X

Have feedback / suggestions? Let us know!

Soccer US National TeamWorld Cup

2014 World Cup: 5 Bold Predictions for USMNT vs. Portugal

1 of 11

2014 World Cup: 5 Bold Predictions for USMNT vs. Portugal

USMNT head coach Jurgen Klinsmann
Getty Images

After six months of buildup to the USMNT match against Ghana, we’ve had just six days to prepare for the Americans’ second match against Portugal in the infamous Amazonian city of Manaus. The U.S. beat Ghana, but did not play particularly well, while Portugal got blown away in their opening match against Germany. It’s difficult to predict how this match will play out. Nevertheless, here are five bold predictions for the USMNT vs. Portugal.

USMNT Will Score Another Early Goal

Fabian Johnson celebrates scoring for USMNT
Getty Images

USMNT Will Score Another Early Goal

Fabian Johnson celebrates scoring for USMNT
Getty Images

The focus from the Americans was apparent against Ghana, and they'll bring that same intensity against Portugal. Combine that focus with a suspect Portugal back line that's missing a few players and it equals another goal from the U.S. that comes much earlier than expected.

Chris Wondolowski Will Score A Goal

Chris Wondolowski USMNT
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

Chris Wondolowski Will Score A Goal

Chris Wondolowski USMNT
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

Even if he doesn't get the start, Wondolowski is likely to play against Portugal as a sub, and he's going to keep up the trend he started last summer of scoring with the national team. At this point, Portugal's back line is on par with a lot of MLS teams, so Wondo should be able to find the back of the net, most likely using his head.

Cristiano Ronaldo Will Be A Non-Factor

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal
Getty Images

Cristiano Ronaldo Will Be A Non Factor

Cristiano Ronaldo of Portugal
Getty Images

With his knee an issue, his lack of goal-scoring success in World Cup matches, and the fact that Jurgen Klinsmann will have a defensive game plan that forces other Portuguese attacking players to beat him, Ronaldo will end up making little impact on the match against the U.S.

Julian Green Will Make An Appearance

Julian Green
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

Julian Green Will Make An Appearance

Julian Green
Mark J. Rebilas - USATODAY Sports

It'd be a shock if he was in the starting XI, but Jurgen Klinsmann could be eyeing the possibility of using Green as a late-game sub. After all, after playing 75 minutes in a rain forest, legs are bound to be tired, so why not put the 19-year-old on the field for the final 15 minutes to see if his speed and pace can cause trouble for the Portugal defense.

USMNT Will Handle Conditions in Manaus Better Than Portugal

USMNT Send-Off Series Azerbaijan
Kyle Terada - USATODAY Sports

USMNT Will Handle Conditions in Manaus Better Than Portugal

USMNT Send-Off Series Azerbaijan
Kyle Terada - USATODAY Sports

The heat and humidity in Manaus have been a major story leading up to this match, but despite some hamstring trouble in the opener, the USMNT will handle the weather better than Portugal. The Americans have better conditioning and their contingent of MLS players will be a little better prepared for the heat than all of Portugal's European-based players, and that will help the U.S. close out the game and secure a positive result.