World Cup Preview: USA, can they

Inside Texas has caught World Cup fever. Toadvine with an exceptional look at the USMNT. 
There’s been much written about the USMNT during preparations and it has warmed the cockles of my heart. Funny enough, I am higher on our chances now than I have been. The reason for that is that I think some of Klinsmann’s stubbornness has been broken. We just don’t have a chance if we try to play like his old German team. We don’t have any young and highly skilled players waiting in the woodwork. We don’t have that many guys capable of breaking a match open with a stunning goal (I count four in our starting line-up – Altidore, Deuce, Bradley and Johnson, with Mix and Johannson off the bench).So what do we have? We have some athletes and we have fitness. We have an MLS spine familiar with the heat. We have good positional discipline. We have Geoff Cameron, who has quietly grown into a world-class player. We have Fabian Johnson, who is primed to explode. We have a strong, peaking Altidore who is responding to the confidence shown in him. We have a resurgent Dempsey, who is still world class and fears nothing.What do we have to do to win? We have to play two central defensive midfielders, both of whom must keep disciplined and defend hard. We have to free Deuce and Jozy from defensive responsibility as much as possible. We have to have an outside midfield player who is comfortable tucking in to help Bradley and able to run back and cover for Johnson when he bombs up field. We need Beasley to be healthy and resurgent or Chandler to get confident.We can beat Ghana with organization. They are a tough, tough first game. They just beat South Korea, a game team, 4-0 in a warm-up match. They are big and strong. They play fast. But they also lost to both Montenegro and the Netherlands in warm-ups. So how do you beat them? Simple – organization. To win this match we have to pack the middle of the field. That means Jones and Beckerman, both of whom I expect will start, need to be compact in front of the back four. Bedoya, who I think starts, needs to be disciplined about covering for Fabian Johnson and needs to think defense first. Cameron and Besler have to be stout in the air and keep Beasley and Johnson organized defensively. No high lines, no playing for offsides. We won’t get any calls – we never do. We need to be thinking 1-0. Get the first goal, defend and stay compact, wait for Ghana’s discipline to break and for them to get frustrated. This is not CONCACAF and we cannot afford to turn the ball over with five players high on the field. Jozy needs to come in like a battering ram and be prepared to win balls and press high. Deuce should be making delayed runs off of him and Bradley should be running in behind him. We need to play Bradley-ball against Ghana. If we do, we can win that game.Portugal is an easier task. We will be more athletic and more physical. Portugal isn’t a team that presses high. The speed with which we shut them down will help us and hurt them. This isn’t a powerhouse team. They barely beat a very average Swedish side to get here. And Ronaldo won’t be 100%. Moutinho is coming off of a bad year in France. Heider Postiga is solid, but nothing spectacular. He wouldn’t start for the US. Depriving Ronaldo of service has to be the primary point. I am not sure how best you do this. I think Jones is tasked with shutting down Mountinho and riding him into the ground. You might start chandler over Beasley for the speed/size combo. Bombing FB runs will be punished on counters by long balls to Ronaldo who will NOT defend. He just won’t. So your classic, make the best offensive guy play defense tact won’t work. That said, I like where we are against them on the rest of the field. Pepe, Moutinho and Ronaldo are all three world-class but the rest of the team isn’t. We are better in most places on the field. We have to press those places. Portugal is the team I think you look to possess the ball against. We can beat them. To help defend Ronaldo, I think you start Beasley or Chandler at LB and play Fabian Johnson in the midfield. Johnson will be charged with helping back. He’s a better athlete than Bedoya, and that’s the primary change I make. Moving him into midfield helps with possession too.Germany. Well. Let’s hope we don’t need a result against them. If we do then you play tighter than a duck’s ass and hope to nick one off of Jozy’s speed against the big but slow CBs. Other than that, you pray.The recipe for success is a win or draw against Ghana, a win against Portugal, pray against Germany. It’s possible