Slovenia vs. United States of America, Ellis Park Stadium, Johannesburg South Africa 10 AM EST Friday June 18, 2010
by Jason Green of Predictem.com
Match Odds: USA 2.00 / Slovenia 3.40 / Draw 3.35
Over/Under: 2.5 goals
Moneyline: USA +105 / Slovenia +260 / Draw +220
In a huge Group C match for each team on Friday afternoon USA takes on Slovenia. Even though they did not win, Team USA has to be happy with their draw against England, who were heavily favored. Now the USA will be favorites to win this match as well as their last one against Algeria.
The Americans have to assume that England will beat Algeria in the other Group C match on Friday so even though this match is not a must win one it is vital. Goals will be important and not just for the score, as if England and the USA tie atop the group the winner will come down to goal differential and the winner will likely not play an elite team in the round of 16.
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Slovenia did not look good in winning their first group match to Algeria, as they scored on what looked to be an easy stop by the Algerian G. Slovenia already has 3 points in hand so if they draw they will not be too disappointed.
Since Slovenia knows that the USA will be attacking going for the win and not satisfied with a draw they will likely keep it very tight in the back early and hope to build on a solid defensive effort and look to score on a counter-attack.
Against Slovenia the Americans will have to play a different style since the Slovenians are a defensive minded squad that will look offense started by their defense. Because of this the USA will have to push forward more and the midfielders will have to be wary of the counter-attack.
USA head coach Bob Bradley used a 4-4-2 formation in the first match, but may change that in this match to generate some more offense. Slovenia will likely stay with their 4-4-2 formation and unlike the match against Algeria they will use their midfielders more for defense.
USA Recent Form:
6/12/2010 USA 1 England 1 (World Cup)
6/5/2010 USA 3 Australia 1 (Friendly)
5/29/2010 USA 2 Turkey 1 (Friendly)
5/5/2010 USA 2 Czech Republic 4 (Friendly)
Slovenia Recent Form:
6/13/2010 Slovenia 0 Algeria 1 (World Cup)
6/4/2010 Slovenia 3 New Zealand 1 (Friendly)
3/3/2010 Slovenia 4 Qatar 1 (Friendly)
There has been some concern over G Tim Howard’s injury, but the solid American keeper has been cleared will play and will likely be in the starting 11.
Even though England had more shots (18 to 12) and won the time of possession battle (57% to 43%) the Americans played stifling defense and especially kept the midfielders of Steven Gerrard and Frank Lampard from killing them. The Americans boxed the midfield to do that, but they will probably not do that in this match, as Landon Donovan and Clint Dempsey will be out wide.
Dempsey scored in the England match and even though it was a goalie mistake he still got the credit. I see he or Donovan scoring in this match with the speed and creativity they posses.
USA striker Jozy Altidore was shut out in the England match and did have some chances and simply did not capitalize on them, but that will change in this match. Since Donovan and Dempsey will be keyed on he will have more space and I think he will break through and score his first World Cup goal.
Slovenia’s central defenders of Bostjan Cesar and Marko Suler are both big and strong so the Americans will have trouble beating them in the air. Look for the USA to use creative passing on offense in order to score.
Jason’s Pick to Win: The USA badly needs a win in this match and Slovenia is a definitely a team they can beat and if you look at the odds they should beat them. I think the first half will be a scoreless draw, but the USA will find ways to score in the 2nd half. Slovenia will be hanging back on defense in this match and I think they will not score. The USA will bag the maximum 3 points with a win in this match by a score of 2-0.