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What can the USMNT expect from Portugal?

The USMNT play Portugal in Manaus on Sunday night in a game which could settle the second qualifying spot in Group G.

On paper this Portugal team is superior to USA, but recent performances leave the USA with a very strong chance of winning.

The USA go into the game coming off the back of a resolute performance in a 2-1 win against Ghana, while the Portuguese were sub-standard against the Germans, and were thumped 4-0.

Portugal will be without Pepe who is suspended after picking up a red card in the defeat to Germany, and will be significantly weaker defensively.

Cristiano Ronaldo is also a major doubt as he is struggling to overcome a knee injury and his World Cup could be over.

The Ballon d’Or winner has been suffering with injuries to his knee and thigh for some time now and has been told to rest up for at least 2 months.

Embed from Getty Images

However, the USA are missing a big name too in Jozy Altidore, another who’s World Cup could be over after he pulled up in the game against Ghana with a hamstring injury just 20 minutes in.

Portugal are likely to still play with a 4-3-3, whether Ronaldo plays or not, in a system that will provide width and freedom for their wide men.

We expect that Portugal will dominate possession with the likes of Joao Moutinho and Raul Meireles in midfield. But with the likes of Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones protecting the back four, the USA are more than capable of suppressing the Portuguese advances.

Key Man: Nani

Should Ronaldo not be able to play, Nani will need to step up and perform. The Manchester United man has had one of his worst seasons in England this year, and Portugal will hope he can lead them to victory.

Prediction: USA 2- 1 Portugal

We believe USA is more than capable of beating this Portugal side if they perform as they did against Ghana, but they will have to work hard to do so. Another strong defensive performance is needed to win here and a victory will seal their place in the next round.

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About Jamie Ives (317 Articles)

MLS expert and writer for mlsgb.com. All views are my own

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