The United States Men’s National Team are in the knockout stage of the 2022 FIFA World Cup, which gives them a date in the Round of 16 tomorrow. Standing between them and a trip to the quarterfinals is the Netherlands, the 8th ranked team in the world. They’re the type of team that the USMNT need to defeat to show that they are for real and that they’re ready to plant roots on the world’s stage as a true contender for the title.
The USMNT arrived here by placing second in Group B, drawing both Wales and England and then beating Iran on the final matchday of the group stage. They have created several opportunities to score, but only managed 2 goals during the group stage. They need to be able to score when the opportunity presents itself against a Dutch team that scored 5 goals in their 3 group stage matches, winning 2 and drawing one.
It’s a United States team that has started to inspire a nation, and the swell of support has only increased throughout the group stage. As the team with one of the youngest rosters ever at a World Cup, the USMNT hope to announce tomorrow that they have arrived and they’re claiming their space on the world’s stage.
W (1-0) - Iran - 2022 World Cup Group B
D (0-0) - England - 2022 World Cup Group B
D (1-1) - Wales - 2022 World Cup Group B
D (0-0) - Saudi Arabia - Friendly
L (0-2) - Japan - Friendly
W (2-0) - Qatar - 2022 World Cup Group A
D (1-1) - Ecuador - 2022 World Cup Group A
W (2-0) - Senegal - 2022 World Cup Group A
W (1-0) - Belgium - UEFA Nations League
W (2-0) - Poland - UEFA Nations League
What To Watch For
Be defensively sound. The Dutch have some special players, and if they get the ball in open space, they can punish you. The USMNT needs to continue to be defensively sound, keeping the ball in front of them and making sure the Dutch stars, like Cody Gakpo, Memphis Depay, and Frenkie de Jong, don’t get the opportunity to do any damage.
Be the creators. The USMNT need to continue to push forward on offense and they need to be known as the team who created the scoring chances in this match. Working the ball into open spaces and getting guys free on the wings is one thing, but if they’re going to cross the ball into the box from the wings, they need guys to be there to put a head on it and get it on net.
Utilize the bench. USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter should be looking to get his subs on early in an effort to keep the pressure on the Oranje throughout the match. His creative players, like Brenden Aaronson and Gio Reyna, need to see some time in this match because they bring elements that the Netherlands can’t fully combat. And that will present matchups that the USMNT can take advantage of in creating scoring chances.
The USMNT obviously have a couple of questions with regards to injured players as well as some rotations. In the end, it’s predicted that Gregg Berhalter opts for the lineup he’s gone with for most of this World Cup:
Matt Turner continues to be in goal, while the back line welcomes Walker Zimmerman back into the starting XI. He rejoins Antonee Robinson, Tim Ream, and Sergiño Dest.
In the middle, the M-M-A lineup remains intact, with Weston McKennie, Yunus Musah, and Tyler Adams continuing to start. Expect to see Brenden Aaronson enter the match at some point, perhaps in a role that involves him operating more in a central attack role. If the USMNT get a lead, Kellyn Acosta will likely come on late to provide that Concacaf gamesmanship to close the match out.
Up front, there’s no way Christian Pulisic, barring a setback from his pelvic contusion, doesn’t start this match. He says he’ll be ready to play, and he’ll be in the starting XI if that’s the case. Tim Weah will remain on the right, and Josh Sargent will also start at the 9 despite him also nursing a knock. This is a match that is perfect for Gio Reyna to see the field in a sub role, coming on for 30 minutes to increase the creativity on the offensive end. Let’s see if he gets his number called.
Speak this into existence: the USMNT win 2-1 to advance to the 2022 FIFA World Cup quarterfinals.