It’s the third straight World Cup america males’s nationwide group has performed in the place it reached the knockout stage. Losses to Ghana and Belgium in 2010 and 2014, respectively, denied the Individuals a possibility to win a sport past the group stage for the primary time on the quadrennial occasion in opposition to a group not from North America. The USMNT’s solely knockout stage win was in 2022 in opposition to Mexico, when it limped its method into the Spherical of 16 earlier than dos-a-ceroing its largest rival on the worldwide stage.
Yunus Musah and Gio Reyna weren’t even alive when the U.S. received its solely knockout match 20 years in the past. Each needs to be central figures in Saturday’s likelihood to buck the pattern in opposition to The Netherlands. Reyna has barely performed on the World Cup to this point, boggling the minds of USMNT followers. With information of Christian Pulisic being cleared to play in opposition to the Dutch following a pelvic contusion, and the identical information not popping out for Josh Sargent, it’s secure to imagine he received’t play. It’s additionally dumb to play Haji Wright once more in Qatar after how ineffective he’s appeared in all three group stage video games. And if U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter turns to Jesus Ferreira to start out in opposition to The Netherlands, he’s really not placing his finest 11 gamers on the sector.
Reyna or Brenden Aaronson want to start out within the entrance three of assault, alongside Pulisic, with Tim Weah finishing the group as a false-nine within the center. Aaronson has performed in all three of the Individuals’ video games to this point within the match and sure has the leg as much as play extra in opposition to Holland, however Reyna not seeing the sector as a starter or the primary man off the bench could be a travesty. That’s really the one personnel concern america has heading into its knockout sport, which is a little bit stunning to see how its top-line expertise hasn’t faltered.
I don’t care whether or not Cameron Carter-Vickers or Walker Zimmerman begins moreover Tim Ream at central protection. Each have been nice. There’s no cause to doubt Antonee Robinson or Sergiño Dest at fullback both. It’s unusual that each American exterior backs will face their beginning nations on the match. Robinson has a British father, whereas Dest has a Dutch mom. He was in a position to characterize Holland or America on the worldwide stage. Dest additionally spent his whole youth profession and the primary cease of his skilled profession in The Netherlands. Over these 11 years, it’s secure to say he bumped into a couple of gamers the USA will face on Saturday. One defender that shouldn’t see the sector once more in Qatar? Shaq Moore, who raised his hand and mentioned “my unhealthy” greater than he did the suitable factor in his two appearances in opposition to England and Iran.
Matt Turner has been steady at goalkeeper. The midfield of Musah, Tyler Adams, and Weston McKennie appears to be like locked in for not solely the remainder of this match, however most likely the 2026 World Cup as effectively. Adams has been one of the best participant for the USA on the match and if the USMNT goes to beat the Dutch, he’ll should put out a ton of fires from a potent Holland assault. If Adams is off his sport, the Individuals will probably be on a airplane again stateside on Sunday.
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The breakout star of the match to this point is Cody Gakpo, an integral a part of the Netherlands, who will doubtless be part of a giant membership this coming winter or summer season due to his play in Qatar. He’s bagged three objectives within the match to this point and I’d wager on him including to that complete in opposition to america. And clearly, scoring is paramount to profitable and the USMNT has averaged lower than a aim per sport on the World Cup to this point. That received’t minimize it from right here on out, clearly, which is why it’s so essential for Berhalter to make these little personnel modifications.
The Netherlands is the deserved favourite getting into the sport. The Individuals are additionally trying like one of many harder groups to beat nonetheless alive in Qatar. By way of three video games, no group has scored on the U.S. within the common run of play. That’s really spectacular, and the USMNT is the one group to carry that distinction. It doubtless ends in opposition to the Dutch, however that’s not a assured airplane ticket for the Individuals. The USA nonetheless hasn’t scored a second-half aim within the match both and I feel that ends in opposition to the Dutch. Nonetheless, I don’t know if this U.S. facet is able to take down a world energy, regardless of The Netherlands’ faults. I’m calling a 3-1 victory for the Dutch.