Team USA has enough talent to win without Landon Donovan

The US men’s national team will have to will have to navigate the murky waters of the World Cup without its biggest star, Landon Donovan.…

U.S. national soccer team head coach Jurgen Klinsmann looks on before the first half during an World Cup qualifying soccer match against Honduras at Rio Tinto Stadium on Tuesday, June 18, 2013, in Sandy, Utah. (AP Photo/Rick Bowmer)

The US men’s national team will have to will have to navigate the murky waters of the World Cup without its biggest star, Landon Donovan.

The USMNT have a tough road in Brazil 2014, but despite having a difficult group schedule, Team USA believes they have enough talent to make some noise.

US men’s national team changed under Jurgen Klinsmann

Head coach Jurgen Klinsmann has brought a new attitude, better focus and an improved style of play that has changed the perception of American soccer. Under his guidance (since 2011), U.S. Soccer has adapted a more aggressive style of play which has made them more efficient offensively and tougher on the defensive side.

This change was evident when Team USA won the 2013 Gold Cup (fifth overall title and first since 2007), broke a three match losing streak to Mexico in August 2011 (they’ve gone 2-0-3 against “El Tri” since then), and finished first in the fourth round of CONCACAF World Cup qualifying for the third straight time.

The other positives under Klinsmann are that Team USA averages close to three goals per game now, they’re stronger on defense and they’re starting to get the worldwide respect that they have longed for. This time around they’ll be taken more seriously than in years past.

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Recently, coach Klinsmann has been the subject of controversy among American soccer fans. When he announced that long-time fixture Landon Donovan would not be a part of the World Cup roster next month, he drew the ire of the fans and shocked the soccer world to some degree.

Klinsmann insists that the decision to dismiss Donovan was a logistical and performance-based one. Some speculate that it may have been a personal one. When Donovan took a leave of absence in early 2013, it was said that Klinsmann was not happy about it.

Donovan took the time off citing mental and physical exhaustion from the grind of playing for the national team and his club teams (L.A. Galaxy, San Jose Earthquakes, Europe) non-stop for the last decade. Because of that, Klinsmann had questioned Donovan’s dedication and love for the sport.

What’s more puzzling is that while Donovan has voiced his disappointment for not being able to play in Brazil in a few weeks, he won’t say if there’s any animosity between him and coach Klinsmann. We may never know the truth about their relationship.

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What we do know however is that the all-time leader in U.S. goals (57), assists (57), World Cup appearances (12) and World Cup goals (five) will be sorely missed. But the United States will move on without him.

While Landon Donovan may be the most recognized and respected player, he’s not the only player at Klinsmann’s disposal. Team USA will have plenty of talent in Brazil, here are the top five American players to watch for in this year’s World Cup…

Forward- Clint Dempsey

In a May 7, 2014, file photo Seattle Sounders' Clint Dempsey leaps to kick the ball against FC Dallas in an MLS soccer match in Seattle.

As the Americans prepare for next month’s tournament in Brazil, pressure for goals will be on Clint Dempsey. (AP Photo/Ted S. Warren, file)

He’s probably the most recognizable player next to Donovan as he was named the team captain for the World Cup squad. With 103 caps and 36 international goals on his resume, he’ll be the one called upon to lead this team. This will be Dempsey’s third World Cup.

Forward- Jozy Altidore

The bulk of the scoring load for the US national team falls on the shoulders of Jozy Altidore.

Sunderland’s Jozy Altidore celebrates his goal during their English Premier League soccer match against Chelsea at the Stadium of Light, Sunderland, England, Wednesday, Dec. 4, 2013. (AP Photo/Scott Heppell)

Altidore has done nothing but produce since joining Team USA in 2009. His biggest moment was scoring in the 2009 Confederations Cup upset over Spain. Since then he has been consistent by scoring 21 goals in international play while attaining 68 caps in the process. His speed and accuracy make him a dangerous opponent and must not be underestimated.

Midfielder- Michael Bradley

Michael Bradley is one of the US national team's most important player in the midfield.

U.S. midfielder Michael Bradley celebrates after scoring a first-half goal against Mexico during an international friendly soccer match Wednesday, April 2, 2014, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rock Scuteri)

Bradley may only be 26-years-old, but he’s already made a name for himself at the international level. He’s already scored 12 goals in 84 games, he’s a consistent performer and coach Klinsmann –who stresses the importance of midfielders- will make the best use of his talents.

While the offense may get the glory, it’s the defense that wins the game….

Defender- DaMarcus Beasley

The team began a two-week training camp leading up to a May 27 exhibition with Azerbaijan at San Francisco's Candlestick Park.

DaMarcus Beasley talks to the media before a U.S. men’s soccer team training session Wednesday, May 14, 2014, Stanford, Calif. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)

Aside from being a tenacious defenseman, he’s also one of the veterans that this team will rely on for leadership. He leads the team in caps (115), he’s third in goals scored (17), and he’ll be the first American to participate in four world cups (Donovan would have also achieved this milestone had he made the team).

Goalkeeper- Tim Howard

Tim Howard is the US's rock in the back.

United States goalkeeper Tim Howard smiles during player introductions before an international friendly soccer match against Azerbaijan on Tuesday, May 27, 2014, in San Francisco. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

This man has been the foundation and the rock of the United States’ defense over the last few years. He’s also one of the veterans that will have to step up in the absence of Landon Donovan. He’ll also have a difficult test in group play once the World Cup begins.

Germany and Portugal are two of the best offensive teams in the world, and Howard will need to be at his best in order for Team USA to advance. Howard only allowed three goals in the 2010 World Cup so he’s already proven that he’s hard to score against on the international stage.

The World Cup without Landon Donovan will take some getting used to, but Team USA will have plenty of talent to win without him.