Forget all that jazz from last year, the US Men's National Team really begins the process of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup as they kick off the CONCACAF hexagonal round today against Honduras. This is where the real pressure arrives, where the real stress begins and either your hair turns gray or just starts falling out. It's also the first major hurdle that Jürgen Klinsmann must clear.
Forget about the mythical transformations and all the zen-like nonsense you've read, Klinsmann's grander goals and ideas for US Soccer won't mean a hill of beans if he can't successful guide his team through the hex and in to the World Cup. Today he must get off the right foot by naming the right lineup to take on Honduras. Selecting that lineup is tricky thanks to several factors but fortunately our US Soccer blog Stars and Stripes FC has it all broken down for you.
Some MLS players have clearly played themselves into Klinsmann's plans since the fall, while Jozy Altidore has found his way back into the team. Landon Donovan isn't all the way back from his soccer sabbatical, Kyle Beckerman has been left in Salt Lake City, and Timothy Chandler has committed to the USMNT. It's a slightly different USMNT than the one who beat Guatemala to get to the Hex.
What formation will we see? Who will start? Who should start? Stars and Stripes FC answers all the key questions before the US finally steps on the field. Player selection matters, the formation matters, the results matter. Don't forget this is Klinsmann's first trip through a World Cup qualification process (Germany was the host country when he was head coach there), so the pressure is on.