The United States National Team has captivated the hearts of Americans nationwide after beating Ghana and putting forth a valiant effort in an eventual draw with Portugal. Entering the so-called "Group of Death," the USA now has a legitimately strong chance to advance out of the group, which concludes Thursday at noon against Germany.
Crew Sporting Director and Head Coach Gregg Berhalter is a veteran of such situations, with two FIFA World Cups to his name, including a quarterfinals appearance in 2002. As you can expect, the Crew boss called the match against Germany and the situation of the USMNT a "tricky" one.
"It's a difficult match because a point gets us both through, but you don't ever want to play for a point because bad things can happen," said Berhalter. "You have to go out there prepared to win a game and then see what happens.
"It's one of those matches where you have the other game in the back of your mind while you're playing. You're thinking about a little bit of the result of the other game. It becomes difficult. It's not easy. I think the best thing to do is go out and focus on your team and how you're preparing to beat Germany and concentrate fully on that. Whatever else happens, you let it happen."
Berhalter said that he has been in situations exactly like the one the United States finds itself in Thursday: playing one match while a simultaneous one that also affects the team's fate is occuring. Based on his experiences, the Crew boss expects that Jürgen Klinsmann's men will know full well what is happening in Portugal-Ghana.
"Sometimes you get flashes [of the score] in the stadium. I don't know how you get word, but you get word, especially now. I've played in games in the League where you're dependent on a result, and the fans will be cheering when they hear it and you know what that means, or there's a gasp in the crowd. I don't think it will be that because I don't think it's a large enough support for one team in the stands, but they'll know somehow."
As for the Stars and Stripes' outlook ahead of this final Group Stage match against Germany, Berhalter reinforced the United States' strong chances to advance despite the heartbreaking draw with Portugal.
"The focus would be positivity, because we're still in a fantastic position. If you had asked [Klinsmann] before the tournament, 'would you take four points after two games?' he's saying yes, all day. You have to focus on the positive."