THE 60-SECOND OVERVIEW
The USA will have both an unfamiliar and comforting feel. Some of the more household names such as Michael Bradley and Clint Dempsey will be present and correct in Brazil. However, they will be backed by less illustrious MLS-based players as the US tries to demonstrate the strength of its domestic game.
The aim will be to put in a solid effort in the World Cup, in support of the current growth and expansion of the MLS, which is starting to solidify itself in the American sports psyche.
Clambering out of a horrendous group that contains Germany, Portugal and Ghana would see the US and its fans walking on sunshine. A run through to the semi-finals would almost certainly see soccer dominate the agenda, in a country that actually has a keen interest in the World Cup whenever it comes around, despite the vastly incorrect impression of an uncaring and ignorant public. Unfortunately, a penalty shoot-out failure would then drive everyone away, quickly turned off by the underlining stupidity and injustice of the sport.
The US team is by no means terrible, just lacking a little in creativity, but a World Cup that leaves the national side without a goal in the three group games, never mind a point, is a very real fear. A very off-the-record former US international fretted to FourFourTwo that this was one of the weakest squads ever to go to the World Cup. A worst-case scenario humiliation in Brazil could be a setback for a domestic league that sees fielding US talent as a big draw for fans.
PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...
DO ABSOLUTELY NOTHING AT ALL: JOZY ALTIDORE
Poor old Josmer may be in for a tough time in Brazil after a rotten spell at Sunderland, where the New Jersey-born front man looked as mobile as Stonehenge.
MANAGER MOST LIKELY TO...
SING THE OPPOSITION NATIONAL ANTHEM: JÜRGEN KLINSMANN
The US team manager is set to belt out both national anthems before the clash with Germany – which will go down a treat in the more patriotic parts of America.
PLAYER MOST LIKELY TO...
WIN A DEAL IN EUROPE: GRAHAM ZUSI
The 27-year-old attacking midfielder with a degree in criminology looks set fair to be the breakthrough player of the US squad and win himself a big move from Sporting Kansas City. His injury-time equaliser against Panama (followed by Aron Johansson's even later winner) meant the Mexicans advanced through qualification instead of the plucky (and presumably furious) Panamanians.