USA Has Brazil World Cup in their Sites
June has become a very successful month for the American Men’s National Soccer team. After a frightening loss in a friendly against Belgium in late May, the team resurrected a strong and exciting response to defeat Germany. Since then, the confidence inspired from that victory has pushed the team to win two key World Cup qualifying matches against Panama and Jamaica. These victories have put America in the top of the qualifying group and if they can manage a win against Honduras tomorrow, America will have one foot on the plane to Brazil next summer.
The crucial moment for me came early in the friendly against Germany, when Jozy Altidore put in this spectacular volley in for the goal:
Altidore hadn’t scored for the USA in over a year, and the goal clearly revitalized his confidence, as well of that of his teammates. Since that moment, Altidore has gone on to open the scoring in both of the consecutive matches and is finally looking to be the striker that America has needed. These summer games have been a delight for the player and have certainly cemented his role as the team’s first choice player up top.
Other players have emerged and put in fine displays, like DaMarcus Beasley who has fit in at left back and put in positive showings. Another interesting inclusion was Geoff Cameron, the usual center back, who filled in for Jermaine Jones at defensive midfielder in the match against Panama. Playing well, Cameron made a beautiful assist to Eddie Johnson for the game-sealing goal.
Now America is nearly on the brink. The match against Honduras will be no easy meal, as Honduras actually inflicted a defeat upon the United States in the group’s first game. The team is loaded with talented players from top leagues including Roger Espinoza and Wilson Palacios. However, with this match being played on America soil, we can expect a positive outcome this time around.
The way that the group is shaping up means that this match is extremely important. Should Honduras win, they would go level with America at the top of the group with 10 points, and qualification would once again be thrown into question heading into the fall. If America wins, they would move 6 points ahead of Honduras and the sketchy playoff position, meaning that America would probably qualify for the World Cup regardless of the final group matches in September and October.
Therefore, tomorrow’s match will be one where America needs to step up and make a statement. Confidence has been shaky in this squad ever since the regretful 4-2 Gold Cup Final loss in 2011 to Mexico. This month has seen a sort of revival within the squad, and they are looking stronger and more united with each match. With the World Cup a year out, our players need to be coming together, and it looks as if they are doing just that. A final win against Honduras would mean a month of June with 4 straight wins. What more could American soccer fans hope for?