Metro Exclusive: Former U.S. National Team member Chris Albright breaks down this year’s squad

Chris Albright of the USA battles for a ball with Claude Davis of Jamaica back in 2006. Credit: Getty Images
Chris Albright of the USA battles for a ball with Claude Davis of Jamaica back in 2006. Credit: Getty Images

Metro was able to grab former U.S. National team member Chris Albright, who is currently technical director for the Philadelphia Union, to break down this year’s Team USA squad and their chances at perhaps making some noise, and surprising some folks as the World Cup kicks off in Brazil.

How do you like Team USA’s chances in the so-called “Group of Death”?

I think that the game against Ghana is a must-win game for the U.S. That will really dictate the success of this team. They won’t have to recover in a hard matchup against Portugal or Germany. They’ll be able to focus their full attention on getting a positive result in those games, rather than pressing and forcing things on the field. It’s going to be difficult and they’re certainly not favored to get out, but that’s what’s great about the Group stage. There’s a lot of things that can happen and if luck’s on their side they’ll have a chance.

What do you view as the strengths and weaknesses for this team?

I think the team’s strength is its American spirit, as cliché as that sounds. They have an underdog mentality and understand that they’re playing against teams that have a much longer and stronger soccer pedigree. They know that they’ll have to give it everything they have and not take plays off in order to win. Clint [Dempsey], Jozy [Altidore] and Michael [Bradley] can all pull off big plays at any moment and a lot of times these games come down to the playmakers.

Our weakness is an inexperienced back line. They’re going to really have to come together as a unit and prove themselves on the biggest stage.

You’ve had a chance to practice with and play against Clint Dempsey over the years, how will he need to establish himself in these games?

Clint’s one of those guys that doesn’t necessarily have to play great for us, but you’re looking for Clint to make a play. Whether that’s a header off of a corner or making a dramatic play in the box, that’s something we’ll need from him.

Tim Howard, another guy you’ve had the chance to play with for a while, played spectacular against England in the 2010 World Cup which led to the 1-1 draw. Is he going to have to play this type of game against all three of Team USA’s Group G opponents?

Timmy is maybe our biggest strength. Goaltending in soccer is a lot like hockey. If you have a hot goaltender than you will always have a chance to win. If you look up and down this roster, he’s probably the guy you’d call the most World Class. It’s important to have him for the experience, leadership, technical ability, confidence and belief. I expect big things from Timmy as always. The sharper Timmy is the better we’ll be.

What are the scenarios where the U.S. can pull off an upset over Portugal or Germany?

Well we’ve done it before. We upset Portugal in the 2002 World Cup where we were lesser known soccer country and I’ve said this before but it’s all about playing strong on the back line and somebody making a play on offense. Great players will win you games and if we don’t have our great players show up then there’s no shot to upset Portugal or Germany.

What was your greatest experience from the 2006 World Cup?

Just being in that environment and to see something that you’ve never seen before. To be able to experience that with my family was a proud moment for me and it was really a culmination of every game I had ever played up to that point. You’re representing a nation of so many and you’re one of the 23 guys that’s able to do that. It really sums up a professional career to play for your country in a World Cup.

Do you think U.S. manager Jurgen Klinsmann coming out and saying that it’s ‘unrealistic’ for the U.S. to win the World Cup was justified?

I don’t necessarily love that comment, but Jurgen’s won World Cup’s himself so who am I to question him? I think you never want to put that bit of doubt in your player’s minds, even if he may be justified in saying so. It’s something that if I were him, I’d shy away from doing.

When it’s all said and done, who do you believe will bring home the World Cup trophy this year?

If not the U.S. than I’d love to see Brazil win it as the host nation. I’ve played with plenty of Brazilian’s over the years and they’re always great teammates and great competitors with a real passion for the game. It would be a nice thing to see.



News
Entertainment
Sports
Lifestyle
News

Rock legend Neil Young files for divorce after…

The legendary Canadian rocker Neil Young has filed for divorce from his wife of 36 years.

Local

FDNY debuts new fire simulator for blazes at…

The New York City Fire Department christened its newest, state-of-the-art, custom-built simulator at its training academy on Randall's Island Tuesday.

Local

Bronx cop saves baby who stopped breathing

A Bronx police officer is credited with saving the life of a 2-month-old baby who stopped breathing Tuesday morning. Police Officer Johnny Castillo, 38, was…

Local

Brewer celebrates Women's Equality Day with voter pledge

Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer celebrated Women’s Equality Day Tuesday by pledging to register at least five women voters before the Oct. 10 deadline. Brewer…

Movies

Review: The uneven 'Life of Crime' mostly gets…

Elmore Leonard's "The Switch" becomes the new indie crime dramedy "Life of Crime," with Jennifer Aniston as a kidnapped woman whose husband won't pay up.

Movies

Review: Pierce Brosnan gets a cut-rate Bond knockoff…

Pierce Brosnan tries to reclaim his glory days with the spy thriller "The November Man" but instead gets a sad DTV-style ripoff with lame action.

Gossip

Ariana Grande addresses Big Sean dating rumors

Now that Ariana Grande and Big Sean were caught on camera holding hands, she has something to say.

Entertainment

QUIZ: How many English words do you actually…

Are you as smart as you say you are? Are you a word nerd? Take this quick vocabulary test to find out if you're a true wordsmith. Good luck.

College

When are 2014 college football playoffs? (Schedule, date,…

When and where are 2014 college football playoffs? A look at the schedule, date, TV, time for the semi-finals at championship game.

NFL

Dimitri Patterson suspended only for rest of preseason…

Dimitri Patterson ended up getting just a slap on the wrist.

Sports

Eugenie Bouchard excited for 'rowdy' fans at US…

Eugenie Bouchard is sure to endear herself to New York's tennis faithful as she tries to win her first grand slam title across the next two weeks.

MLB

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at…

MLB Power Rankings: Angels and A's still at top, Nationals climb

Parenting

Lure your baby to sleep with Maroon 5…

These new renditions of "Moves Like Jagger" and "Payphone" are Maroon 5 like you've never heard them before.

Wellbeing

Who is having the most orgasms?

  Single lesbians report having orgasms more often than heterosexual women but both gay and straight men still come out on top of the climax…

Home

Jonathan Adler shares his tips for a great…

Jonathan Adler took a break from boogie boarding at his beach house to tell us how to keep that Labor Day party festive.

Travel

Most popular Labor Day weekend destinations

Priceline.com released its Top 20 destinations for the end of summer, including Labor Day weekend. If you’re heading to any of these spots, expect a…