Forget England. Friday’s match against Slovenia is the most important Group C outing for the United States at this year’s World Cup.

The Americans’ shock draw in their tournament opener was nice, but it will mean nothing if they lose Friday.

Slovenia (a country of 2 million located between Austria and Croatia) beat Algeria 1-0 in its opener, giving it the group lead. A win would put the former Yugoslavian state in the round of 16, and likely knock the U.S. out.


The Americans, meanwhile, would claim at least a share of the Group C lead with a victory, and set themselves up decently with another tie.

Keeper Tim Howard, the man of the match in the England game, will start despite a rib injury.

Up front, meanwhile, the onus is on Jozy Altidore and Landon Donovan to cash in on scoring chances. They were largely stymied last weekend.

England will play Algeria at 2:30 p.m.?(ESPN2).

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