On June 12th the United States will shock the soccer world once again when they beat England in Rustenburg.
Despite England having the advantage in almost every positional match-up , the US will find a way to get the win.
If the Americans are going to pull off the upset, there are several things that must happen on the pitch.
With America it always begins and ends with the play of Landon Donovan. There is a direct correlation between Donovan’s play on the pitch and the US' success.
But the good news for US fans is that Donovan is coming into this World Cup hotter than ever.
The 28 year old had a great stint over in the English Premier League with Everton and was named the club’s Player of the Month in January.
I’m sure Donovan was also doing some scouting for US head coach Bob Bradley while in England.
After Donovan the player who is most vital to America’s success is goalie Tim Howard.
Timmy is one of the best keepers in the world. He has proven that every week for the past five seasons in the EPL with Everton.
America has been a pipeline for goal keepers in international soccer. Howard has continued this tradition and will have to be at his best if the Americans are to pull off the upset.
The US is also going to have to rely heavily on the counterattack. The Americans are severally outmatched in the midfield, so the English should dominate time of possession.
So, the Americans will have to spend a good majority of the game defending, but when they get a chance to make a break onto the English side of the field, they need to take it. On the counter is where Donovan and Clint Dempsey are at their best.
While they are on defense, the Americans will need to hope that defender Oguchi Onyewu's knee is back to 100% if they have any chance of stopping England’s offense led by Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard.
There is an old saying in sports: “Great defense always beats great offense” .
Offensively there is no way to replace Charlie Davies upfront for the US, but Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomes have been pleasant surprises at the forward position. Whoever the other forward is upfront with Jozy Altidore will have to find away to attack the back four of England.
These forwards might want to go right after the middle of England's defense. English Captain and starting center back Rio Ferdinand is out for the entire World Cup.
Upsets are never easy to pick. When all signs point to England getting the win, why would anyone pick America to win?
I’m not really sure, but I believe that the world of sports goes in cycles.
In 1994 the US hosted the World Cup and shocked the world by making it out of the group stage.
In 1998 the US finished in last place in its group.
In 2002 the US reached the quarterfinals and lost 1-0 to eventual runner-up Germany.
In 2006 the US once again laid a goose egg in the World Cup and failed to make it out of the group stage.
In 2010 they are due to do well again.
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