An opportunity awaits as the USMNT gear up for their crucial Round of 16 clash with the Netherlands at the 2022 Qatar World Cup.
While the Dutch have immense historical pedigree, they are not the teams of yesteryear and despite having high-level talent playing in the top echelons of Europe, they have vulnerabilities.
The US need not fear if they want to qualify for the last eight for the first time since South Korea in 2002.
Here Dailymail.com takes a look at how Gregg Berhalter’s men can drive past the Dutch.
The US wants to make history and advance to the quarter-finals of the 2022 World Cup
Holland captain Virgil van Dijk will be a major obstacle to Team USA’s offense
Quiet Cody Gakpo
The equal top scorer of the tournament has put himself further in the spotlight, with a step past PSV Eindhoven lurking after the tournament.
Gakpo scored three of his country’s five goals in Qatar, using his head, left foot and right foot to beat hosts Ecuador and Senegal respectively.
As it turns out, he can score any type of goal. So stopping its influence will be a tall order for the American rearguard.
Although the Netherlands failed to flatter offensively outside of Gakpo and with Memphis Depay not quite on edge, the US could keep a clean sheet.
The PSV striker is central to the attacking ability of the Netherlands and was deadly in front of the goal
Cody Gakpo scored three goals in three World Cup matches against Qatar, Senegal and Ecuador
Using the youth to their advantage
Last time he was away against Iran, Gregg Berhalter fielded the youngest team in the tournament, with an average age of 24.
The fearlessness of the exuberant, reckless side against England on Black Friday will be the recipe for success against an experienced and streetwise Holland team.
Louis van Gaal’s team will probably play with a certain pace and rhythm. While center backs Virgil van Dijk and Nathan Ake are as athletic as can be, a swarming US team can cause headaches.
Team USA fielded the youngest team in the tournament, with an average age of 24
Yunus Musah, 20, was one of the main American stars at the Qatari tournament
Confidence from previous meeting
The two have faced each other only four times in their respective history, with the Netherlands winning three of the four.
However, in the most recent encounter seven years ago, in June 2015, the US triumphed 4-3 in a spectacle.
The countries have never met in a competitive game and while only DeAndre Yedlin and Jordan Morris were part of the 2015 victory, the roster can draw strength from a lesser American outfit conquering a strong Orange squad.
For the Netherlands; Memphis Depay and Daley Blind were the only players involved in the defeat in the Amsterdam Arena.
Danny Williams (R) celebrates with teammate and current US defenseman DeAndre Yedlin during the USA’s thrilling 4-3 victory over the Netherlands in a June 2015 friendly at the Amsterdam Arena
Former American striker Bobby Wood scored from a Jordan Morris assist to claim the famous victory
Star in shape
It’s confirmed; Christian Pulisic will be ready for the Netherlands on Saturday morning after a pelvic contusion during his heroic winning goal against Iran.
Pulisic proved he’s the man for the big occasion as he also vs. England made a major achievement.
His terrifying shot rattling against the crossbar on Black Friday was just a sign of things to come. Who knows what the Netherlands stands for.
Christian Pulisic suffered a pelvic contusion after colliding with the Iranian goalkeeper
The USMNT star was in a positive mood all week while in the spotlight
The common flu!
The Holland camp has several players who are not feeling their best ahead of the all-important game.
Dutch outlet NOS reports that all 26 players were present during the media portion of training on Friday, but that ‘flu symptoms’ are affecting some key players, according to Louis van Gaal.
“We will not go into that further,” he told NOS. “But when it gets around in the group, it’s worrying.”
‘It’s not fifteen. In principle, everyone is fit and available.’ According to The ExpressFrenkie de Jong is one of the players who would have been affected.
A less healthy Frenkie de Jong would greatly increase Team USA’s chances