http://www.boston.com/dailyglobe2/216/sports/Perception_is_reality_for_US+.shtml I think Lalas' points about never catching a team by surprise anymore are right on. 2006 will be a much more difficult competition for the US than 2002 was, but hopefully an improvement in talent from our players will help overcome that jump in difficulty. I think a transition from the role of underdog is only one of the obstacles. A lot more players on the next roster will not have had World Cup experience. The US has badly struggled in Europe. A team leader has to step forward and be what Reyna was to this team. In short, there are many unanswered questions. One quote from Arena in this article shed light on who is likely to get immediate looks from the head coach. ''There are players who need to be replaced,'' Arena said. ''But there are a number of guys who played on the team but were not on the [World Cup] roster.'' To me, this says a player like Greg Vanney, Richard Mulrooney, or even Chris Klein were being groomed by Arena as possibilities for 2002, but probabilities for 2006. I believe we'll see these three get looks right away from Arena. Other than that, four more years of the same. Arena will be looking for players based on many of the same qualities he looked for before, but the end-all of selection will be Arena's much-used line, "We'll select the group of players who make us a better team."