I feel like this is a Boston Sports playoff game right now. That’s what the World Cup does to you, and that’s what somehow having a great chance to get out of the group of death does to you.
The US walks into the game without Jozy Altidore, which is also why they’ll only have 1 forward in Clint Dempsey. (By contrast, Portugal has 3, including Ronaldo.) That is mainly the case because of Altidore’s inury, but it could be a small sign of Team USA just being happy to pack it in and play for a tie, which may be smart because…
The ways that the US reaches the knockout round:
If USA ties Portugal today, then they have 4 points along with Germany, and Ghana and Portugal each have 1. The US would have a +1 goal differential, Germany at +4, Portugal at -4, and Ghana at +1. That would mean that the United States would only have to lose to Germany by a respectable score, and hope that Portugal and Ghana don’t kill one another by too much. In that case, we’d be rooting for Ghana, who would be closer to us if we tie Portugal today, surprisingly. A tie would be huge today, and I think it’s a realistically positive expectation.
If USA loses, then they’d have 1 point, Portugal would have 3, and we’d have 1 with Ghana and either a worse goal differential or the same. Essentially, we’d need to beat Germany (I know, right?) and hope that Portugal and Ghana beat Portugal while we still win in goal differential. That’s gonna be real hard, so the US has gotta get a result today.
If Team USA wins today, they’re in. But you knew that. So get the Budweiser on draft and let’s do this.