Monday, June 30, 2014

USA - Belgium Round 2

That's American striker Bert Patenaude in white in the fourth ever World Cup game in 1930 with Belgium in the dark uniforms.  The U.S. would win 3-0 and in the next game Patenaude would score the first ever World Cup hat-trick in a 3-0 win over Paraguay.

Tomorrow will probably not be so easy for the Red, White, and Blue as it was 84 years ago.  Belgium has been a great team in recent years and has beaten the USA the last two times we played, both friendlies.  That said they didn't appear dominant in the group stage in a weak group with Algeria, Russia, and South Korea so there may be some weakness the Yanks can take advantage of.  Combined with that they're a beat up squad with upwards of five injuries and a player missing to red card suspension.  The U.S. is hurting as well with a pair of broken noses (Dempsey and Jones) and Altidore's hamstring, though the USSF has announced that Altidore will be available tomorrow, but who knows for how long and how much of that is trying to game the Belgians.

While I feel like the U.S. can win, my prediction is that they'll lose a tight game.  A 1-0 loss wouldn't surprise me.  Unless we can figure out how to keep possession and force Belgium to chase the game we won't be able to hold them off.  However if we can force them to chase then the weather and our fitness work to our advantage and we could slip in a late winner.

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