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Looking ahead to 2013 in domestic soccer, one story will dominate

Dec 30, 2012, 5:06 PM EDT

USA fans 2

First come the annual stories looking back on the year – and 2012 certainly was as eventful as it could be in soccer, now wasn’t it?

Next will come the pieces looking ahead to 2013. (I just took a look back at my piece from a year ago on the important stories ahead for 2012. Nailed some. Missed some.)

As we begin looking ahead to the important stories of 2013, one will dominate domestically: whether the United States qualifies for World Cup 2014. We will know the answer by November, latest, and probably by October. (With a little luck, Jurgen Klinsmann and his U.S. team may even have that sweetest of tickets punched by early September; the 8th of 10 final round qualifying dates for the United States goes off on Sept. 10.)

So … will they or won’t they?

Will Klinsmann get the United States into its seventh consecutive World Cup, or will domestic soccer supporter infrastructure implode from the worst case sum of all fears, that darkest of scenarios, where the U.S. fails to make the World Cup field. None other than Bruce Arena, the most successful U.S. soccer coach of all time, says it will happen sooner or later.

This piece from national team-centric American Soccer Now says you, the good, sweet, clean U.S. Soccer supporter, are awash in confidence.

Not a massive surprise here, but more than 90 percent of respondents to a high-techy, gizmo of a fan poll say the United States will safely navigate the coming final round and advance into World Cup 2014 in Brazil.

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