A big day in US soccer as the men's national team take on the Nigerians, the 1996 Olympic winners. A win or a draw should see them through the quarterfinals. They had a golden opportunity to seal the deal against the Netherlands but were undone by a 93rd minute equalizer by Gerald Sibon.
The US will have to do this without the services of Freddy Adu and Michael Bradley who picked up their second yellow cards against the Netherlands. These are big losses.
Adu's pace and dribbling skills were responsible for breaking down the Dutch defence on a couple of occasions, one which led to Kjlestan's goal.
In their place Benny Feilhaber and Jozy Altidore. The good news is that Sacha Kljestan, Maurice Edu, Marvell Wynne, Stuart Holden and Jozy Altidore are having a great tournament. A win over Nigeria will provide a great confidence booster to this group of talented players, as good as the US have had in years.
The US has to watch out for the strike duo of Victor Anichebe (Everton) and Victor Obinna (Chievo) who put away Japan.
Their playmaker is captain Promise Isaac. The Nigerians will be missing two of their regular defenders, Onyekachi Apam and Olubayo Adefemi. But they are athletic and pacy and will go on the offense because they need to win in order to advance. Maurice Edu and Marvell Wynne will have to be vigilant and soak up the attacks.
Jozy Altidore with his physical presence and aerial abillity will be the perfect player to exploit mistakes a Nigerian team that over commits to the attack might make. Peter Novak should also start Benny Feilhaber whose attacking instincts and passing ability can be counted on providing the counter offense.