Jurgen Klinsmann released the 23-man World Cup roster on Thursday evening, and there was one noticeable exclusion. The face of U.S. Soccer, Landon Donovan, will not be making the trip to Brazil for the biggest tournament in sports.
Pundits and fans will break down what that means for the USMNT's chances this summer, but I am here to tell you that the low expectations they will enter Brazil with are exactly what U.S. Soccer needs at this moment.
The expectations did not dramatically drop with Donovan's exclusion. They began when the groups were drawn.
The USMNT was drawn into the “group of death” alongside Germany, Portugal and Ghana. There was no expectation for this American squad to advance past the group stage. Now that Donovan has been left off the roster that almost seems like an certainty, but it is not.
Low expectations are exactly what the doctor prescribed for U.S. Soccer.
The USMNT has performed admirably under Klinsmann, but his focus has been on ushering in a new era for U.S. Soccer. Leaving Donovan off the roster does just that. Youth, speed and the ability to adapt will play a major role this summer.
There is no pressure on Klinsmann or the USMNT in Brazil. They will have the opportunity to stun all the teams in their group to earn points.
Klinsmann's team has already shown the world that it can compete. The senior squad defeated Germany last year in Washington D.C. While that was just a friendly it was a solid performance that will give the team confidence that it can compete against a favorite at the World Cup.
The likes of Clint Dempsey, Chris Wondolowski and Michael Bradley give the U.S. more than enough skill to score against any nation.
|World Cup Group G|
|FIFA World Ranking||Nation||Head Coach|
|14||United States||Jurgen Klinsmann|
As the page turns for the USMNT, this is a perfect opportunity to test the young players on the biggest of stages. The likes of Julian Green will be thrown into the deep end of the swimming pool, and Klinsmann will be able to give them valuable experience that will grow U.S. Soccer.
Too many fans are stuck in 2006 and 2010. This is 2014, and Klinsmann is moving the USMNT forward.
The youth and inexperience of the USMNT can be beneficial. The adage of being “too stupid” could come in to play. These players are not going to lay down because they are not ranked highly, nor are they going to give up because they aren't supposed to advance.
This team is going to attack the opportunity.
The expectations are for this team not to advance, but believe that they have a chance to stun the world in advancing to the knockout stages. There is no pressure for them to crumble beneath. This is a chance to put U.S. Soccer on the map by outperforming the traditional powers.
The low expectations will allow Klinsmann the creativity he needs, it will allow the players to take chances without fear of backlash and it will make Brazil a very interesting journey. I'll be glued to my television screen, and I have a feeling you will too.