While most American fans, - hardcore or casual - know that winning the tournament might be a bridge to far, getting out of the group stage is certainly within the team's grasp. A win over Algeria (ranked 16 places lower than the US) is manageable. If the US can win the game and England beats Slovenia (with a margin that is equal to or lesser than the US's victory margin), the US would secure top spot in the group. This could allow them to avoid a potential round of 16 match against Germany (assuming Germany defeats Ghana tomorrow). Any of the other potential opponents (Serbia, Ghana or Australia) don't seem nearly as scary.
The Desert Foxes have acquitted themselves nicely thus far, losing to Slovenia by a goal and drawing against England. Many of Algeria's players were born in France and several play in top leagues in Europe. Nadir Belhadj, who plays his club soccer for Portsmouth, might be the most well known player for Les Fennecs. The US will also needs to keep tabs on Karim Ziani of Wolfsburg in Germany, and Abdelkader Ghezzal of Siena in Italy. If the US is going to win the game, they will need to break down a stingy Algerian defense. Algeria has something to play for in this game (they can advance with a win and a Slovenia win) and will not role over. A slow start like they had against both England and Slovenia cannot happen again. The US needs to play with the same urgency they played with during the second half of the Slovenia game. The US will need to create space for runs off the ball through the packed Algerian midfield and defense (they are likely to start 5 in the midfield). The US will also need to keep mental lapses and defensive breakdowns to a minimum.
With Robbie Findley suspended due to yellow card accumulation, I'd like to see the US start this line-up against Algeria:
UPDATE: Bradley has decided to change things up a bit. Onyewu is out, with Bocanegra slotting in at CB. Jonathan Bornstein will start at LB. Gomez is the starter opposite Altidore and Edu is the starter in midfield next to Michael Bradley (I like the Edu move, and I can't argue with Gomez, who was top scorer in the Mexican league this past season). I am a tad worried about the choice of Bornstein. Bradley has a mancrush on Bornstein, consistently playing him despite poor showings for the national team. If Bradley felt the need to replace Onyewu, who hasn't played to his potential after a long injury layoff, I would have been more confident with Jonathan Spector starting at LB. While Spector was less than stellar in the lead up to the World Cup, he starts for an EPL team and was very good during qualifying.