U.S. World Cup worries grow, draw with Saudis in last tuneup
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“The focus is on a big meeting with a dozen leaders today,” said former USA striker Loyd Jones, now coach of the U.S. youth team.
“At the end of the day there’s no U.S. team without Neymar.”
That Neymar, his teammate Isael Corral and his father, Neymar Jr., are part of the squad makes it that much harder to dismiss the idea of the U.S. World Cup team being assembled without their presence.
And that, in turn, makes it harder to dismiss the idea of Neymar being a key focus of the U.S. team in the tournament in Russia.
“When you look at a team like that and you wonder where the missing pieces are, you certainly don’t have the Neymar on that team,” Jones said.
What we have is a team as good as any, if not better, in the world, Jones said.
“I really like the way they match up against the best teams in the world,” he said. “They’re very technically sound, they have great passing plays. They make runs that are almost unstoppable. They were an exceptional team in the Gold Cup that was very well-rounded.”
The U.S. World Cup team is made up of three Americans and two Canadians — Jones is the coach in charge of the U.S. youth national team; Corral plays for the Portland Timbers and, like Jones and others, is a former USA international.
Corral, 28, who had been scheduled to play for the Los Angeles Galaxy last week, was left off the U.S. roster for the Gold Cup but is back in contention after two weeks out with an undisclosed injury.
The two Canadians, the only two non-Americans, are in the youth national team camp and Corral’s age and experience make him the natural choice to start over the injured Corral.
The U.S. has a pool