So if you have been watching the World Cup that started last week, you will know that there’s been a lot of drama thus far. Today, I want to talk about what the United States needs to do now, after finishing our opening match, a 2-1 victory, with Ghana in strong fashion. If you love America, like everyone COOL in the world (heh), you will want to ask whatever deity you believe in for the following things to occur…
1. Jozy Altidore needs to be 100%
If you don’t know who Altidore is, you haven’t been doing your duty and keeping up with the US’ World Cup progress. Altidore was responsible for bringing qualification into the US’ grasp. He is the strong presence on the front line that that acts as the linchpin for the American offense. This was all too apparent after his injury and resulting removal from game. Of course the kick to Dempsey’s face didn’t help either, but the US struggled to keep possession throughout the game, making it look like the equalizer was, at that point, a certainty. God forbid it is ruled he can’t play for the rest of the Cup, it would be detrimental to say the least.
2. Clint Dempsey needs to do what he does best
Needless to say, his opening goal (6th fastest in the history of the World Cup) was outstanding. I can’t help but feel like if he didn’t get kicked in the face, he could have done so much more. Whatever the case, Dempsey is a critical part of America’s team. He’s one of the four captains of the squad and the defacto leader of the team. He is the engine behind our offense and we need his ability to execute to make it far in this tournament. Check out his FIFA stats in the graphic to the right.
After receiving the trouncing of a lifetime, you can be sure that Portugal wants and needs a win. As it stands, Germany and the US each have 3 points putting Portugal and Ghana in a race to the bottom, tied for last place (hopefully that lasts). In any case, all we need really is to tie Portugal and tie Germany, but keep in mind, how we finish is important. If we finish in 2nd place we would face the top seed from group H as opposed to the 2nd seed which will be significantly weaker.
Needless to say, Germany’s humiliation of Portugal establishes them as the clear favorite in our so-called “Group of Death.” Considering that Ghana was supposed to supply the first nail on our supposed coffin, it doesn’t look so deadly now. If all goes according to plan, we will just need to tie these guys to get out to the Round of 16. As mentioned previously, any additional goals will help since in the event of a tie for first, they would give the first seed to the team with the most goals. Let’s get that done!
NSB’s MVP of the Match
People will say Brooks, with his masterful header won us the match. Or that Dempsey’s early goal put Ghana off balance and made it impossible for them to recover until late into the contest. I submit that it was Tim Howard that made this victory possible. After the injury and subsequent removal of Altidore, it looked like the US was playing high school ball. Howard made several key saves that kept the US lead for most of the competition. Granted, he gave up one, but we’re talking about 21 shots taken, 8 on target. If you watched the match, you will know that the numbers don’t begin the describe the amount of pressure that Howard faced for the entire 90 minute battle.