The United States Men’s National Team is on top of CONCACAF yet again after beating Panama 1-0.
With the country’s fifth Gold Cup triumph, as well as their World Cup qualifying domination, the Yanks are the current kings of CONCACAF.
The national team is riding an 11-game win streak, including going undefeated throughout the Gold Cup.
While most of the “A-team” was left off the squad, many players used this tournament as a springboard to get their names into the conversation for a trip to Brazil.
Here’s a look at some things to take away from the United States 2013 Gold Cup triumph.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s Vision Is Finally Coming to Life
It took some time. Everyone knew it would. But Jurgen Klinsmann finally has his team playing the type of soccer Americans can salivate over.
The Yanks are keeping possession, keeping clean sheets and scoring goals, most of the time in bunches.
Klinsmann promised a complete overhaul of how the United States approaches the game of soccer, and it is finally looking like he can deliver.
Sabbaticals for Everyone!
After taking a much-needed break from both club and country, Landon Donovan reemerged as the heart and soul of the United States in this Gold Cup.
Donovan was involved in seemingly every United States goal. He scored five of his own while assisting numerous others.
Many thought Donovan had played his last meaningful game for the Stars and Stripes, but it now seems Donovan is still the most important player the U.S. has.
Look for Donovan to be one of the first names on the team sheet in Brazil.
Goals on Goals on Goals
With the rebirth of Jozy Altidore, it finally appeared the United States had a striker they could trust.
However, after their performances in this tournament, it looks like the Yanks have three.
Eddie Johnson was easily one of the United States’ top players throughout the tournament. He scored big goals while also using his speed to make marauding runs.
Along with Johnson, Chris Wondolowski finally made a name for himself in a United States shirt, earning a share of the Golden Boot. Although he was left on the bench towards the end of the tournament, his performances early have finally earned him respect.
Look for one, if not both, of these forwards to make the roster for Brazil.
Keep Holden Healthy
When he was on the field, Stuart Holden was one of the more influential American players. When it comes to straight talent, it would be very difficult leave Holden off of the World Cup squad.
However, the most difficult part of Holden’s game is making sure he’s healthy enough to play it.
The fan favorite injured himself in the finale, casting doubt over his US future. If healthy, look for Stu to feature in the United States' remaining qualifiers as he tries to make the Brazil roster.
Blooding the Young
The United States used the Gold Cup to give a whole new set of players a taste of what it feels like to play in a major tournament.
However, the Yanks couldn’t have expected the level of contributions they received from their youth.
Players such as Joe Corona and Brek Shea stepped up to score big goals for the Stars and Stripes, including the trophy winner from the 23-year-old Shea.
While both players are still on the fringe for 2014, look for them to become mainstays for the USMNT in the coming years.
What was your biggest takeaway from the tournament? Which players do you think will make the World Cup squad? Comment below!
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