ANDREW VORCE - Tuesday, May 25, 2010
United States men's national team defender Jay DeMerit is assuring everyone that the US squad has the right mentality heading into June 12th's World Cup opener against England.
"I don't think we need to go into England feeling pressure," DeMerit told Yanks Abroad. "We'll let England feel that pressure, and there will be lots of pressure on them.
"Credit to them if they deal with it, because of course they are who they are. We can't consider going into that game as a favorite or as a draw, we're going to go in underdogs.
"When you walk into a pressure situation like that, you walk in and say 'Hey, let's put ourselves on the line and see what happens.'"
DeMerit does however hold high expectations for his countrymen, and fully expects the US to beat out their other Group C opponents Algeria and Slovenia.
"We proved it last sumer [in the Confederations Cup], a lot of times things can go your way if you're relaxed and playing your game," DeMerit said. "We need to go into [the other group games] game with confidence.
"As a group [the USMNT] we've proved now over the past couple of years that we can compete with the best. We have to go in with confidence and the fact that we should be getting out of our group.
"We need to put that pressure on ourselves, because the type of players we are now and that's the type of group we have. If we all keep the same mindset, we can really use it in a positive way."
The US coaching staff will be sizing up their options in the back, with the colossal Oguchi Onyewu finally coming back to full health ahead of Tuesday's friendly against the Czech Republic.
DeMerit and Onyewu have played multiple games in the qualifying campaign, and will look to finalize their partnership ahead of June 12th.
"We complement each other well," DeMerit said of his partnership with Onyewu. "In my years in England that I've played with big center halves as a partnership it always seems to work really well. I know what he's going to do and he knows what I'm going to do.
"The 'big/small' partnership in a center half pairing can really work," he concluded. "There's a similar type of situation here with Gooch. He's fine and on his feet now and going to get some games under his belt, and that's going to be important for him moving forward."