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Saturday, June 05, 2010

Group C - USA

Nickname – The Yanks

WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

Concacaf Qualifying does not seem to be the hardest zone to qualify and USA made that clear thrashing Barbados 9-0 on aggregate on the second round. Into the third round they topped the group with 15 out 18 points. Heading for a trickier task which was the fourth round competing with teams like Mexico, Honduras, Costa Rica, El Salvador, T. Tobago, USA cruised into 1st place with 6 wins, 2 draws, 2 loses. They were unbeaten for the last four matches which made the team’s consistency to book the world cup place.

H2H

Jun 12 Rustenburg England v United States - Here’s a intriguing encounter. Why? Because England won 7 times against USA having lost just twice, but here comes the interesting part -> England Scored 35 and conceded 8 goals which is remarkable, but that comes out of friendly matches, because even though it was back in the 1950’s World Cup, the only true competitive match they played against each other USA won 1-0 against England. That’s why this is the most important match of the group C. Will the World Cup record prevails and give Obama’s boys the victory or will England trash the Americans as they did often in away games with results like 0-5, 0-10, 1-8, 3-6? Seems like we are into playstation mode.

Jun 18 Johannesburg Slovenia v United States - Never Played

Jun 23 Pretoria United States v Algeria - Never played. Last time USA played against an African side, they trashed Egypt 3-0 in the Confederations Cup, Egypt is the same team that recently won 4-0 against Algeria, and so you must imagine how the result will turn out to be.

Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa), Marcus Hahnemann (Wolverhampton Wanderers), Tim Howard (Everton)

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover), Jay DeMerit (Watford), Clarence Goodson (IK Start), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan), Jonathan Spector (West Ham)

Midfielders: DaMarcus Beasley (Rangers), Michael Bradley (Borussia Moenchengladbach), Ricardo Clark (Eintracht Frankfurt), Clint Dempsey (Fulham), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Maurice Edu (Rangers), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus), Stuart Holden (Bolton), Jose Torres (Pachuca)

Strikers: Jozy Altidore (Hull), Edson Buddle (Los Angeles Galaxy), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake), Herculez Gomez (Pachuca).

FORMATION

Bob Bradley disposes his chess in defensive 4-4-2 formation by shielding his defense and midfield spaces just to use straight away the quickness of their pacing forwards. Tim Howard, Spector, Onyewu, DeMerit, Bocanegra; Clark, Bradley, Holden, Donovan; Altidore & Dempsey.

BEST PLAYERS

North American’s top performers come from the Premier League:

Tim Howard first class shot-stopper currently with Everton after his not so much of successful spell with Man Utd. Being a very good basketball player gave room to his experience in football and quickly he transferred ball-handling skills to what American call Soccer. This 6’3” goalie enjoyed this season with massive stats playing a total 59 matches with a average 4 saves per/match. Golden Glove of the 2009 Confederations Cup.

Clint Dempsey got to have made this his most productive season ever playing. 39 matches, 11 goals and 4 assists. “Deuce” as he entitles himself as a rapper got brilliant individual performances that made Fulham and USA to play on an above-average level than most would expect. In the Confederations Cup he was stunning getting into the best XI and being awarded the Bronze Ball for his performance and for the fact that he scored against Egypt, Spain and Brazil. Extend his international level to club level and you have seen Dempsey being impressive taking his Fulham to the final of the Europa League helping creating and/or scoring against Juventus, Wolfsburg, Hamburg. If USA is a country constantly at war with other nations, then the most lethal weapon must come under Dempsey’s name.

Landon Donovan played this season divided through L.A. Galaxy, Everton and USA squad making 48 start appearances scoring 21 goals and assisting for 10. Like Dempsey he made into the best XI of the Confederations Cup of 2009. His pace, ability to play on both foot and constant challenging approach are second to none. He will for sure make the difference in this World Cup.

SURPRISE

The surprise omissions are Sochaux’s Charlie Davies and Aris’s forward starlet Freddy Adu.

STATEMENTS

"We're very proud to have finished at the top of the final Hexagonal. It was a great effort and required a great deal of determination on our team's part. Every time we took the field we spoke about proving to the world what we were capable of and I think we did just that." Bob Bradley, USA coach, after his side claimed top spot in North, Central America and Caribbean Zone qualifying.

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- Bob Bradley –

1 Gold Cup 2007;

1 Major League Soccer – Chicago Fire - 2003;

1 Major League Soccer CUP – Chicago Fire - 1998.

Career made of 361 matches with 48% Win, 19% Draw, 32% Loss, GS 1,68 GA 1,31

SWOT ANALYSIS

Strength – A squad that under Bob Bradley’s guidance has impressed for their strength as solid performers. Having Tim Howard, Dempsey, Donovan among others shakes opposition and USA is not the same as 20 years ago, they got the brilliance displayed on the pitch. They play a more sophisticated football nowadays mixing continental strategy with Bradley’s organization.

Weaknesses – Every time they find themselves behind, they break cognitively, probably due to pressure factors, so they engage playing with heart which tears apart their initial approach to the match. With best defenders yet unfit we will see how can the North Americans rise to the occasion.

Even though in competitive level they were playing outstandingly the latest run of results show that in 10 matches – 4 Wins; 1 Draw; 5 Losses.

Opportunities – Inspiration from double D duo, Dempsey-Donovan. If these two are at their best then we can expect the best from the Yanks. Case Bob Bradley’s found a motivational motion for his squad, he got to put it on the table against England whether if they win or lose against the Three Lions.

USA won the only time they played a competitive match against England. Can they do it again?

Threats – Slovenia’s backline. The Dragons have a solid defense and an astute goalkeeper. In spite of the crucial match being the second against the Balkans, the first one will enroll a similar significance. This happens to the clear factor if they win against Capello’s side they might underestimate Slovenia (like they did against Brazil in the Confederations Cup) or if they lose and are not able to regain moral levels to compete against the Dragons.

FIFA WORLD RANKINGS

14th placed is where you see the USA, ahead of Chile, Serbia, Mexico and behind of Greece, France and England.

ACHIEVEMENTS

4 Gold Cup – 1991, 2002, 2005, 2007;

1 Gold Medal – Pan American Games – 1991.

CASTROL INDEX

LATEST 10 MATCHES

Honduras 2 3 United States

United States 2 2 Costa Rica

Slovakia 1 0 United States

Denmark 3 1 United States

United States 1 3 Honduras

United States 2 1 El Salvador

Netherlands 2 1 United States

United States 2 4 Czech Republic

United States 2 1 Turkey

United States 3 1 Australia


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