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In the 2009 Confederations Cup, one year prior to the 2010 World Cup, the USMNT was just starting to show its teeth. The team notched a historic win over Spain that summer and nearly beat Brazil in the final.
However, in the World Cup, things were much different for the United States.
Injuries to Charlie Davies and Oguchi Onyewu, both who had been key to the team's success in 2009, drastically changed the quality of the team the U.S. put out on the field in 2010. An ineffective Robbie Findley replaced Davies, while Carlos Bocanegra, who was still a viable left-back in 2010, was forced to play centrally in half the U.S.' games to replace Onyewu, who was still not 100 percent.
In those games, including the loss to Ghana, Jonathan Bornstein was brought in on the left side of the U.S. defense.
And, although Stuart Holden was not part of the 2009 Confederations Cup squad, he was just entering the best phase of his career in 2010 before he suffered a broken leg in a reckless challenge from the Netherlands' Nigel de Jong in a March 2010 friendly.
Holden spent the next three months rushing through rehabilitation. While he did recover enough to make the roster, he was not fit enough to compete for a starting spot alongside Michael Bradley in the U.S. midfield.
Injuries to three top players would devastate any team and certainly hurt the U.S. in 2010. And while the same scenario heading into 2014 would not be ideal, the team would not be nearly as affected as it was four years ago.
It currently has more depth than at any time in its history with top players like Aron Johannsson, John Anthony Brooks, Eddie Johnson, Graham Zusi, Geoff Cameron, Brad Guzan, Mix Diskerud and Alejandro Bedoya available off the bench. In their current form, any of those eight players would have competed for a starting spot on the 2010 team.
Furthermore, the U.S. is so deep these days that some players, like Tigres' Jose Torres, Tijuana playmaker Joe Corona, sparkplug Brek Shea and Champions League midfielder Sacha Kljestan may be left off the roster entirely.