The US Men's National Team currently sits atop CONCACAF's final group stage for World Cup qualification, but there are a few teams they will hope to avoid in the group stages when the 2014 World Cup rolls around.
Powerhouses like Spain, and one or two dark-horses, who are good bets to hand them a loss, and thus keep them out of progression in a group, are those to avoid.
If the US is in a group alongside any of these teams, they will find it extremely tough to reach the knockout stages. Their chances may improve if just one of these teams are in their group, but only if two similar or weaker teams from other confederations are involved.
Their group in the 2010 World Cup was a great example of that. It had one favourite, England, though not really on merit, and neither Algeria or Slovenia were dark horses.
The USMNT has plenty to be positive about right now—with a Gold Cup final appearance on Sunday and a 10-game winning streak in hand—but a lot of things can change before the 2014 World Cup begins. Whether they are in good form or not, they know the draw can severely impact the chance of a positive tournament.
They will hope a draw similar to the 2010 World Cup will occur to help them out.
For this, we'll consider all teams that are still likely to get to the 2014 World Cup, including those in, or close to, a playoff spot in their respective confederations.
Here are the countries the USMNT would want to avoid in group play at the 2014 World Cup.