The United States Men’s National Team has a golden opportunity on Saturday morning at the World Cup. With the whole country behind them, the Yanks could advance to the quarterfinals for the first time since 2002.
The American team is an underdog against the Netherlands (they have +375 to win), but the Americans appreciate the role of underdogs against a very vulnerable favorite.
As we saw against Wales and Iran, the USMNT can struggle to break down defensive teams. The Yanks are an athletic, creative and quick team, but they’re not very comfortable in possession. Against Wales and Iran they dominated possession and struggled to break through enough times to feel comfortable.
Choice US vs Netherlands: US +375 (BetPoints)
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But against England – easily their best showing of the tournament – the USMNT were able to use their athleticism, team speed and talent to give the Three Lions plenty to think about. England ripped through Iran and Wales but struggled against the Americans because they couldn’t dominate the midfield.
Tyler Adams, Yunus Musah and Weston McKennie have become one of the best midfield trios in the tournament. Their ability to make life difficult for opposition midfielders is a huge factor against a Dutch midfielder who should be great on paper but has struggled in the opening three games.
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In fact, aside from Cody Gakpo, that could be said of the entire Netherlands squad. Even though they won Group A with two wins and a draw, Clockwork Oranje were relatively disappointing compared to their pre-tournament expectations.
Drawn into a soft group with Qatar, Ecuador and Senegal, the Netherlands posted a +4 goal differential, but their expected goal difference was -0.4 and it was -1.8 ahead of their 2-0 win over Qatar on Tuesday. In other words, the Netherlands had a bit of a chance to post the results they got.
That doesn’t mean the Dutch can’t grow in this tournament. World Cup history is littered with teams that started slow and went on to do great things, so there’s no reason to count them out just yet.
That said, it’s also hard to feel confident backing them as favorites against a team that’s doing very well in competition. England are a stronger team than the Netherlands, with a better midfield, and the USMNT gave them a draw.
Winning the battle in midfield would give the USMNT a serious chance of winning this game, and it’s a fair argument to make that the Yanks have the advantage in midfield with Adams, Musah and McKennie facing a combination by Frenkie de Jong, Davy Klaassen, Teun Koopmeiners and Marten de Roon.
The Netherlands may have advantages in other parts of the field, and the American defense sometimes looked a little vulnerable against attacks less talented than the Clockwork Oranje, but the Dutch, apart from Gakpo, simply did not seemed so threatening. The Netherlands created just 0.8 expected goals against Senegal and Ecuador.
Sportsbooks across the country will be a bit lukewarm on how they rate the USA given the money that will be rolling in on the Yanks, but that number is still well worth a bet on a team that is extremely looming. well as an outsider.
Pick USA vs Netherlands: USA +375 (PointsBet)
New York Post