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Eyes on Brazil: DeAndre Yedlin's Journey to the World Cup

This is the beginning of a series of short posts on DeAndre Yedlin's unique trip to the World Cup and how his contributions affect the fortunes of the U.S. national team.

DeAndre Yedlin is proving his worth for the USMNT as a right full back. But many wonder if he can continue to impress in Brazil.
DeAndre Yedlin is proving his worth for the USMNT as a right full back. But many wonder if he can continue to impress in Brazil.
Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

When DeAndre Yedlin was named to the United States Men's National Team 30-man roster to go to Brazil, it came to many fans and pundits alike as a surprise. But the prevailing thought was that maybe coach Jurgen Klinsmann wanted Yedlin to learn from a few of the more established USMNT defenders and prepare him for the next World Cup in 2018.

Few could have expected that he would be selected for the final 23-man squad and then see solid minutes in the send-off tour the USMNT are currently on. While he didn't do very much in the game against Azerbaijan, besides forever linking himself Miley Cyrus, he showed his quality and speed on the ball as well as his willingness to throw himself into opponents.

While he defended decently against a weak Azerbaijan, who are currently ranked No. 85 in the FIFA world rankings, many pundits felt that he tried to inject himself into attack far too often, with his defensive duties an afterthought. After his 28-minute cameo in the 2-0 win, the young right back from Seattle had raised more questions than answers about his inclusion into the Brazil squad.

However, many of those questions were answered as he earned his fourth cap for the senior national team against Turkey for the USMNT's second friendly in four days. Coming on in the 64th minute, Yedlin immediately injected pace into the side, pushing up the right side and allowing the right midfielder and forward to get farther up the pitch.

Due to his admirable defending in the 2-1 win, the 20 year-old's critics seem to finally support his role in USMNT squad going forward. If he plays again during the last pre-World Cup friendly against Nigeria on June 7, the viewing public will eagerly await to see what Yedlin has to offer.

His footwork, pace, ability to outwit defenders and be in the right place defensively will all serve him well in Brazil and he will need all those tools to thwart the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Lukas Podolski and Marco Reus in the "Group of Death," this summer.

But if he manages to shut down some of the greatest forwards in the world, not only will he prove that Klinsmann was right to include him in the squad, but will also make the Akron faithful proud as the only Zip to go to a World Cup. Can Yedlin prove his worth or will he be dismissed as another in a group of young players that fail to show up for the world's greatest spectacle?