Jozy Altidore congratulated by Jurgen Klinsmann
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Armchair Analyst: No Group of Death, just the Struggle Bus for USA & friends in Copa America

Step away from the ledge and have some dignity, folks. The US have been facing South American clubs on equal footing in world competitions since 1994, and this summer's Copa America Centenario is no different. The hand-wringing on display on Twitter during and after the draw makes no sense.

Here's Group A:

On paper Colombia are the best team in the group, but forgive me if I'm not entirely overawed at the prospect of watching the US face them at home especially given their current run of form. Los Cafeteros have scored four goals in their last eight competitive games, including last summer's Copa America. You'll note that this downward trajectory has lined up nicely with the downward trajectory of their forward corps as a whole; Radamel Falcao's never going to be Radamel Falcao again, and none of the other options have proved to be real goal-getters.

James Rodriguez can sometimes obviate that weakness by winning a game all by himself, but that's not a reliably repeatable strategy. He also can't control the game unless he has a proper midfield structure around him and quick, tell me what that is for Colombia right now. I'll wait.

(No I won't).

You don't actually have an answer, because Colombia head coach Jose Pekerman has had no answers for about the last 12 months. In the last three games in particular, he's taken some wild swings, varying his personnel, tactical bent and formation by the half. Colombia have gone 0-2-1 with one goal scored in that span.

That's Colombia in the books. Here's what I have to say about the other two opponents, Costa Rica and Paraguay: In spite of several years of struggles under Jurgen Klinsmann, the US should be favored against either of those teams. If we're not if our fans settle for a "plucky underdogs!" mantle and our approach is a reprise of the "bunker and pray" tactic that Klinsmann instilled at both last year's Gold Cup and 2014's World Cup, then we'll have taken a step backwards as a soccer community.

I get the impression that lots of US fans have been so preoccupied with our own struggles at the Gold Cup that they failed to notice Costa Rica were just as bad. And anyway, if we hadn't drawn Costa Rica we'd have either ended up with a team that actually beat us at the Gold Cup (Panama, Jamaica), or should have (Haiti).

That leaves a Paraguay team that didn't qualify for the 2014 World Cup, finishing dead last in CONMEBOL, and they went 3-5-6 in all competitions last year. Paraguay entered World Cup qualifying somewhere outside the top 60 in the FIFA Rankings. They've recently climbed up to No. 42 thanks to a come-from-behind 2-1 home win over mighty Bolivia, which is nice, but that is sort of canceled out by this fact: Paraguay haven't beaten a team ranked in the FIFA top 40 in over FOUR years.

This is not an "oh they're just in a slump, but they have talent and if the coach pulls the right levers he should be able to figure it out" situation which is, I'd argue, the correct assessment of the US. No, Paraguay have been a consistently bad team for 48 months as their most significant players have aged out of the program with no adequate replacements to be found.

So relax a bit. There really is no such thing as a "Group of Death" in this tournament, and no one should be pretending otherwise.

*sigh*

Really? Ok... Let's just say this: The US will have three companions aboard the Struggle Bus two of whom are at a distinct talent deficit.

Any fan who's been paying attention should be satisfied with that.

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