by user Bobo

The United States have had a good go at the Gold Cup over the last fifteen years, finishing as champions three times. At the World Cup, however, until 2002, it was difficult for them to perform. I should probably stick my neck out and say, maybe it's a culture thing that this just wasn't working until soccer came back into the limelight. It certainly appears to be making a comeback now, and I, as an Englishman, am thankful.

Bruce Arena has now been at the helm for eight long years, surviving longer than any other US national team coach in their history. And the existence of some of their players in teams all over the world, from the dangerous genius of Taylor Twellman, to the rock-solid arms of Tim Howard, to so many of their team currently residing in Germany, shows the sudden appeal of this giant league of players coming forward.

It's unfair from my perspective to comment on the state of soccer's coverage in the United States, as I am personally unaware of its televisual status, however it's fair to say that the quality is up there with some of the best European leagues. The passing is long and slick, the ball handling is useful at all times, and the little of what there is in stoppage is handled very well.

And their national team is full of very good players. DaMarcus Beasley plays excellently for PSV Eindhoven, and some of the rest are amongst the best players within their respective English teams, including Manchester City's Claudio Reyna and Reading's Marcus Hahnemann.

The United States qualified for this tournament thanks to an undefeated league standing against Panama, Jamaica and El Salvador. By only conceding three goals along the way, the Americans showed their true intentions by succeeding with time to breathe in the preliminary round, before finishing top of a 10-game table against the other group qualifiers, those being Mexico, Costa Rica and Trinidad and Tobago.

So, how far will America go? They've been handed a tough group with both the Italians and Czechs, but given a victory against either of these teams, they can almost count themselves into the next round. However, with the possibility of facing Brazil in the next stage, any further predictions will currently be withheld for the good of our American audience.

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