5 THINGS: How history is on the side of the USMNT as the team hopes for Sunday advancement

5 Things: How the U.S. has fared in second group match

Germany/Ghana ends 2-2

Through the first round of matches in Group G, everything went according to plan. The U.S. got the win they absolutely needed, 2-1 over Ghana while Germany had no trouble thrashing Portugal 4-0.

Things came off the rails just a tad on Saturday when Ghana put in an incredible second half performance to earn a 2-2 draw vs. Germany. Coming into the tournament, most American hopes lied with Germany qualifying for the knockout round through their first two matches. The believe there was that the U.S. could get needed points out of their final match as Germany rested for the knockout round.

With that not happening, it’s now imperative that the U.S. either beat Portugal today or get positive results (draws or better) in each of their remaining two matches. In all honesty, a win vs. the Portuguese would clinch a knockout berth and would likely be easier than trying to get two positive results in back to back matches, considering the opposition.

A draw vs. Portugal isn’t the worst thing but then the U.S. has to hope the Portuguese either draw again vs. Ghana or win (but not by too many goals). 

If the U.S. draws vs. Portugal Sunday, the left table below is what the group standings would look like going into Thursday's final matches (see the goal difference).

With those results in mind, the U.S. could lose to Germany 1-0 and Portugal could beat Ghana by three goals, and the U.S. would still squeak through (see the right table). 

If U.S. draws Portugal Third Game Scenario
Teams Pts. GD
Germany 4 +4
USA 4 +1
Ghana 1 -1
Portugal 1 -4
Teams Pts. GD
Germany 7 +5
USA 4 0
Portugal 4 -1
Ghana 1 -4

Of course, Ghana could mess this all up with a simple win over Portugal and a German defeat over the U.S. If this is all a little confusing to you, there's no better reason than to hope for a U.S. win vs. Portugal Sunday, which would put the U.S. into the second round. 

Back-to-Back World Cup wins?

It’s only happened once, coming in 1930 as the U.S. defeated Belgium and Paraguay with back-to-back results. In that tournament the U.S. only had two group matches and as group winners, advanced directly to the semifinals where they were soundly thumped 6-1 by Argentina

How has the U.S. fared in game two?

Actually pretty good. The U.S. has an overall 3-2-3 record in their second Group match.

Wins Losses Draws
1930: 3-0 vs. Paraguay 1990: 0-1 vs. Italy 2002: 1-1 vs. South Korea
1950: 1-0 vs. England 1998: 1-2 vs. Iran 2006: 1-1 vs. Italy
1994: 2-1 vs. Colombia   2010: 2-2 vs. Slovenia

* The U.S. didn't play a second group match in 1934 as it was a knockout competition and they were eliminated 7-1 by Italy in the first round. 

Dual Nationals FTW

History seems to be on the U.S.' side and interestingly, the last two times the U.S. won its second group match, the game-winning goal was scored by what we would consider a "dual national". Haitian-born Joe Gaetjens scored the famous game-winner over England in 1950 while Dutch-born Earnie Stewart scored the 52nd minute winner in a 2-1 victory over Colombia in 1994. 

John Brooks found the winner last game and six players (a fourth of the team) hold dual nationality: Brooks, Fabian Johnson, Timmy Chandler, Julian Green (Germany), Aron Johannson (Iceland), Mix Diskerud (Norway). 

DMB moving up the charts

Becoming the first American to appear in four World Cups on Monday, DaMarcus Beasley is also moving up the overall tournament apperance table for the Americans. 

U.S. Player Games Played Tournaments
Landon Donovan 12 2002, 2006, 2010
Cobi Jones 11 1994, 1998, 2002
Earnie Stewart 11 1994, 1998, 2002
Brian McBride 10 1998, 2002, 2006
Claudio Reyna 10 1994, 1998, 2002, 2006
Eddie Pope 9 1998, 2002, 2006
Tab Ramos 9 1990, 1994, 1998
DaMarcus Beasley 8 2002, 2006, 2010, 2014
Eric Wynalda 8 1990, 1994, 1998
Marcelo Balboa 8 1990, 1994, 1998