If you're tuning out the World Cup and assuming the US is going to have an early exit, Katharine Rust and Casey Sommers would like to "disabuse you of this notion." For starters, "the Yanks are good," they write in the Atlantic. They're not the best team by any stretch, "but our chances at going far (to the quarterfinals) are not as much of a long shot as many would expect." (The team proved it can play with the big boys today with a 1-1 tie against England.)
As the tournament goes on, look for key players such as Jose Altidore, the "scrappy" Clint Dempsey (today's goal scorer) and "our fearless, intense, super-fast captain," Landon Donovan. And if skill isn't enough to get you watching, what about good old-fashioned national pride? "The national team representing our country in South Africa is good, not only because of their skill and entirely American determination to win, but because they were also given the opportunity to do anything they wanted, and they chose to play soccer for the US."