NEW YORK (AP) -- For the first time since 1990, the United States heads to the biggest football tournament on the planet with no central defenders with World Cup experience.
Michael Bradley, son of former coach Bob Bradley, has become the key figure in the American player pool, which has seen an infusion of German-Americans under Bob Bradley's successor, Jurgen Klinsmann.
Here are five players to watch:
Tim Howard is having perhaps his best season for Everton.
The 35-year-old goalkeeper, preparing for his second World Cup as the No. 1 choice, will be counted on to blunt the attack of talented opponents such as Cristiano Ronaldo and Mario Gomez.
Getting ready for his fourth World Cup at 32, can Landon Donovan provide the spark that helped the Americans reach the 2002 quarterfinals and the second round in 2010, especially after his lengthy sabbatical in 2012-13?
Clint Dempsey, now 31, has struggled for goals for the past year with Tottenham and Seattle, but as United States captain provided a steady presence in qualifying.
Will coach Jurgen Klinsmann use him in midfield or as a withdrawn striker?
The son of former United States coach Bob Bradley, 26-year-old midfielder Michael Bradley has become the most influential player on the national team.
Will his January transfer from Roma to Toronto cause a drop in sharpness?
Still only 24, Jozy Altidore seemed to have his breakout season in 2012-13 when he scored 31 goals in 41 matches for AZ Alkmaar in the Dutch league.
But Altidore had only two goals in his first 33 games this season for Sunderland, leading some to question whether he can lead the American attack.
- Sports & Recreation
- United States
- Landon Donovan
- Bob Bradley
- Clint Dempsey
- Michael Bradley
- Jurgen Klinsmann