Team USA resumes World Cup play Sunday with a match against Portugal. The Americans edged Ghana in their opener 2-1 while the Portuguese were blanked by Germany 4-0.
The U.S. is facing one of the world’s top players, Ronaldo. The 29-year-old forward has topped 50 goals in four straight seasons with Real Madrid. Ronaldo has been bothered by tendinitis in his left knee for more than two months, and wore a brace Friday during Portugal’s training session.
The United States can accomplish a pair of American firsts with a win over Portugal: reaching the knockout stage of consecutive World Cups and advancing with a game to spare.
U.S. forward Jozy Altidore will miss the game after suffering an injury against Ghana. Altidore was hurt in the 21st minute of Monday’s victory and the U.S. Soccer Federation said Thursday he will not play against the Portuguese.
Starting for the US:
Goalkeeper: Tim Howard
Defenders: Damarcus Beasley, Matt Besler, Geoff Cameron, Fabian Johnson
Midfielders: Jermain Jones, Kyle Beckerman, Graham Zusi, Michael Bradley, Alejandro Bedoya
Forward: Clint Dempsey
Beto; Andre Almeida, Ricardo Costa, Bruno Alves, Joao Pereira; Miguel Veloso, Joao Moutinho, Raul Meireles, Nani, Cristiano Ronaldo; Helder Postiga.
The next match for the U.S. is next Thursday against Germany.
Notes: In the first final of the day Belgium advanced to the knockout round with a 1-0 win over Russia. In another match South Korea is going up against Algeria.