ANDERSON — Anderson University men's soccer coach Scott Fridley has been around the sport long enough to know there's reason for optimism.
Fridley has coached the sport for the Ravens for 21 years and he was the goalkeeper on the school's very first team. He knows the United States faces a huge task on Thursday in trying to defeat or at least tie Germany to advance to the knockout round of the World Cup.
But he knows that the sport often produces some big upsets at this level.
"You want to be optimistic," said Fridley in a Tuesday telephone interview. "Anything can happen. It is a crazy sport. Germany certainly didn't look good in its last game. The United States has already done better than most people thought it would."
The U.S. team needs at least a tie to advance or they need to keep the game against German down to a one-goal deficit and hope for the best when Ghana plays Portugal at the same time as the U.S. game on Thursday.
It has been suggested that perhaps, since the U.S. coach Jurgen Klinsmann was a star on the last German team to win a World Cup, that the Germans might be OK with a tie against the Americans.
Fridley does not think that will happen. "I absolutely don't agree," he said. "The Germans azre playing for a top seed. They don't want to limp into the knockout round."
The AU coach also believes the opening minutes of the game can be crucial to this country's chances at a win.
"They need to play safe early," said Fridley. "They need to be careful. Germany can be difficult to score against and if the U.S. gives up a goal early, it could make for a hard chore to come back."