USA vs. Portugal - World Cup Match Preview and Prediction to Win - 5 PM EST Sunday June 22, 2014 Arena Amezona Manaus, Brazil
By Jason Green, World Cup Soccer Handicapper, Predictem.com
Match Odds: USA 4.75 / Portugal 1.83 / Draw 3.70
Moneyline: USA +375 / Portugal -120 / Draw +270
Over/Under: 2.5 goals. Find the best betting odds for this match at the web’s best soccer bookmaker: 5Dimes.
Portugal is playing in the Group of Death for the 2nd straight World Cup, but they are in a must win situation after getting drubbed 4-0 in their group opener facing Germany.
The USA did not have good betting odds to get out of their group heading into the World Cup, but the odds are in their favor now after their win over Ghana in the tournament opener. The Americans won 2-1 against Ghana, which was a squad that had eliminated them from the last two World Cup tournaments.
The USA scored in the first 32 seconds in the match against Ghana and they may need to score early in this one. However, when they played with the lead in the Ghana match the African nation had many scoring chances and finally equalized in the 2nd half. The Americans did score late in the match for the win, but when they dropped back to protect their lead they did not look good.
Cristiano Ronaldo is the key player that the American defense has to stop, but will he play? He should after dismissing his doctor’s advice to play further, but he is not 100% with his gimpy knee.
Not only is Ronaldo a question mark, but Star center back Pepe will miss the USA match after picking up a red card in the bad loss to Germany.
It is pretty simple for the USA, as if they win they will advance to the round of 16. A draw would not be killer, but they still have to face Germany in their group finale.
Portugal is not the only squad with injury concerns, as starting striker Jozy Altidore is out for this match. Fellow striker Clint Dempsey, who scored the early goal for the USA in the Ghana win, has a broken nose, but will play in this match.
Michael Bradley is the leader of the USA midfield and he played well in the Ghana match. He will be counted on again to play solid defense and well as get the attack going.
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The Americans had their defense broken down repeatedly in the win over Ghana and facing Ronaldo and company if that happens again taking 3 points will be a difficult task.
Tim Howard played a solid game in goal for the USA against Ghana and this may be the biggest match of his career. Still, Portugal really needs to bag 3 points because of their opening loss and they will be attacking from the opening whistle.
Portugal was down 2-0 to Germany after 30 minutes and they have to get off to a better start in this match. While the Americans did not look great when they played a defensive match protecting their 1-0 lead they did keep Ghana from scoring for over 60 minutes. If the Yanks can get on the scoreboard early look for them to take the same tactic they did in the Ghana match.
The Americans are solid on the counter-attack and that will be a major worry for the Portugal side that will be on the attack from the get go.
USA Recent Form
4/2/2014 United States 2 Mexico 2 (Friendly)
5/27/2014 United States 2 Azerbaijan 0 (Friendly)
6/1/2014 United States 2 Turkey 1 (Friendly)
6/7/2014 United States 2 Nigeria 1 (Friendly)
6/16/2014 Ghana 1 United States 2 (World Cup)
Portugal Recent Form
3/5/2014 Portugal 5 Cameroon 1 (Friendly)
5/31/2014 Portugal 0 Greece 0 (Friendly)
6/16/2014 Mexico 0 Portugal 1 (Friendly)
6/10/2014 Republic of Ireland 1 Portugal 5 (Friendly)
6/16/2014 Germany 4 Portugal 0 (World Cup)
Jason’s Prediction to Win: The Americans are the rather big betting underdogs in this game, but they are the squad that has the momentum. Ronaldo will play and I think will play well and score. However, the USA counter-attack will take advantage of opportunities and Howard will have a good match and the Yanks will win and advance to the knockout stage.