The veteran goalkeeper played in England, Spain and Germany before joining MLS in 2009. He was named to the USMT’s World Cup roster four times (1990-2006). In this exclusive interview with Goal.com, Keller analyzes the Yanks chances, teams to watch and, via audio, his thoughts on the opening match versus England.
Goal.com: What are your thoughts on the USMNT’s World Cup draw and opponents?
Kasey Keller: Any time you have two European (England and Slovenia) teams it's always a little bit trickier. Though at the same time it could have been worse, so I
think it's a draw we're capable of getting out of the round. I don't
think it's a draw where we're necessarily the second favorite to get out of the round. We definitely can if we perform consistently. The African teams are always a bit interesting. I think it's a solid draw that we're capable of getting out of.
Goal.com: What’s your analysis of teams to watch in the 2010 World Cup?
Keller: I think this one goes down to how it was in Korea/Japan, because it's in a neutral site for many. The Europeans and the South Americans are out of their comfort zone. A team like Ghana can step up in this situation. They are loaded with players with good experience from the last World Cup. I think a team like Argentina, who struggled so bad to qualify, could sneak up on somebody and ride the momentum and euphoria of getting into the tournament. You can never write off Germany or Italy. England could step up and do something even though I don't think they're quite good enough to win it. They could always be a threat for a quarter-final or a semi-final. Holland could step it up. Can Spain repeat what they did in the European Championship? There are ten countries that can win it.
Goal.com: Is it an advantage or disadvantage for the US to be playing in Africa as opposed to Europe, South America or Asia?
Keller: It is an advantage to be in Africa as opposed to Europe or South America. I think in any World Cup in Europe a European team has won. Any that have been in South America, a South American team has won. It's a bit of a neutral site for non-European and non-South American countries, so hopefully we can build that. But then you also have to expect some of the African countries to really step up and feel that they have home nation advantage. Something they've never had before.
Goal.com: Can the US get out of the first round?
Keller: We can get to the round of 16, but at the same time take nothing for granted. Everyone thought the Czech Republic and Italy were going to go through. Italy goes through and the Czech Republic doesn't. We put ourselves in a great position getting the draw in Italy. If we won in the last game, we'd go through. We couldn't make that happen. If you rely on other people, you’re going to have some trouble.
Goal.com: How prepared to you think the US team is compared to the other World Cup squads?
Keller: We've got a good solid group of players. We can’t compare to the depth of the squads in England, Holland, Italy, Germany or Brazil. We don't have guys playing for the best teams around the world. We have some guys playing in good leagues. We’ve got guys playing in the MLS trying to make a name for themselves, but they have to step up for us to be successful.
Click below for more audio from the Keller interview!
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