The United States go into their second game in Group C in an extremely confident mood after getting a surprise draw against group favorites England thanks in large part to a goalkeeping error from England’s Robert Green. Confidence will also be high in the Slovenia camp, after they too benefited from a goalkeeping mistake to beat Algeria one goal to nothing for the team’s first ever World Cup win. The two teams will be hoping their luck continues when they encounter each other at Ellis Park stadium in Johannesburg.
Bob Bradley’s U.S. team came into the game against England with a plan. They took a defensive approach and man-marked Wayne Rooney, positioning a defender in front of England’s star man each time the ball was in his vicinity.
After conceding an early goal, they could have let their heads drop and allowed England to get on top, but it’s a testament to the mental strength of this U.S. squad that they came back into the game and could easily have snatched a winner when Jozy Altidore hit the woodwork late in the game. Their defense was especially impressive. Defensive powerhouse Oguchi Onyewu marshalled the backline with supreme authority, and caused problems for England when coming forward for set pieces, while goalkeeper Tim Howard exhibited bravery on a number of occasions to thwart England attacks.
USA vs Slovenia Betting Odds:
Over 2 (+103)
Under 2 (-118)
The game against Slovenia will be a different proposition to the one against England. Slovenia, with a win under their belt, will look to play defensively. So, for the U.S. to win this game, it will be important that Landon Donovan improves on his performance against England, where he was largely anonymous. The U.S. will need the pace of Donovan and the power Altidore to break through this stubborn Slovenia team.
Slovenia are still in dreamland after achieving their first ever World Cup victory by beating Algeria. The game was extremely tight and the defensive approach of the teams on show meant there was very little goalmouth action. Against Algeria, Slovenia’s defense was rarely troubled and as a result will have to up their game when it comes to playing against an athletic U.S. team who will test the pace of the Slovenian backline by placing passes into the channels for the likes of Donovan and Altidore to chase.
Coach Matjaž Kek relies heavily on Robert Koren to provide the spark for his team and while Koran delivered with the help of a goalkeeping error in the Algeria game, Kek will want more invention from his players when they take of the field to face a physically strong and equally hard-working U.S. side. For Slovenia to have any chance of unlocking this well-organized U.S. team they will need to get the ball quickly up the field to both Koren and skillful midfielder, Rene Krhin before the U.S. defense has a chance to form that solid unit that performed so well against England.
This game is likely going to be tight and hard-fought. One goal either way should settle it and the U.S. look to have the edge after the way they played against England. Although Slovenia played well against Algeria, the U.S. team are too fast and strong to overcome on this occasion.
USA vs Slovenia Match Prediction: United States 1-0 Slovenia.
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