Ex USNMT coach Bruce Arena has stated that the USA finds themselves in a World Cup group of Death and has advised the Yanks to play a defensive game for a draw against Ghana in the opening fixture.
Arena who now manages MLS side LA Galaxy insists that the USA will not be pushovers though but the match against Ghana can be crucial in deciding their fate at the Mundial.
“For the U.S., the tactical approach for the last two games will depend on the result in the first game, as well as the outcome in the opening Germany-Portugal matchup. The U.S. may need to move from a defensive posture against Ghana to an aggressive, attacking mode against Portugal. For the U.S., securing a minimum of four points and advancing will be its primary mission in group play.
“The U.S. will devote a lot of time and energy to preparing for its opening-game opponent, Ghana. Ghana has outstanding players in Sulley Muntari, Asamoah Gyan and Kevin-Prince Boateng. The U.S. will need to keep the game at a slow tempo, defend with numbers and look for chances on the break and on set pieces. Getting a point out of this game would be a good result (one point for a draw, three for a win).
Arena coached USA in the 2002 and 2006 World Cup and believes that Portugal will not be as strong as people expect them to be and has also downplayed the impact of Cristiano Ronaldo in the team
“Portugal has perhaps the best player in the world in Cristiano Ronaldo. However, I’m not sold on the supporting players, and the U.S. will match up well against them. Additionally, I believe the U.S. will be better prepared mentally and physically to deal with the travel and heat and humidity for this matchup in Manaus, Brazil. This is the game the U.S. needs to win”.