However, this is also the worst draw we've ever gotten. Maybe they get lucky vs. Portugal or Germany a la 2002, but I doubt it. I say the only points that they get are whatever they can get against Ghana, which is hopefully 3. 

I hope they prove me wrong.

"I can accept failure, but I cannot accept not trying." - W.W. Hayes

+1 HS
jeremytwoface's picture

Sending up-votes to everyone (except for the person who came to the thread to say they don't care about soccer)

 

I love the soccer talk on this forum so thanks to all!!

Here's to a good World Cup!

The first man gets the ((((Oyster)))), the second man gets the shell.

+1 HS
NashBuckeye's picture

Didn't read every comment but I have noticed that every time the World Cup is in Europe (1990, 1998, 2006), the US is 3 & out. Every time it is anywhere else (94 in 'Murica, 2002 in Korea/Japan, and 2010 in S. Africa), the US makes it out of their group.

That's the best I can do as far as optimism. So far, going by the warmup games, Tim Howard better be like a hot Hockey Goalie or it will take a lot of goals to do well. Good thing we have Julian Greene on the team since he is leading USA goal-scorer of all..........oops, that was the guy we didn't take.

USA! USA! USA!  

+1 HS