The official rules and regulations of the Copa America Centenario dropped on Tuesday. One of the most glaring rules for this tournament has to be the absence of an extra time period for any knockout round match except the final. You just don't see that in many major tournaments.
This could easily come into play for the United States. In each of the last two World Cups (2010 vs. Ghana, 2014 vs. Belgium) the U.S. have been eliminated in extra time. Jurgen Klinsmann's side face the real possibility of a penalty shootout should they make it out of their group. That's just not something the USMNT are used to.
It's true that they did lose in a shootout last summer in the Gold Cup third-place match, but come on. That whole match was a complete waste of time as the U.S. had no interest in caring about it after failing to make the final. It's impossible to take that result seriously.
So, if the USMNT were to have to face the dreaded penalty shootout, who would make the top 5 takers and what would be the order? Here's who we'd pick and why:
1. Clint Dempsey
Whether he starting the match or not, he has to take a penalty. Sure, he's spotty at best from the spot, but his experience and 'I don't give a f***' attitude will lend itself well in a pressure situation. Just make sure you have him go first so you know whether or not you have room for error or not.
2. Fabian Johnson
After Dempsey has panenka'd the keeper and left him with no confidence, it's time to put a reliable penalty taker up there to get off to a 2 for 2 start. I tried to find career penalty stats for Johnson but the internet let me down. It doesn't matter though. He's amazing at everything. Surely he'll be great at penalties and he's used to the pressure. He'll knock it in without a sweat.
3. Bobby Wood
He's a striker. He's scored some penalties for Union Berlin this season. Sure, why not. 3 for 3 guaranteed.
4. Darlington Nagbe
Darlington Nagbe likely won't be a starter to being the Copa America because *reasons*. But, you can bet he'll be on the field at the final whistle. I personally saw (on my TV) Nagbe score in the wildest penalty shootout I've ever seen between the Portland Timbers and Sporting KC in last year's MLS Cup playoffs. He's as cool as *insert witty simile here*. He's got to be one of the takers and he'll score to make it 4 for 4.
5. Michael Bradley
Okay, it's true that The General has missed at least one penalty for the USA (that 2015 Gold Cup match), but he's the Captain of the team. He's the leader we look to in the moment of need. If we have to score one penalty to stay in the tournament, I'm completely fine with it being Michael Bradley taking it.
However, after Guzan saves the first three none of this will matter. USA! USA! USA!