But while many of the key players have remained the same over the last five years _ Bocanegra, Dempsey, Altidore, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard, Steve Cherundolo, Michael Bradley _ there is little evidence of growth. Slow starts have been a problem since the last round of World Cup qualifying, and no one has an explanation _ or worse, an answer. The U.S. still hasn’t developed an identifying style of play beyond grit and determination, a problem that plagues its lower-level teams, as well. And the deeper talent pool expected to follow the spike in American interest in the game has yet to materialize.
After years of being a sideshow, the Americans finally have captured their country’s attention. To keep it, they’re going to need to do more.
AP National Writer Nancy Armour can be reached at narmour(at)ap.org or follow her at http://twitter.com/nrarmour
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