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USA Could Build Credibility at Copa America

If the USA wants to gain respect in the international community, writes Simon Simano of the North County Times, it will have to expand its horizons past continental dominance. While we certainly enjoy our record against Mexico in the last several years, when it comes to earning that respect, besting El Tri over and over again "just doesn't cut it," he says. For that reason, Samano believes Bob Bradley should make this summer's Copa America a priority over the CONCACAF Gold Cup. Why? We've been there, done that before, he says. Success against the best South America has to offer is competition on an entirely different level-even if the likes of Brazil and Argentina don't show up with their first-team regulars.

Bradley would be happy to head to Venezuela with his strongest possible team, but unfortunately the U.S. tournament opener against Argentina takes place four days after the Gold Cup final. The Copa America also takes place during a time when FIFA doesn't require clubs to release players for internationals. However, the tournament does take place during the summer, so European-based players will have that time off. MLS, of course, will be in full swing.

Because of this, and because Bradley desperately wants to qualify for the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup (winning the Gold Cup guarantees that), the Americans will not be fielding their best team. It will be a fantastic experience for those who do go, however.

Read the whole story at North County Times »

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