“Three keys for a US victory over the Netherlands”
Three keys for a U.S. victory over the Netherlands in the World Cup Round of 16 match on Saturday morning in Qatar:
Not half bad
A hallmark of the Americans’ World Cup showing has been to deliver dynamic first halves and less inspiring second halves, allowing an equalizer after halftime to Wales and white-knuckling the finish against Iran (on the bright side, they haven’t trailed for one minute). Whether it’s purely a matter of not easing off the throttle or it’s in how coach Gregg Berhalter manages his substitutions (not waiting too long to deploy them) and tactical adjustments, the U.S. will need to be equally dangerous after halftime to defeat the Dutch.
Don’t let No. 8 in orange beat you, though that’s easier said than done. Cody Gakpo has a world-class goal in each of the Netherlands’ games so far. Defensive midfielder Tyler Adams and the U.S. center backs will need to mark him at all times.
Game, “Set,” Match
The USMNT has yet to score — or even come close to scoring — on a set piece, historically a strength of the team. Instead, they have scored two beauties from the run of play. Virgil van Dijk is a tower in the Dutch defense.
Can the U.S. produce one of those vintage goals off a corner kick?
Saturday’s other Round of 16 match
Argentina vs. Australia: 2 p.m., Fox
After an underwhelming group stage, Argentina has what should be a manageable game in its Round-of-16 match against Australia. It will be a heavy favorite in this match as Australia plays its first knockout game at a World Cup since 2006, after getting through the group on a win over Denmark on the last day.
Still, Australia already scored an upset in that game and could be on for one here. Lionel Messi is playing for his legacy and the Argentinians have a chance to right the ship after a rocky first three games. Can they?
— Ethan Sears
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