As soccer fans gear up for Friday morning’s match between the United States and Slovenia, several members of FC Dallas who have spent time with the U.S. National Team weighed in on the U.S.’ second match of the group stage in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. And they are more than optimistic.
“I think they’re very cognizant of what they need to do,” goalkeeper Kevin Hartman said after training on Thursday. “I don’t think there’s any disillusion of what they’re up against and what’s really needed. Although they (Slovenia) beat Algeria, I don’t think they’re world-beaters.”
Holding midfielder Daniel Hernandez has been to several camps with the U.S. and he sees the U.S. depth and talent as the deciding factors.
“I know everybody hopes they win and I think they should. Talent wise, they should win,” Hernandez said. “I think as everyone has seen in the World Cup, anything can happen, especially with the Switzerland-Spain game yesterday. Tying that first game against England was crucial for them. I think they’ll get wins in these next two games and get to the second round. After that, who knows?”
For the U.S. to get the full three points, the FCD captain feels they need to do a few things better than they did against England on Saturday.
“I don’t think we did very well in the midfield,” he said. “Up top, I don’t think we had very many scoring opportunities other than the soft goal we scored. I think that we’ll get some more chances against these other two teams and hopefully will score enough goals to get by.”
Midfielder Dax McCarty has four caps for the U.S. and he points to the team’s mentality as a key to the match.
“I think they’re good as long as they don’t get too cocky or overconfident. You can never underestimate any opponent in the World Cup,” McCarty said. “Clearly, look at Switzerland against Spain. That was an unbelievable result.”
He doesn’t expect any easy match from Slovenia.
“Slovenia is going to be tough. They’re at the top of the table right now since they have a win and the U.S. has a tie,” McCarty said. “It’s a huge game for the U.S. If they get three points, you have to like their chances of getting to the next round. As long as they don’t get complacent, I like their chances.”
But the fifth-year midfielder sees some areas where the U.S. can improve over how they played against the English.
“First and foremost, (they need to) start the game a little better. You never want to give up a goal in the first 10-15 minutes let alone the first five,” McCarty said. “So, for them to be successful, I think they need to be very solid defensively, which we know they will be. Then, they need to finish their chances.”