Three words can sum up the hopes of the United States in South Africa. No they aren’t heart, determination and glory. The words I am talking about unfortunately spell doom for the United States national squad.
Potential is the first word. This team is young. Therefore they have the potential to surprise a lot of people. Of course they shocked the world when they defeated Spain in the Confederations Cup. With young stars like Jozy Altidore and Oguchi Oneywu thrown together with veteran players such as Landan Donvan, the sky is the limit for the United States right?
Wrong. The second word usually renders potential useless. Inconsistent. That is the second word used to describe the United States and this World Cup. This squad has been on a virtual rollercoaster ride in terms of results. From the high of beating Spain to the low of losing to the Czech Republic who didn’t even qualify for the tournament. This team’s inconsistency could really hurt them in the upcoming days.
Finally we come to the final word, which carries the most impact. Injury. Starting with the loss of Charlie Davies the United States had an uphill climb to get ready for the trip to South Africa. Then they lost Onyewu to injury and though he has now returned I wouldn’t say he’s 100 percent. He hasn’t played a full 90 minutes since his return, so he may have some fitness issues to overcome. Most recently Jozy Altidore tweaked his ankle further enhancing the concerns of soccer fans in the United States.
Sure all of these concerns can be put to rest and the United States could live up their potential but I don’t think they would be able to make it much farther than the quarterfinals even if they do play well. The fact is that the United States doesn’t have the depth of talent that many of the European nations do and with so many question marks surrounding our national squad it’s easy to see why some think the United States could have trouble making it out of group play.