The United States takes on Slovenia this Friday in their second match of World Cup play. Slovenian midfielder Andrej Komac has already predicted a win for his team. Slovenia already has three points in the Group C first-round standings. The U.S. has one.
The U.S. Soccer team is preparing for what is considered a must win on Friday against Slovenia. Slovenia won its first match, Sunday against Algeria.
The international media met with the U.S. players near their camp this week. American star Oguchi Onyewu says the point deficit puts Team USA in a tough spot in the fight to advance to the second round.
"Right now, it is kind of tricky with us coming off a tie. And, with Slovenia with three points right now, this makes Friday's game even more important in the progression past the group stages," Onyewu said.
Although the United States is ranked 14th in the world and Slovenia 25th, Michael Bradley, whose father coaches the U.S. team, says Slovenia plays a solid 90 minutes and does a good job of protecting the goal. "I think that, when you look at their results in qualifying, they area hard team to play against. I think they played 10 qualifiers in Europe. I think they gave away four goals," he said.
There is a lot of controversy surrounding the new world cup balls manufactured by Adidas. Many players have complained they move through the air with a very different feel than traditional soccer balls.
U.S. goal keeper Tim Howard, seen here, is one of the critics.
His teammate, Onyewu, says the new balls are an adjustment everybody has to deal with equally. "You know the ball it is a little particular. The way that it is made, I am not really sure. But it makes it difficult to judge crosses and the way it carries in the air is a little different from what we are use to but...like everything else I guess you have to get use to it and deal with it," Onyewu said.
A victory on Friday would put the U.S. into contention to advance out of the first round. They meet Algeria in the Group C final on June 23.