NEW YORK - Defeating England at the World Cup comes down to stopping striker Wayne Rooney, United States coach Bob Bradley said on Thursday.
Asked what he would tell his squad about how to beat England, their first opponents at the World Cup in South Africa in June, Bradley said they should not let Rooney dominate the game.
"He's been in incredible form. He's been slowed down a little bit of late with injuries, but there's the starting point of things there," Bradley told a small group of reporters.
The U.S. hope to draw on some magic from the past to help in their opening test in Rustenburg on June 12.
They unveiled jerseys for the South Africa tournament in white with red-and-blue accents and a grey diagonal stripe across the front, reminiscent of the kit worn by the Americans in their shocking 1950 World Cup upset of England.
The 2010 jerseys are each made from eight recycled plastic bottles.
Bradley said that while he respected the other Group C opponents, Slovenia and Algeria, he liked U.S. chances.
"Our feeling is the group we're in is a strong group but one where we have a real fair chance to advance," he said.
Bradley said injuries had clouded prospects for his 23-man squad, and that between 16 and 18 players had probably secured places ahead of next month's training camp.
"In a perfect world we would pick our 23 and that's who would come into camp. Now we're probably thinking more along the lines of bringing 26 to 28 guys."
With forward Charlie Davies struggling to recover from injuries sustained in a car accident, Bradley will look to find more firepower.
Edson Buddle and Herculez Gomez, leading Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Mexican league in goals, are making a case for inclusion.
"Edson has scored some incredible goals, a variety of goals," Bradley said. "A lot of maturing has taken place. He's doing a lot of little things that make a difference."
On Gomez, Bradley said: "His first year at MLS, everything that he touched went in the net. His pure ability to strike a ball was pretty obvious and that's kind of come back again."
Another candidate is Jozy Altidore, whose Hull City season came to a premature end when he was sent off for headbutting an opponent last week.comments