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Top half of the standings and qualify for Europe
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Friday, June 12, 2009
After limping off the field last Saturday in Chicago during the United States' over Honduras, the status of Carlos Bocanegra's availability for Monday's Confederations Cup opener versus Italy was in doubt.

Bocanegra scored the game-winning goal in the 68th minute on a diving header which ultimately secured the three points for the Americans. But just minutes after the score, the Rennes defender was forced to leave the field after straining his hamstring.

Fortunately for fans of the red, white and blue, the team captain is all but certain that he will be ready to be called on by head coach Bob Bradley for Monday's clash versus Italy.

"I just did some light training today and was mostly taking it easy. It was mainly just precautionary stuff, " reassured Bocanegra to YA shortly after the U.S. training session on Thursday. "Luckily we had a gap between the qualifiers and the Italy match so I'm pretty hopeful I'll be ready."

In the two World Cup qualifying matches for the U.S. prior to the Confederations Cup, the American defense uncharacteristically gave up four goals. In order to beat the reigning World Cup champions, the former Chicago Fire stalwart knows a solid back line will ensure a chance at victory.

"We were really shaky against Costa Rica and Honduras. We need to shore up our defense and start being consistent. It doesn't get any better than trying to do that against the defending world champions."

After facing the Italians on Monday night, Bocanegra and his compatriots will square off against five-time World Cup champions Brazil and 2008 African Cup of Nations champion Egypt.

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