Injuries aside, here's why USMNT fans should be confident for World Cup qualifiers

Download the CBS Sports App today and get instant NCAA Tournament news and alerts, plus get the latest picks and upsets from SportsLine!

This isn’t the proudest moment to be a U.S. men’s national team fan. The team has gotten just zero points in the hexagonal round of World Cup Qualifying after two matches, and the pressure is on like never before going into critical matches against Honduras and Panama in the upcoming week. 

The dream of making it to Russia for the 2018 World Cup, if poor form continues, could be just that -- a dream. 

On top of that, with two games in the next eight days, there are some big-time injury concerns. Midfielder Fabian Johnson was ruled out last week and just this weekend, striker Bobby Wood was dropped with a back injury

Losing Wood is a big one, because it hurts the team’s depth, and there aren’t really any other good options to replace him, hence why coach Bruce Arena decided against bringing in another striker. 

Now, Wood has done well with the national team and has nine goals for Hamburg this campaign. Add to that the fact that there are just three strikers on the roster, all with concerns, and it’s a bit of a nervy situation. 

You’ve got Clint Dempsey just coming off that irregular heartbeat condition that saw him miss a chunk of time, there is young and unproven (on the international stage) Jordan Morris, and then Jozy Altidore who has received criticism for not coming up big in the most important matches.

But, there is a reason for the U.S. to be hopeful entering Friday night’s clash with Honduras. And that is that all three strikers scored at the weekend and come in with confidence and momentum.

Here are the goals.

Dempsey penalty kick for Seattle in the 3-1 win over the New York Red Bulls on Sunday.

Morris’ header for Seattle in the same game.

Altidore’s fine strike in Toronto’s 2-0 win over Vancouver on Saturday.

Form is temporary, but to have a goal coming into qualifying can only help, not hurt. Having a striker entering on a scoring drought, especially when there is little depth, surely will impact that player’s confidence at least slightly. But that’s something USMNT fans don’t need to worry about heading into the most important games the team has faced in quite a while. 

For news, stories, results and more, follow us:

- @CBSSportsSoccer - @RGonzalezCBS - Facebook

CBS Sports Writer

Roger Gonzalez is an award-winning writer based in Virginia that has covered pro soccer from Europe's top clubs to Argentina's first division. Roger started out his pro soccer writing career with Full Bio

Show Comments Hide Comments
Our Latest Stories