What: USMNT vs. Portugal
Where: Arena Amazona; Manaus, Brazil
TV: 6:00 p.m. ET on ESPN, WatchESPN, Univision
It took three World Cups, but we knew it wasn’t “Ghana” happen again. Clint Dempsey wasted no time in putting the Americans up a goal; 29 seconds and the fifth fastest goal in the tournament’s history. As the Black Stars poured on the pressure we caved. It seemed as though Ghana would have our number again until John Anthony Brooks, briefly listed on Wikipedia as the “greatest American since Abraham Lincoln”, buried his header and our Ghanaian demons.
On to Portugal.
Portugal will likely be without stars Pepe(suspension), Fabio Contrao(injury), Hugo Almeida(injury), and with Bruno Alvez also missing through injury, the U.S. will feel good about its’ chances. Portugal were dismal in their 4-0 defeat last week against Germany and will need three points here to have any chance of progressing to the knockout round.
With Germany and Ghana’s 2-2 standoff, we can secure our World Cup future with three points on Sunday.
So the mission is clear. Just win. Win and we’re through.
Jozy Altidore remains sidelined with a hamstring strain, but Matt Besler is available as needed. Michael Bradley has said he knows that his performance against Ghana wasn’t up to snuff so be prepared for him to come out guns blazing. European sides (minus France) have been wilting in the Brazilian sun so this match is the perfect opportunity to knock Portugal down and out.