The 2014 World Cup draw made a lot of headlines. They weren't very promising ones for the Americans, as their World Cup bracket included unlikely rival Ghana, and powerhouses Germany and Portugal. As such, the USA can't afford to lose yet another World Cup game to Ghana on June 16, after Group G favorites Germany and Portugal have their highly anticipated opening showdown.
The U.S. last played a World Cup game in the second round in 2010, where Ghana broke their hearts in extra time. The Americans also lost to Ghana in the first round in 2006, when they couldn't get out of a group that also included future champion Italy. Now in 2014, the USA could well be in a group with another future champion, whether it is Germany or Portugal.
The Germans and the Portuguese will get their chance to make a big opening statement against each other at noon est. The winner should have the inside track to winning Group G, while the loser will still be favored to get past Ghana and the U.S. no matter what. However, a bad performance by the loser and solid work from the USA-Ghana winner may put that into question.
The Americans would certainly get a big boost from finally knocking Ghana off in the World Cup. It would certainly change the conversation after a rough several weeks, including the controversial cutting of Landon Donovan and coach Jurgen Klinsmann's comments that his team had "no chance" to win the World Cup. But with the rough draw the U.S. was given, Klinsmann's prediction may not be far off.
Getting to the second round out of this group would be tantamount to a World Cup win for America. However, it will likely require at least one win over a second-ranked Germany team or a fourth-ranked Portugal squad, to say nothing of that elusive victory over Ghana.
First and foremost, the U.S. needs that win against Ghana, starting at 6 p.m. est on ESPN.