Goalkeepers: Brad Guzan (Aston Villa, England), Tim Howard (Everton, England).

Defenders: Carlos Bocanegra (Rennes, France), Jonathan Bornstein (Chivas USA), Steve Cherundolo (Hannover, Germany), Jay DeMerit (Watford, England), Chad Marshall (Columbus Crew), Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan, Italy), Jonathan Spector (West Ham United, England), Clarence Goodson (IK Start).

Midfielders: Michael Bradley (Borussia Monchengladbach, Germany), Ricardo Clark (Houston Dynamo), Clint Dempsey (Fulham, England), Benny Feilhaber (AGF Aarhus, Denmark), Stuart Holden (Houston Dynamo), Jose Francisco Torres (Pachuca, Mexico), Kyle Beckerman (Real Salt Lake), Robbie Rogers (Columbus Crew).

Forwards: Jozy Altidore (Hull City, England), Conor Casey (Colorado Rapids), Brian Ching (Houston Dynamo), Charlie Davies (Sochaux, France), Landon Donovan (Los Angeles Galaxy), Robbie Findley (Real Salt Lake).

This US team has more experience at the European club level and has players with better clubs than just about any US squad in history. While no Claudio Reyna or John O’Brien figure is on the current US landscape, several players are peaking in their career growth at the right time.

Worrying though for US fans has to be that 2009 has resembled late 1997 and early 1998. Monumental achievements including a win over Brazil, and a draw against Mexico at Azteca were coupled with poor performances at home against the likes of Costa Rica and El Salvador, an infamous home draw with Jamaica.

We were told during that period that the US was emerging as a world power, but got our comeuppance in France. This year the US has beaten Spain, as well as a weakened Mexico side at home. The US has also dominated the first half of matches against both Brazil and Italy. But on the other side of the coin, this US team has now lost twice consecutively to Mexico, netting only one shot on goal in the last meeting at Azteca.

Additionally,  draws with Haiti and El Salvador as well as struggles to overcome Panama, need to be factored into the US MNT equation.

Despite this, the US look a safe bet to qualify for its sixth consecutive World Cup Finals. But CONCACAF has gotten tougher as the recent EPL exploits of Kenwyne Jones and Wilson Palacios demonstrate and so the margin for error which existed in the 1997 Hex, does not exist today.

USL Sale Complete

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