Copa America 2024: USA vs Uruguay in the match of the day it’s win or stay home for the Red, White and Blue.

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Players of United States stand during the national anthem prior to a Copa America Group C soccer match against Bolivia in Arlington, Texas, Sunday, June 23, 2024. (AP Photo/Julio Cortez)

The Americans face a do-or-die situation after their unexpected defeat by Panama, which has shifted their Copa America 2024 odds. Uruguay leads the group, and their 5-0 victory over Bolivia featured goals from five distinct players. However, manager Marcelo Bielsa expects more from his squad, noting that three of the goals were scored in the last 13 minutes of the game.

When the final whistle blew on Thursday night, and it became clear the United States had to win against Uruguay to advance, Uruguay enter with a nearly insurmountable goal differential lead over the group, and anything short of a 4-0 loss to Team USA should see them through as winners.

They secured a 5-0 victory over Bolivia and seemingly have no incentive to risk their key players, considering their advantageous position with tiebreakers. However, Marcelo Bielsa, known for not rotating his squad, is likely to start Darwin Nunez. Bielsa expressed dissatisfaction with his team’s performance, suggesting that they only had a 15-minute period where they dominated the match. Consequently, fans anticipate no leniency towards the American team, as Bielsa has suggested fielding his strongest lineup.

Nunez has emerged as the standout player of the tournament and is the leading contender for the Golden Boot at Copa America. He has netted two goals from 12 attempts in the first two games, with five shots on target. His performance has been remarkable, and he has consistently scored in seven consecutive matches for Uruguay, including friendlies, accumulating a total of 10 goals during this period.

The tournament has been chaotic for the United States, casting doubt on Berhalter’s job security. Tonight, he faces critical choices, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see adjustments in the center-back pairing or the formation, or possibly both.

The US haven’t defended poorly at this tournament, but they’ve not faced a striker like Nunez. His size and speed will cause problems, and as the match progresses and USA takes more risks, it’ll just give him better opportunities. 

Berhalter has not demonstrated the capability to outmaneuver managers who are more tactically skilled. Throughout his career, he has encountered 19 teams ranked in the top 20 of the FIFA world rankings, securing only five victories. Of these, four were against Mexico, and one was against Iran during the World Cup.

There is very slim hope that a US team that came into Copa America with such high hopes is going to make it out of the first round. This team has to be rebuilt and with a new manager at the helm.