USA Win, Lose or Draw: US Fan Version

This is a guest post by Brian Mechanick

Will the US muscle past Slovenia?

Coming out of their first match, the U.S. got themselves an earned point.

Not great, but if you consider that–if the States lost–they’d be battling for their life in game two instead of in control of their own destiny. Well, you’ll take that draw.
A draw also forced England to fight through the rest of the group stage for the right to first place, and a likely avoidance of what looks to be a well-oiled German machine. Let’s take a look at the scenarios facing the Yanks: (note: We’re just going to go with the worst case scenario and assume England beats Algeria, any other result is gravy.)

USA beats Slovenia: The USA enters the final game of group stage in a great position, tied with England for the group lead with four points, while Slovenia sits right behind with three. Depending on the goal differential, the USA will have at least a faint idea for how many goals they would need to beat Algeria by to win the group on goal differential.

(Note, all four teams play at the same precise time next Wednesday, June 23rd.)

The U.S. would be in a good position, as they would likely be facing an eliminated Algerian side while England faces a desperate Slovenian squad who are going to need the result.

The U.S. is, then, the favorite to beat Algeria and take the group, but a draw against the Desert Foxes advance the US as well.

That would likely mean a round of 16 date with the Germans, the ghost of Torsten Frings’ evil to be exorcised. A loss against the Desert Foxes still could get the U.S. through, but that would then depend on wins and goal differentials in the England-Slovenia match.

USA draws with Slovenia: Not a terrible result at first blush, but dig a little deep and D-R-A-W spells T-R-O-U-B-L-E.

The USA then enters the final game with a clear need: Beat Algeria and likely by a few goals.

If the USA beats Algeria–and let’s add by more than one goal, they are not assured of advancement, but may have at least an upperhand as Slovenia and England will both be battling and that game should remain close–again assuming England took care of Algeria.

Assuming either England or Slovenia win, the U.S. would clinch second place in the group, leading to another unfortunate match-up with Germany.

The draw has the Yanks watching the scoreboard next Wednesday and sends them on their way to face the Germans perhaps. Not rosy, but at that point, they’ll take it.

USA loses to Slovenia: The Yanks, then, are in a world of hurt.

Unless England itself can manage to get three or less points in its two remaining matches, the U.S. is going home and Bob Bradley is likely putting on dress pants for a new job interview.  No matter what they can still technically be alive if they beat Algeria, a loss to the Slovenia is has them on life support.


In the end, the USA has a pretty clear objective for the group if they want to make a run: win out, starting with Slovenia. Winning the group gives the U.S. a clear, reachable path to the semi-finals. They would likely face Ghana or Serbia in the round of 16, then the victor of whichever mediocre team that wins Group A or South Korea/Nigeria. Not an easy path by any means, but extremely doable, and the U.S. could very well be favored to reach the semifinals.

A win against the Slovenians also may get the Yanks something else, perhaps a Brad Guzan cameo to rest Tim Howard’s ribs and perhaps a look at one or two new players to gain valuable Cup experience ahead of the knock out round.

If the U.S. were to take second place, the path is much harder. Up first would most likely be Germany, a side that looked to steam-rolling to the Finals in its World Cup debut. If the U.S. were to get past Germany, waiting for them would be one of the world’s most talented clubs: Argentina. Only perhaps Jonathan Bornstein, whose finest career moment came in shutting down Messi in the ’07 Copa America, would be excited for that match-up.

16 responses to this post.

  1. God I’m getting nervous for FRIDAY. Think I better take Friday off work instead of just popping out for a couple hours.


    • Posted by ETJ on 2010/06/16 at 2:28 PM

      I’m honestly more nervous for this game than England even though the latter had way longer and greater hype. The draw against England was always going to be just icing, it statistically hardly adds to our chances of advancing (according to ESPN’s Soccer Power Index it increases our chances from 55% to 62%), but does increase our chance of winning the group. We need to win these next two games to demonstrate that we are securely in the # 10-15 range in the world right now


  2. Posted by s44 on 2010/06/16 at 2:11 PM

    One game at a time! But still…

    I think Maradona’s all-centerback/forward lineup could be had. Heck, there’s a realistic chance the Group A team does it. Still, better to win out — though a draw and a 2-0 win over Algeria guarantees at least second place.

    Group D plays after Group C, though, and the Germans may well get to choose their opponent.


    • Posted by kaya on 2010/06/16 at 7:07 PM

      After Beckenbauer’s comments re: England, they may well “choose” to play each other.
      I may be too sensitive, but I thought Capello had an opportunity to recognize the US team’s effort on Saturday in his response to Beckenbauer… and am choosing to believe he didn’t because he’s just as oversold on his own hype as his team is.


  3. A Draw or a Loss is practically then end. We’d have to drill Algeria like we did Egypt and hope England or Slov wins. USA had a nice draw again England. This game is the statement game, the match with England means nothing if Slovenia gets a point.


    • Posted by s44 on 2010/06/16 at 2:51 PM

      Again, no we wouldn’t. Slovenia has the minimum goals and goal difference from their win, so a draw here and a two-goal win against Algeria guarantees us advancement no matter what the Eng-Slo result. (One of them wins, we have 5 points to the loser’s 4. If they draw, we beat *at least* Slovenia on goal difference.)

      Playing for a draw would be a really dumb idea, of course.


  4. Posted by Bmill on 2010/06/16 at 2:22 PM

    The good thing is that the Team is all over the knowledge that Friday’s game is THE MOST important game of the tourny. i feel that Bobbo has pounded this match into their brains (ie earlier post mentioning why we played turkey/czech) and I think our game plan will afford us a great opportunity to get our 3 points. but as we have seen there are far to many games that will go 1-0 either way because of someone finishing when they need to. WOULD LOVE a Herculez poaching goal to give us control

    Thanks for your work guys, been following you for months waiting for the bigness of fridays match. Good thing i called off till 1pm Central


  5. Posted by obxfly on 2010/06/16 at 2:29 PM

    Likely opponents Germany and then Argentina. Yikes! We really need to win this group.


  6. Posted by kaya on 2010/06/16 at 2:34 PM

    Bob comes out in this game like 2nd half Turkey. He better, anyway.


  7. Posted by Idaho Vandal on 2010/06/16 at 2:34 PM

    Assuming England wins out, they’ll have 7pts. If we draw with Slovenia, and then they lose to England, they’ll have 4pts. If we beat Algeria after another draw, won’t we end up with 5, advancing without any tiebreakers?

    A draw on Friday would suck, but is not necessarily the end of the world. That said, I’m desperate for a win.


  8. Posted by kaya on 2010/06/16 at 3:05 PM

    You can’t assume England win against Slovenia. Slovenia won’t only be motivated to qualify vis-a-vis a tie in their last game, but they also feel they owe England payback for their last friendly.
    Regardless, it’s about damn time we qualify out of a group of our volition.


  9. Posted by Antonio H. on 2010/06/16 at 9:08 PM

    Um, all this is assuming Germany will win the group. Just like pople assumed Spain would beat the Swiss. One game can change everything, and honestly Australia isn’t that good in the first place, let alone not playing up to their capabilities. With that said. I think Ghana will beat Germany. Who would we rather face? Black Stars or Die Manschaft?


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