Monday, June 7, 2010
It's been four years since we've done this, but as we did in 2006 ahead of the World Cup in Germany, we here at YA are giving you our thoughts of what we think will transpire down in the South African winter. time, the staff was clearly hitting the sauce[endlink], as most picked the US to barnstorm into the quarters, or semis (our founder, however, nearly picked the tournament perfectly, causing many of you to send in hate mail of the Chicken Little variety prior to the tournament - leading to an unprintable nickname which has jokingly stuck amongst the rest of the staff...). This go-around, with a few exceptions, we are not as optimistic despite predictions of some quality individual play.

Following our prognostications, we invite you to offer your own by utilizing the comment section.

Andrew Vorce

US 1 - 1 England: A more than acceptable opening result for the US, but Wayne Rooney gets his first on the way to his golden ball award.

US 2 - 0 Slovenia :The USMNT midfield takes over, with Dempsey and Donovan leading the charge, but Jose Francisco Torres and Stuart Holden shine in a convincing win.

US 1 - 0 Algeria: The US face an organized Algeria team, but manage to get the game-winner and play bunker ball for the remainder of the game.

Outcome: Seven points is more than enough to push the US into the Round of 16, but they end up in second due to England's goal-scoring rampage on their Group C opponents. The US is forced to play Germany, who completely outclass the US en route to a 2-0 victory.

Breakout US player: Stuart Holden

Scariest Group C opponent: Wayne Rooney

World Cup champion: Spain

World Cup dark horse: South Africa

Arch Bell

US 1 - 1 England: A late US goal stuns the English and gives the Americans a lift heading into the Slovenia match.

US 2 - 2 Slovenia: The tendency to be frustrated by Eastern European squads comes home to roost yet again.

US 1 - 0 Algeria: A second half goal sends the US to the knockout round after a grueling and hard-fought battle.

Outcome: A solid five points gives the US a second round date with Germany and a rematch of the 2002 quarterfinal. As the great Gary Lineker once said, "Soccer is a game that starts with 22 players and Germany always wins..."

Breakout US player: DaMarcus Beasley

Scariest Group C opponent: Algerian defender Madjid Bougherra is as tough as they come.

World Cup champion: Brazil

World Cup dark horse: Serbia

Brian Sciaretta

US 0 - 3 England: US defense is badly exposed.

US 0 - 1 Slovenia: US again has possession but can't crack the defense.

US 1 - 2 Algeria: US dominates possession, but Algeria strikes quick on the counter

Outcome: US plays okay at times, but the defense is vulnerable to individual breakdowns. Then they are unable to breakdown opponents who bunker to protect their lead. England and Slovenia advance from the group.

Breakout US player: Jose Francisco Torres

Scariest Group C opponent: Wayne Rooney

World Cup champion: Brazil

World Cup dark horse: Denmark

Chad Winger

*US 1 - 4 England: Gooch is crippled, we have no left back to even jokingly attempt to stop Lennon or Wright-Phillips and our best striker scored one goal all season. Doomed.

*US 1 - 1 Slovenia: Like in the middle games of the past two World Cups, the US hang around despite immense pressure and manage a draw to keep them alive in the tournament.

*US 1 - 2 Algeria: Continuing yet another trend - this time going back to 1990 - the US come out flat as a pancake in the final group game and again come up short. Throw in the fact that Algeria has something to play for and that America is not the most popular nation in them parts, we lose and go home. Again.

Outcome: Three and out. Bob Bradley's tactical shortcomings and lack of a quality and match-fit defense does us in.

Breakout US player: Jose Francisco Torres

Scariest Group C opponent: Jonathan Bornstein.

World Cup champion: Holland

World Cup dark horse: Mexico

*Add 1.5 goals to opponent's score if Bornstein plays a single minute of the game.

Christopher Anderson

US 1 - 2 England: England grind out the win after struggling to find offensive rhythm and capitalizing on the shaky US defense. England strike first, followed by a US equalizer, but the English win it late.

