It’s time for the United States men’s soccer team to get serious. Starting a stretch of three friendly matches in the next 10 days that culminates in the first 2014 World Cup qualifier on June 8, it’s time for the men to finally figure things out. It all starts tonight in Jacksonville, Florida as the United States takes on Scotland.
While Scotland is just No. 48 in the FIFA world rankings, America at No. 28 knows how simple it is to get upset on home soil. The Under-23 men’s Olympic team was eliminated from qualification after losing to Canada and only tying El Salvador, two teams they were widely expected to defeat. The senior men’s team has been on a bit of a roll, though, in 2012. Currently they are 3-0 and are coming off a match in February in which they knocked off then-No. 8 Italy for the first time ever.
However, in all three of those victories, the biggest problem with the American side was scoring. Just one goal in each match and scored by a different player every time. It’s my biggest frustration with the men’s team. While the women’s team can nearly always count on 2-3 goals per match, it seems that the men’s team always has a hard time converting chances.
It will not get any easier against Scotland with some of America’s top players not playing. Clint Dempsey, coming off his ideal season ever (17 goals) in the English Premier League, is sitting out this match with a groin injury. Jozy Altidore, one of America’s biggest scoring hopes in the next World Cup, will not be able to join the squad until Monday because his club would not release him despite the season being over.
Landon Donovan, at least, will be starting once again for the American side. Donovan has been missing from the squad since September of 2011 while he played in the English Premier League and started his MLS season. The team will badly need his experience and creativity on the offensive side. One young man I hope can step up to the task is 21-year-old Terrence Boyd. Boyd currently plays in Germany and is coming off a 20-goal season. Boyd is exactly the kind of player that the Americans badly need on offense and fans are counting on this young guy to be part of the future.
I’m extremely excited for the return of serious American soccer. There’s just nothing more exciting than an international match when something is at stake. With World Cup qualification starting soon, it’s time for the Americans to begin producing.
Julie has been a fan of the men’s soccer team since the 2006 World Cup. Despite being an all-around sports fan, she thinks about soccer to be the most exciting game and cannot wait for the the 2014 World Cup.
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