Even before Jürgen Klinsmann made the shocking decision to leave Landon Donovan out of the final 23 players that will play in Brazil, this U.S. Men’s National Team was heading to Brazil as one of the least experienced US teams in a very long time.
This is USMNT’s first World Cup since 1990 where a single center-back has zero World Cup experience.
Howard believes this team will be hungry and has the ability to surprise in Brazil.
“This team is younger, but I think we’re slightly better than 2010, only because of that youth, and that inexperience almost helps you.”
Gone are USMNT veterans such as Carlos Bocanegra, Steve Cherundolo, Jay DeMerit, and Oguchi Onyewu, who have been replaced by younger talent ready to prove themselves. Players like Stoke City’s Geoff Cameron, Los Angeles Galaxy’s Omar Gonzalez, Seattle Sounders’ DeAndre Yedlin, and Sporting Kansas City’s Matt Besler. They will be the ones who will hold the backline in the group of death.
Despite not having any World Cup experience in the centerback position, Howard believes his defense is strong.
“Defensively I think we are pretty rock solid. I don’t know; we’ll have to find out. It’s sink-or-swim time when you get to the World Cup. There’s no guesswork. There’s nothing to speculate on.”
That is the biggest difference between the 2010 team to the 2014 squad that will try to navigate through one of the toughest groups in the World Cup. A group that many are saying the US has no business in escaping, especially now without Landon Donovan.
The 2010 version of squad may have had more veterans, but this squad is hungry and ready to prove the world wrong, “Guys don’t actually know what to expect, they’re just hungry and ready to go for it,” added Howard.
Don’t be too critical of the US backline just yet. After all, the U.S. only allowed eight goals in 10 Hexagonal games.