America is currently more sociopolitically and culturally divided than at any point since the Civil War. It’s time to put it all aside now, because it’s do-or-die, win-or-go-home for the USMNT against Iran on Tuesday.
Yes, in a matchup with some history on the pitch, and a ton of serious, dark history off the pitch, the knockout round comes one match early for the United States.
World Cup Group Stage FYIs
Kickoff: 1pm CST, Mon. Nov 25
Transatlantic Passage: How the Premier League Redefined Soccer in America: LINK
Google Result Probability Iran 23% Draw 28% USMNT 49%
Current FIFA world ranking: Iran 20, USMNT 16
Group B Standings Iran, 2nd, 3 pts USMNT 3rd, 2 pts
No Team News to speak of, in terms of injuries or suspensions or anything, as the squad is in the same place now as they were during the goalless draw against England. The USA are like Jack Lemon’s character in Glengarry Glenn Ross- can’t close the deal. This team has it all right now, except a clinical finisher.
They earn and get chances, but can’t seem to finish them. If you look at what Gregg Berhalter might do with his lineup here, all eyes are on the center forward position. What will he do up top? What can he do?
He subbed Haji Wright for Josh Sargent, but it didn’t help. The good news is the USMNT have qualified for every World Cup knockout round where they got a tie or win from their first match at the tournament. We’ll see if history holds.
USMNT Starting XI Prediction vs Iran (World Cup Group B)
Turner; Dest, Robinson, Zimmerman, Ream; Acosta, Adams, Aaronson; Pulisic, Weah, Wright
Prediction: USMNT 3, Iran 1
These colors don’t run, don’t tread on me. Freedom isn’t free, give me liberty or give me death. etc. etc. I understand there is a belief, among Americans that the USMNT can’t handle success, but I still think they’ll get the job done and move on.
Paul M. Banks is the Owner/Manager of The Sports Bank and author of “Transatlantic Passage: How the English Premier League Redefined Soccer in America,” as well as “No, I Can’t Get You Free Tickets: Lessons Learned From a Life in the Sports Media Industry.”