The USA National Soccer Team

The USA National Soccer Team: On Klinsmann and World Cup Qualification

What will be most pressing for players and fans alike is qualification for the FIFA 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Beginning their campaign in June of this year, failure to qualify is almost unthinkable.For coach J├╝rgen Klinsmann, the World Cup qualifiers will represent his first competitive matches in charge of US Men’s National Team (USMNT). He already has seven friendly fixtures under his belt but they have been difficult to judge from. Losses on home soil to Costa Rica and Ecuador were compounded by defeats in Europe to Belgium and France but Klinsmann’s latest sojourn across the water did deliver a 3-2 victory against Slovenia in Ljubljana in November last year. With upcoming friendlies against Venezuela, Panama and Italy, the coach will no doubt be hoping to improve on his 2-1-4 record so far.

Picture: Wikipedia/Nick Doyle

If Klinsmann is to improve his record and spur the USMNT onto World Cup qualification, he is going to need his best players to be firing on all cylinders. The three players below may well be the key contributors in the campaign to reach Brazil 2014:

Tim Howard

Recently scoring his first ever goal in professional football, Tim Howard was the mainstay between the sticks for the USA in World Cup 2010. By building his team from this goalkeeper forwards, Klinsmann cannot go too far wrong; Howard can be relied upon to provide a rock-solid foundation for his coach.

Clint Dempsey

Currently playing in England for Premier League side Fulham, Clint Dempsey brings a touch of class to Klinsmann’s side. Having played every minute of the last four USMNT friendlies, the coach clearly recognises the importance of the attacking midfielder. His latest goal against Slovenia tied him for fourth place on the USMNT’s all-time goalscorers‘ list with twenty-four strikes to his name.

Landon Donovan

The USMNT’s all-time leading goalscorer and CONCACAF’s all-time leading World Cup goalscorer, Landon Donovan provides goals like no other American player. With Howard to stop them at one end and Donovan to score them at the other, the USA should qualify with ease for the World Cup; at least Klinsmann hopes so.