Donald O’Mahony, Broadside Correspondent

The expectations will be high when the United States soccer team arrives at this summer’s World Cup. After their surprise run in 2002 and their tough draw in 2006, the Americans are poised for a solid showing in 2010.

Americans everywhere were thrilled on Dec. 9 of last year when their team was drawn into a group with England, Algeria and Slovenia.

Many worried that the U.S. would be drawn into another tough group like they were in 2006, with Italy, Czech Republic and Ghana.

However, Group C looks to be one of the most straightforward groups going into the summer.

If everything goes as expected, the U.S. should finish second in Group C and would likely take on Germany in the round of 16. The Americans would be looking to avenge a controversial loss to the Germans in the quarterfinals of the 2002 World Cup.

It will be very important for Head Coach Bob Bradley to have his team playing at the highest level possible going into the summer. Whispers of a coaching change for the U.S. were starting to be heard before their outstanding performance at the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup, in which they beat Spain and lead Brazil 2-0 until a second half collapse.

The Americans have a solid core of talent to build their team around. Goalkeeper Tim Howard is one of the best in the English Premier League. Any team would feel confident with a keeper that strong behind them.

Defender Oguchi Onyewu made a high profile move to AC Milan during the summer, but a knee injury has kept him sidelined for most of the season. Jonathan Spector is another solid player that can be counted on at right back.

Winger Clint Dempsey was also having a solid season in England before suffering a knee injury. All signs point to him being fit again for the summer, and Americans will have their fingers crossed that he can be back in top form. Landon Donovan is currently playing for Everton in England, and the experience against top talent should help get him prepared for the summer.

The problem for the Americans lately has come in finding a good balance in the midfield. Michael Bradley, the son of Bob, is almost certain to be on the field when the Americans take on England in their first match.

Another problem that needs to be addressed is the Americans’ lack of finishing.

A lot of responsibility could fall on the shoulders of young Jozy Altidore. Currently in England with Hull City, he is struggling to get playing time, and struggling even more to score goals when he gets his chances. Hopefully the 20-year-old can handle the pressure of an entire country this summer, because he will have two or three chances to directly affect the outcome of the games he plays.

When it comes down to it, Coach Bradley’s job might be on the line again this summer. The Americans are expected to advance from their group, and anything can happen after that. On the other hand, if the Americans fail to meet expectations, they could be looking for a new coach come July.