The USMNT continues to thrive now having won a total of 6 games in a row (Germany, Jamaica, Panama, Honduras, Guatemala, Belize). The key to their success has been something that the United States has lacked ever since losing a 2-0 lead to Mexico in the 2011 Gold Cup Final....confidence. The emergence of Jozy Altidore against Germany helped him become a constant threat during the World Cup Qualifiers. The confidence that Altidore had spread throughout the whole team, but the Gold Cup team has many different players on it, so confidence had to be rebuilt. The return of Landon Donovan has helped us all see how much he really does for the team. The World Cup Qualifying teams had Graham Zusi and he showed his skill on the wing, but Donovan just doesn't seem to be replaceable. Donovan quickly restored the confidence in this team in the warm-up game against Guatemala, but it's not juts Donovan. Stuart Holden couldn't be playing with any better confidence after constantly fighting off injuries, and now he's sending deliveries into the attacking third at incredible accuracy (I know he was playing Guatemala and Belize, but remember how long he was away from the game). The Belize game also strengthened the confidence of this team, one man in particular. Chris Wondolowski (or Wondowlowski as his jersey said against Belize) became a changed player in the first half. When he scored his first goal the weight of not scoring in his first 10 Caps was lifted off, and he showed the potential he really has. The hattrick made him realize he was good enough to play on this level, and that confidence for Chris and everyone else is the key to the United States winning the Gold Cup. This younger team (excluding Onyewu, Donovan, and Beasley) has to learn what international play is all about. It can be tough on the players to win when they're also worried about making the team themselves for the 2014 World Cup, but the best way to prove yourself is to win. So far it seems like the United States can't stop winning, and the gap between themselves and Mexico is nothing but a fantasy to desperate Mexican fans. The only way to gain respect by FIFA is to dominate your confederation, if the United States wins this Gold Cup and continues to stay on the winning path, there will be no way that FIFA can ignore them this winter when they're rankings the teams. The United States have had their chances to earn respect in the past, but this year might be the best chance that they've ever had.
Everywhere the USMNT goes, the fan support never seems to falter, Portland most recently