World Cup 2014

World Cup: 14 reasons the US national team can and (maybe) will beat Portugal

The US national team will face off against Portugal on Sunday afternoon (6 pm ET, ESPN/Univision, CBC in Canada; live call-in preview show on MLSsoccer.com). Here's why we think the US can take 'em.


1. Portuguese star Cristiano Ronaldo is not 100%.

2. Despite suffering a broken nose, Clint Dempsey is good to go. And he's loose enough to photobomb the cops.

3. Set pieces. Set pieces. Set pieces. For years, the most beautiful thing about the US's game. And there are several specialists capable of capitalizing on them.

4. Nani, as good as he is, tends to disappear in big games. And do things like this:

5. There are several different ways to attack Portugal, and the US team is adept at all of them, according to MLSsoccer.com’s Jesse Marsch and Matt Doyle.

6. Pepe the Headbutter isn’t the only Portuguese player with a short fuse.

7. US star Tim Howard is one of the five best goalkeepers in the world right now. Portugal's probable starter, Beto, isn’t even considered the best goalkeeper on his team.

8. Did we mention that Cristiano Ronaldo is not 100%?

9. Michael Bradley played his worst game in a long time against Ghana and the Yanks still pulled out a win. No way that he no-shows again. 

“I’m certainly honest enough and hard enough with myself to know that it wasn’t my sharpest night, but unfortunately, they’re not all going to be," Bradley said on Friday. "On those days it’s still about finding every possible way to help your team."

10. Jurgen Klinsmann finally found the right spot for Jermaine Jones to thrive. Now let’s hope he doesn’t get a red card.

11. Zeus! (Please refer to #3.)

12. Get this: The forecast for Manaus on Sunday doesn't look that different from the one for Houston. So many of the US players -- Brad Davis & Geoff Cameron, in particular -- will have experience in the extreme conditions

13. It's Wondo time. Has to be. This game was tailor-made for Chris "Wondowlowski" Wondolowski.

14. The American Outlaws. #SeeYouSunday.