The United States is set to play Germany in the World Cup on Thursday, and some believe that Team USA’s only option in the game is to go on the offensive and seek to win.
If the U.S. wins the game then it wins Group G, known as the Group of Death.
U.S. and Germany are tied with four points each after both getting a win and a draw.
Portugal and Ghana are tied with one point each are both getting a loss and a draw.
The United States only has to get a draw to advance, but playing conservatively could hurt them.
Mike Foss of USA Today points out that the U.S. doesn’t know how to defend a draw.
“If there is one thing we know about this American team, it’s that they are incapable of hunkering down in defense for 90 minutes. The most recent example of this was against Ghana, where for 80 minutes the U.S. attempted to do just that. Absorb pressure, deflect crosses, save the occasional shot, and try to counter when possible,” he said.
“Eventually, Ghana did score, and when that happened, the U.S. wasn’t prepared to counter back. It managed to steal a goal back off an unlikely corner kick, and while it made for a great narrative, everyone watching in Natal and around the world knew the U.S. was fortunate to walk away from its first match with three points.
“That’s why we saw coach Jurgen Klinsmann go to a much more open style against Portugal. Removing one striker in favor of an additional midfielder which allowed the U.S. to attack Portugal’s flanks with numbers. It was on the flanks where DeAndre Yedlin and Graham Zusi created the U.S.’s second goal.”
The problem with Germany’s 4-2-3-1 formation and its style of play is that it doesn’t allow for many counterattacks.
Basically, Foss is saying that instead of the way the U.S. played against Ghana–on the defensive–the team needs to play the style it played against Portugal–not afraid to attack, or even go down a goal.
Klinsmann hasn’t indicated what his lineup will be for the game but it appears that starting striker Jozy Altidore will not be available still, meaning that the same five midfielder and one striker lineup that the U.S. employed against Portugal will be used. Graham Zusi came in for that match after starting the Ghana game on the bench.
Even if the United States loses, then it can advance. If Ghana and Portugal draw, then both the U.S. and Germany automatically advance.
If the U.S. loses, then Ghana would need to win by a margin of two goals or more. While that scenario is unlikely, it’s even more unlikely that Portugal can get through–they would need to have a winning margin of at five goals.
The U.S.-Germany game is at noon on Thursday. Portugal and Ghana play at the same time.