The Unites States men's national soccer team has been working progressively to put out a competitive program that can battle with the best of the best.
For German-born, now American-based head coach Jurgen Klinsmann, the opportunity and the necessity to perform and provide results could not be at a more pivotal time after a disappointing loss in October for the CONCACAF title at the hands of Mexico.
So far in 2016, after six games, including two World Cup qualifier games, the U.S. has managed to accumulate a 5-1 record, including three clean sheets. They have also outscored opponents 12-5.
Three of their four losses in 2015 were decided by one goal or less.
Now, it's hard to say that the U.S. is up to standards with the rest of the world, especially some of the powers of South America, however, when you take a deeper look at the 23-man roster for the USMNT and check their respective clubs and how they fare, well then you at least start to wonder.
Will the U.S. be able to repeat their fourth place result of the 1995 Copa America, or perhaps even finish with a better result?
This U.S. men's national soccer team is without question an outright talented group of athletes who compete at the highest level.
That is what makes this American team unique — they can all start.
Sure, there might be a few young names who you don't know but that is why you watch the Cup and check out this preview, to get an idea.
The U.S. is returning Tim Howard, who I understand is the eldest player on the team by a long shot, but he is also at a goalkeeper position where you age differently, look at Brad Friedel and Edwin Van Der Sar who played well into their 40s. For goalkeeping, 37 should really be the new 30.
But, again, its futbol and anything can happen so we shall see what happens with the back-line, which is what scares me the most when I take a look at this U.S. team.
Defense is highly critical in most sporting events, it usually results in the winning team or side.
I see many outside backs, who are listed as right backs for the U.S., which looks odd, however Klinsmann is wise enough to know he will have to move some of the ambidextrous outside defenders to the left side.
Fabian Johnson and DeAndre Yedlin, who are some of the fastest players on the team, should provide outside protection on either side. But Yedlin might be moved up to right midfielder because of his ability to score and place wonderful passes in threatening areas.
Johnson can play inside defending, but with guys like Geoff Cameron, Matt Besler, John Brooks and Michael Orozco, he has a few options who can provide some potential at a solid back-line.
The midfield and attacking play, along with the help of strong goalkeeping, will have to provide above average results if they hope to stand a chance outside of the group stage that has three teams which won't be pushovers by any means, including Costa Rica and Colombia, which both fared well in the Cup.
Look for Michael Bradley to captain the midfield and perhaps Darlington Nagbe might be able to bring some of his strengths that have made him dangerous for the Portland Timbers along to the starting rotation.
Although Cup regulars Alejandro Bedoya, Jermaine Jones, Kyle Beckerman and Graham Zusi return to play at the midfield, it will be a deep position by U.S. standards.
USA also has the youngest player in the entire tournament in forward Christian Pulisic, who is 17-years old and some consider him to be the best American prospect we have seen to-date.
Bobby Wood, who has scored 5 goals in 17 games for the U.S., is only 23 and has proved time and again that when he is in the pitch, he is a true threat to score against anybody.
The U.S. will need Wood to score as he has lately if they wish to stay in all games with their thin defense.
Dempsey might be pushed to an attacking midfield role after watching his endurance and speed fade over the last few games, so look for Gyasi Zardes along with Wood, Pulisic and possibly Chris Wondolowski who should consist of forward play.
Before they embark on their Copa America journey, the USMNT will take on Bolivia in an International friendly on Saturday at a time yet to be determined.