Very few would have predicted that John Hackworth's charges would have struggled to this extent in the FIFA U-17 World Cup Korea 2007. Most felt that the young Americans would ease through Group E ahead of Tunisia, Belgium and Tajikistan.
However, the reality could not be any different. The USA fell 4-3 to new boys Tajikistan, and against Tunisia in their second match failed to impress in a 3-1 loss. They are now in danger of elimination and an early flight home.
The Americans were unfortunate to lose against Tajikistan. They had more possession than their opponents and dominated for most of the match. However they failed to turn their opportunities into goals and paid the price. Their match against Tunisia saw them concede two goals through penalties but until the Africans scored their third on the counter attack the Americans refused to give in and were rewarded for their efforts when Jared Jeffrey converted from the spot to pull one back.
After having failed to pick up any points in their opening games, the USA go into this match determined for a win. Even if they win however, their chances of progressing to the next round are slim.
But Jeffrey has other plans. He tells FIFA.com "I think it is fortunate that we still have a chance to progress to the knockout round".
"Just because we lost our first two games does not mean the team's spirit is down. We are all determined to win against Belgium," says Jared Jeffrey, who created many chances in the USA's matches so far.
As coach John Hackworth has pointed out, the American players have found it hard fail to control their emotions at crucial times. "It is true that we have a few problems in terms of focus", admits Jeffrey. "But we want to keep our focus in our next game and make sure we win. We didn't show what we are capable of in our last two matches and we want to put that right on Sunday".
Even if the team fails to qualify for the next round, the Americans will want to salvage some pride in their final match of the group stages. The players are determined to make sure of this.
"In preparation for this last game, we have raised the intensity in training, and all of us are looking forward to playing Belgium. If we win here and pick up three points we have a chance of qualifying, so all the boys are trying to keep positive".
On another note, Jeffrey does not seem to be in a position to enjoy his first goal in the tournament. "Of course I was happy to score. But because our team was losing it wasn't all good" he says. "Honestly I haven't set any personal aims for this tournament. I am satisfied with helping my team win".