Round of 16 Previews

Get a sneak peek at upcoming match-ups with our weekly previews! We’re sharing behind-the-scenes insights for each game this weekend, October 14 and 15, at McCarthy Stadium at La Salle University (1900 W Olney Ave) and Penn Park at University of Pennsylvania (3000 Walnut St).

 

MCCARTHY STADIUM AT LA SALLE UNIVERSITY 

#1 Sierra Leone vs. #22 USA – Saturday, 12pm
The question on everyone’s minds is whether or not Team USA can pull off another upset. They managed to settle into a 2-2 tie with Ireland before finishing them off with penalty kicks. Sierra Leone comes in the #1 overall seed, not having surrendered a goal the entire tournament. They are eerily reminiscent of last year’s Ivory Coast team that won it all. If the USA has any chance they need their goalie to remain superhuman to keep them in the game. Expect the USA to keep it close for about a quarter of the game before Sierra Leone flexes their speed and versatility to pull away.

#5 Bosnia-Herzegovina vs. #13 Jamaica – Saturday, 2pm
With the exception of a sloppy second half against Argentina, Bosnia dominated group play. Jamaica lost perhaps the most competitive group to a tie break. It is also a classic match of contrasting styles: the up and down style of Jamaica vs. the bruising toughness of Bosnia. If Jamaica can take care of their scoring opportunities, they will pull the upset. Unfortunately, they haven’t been able to show that so far this tournament. Bosnia is too big and too deep to knocked out this early; the advantage in this one goes to Bosnia.

#2 Brazil vs. #19 Liberia – Saturday, 4pm
Liberia will come into this game undermanned and because of that likely outmatched in this one. It would have been fun to see both teams at full strength, but that might be for another year. Brazil is well-rested with two weeks off, while Liberia comes off an extremely physical win over Mexico. Liberia’s best chance will come from their coaching staff, who must find a way to slow Brazil down. The Liberian team members are vets and will know how to keep Brazil at bay… maybe for a half. Once fatigue sets in during the second half, Brazil will extend their lead and cruise for the win.

#6 Serbia vs. #12 Senegal – Saturday, 6pm
Serbia shocked everyone when they defeated Liberia, but they proved it was no fluke as they went on to sweep their group. Senegal managed to win their group with a furious second half comeback vs. Colombia and some fortunate tie breakers. Serbia had last week off, and Senegal needed penalty kicks to finish off Guatemala. The story of this game will be Senegal’s urgency. In their last three matches they haven’t been the quickest starters, but if they start off slow this Saturday, they might find themselves down big at halftime.

#4 Italy vs. #16 Argentina – Sunday, 5pm
Argentina is coming fresh off a minor upset of Colombia after trailing and being dominated most of the game. Italy had a week off to regroup after their highly contested match with Guatemala. Italy is the clear favorite in this one, but they have had trouble scoring at times. If that trend keeps and Argentina hangs around, the collar will start to tighten for Italy. This is the type of match to come down to the last three minutes, extra time, or even penalty kicks!

#8 Mongolia vs. #9 Ivory Coast – Sunday, 7pm
Is the Ivory Coast back? After passing a couple tough tests in the group stage, they beat up on their neighbors during the play-in game. The players managed to get rest even though they played, since the coaches changed lines like it was a hockey game. Mongolia won perhaps the toughest group so they are battle tested, but this battle is unlike anything they’ve been part of. It’s tough to bet against the defending champs, and Mongolia will make this a game throughout, but the experience of the Ivory Coast will win out in the end of a close match.

 

PENN PARK AT UNIVERSITY OF PENNSYLVANIA

#7 Honduras vs. #10 Germany – Saturday, 7pm
Honduras will be looking for revenge against the team that prevented them from moving into the knockout round a year ago, while Germany will be looking to take the first step on the road back to the semifinals. Germany is crisp and clean, and they communicate to intimidate game after game. Honduras has retooled, and if it wasn’t for the USA goalie, they would have been undefeated and a higher seed. This could very well be the top match of the weekend, with Germany pushing through in the end.

#3 Puerto Rico vs. #18 Ukraine – Saturday, 9pm
The Ukrainian team was very happy with their draw for the round of 16. Thanks to a few upsets, they avoided being in the same bracket as Brazil. Their reward? The #3 overall seed, Puerto Rico! Puerto Rico is quick and active, which might give Ukraine some fits. The good news for Ukraine is that they added some speed in the off-season to an already stout defense. There’s an upset brewing here, and if Puerto Rico cannot find a way to penetrate the Ukrainian wall of defenders they will be in for a long evening.