On Saturday, the U.S. Men’s National Team completed the third match in the 2014 World Cup Send-off Series. The team defeated cup hopefuls Nigeria in 2-1 fashion, then headed to Brazil the next day. After a stellar performance against the African Cup of Nations champion, the USA appear ready to roll in Brazil.
The starting eleven, which Jurgen Klinsmann claims is not the predetermined team the Ghana game, appeared compact and tight-knit in front of a pacy Nigerian attack. The midfield, composed of Jermaine Jones and Kyle Beckerman holding while Michael Bradley attacked, instigated rapid counterattacks after regaining possession from sloppy Nigeria.
As the game progressed, the US began to find more space in the attacking third of the pitch. Midway through the first half, Fabian Johnson laid off a clinical ball across the face of goal. The pass set up a tap-in for striker Jozy Altidore. This silent strike represents a resounding exertion of frustration, as Altiore earned his first goal of the calendar year.
The team continued to attack on the front foot, and kept Nigeria at bay to enter the half up 1-0.
Jozy Altidore then doubled the lead, bringing down a long ball and thumping it into the back of the net. The strength, skill, and swagger displayed showed Americans one thing: Jozy’s ready for Brazil.
Hopefully, the USMNT are ready as well. Though coach Klinsmann has stated that the team will not win the cup, the American way is to dream. As a sign in the Turkey game illustrated, this is the new American dream. Pundits lain the USA are underdogs. Heck, even former US player Alexi Lallas stated, five feet away from the team, that the squad would not survive the group of death. But upset is the American way of life, and this summer, U.S. fans will dream the “new” American dream. The American odds of winning the cup are as possible as any other nation’s: 1/32.
Why not us?
Photo: The Big Lead