For the United States men’s national soccer team, just winning qualifying games should no longer be acceptable, as fans want to witness a statement win.
It’s no secret that soccer isn’t as popular in America as it is worldwide, and realistically, that may never change.
But the lack of popularity should provide extra incentive for the US team to prove themselves. Frankly, the excuse of a limited fanbase is outdated and overused. American sports fans would love nothing more than for an upstart, athletic American team to take on the global powers and win a championship.
Most recall Landon Donovan's goal against Algeria in the waning moments of group play during the 2010 World Cup. Arguably the greatest moment in US Soccer, the goal pushed the Americans to the knockout stage of the tournament.
Since that goal was netted, though, US Soccer has done very little to impress fans, as they failed to qualify for the upcoming Olympics. All that leaves before the 2014 World Cup, therefore, is World Cup qualifying and the 2013 Confederation Cup.
Thus, the Americans need to make a statement win quickly for two reasons. One, they still haven’t provided an encore to the Donovan goal, and two, they are running out of opportunities to make a statement before the 2014 World Cup.
The Americans have a chance today against a weaker Guatemala team. With all the craze being around the Euro Cup, nothing would be better than an American blowout performance in a hostile setting during a World Cup qualifying match.
If the US National Team can make a statement against Guatemala, momentum could rise in the states, as many casual fans desire a strong showing in the 2014 World Cup.