US 2 - 1 Slovenia: US find their confidence and offensive stride with two goals thanks to midfield work from Jose Francisco Torres, but see their defense let in a last-minute goal.

US 2 - 0 Algeria: US walk over the demoralized Desert Foxes with relative ease, having now found their rhythm and confidence.

Outcome: US advance with a deserved six points and a second place finish, pitting them with group D winners Germany. Once again the Germans get the better of the Yanks with a 2-1 comeback victory. A promising cup comes to an end against stifling play from the lucky Germans, who again say that the US was the better team.

Breakout US player: Jose Francisco Torres

Scariest Group C opponent: Frank Lampard

World Cup champion: Brazil, yawn

World Cup dark horse: North Korea

Clint Waddell

US 0 - 0 England: In typical fashion, the English start cold and the US bunkers in the second half to take a point.

US 1 - 2 Slovenia: The US scores early but can't put away the Slovenians who score two in the last 10 minutes.

US 2 - 0 Algeria: The US stomp on the North Africans who exit the tourney with 0 points.

Outcome: US finish third behind England and Slovenia.

Breakout US Player: Edson Buddle. From zero to hero - with a name like Edson, he's got to be good.

Scariest Group C opponent: Milivoje Novakovic

World Cup champion: Germany

World Cup dark horse: Japan

David Smith

US 1 - 2 England : Wayne Rooney simply proves to be too much for the still-shaky US back line.

US 2 - 0 Slovenia : Reshuffling in the back and a stifling midfield performance leads to a quick recovery and convincing win.

US 1 - 0 Algeria: With both teams entering on three points and the Algerians at a slight disadvantage in goal differential, Bradley's conservative approach frustrates the opposition (and US fans) as his team grinds out a tense win.

Outcome: A strong six points is enough for second place and a date with surprise Group D winners Serbia. Grudge points aside, the US has huge problems with Serbia's height on set pieces, but the midfield has their best performance of the tournament in the 3-2 American win. Sadly, it comes to a crashing end against surprise package Uruguay, who reach their first semifinal in 40 years with a 3-1 quarterfinal beatdown.

Breakout US player: Jose Francisco Torres

Scariest Group C opponent: A stadium full of vuvuzelas drowning out communication in the back

World Cup champion: Brazil

World Cup dark horse: Uruguay

Edgar Zuniga

US 2 - 1 England: Someone's gotta stick their neck out for the US. England has suffered critical injuries, internal strife and haven't looked convincing in the run-up to the World Cup. Pressure? English fans demand World Cup glory or blood. However, the US will only go as far as the defense allows.

US 2 - 1 Slovenia: If the US comes out firing they can keep Slovenia from getting too comfortable. Otherwise, flip the score.

US 1 - 1 Algeria: With their pass to the second round secure, the US will do enough to keep from losing.

Outcome: US advance in first with seven points and face group D second place Australia. The US will get past Oz to face...Mexico, who will have defeated South Korea to get this far. The US will defeat Mexico again, reaching the semifinals, where they will hit a brick wall named Holland.

Breakout US player: Jose Francisco Torres[/b]

Scariest Group C opponent: Those damned vuvuzuelas that bore a hole into men's souls. Good luck to the US backline trying to communicate.

World Cup champion: Holland

World Cup dark horse: USA

Jack Rozier

US 1 - 0 England: The US absorbs pressure Confederations Cup style and make their only legitimate opportunity count.

US 0 - 2 Slovenia: After a defensive miscue, the US gives up a second while pushing for the tie.

US 3 - 1 Algeria: Biggest challenge for the US is escaping injury and suspension free.

Outcome: US finish second on goal difference behind England. However a favorable bracket sees the US through to the semis via a slugfest with Serbia and an unraveling Nigeria. Italy are still too tough to crack and the US falls after penalties. In the third place match the US performs admirably, but are overrun by Argentina's attacking prowess.

