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World Cup: Team USA Preview

BLOEMFONTEIN, SOUTH AFRICA - JUNE 24:  Jozy Altidore (L) of USA celebrates scoring the opening goal with teammate Charlie Davies during the FIFA Confederations Cup Semi Final match between Spain and USA at Free State Stadium on June 24, 2009 in Bloemfontein, South Africa.  (Photo by Jasper Juinen/Getty Images)
Jasper Juinen/Getty Images
Thomas HoweCorrespondent IMarch 31, 2010

The road to South Africa:

After hammering West Indian minnows Barbados in stage two, the USA found themselves in the same bracket as Trinidad and Tobago, Guatemala and Cuba in round three.

Bradley's men won five of their six encounters in the third round, with their only defeat being a 2-1 loss at Port of Spain against the Soca Warriors.

A win over arch-rivals Mexico in their opening game, followed up by a 2-2 draw in El Salvador, got the USA off to a solid start. After a comfortable 3-0 victory over Trinidad and Tobago,the stars and stripes faltered against Costa Rica in a 3-1 defeat.

Their other loss came against Mexico in the fortress-like Estadio Azteca, losing 2-1.

The USA kept their nerve to stay on track and clinch their South Africa 2010 ticket with a 3-2 win over Honduras.

 

Top Qualifying scorers:

6—Jozy Altidore

5—Clint Dempsey, Landon Donovan & Michael Bradley

4—Brian Ching

 

Key Player: Carlos Bocanegra

The 31-year-old will be an integral part of Bob Bradley’s defense when the USA comes up against England, Slovenia, and Algeria in June.

Bocanegra currently plays his football in France for Rennes FC and primarily plays centre back. However, he also has the ability to play left back and defensive midfield. The former Fulham defender’s versatility will make him an invaluable asset for Head Coach Bradley.

Bocanegra was featured in 15 World Cup qualifying matches, scoring two goals, whilst adding some much needed stability in front of goalkeeper Tim Howard.

 

Hot Prospect: Jozy Altidore

At the tender age of 20, Altidore has shown the ability to find the back of the net, bagging six goals in 13 World Cup qualifiers. His combination of speed, agility and power make him a force to reckon with, and centre backs cannot take the young man lightly.

Although very young, Altidore has plenty of experience playing at the highest level, especially during international tournaments. Altidore has represented his country in both Under-17 and Under-20 World Cup finals, as well as earning first team caps in the recent Confederations Cup in 2009.

Altidore is currently playing his football for struggling English Premier League side Hull City AFC. Appearing in 14 games for the Tigers, Jozy has only found the net on one occasion.

 Statistics in numbers:

42—Goals scored

1—Red Card

3—Defeats

24—Yellow Cards

16—Goals conceded

 

 

 

 

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