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USA's World Cup Draw: Silver Lining Playbook?

It’s hard to gloss over the USA’s draw for the 2014 World Cup, but Jurgen Klinsmann & Co. have been doing their best since Friday afternoon, when they were handed a group containing 2010 quarterfinalist Ghana, Euro 2012 semifinalist Portugal and perennial World Cup favorite Germany. But let’s not forget about the travel. When asked by the LA Times to comment on the fact that his team will traverse more than 9,000 miles across Brazil in 10 days -- the most of any team at the finals -- U.S. coach Klinsmann replied: "We'll deal with it, with a smile on our face."

Striker Eddie Johnson, who plays for the Seattle Sounders in MLS, told the paper it was an honor to be included in the so-called ‘Group of Death’. "When they say the 'Group of Death,' we have to look at ourselves as well,” he said. “We're the U.S. national team and if it's considered the 'Group of Death' [because we are a part of it], it shows how far the country has come."

Johnson’s Sounders teammate and U.S. captain Clint Dempsey added: "You can't think about 'Am I the favorite, am I the underdog? What's it going to be like playing in the heat or with the travel?' Those are factors that come into it, but at the end of the day both teams have to deal with them,” he said. “You both deal with the conditions, with injuries, with yellow cards. It's all part of the World Cup. Anything can happen and anything can happen on a given day."

Everton goalkeeper Tim Howard noted that the opening game against Ghana would be crucial: "The memory will still be very fresh of the loss in the Round of 16 in 2010," he said. "I think that will help us more than it will them. We're a much stronger team than we were, and they'll know that going into the game. We'll look to set that result right."

Read the whole story at Los Angeles Times »

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