Breakout US player: Michael Bradley - he makes all the right decisions and bags an ugly, albeit crucial goal

Scariest Group C opponent: Wayne Rooney - he only needs a half-chance, even when he's less than 100%

World Cup champion: Brazil

World Cup dark horse: USA

John Kretlow

US 1 - 2 England: The US plays a brilliant first half and takes a stunning 1-0 lead into halftime. The English come out inspired in the second half though, and their constant pressure eventually yields two goals, sinking the Americans.

US 1 - 1 Slovenia: The US come out flat in this game, conceding a goal to the Eastern Europeans right out of the gates. The Slovenians battle hard to keep their lead, but the US comes up with an inspiring goal to keep them alive in South Africa.

US 2 - 0 Algeria: Nerves show in the first half, but a couple of second half replacements make the difference and push the US into the second round of the World Cup.

Outcome: Four points barely get the US through and earns them a date with the Germans in the second round. An inspired effort by the US gets them agonizingly close to a quarter-final birth, but Germany scores late and continues in South Africa.

Breakout US player: Clarence Goodson. The backline is not as healthy or fit as thought going into the tournament, and the Virginia native steps up big time.

Scariest Group C opponent: Wayne Rooney

World Cup champion: Spain

World Cup dark horse: Chile

Meghan Brennan

US 1 - 3 England: Our American boys are outplayed at every position and out-coached by Fabio Capello as the English extend their flawless play following an almost perfect qualifying campaign.

US 1 - 1 Slovenia: Lack of possession causes a US lead to crumble in an ugly, technical American game.

US 2 - 1 Algeria: Landon Donovan exhibits play worthy of his number 10 jersey as the US escapes group play by the hair of their chinny-chin-chin.

Outcome: US gets through with four points. England wins with ease.

Breakout US player: Robbie Findley, faster than the speed of light

Scariest Group C opponent: FA player of the year, Wayne Rooney

World Cup champion: Spain

World Cup dark horse: Ivory Coast

Nick Leyden

US 0 - 2 England: US never really threaten and gives up two cheap ones.

US 1 - 1 Slovenia: US score early, and Slovenia puts on serious pressure for the rest of the game. Good luck allows us to allow just one and secure a tie.

US 3 - 0 Algeria: An already eliminated Algeria plays frustrated, picks up a couple red cards and the United States coast to an easy victory.

Outcome: US advances as the second place team, finishing ahead of Slovenia on goal difference. In the second round we completely outplay Germany, but can't hold a lead and go down 2-1 after the Germans capitalize on two half-chances.

Breakout US player: Stuart Holden

Scariest Group C opponent: Rooney

World Cup champion: Brazil

World Cup dark horse: Mexico

Rich Fidler

US 1 - 2 England: The Americans' defense cannot keep it's Confederations Cup form

US 0 - 0 Slovenia: Hope for the Red, White and Blue as they get a point

US 2 - 0 Algeria: With nothing to play for, the Algerians go down to defeat

Outcome: On the last day the Americans advance thanks to goal differential and get a date with the Germans - although Donovan is brilliant against zee Deutsch, the defensive woes against England appear again and they fall 3-1 on a pair of late counters.

Breakout US player: Jose Francisco Torres

Scariest Group C opponent: Frank Lampard

World Cup champion: Argentina, and Maradona dons his birthday suit

World Cup dark horse: Mexico (it pains me to type that)

Trafton Kenney

US 0 - 1 England: The Americans start strong but England wears them down after halftime and finish with a late goal.

US 2 - 1 Slovenia: US bounce back well and survives a late comeback.

US 3 - 0 Algeria: A confident US team dominates possession against disorganized Algeria and ride a few early goals for the win.

Outcome: US makes it out of the group stage looking confident with six points but fall to Germany in the next round like it's 2002 all over again.

Breakout US player: Jose Francisco Torres

Scariest Group C opponent: John Terry

World Cup champion: Brazil

World Cup dark horse: Ivory Coast