The United States performance in the 2013 CONCACAF Gold Cup was nothing short of dominant. Six straight wins, half of which came by more than three-goal margins, served to show Jurgen Klinsmann's men appear to have begun rounding the corner in time for the home stretch run to Brazil 2014.
Despite playing with a team comprised of many players unlikely to feature in the final World Cup qualifiers, some things were definitely learned about the current condition of the U.S. national team.
Klinsmann's plan is taking shape - The U.S. are unbeaten in 11 and outscored their opponents 20-4 in the Gold Cup. There's still a ways to go, and the return match against Mexico will be the ultimate litmus test, but the Klinsmann machine is firing on all cylinders presently.
The U.S. continues to be a goalkeeper factory - Even their backup's backup was rock solid over the duration of the cup. Barring injuries to Tim Howard or Brad Guzan, Nick Rimando won't see any playing time at the World Cup, but he certainly gave his stock a bump during the Gold Cup.
Defense is still an issue - This was an area of concern before the Gold Cup and the team's showing in the tournament didn't show strong signs of improvement. Yes, they only conceded four times in the tournament, but they also only had two games in which they didn't allow a goal. Defensive lapses and a seeming lack of structure led to many good opportunities that won't be squandered by the caliber of opposition on the pitch in Brazil.
There is suddenly depth up front - It wasn't long ago that fans and pundits were wondering where the goals were going to come from on the quest for World Cup qualification. After this tournament, that riddle seems to be solved. Jozy Altidore, Clint Dempsey, Eddie Johnson, Chris Wondolowski and Landon Donovan are all in fine form in front of goal right now.
Landon Donovan hasn't lost a step - Despite his claiming to have lost a step prior to the tournament, his on-field display proved different. Donovan was as quick, decisive and cutthroat in the box as ever. It's impossible to envision a scenario in which Donovan is not on the plane to Brazil if the U.S. qualify.