US football reached a new height when the North American squad reached
quarterfinals in 2002. This year's team is more experienced and
entering the tournament in good form. Consequently, expectations
higher. Captain and star forward Landon Donovan seems
unperturbed by the pressure to perform at this year's competition, "I'm
excited just to take advantage of the whole World Cup. I just
about any pressure, this is fun." Indeed, it should be a lot of
as team USA is sandwiched between
in what is probably
the toughest first round group of the tournament.
If not for their tough draw, the US team would be expected to advance far in
the tournament. The squad is anchored by Donovan and veterans Claudio Reyna
and Brian McBride. Goaltending has been the strength of US soccer in
recent past, with Kasey Keller and Tim Howard on the roster. Flashy
midfielder and 2004 MLS Rookie of the Year Clint Dempsey has a chance to make a
a name for himself at the world stage. All of this could be negated by the
difficulty of Group E.
Result: United States suffered a difficult and disappointing outing in
the 2006 World Cup. A first game blowout against the
was partially atoned by a capable draw against
however the US failed to beat
finishing a disappointing last in their group.