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Commentary Mar 19, 2013

Thoughts for Tuesday: USA ready to step up to challenge?

By Roger Gonzalez

Have you recovered yet from the Jefferson Cup?

After a long weekend of covering one of the top tournaments in the nation, we are back with another daily blog post to keep you on top of happenings in the soccer world.

Here’s a look at the biggest story. This next week is huge, to say the least, for the under-achieving United States men’s national team. After one game in qualifying, the red, white and blue are in last place with zero points after a loss to Honduras in early February.

Now, it’s time to get rolling. With a battle against Costa Rica in Commerce City, Colo. on Friday and a trip to Mexico on Tuesday, the USA would greatly benefit to get at least three points out of the two qualifiers.

There are nine games left for the squad, but if it stays at zero points after these two contests, the task of making the World Cup in Brazil next year will look a lot tougher. The good thing is, it’s still early and only one team, Honduras, has three points.

If the U.S. can get four points out of these next two games, well, they would be thrilled, but they will have to do it without injured goalkeeper and veteran leader Tim Howard.

Can reserve ‘keeper Brad Guzan step up to the challenge? Jeff Carlisle analyzes the Aston Villa goalkeeper’s prospects.