What can I say that has not already been said by my fellow Rant Sports Soccer writers? I cannot stress how important this game is for all of us Americans. I could remember a time when no one cared about soccer and everyone pushed the game to the side or dismissed it completely. Those days are changing. Soccer in America is gaining a mass audience and recently has drawn in 23 million viewers over the last couple games of the 2014 World Cup. Soccer is becoming a household sport, and I could not be any happier. The United States will look to keep an unfathomable dream alive. No one is giving them a chance, but as history has shown us, the United States thrive as underdogs.
The United States may be on the up-and-up. Jozy Altidore is available for selection, and the United States may have discovered a weakness in Belgium. Belgium, similar to Germany, play three or four center-backs on defense which can be exposed through speed and quick counterattack. Obviously, as it has been said before, the strength of the United States is the midfield play. Accurate passing and the ability to hold possession early and throughout the game is crucial. By keeping the ball away from Belgium’s forwards and Eden Hazard, the United States’ game is optimized.
Coming off of a little less than a week to rest and strategize, the United States will probably come out relaxed and simply wait for opportunities to arise by working out wide and making crosses into the box to spread out the center-back-heavy Belgium defense. There is no need to high press; a calm and relaxed game plan will prevail over Belgium. This is a tricky matchup, because no one knows what Belgium team the United States will be playing. As of late, Belgium haven’t really impressed by winning late in most of their games, but everyone knows Belgium have the ability to play incredibly well. We will wait and see when the game appears on ESPN today at 4 p.m. ET.
Collin Ruby is a Soccer Writer for RantSports.com, Follow him on Twitter @Collin_Ruby