The day has finally arrived. The United States square off with the Desert Foxes of Algeria in a match that will decide their fate here at World Cup 2012. Win and they move on. Lose and they go home. Draw and, given a set of circumstances, they hang around.
You’ve all seen or heard the scenarios. The simplest way for the US to avoid any doubts and possibly win Group C is to simply w-i-n.
How do they do that Kirk? Well curious reader, here are the three players that are going to do it:
1. Landon Donovan
It goes without saying, but Landon Donovan is the barometer of this team. Another big day from him and the United States can start preparing for whomever emerges out of Group D. If he disappears like he’s been known to do in big games, its another disappointing end to the World Cup for the United States. Landon sparked the US in the 2nd half against Slovenia and looked brilliant for the second :45 minutes. Lets hope he’s got more in store for us today.
2. Oguchi Onyewu
There’s no way to describe how awful Onyewu was against Slovenia. I’ll cut him a little slack because he’s still working his way back from injury, but if he continues to be a defensive liability, Bob Bradley has got to make a change. Algeria will be looking to push the pace today and Gooch will be key to making sure the back four hold steady against barrages from the Desert Foxes.
3. Whatever midfielder is paired with Michael Bradley
So much has been made about who the United States’ second striker should be, that people forget that the US’ main guy hasn’t put a ball in the net yet. Jozy needs to get on the scoresheet today. Maybe pairing him with Donovan or Dempsey up top (and letting Stuart Holden or Benny Feilhaber take over duties on the wing) would give him a more confident player up top to feed him chances.
Then again, what do I know? More than Alexi Lalas.