The United States could continue their promising start to life under new head coach Gregg Berhalter when they host Chile in a friendly at the BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston, Texas on Tuesday (7:55 PM ET, live on ESPN2 / Unimas / UDN).
After a pair of victories in January, friendlies against Panama and Costa Rica, with a team made up wholly of domestic-based players, Berhalter made it three out of three with a 1-0 win against Ecuador with his full squad in Florida on Thursday.
The US started well, with Paul Arriola’s pace in behind down the left causing a few problems to the Ecuador backline during the opening exchanges. They soon started to find the going tougher against visitors who were happy to sit deep and keep the scoreline to zero. It took a heavily deflected late strike from Gyasi Zardes to see them to victory.
Ecuador’s overtly defensive approach made it hard to draw too many conclusions from the performance. Tyler Adams produced an up-and-down display in an unfamiliar right-back role, albeit one that gave him plenty of license to tuck infield. Jordan Morris struggled to make much of an impact out right with scant space to attack in behind. Midfielder Will Trapp displayed his impressive passing range, but he did so under little to no pressure.
The defence held firm, with Aaron Long doing a good job of covering towards the right whenever Adams was caught high or infield in transition. Tim Ream performing solidly on his return, but neither were they subjected to any great threat. Ecuador struggled to move the ball into the final third and only produced one shot, off target, all night.
In the circumstances, another victory, another clean sheet, and some moments of neat combination play were sufficient for Berhalter to describe it as “a good starting point for this group.” Progress will be slow and steady as the former Columbus Crew coach attempts to introduce a more possession-orientated approach.
It will be interesting to see how the nascent version of his system holds up on Tuesday against stronger opposition, particularly as Adams will miss out through injury and Weston McKennie is highly likely to join him on the sidelines. Whereas Ecuador are ranked outside FIFA’s top 50, Chile are in the top 15, 12 places ahead of USMNT.
This is, though, a Chile team in the midst of an awkward transitional phase as they try to move forward from the groups that led them to their first major international trophies at the Copa Americas of 2015 and 2016 and incorporate some younger talent. Like the US, they failed to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and their form since has been patchy at best.
Chile’s record since Reinaldo Rueda took over in January 2018 comprises of four wins, three draws and four defeats. The Colombian coach, who has previously led both Ecuador and Honduras to World Cup qualification, is already coming under pressure following three losses in his team’s last five matches, including a 3-1 defeat to Mexico in San Diego on Friday.
Chile gave a good account of themselves during the first half of that encounter, only for things to fall apart after the break as three goals inside the opening quarter-hour of the half saw Mexico open up a sizeable advantage. Nicolas Castillo swiftly pulled one back, but that was all that Chile could muster.
It wasn’t just a third defeat in five but also the fourth time under Rueda’s command that Chile had conceded three goals in defeat. He has struggled to strike a good balance between attack and defence, unaided by the lack of quality younger options that meant he fielded five players aged 30 or over against Mexico. It would have been six had Alexis Sanchez not missed out through injury.
Our Preview’s United States vs Chile Picks & Predictions Verdict
Chile are a better side than Ecuador and will almost certainly play a more attacking game than their South American counterparts. They will offer a sterner test to the USMNT defence, but at the same time, their commitment to getting forward is likely to leave more space for Berhalter’s side to attack in transition.
The stage seems set for a pretty even and fast-paced match and one that could see some early goals. So, with that in our thoughts, these are our USA vs Chile predictions against the USA online betting firms for this international friendly soccer game: