The US Women's National Team made headlines with their 13-0 victory over Thailand on Tuesday, with plenty of critics coming after the USWNT for excessive celebrations as they ran up the score on Thailand.
However, running up the score could be a positive for the United States. With Sweden's win over Thailand on Sunday not matching the ferocity of this week's World Cup record score, just a draw against the Scandinavian side will be enough to take the US through as group winners.
However, before that scenario comes into play, the United States needs to get the job done against Chile. In August 2018, the United States and Chile met for a pair of international friendlies for the first time – with 3-0 and 4-0 wins for the reigning world champions.
However, it's never wise to underestimate your opponent at the World Cup. Anything can happen in football, and the world's biggest stage can unleash sides of teams that nobody has ever seen before. Here's what the United States needs to do to notch a victory over Chile.
Don't Wait to Score
Sweden was contained heavily by Chile in the first round of World Cup matches.
The Swedes did not find the back of goalkeeper Christiane Endler's net until the 83rd minute, when former Manchester City midfielder Kosovare Asllani scored – before 23-year-old Madelen Janogy made the game safe late on.
Chile kept a big defensive presence throughout the match, with Sweden generating 69 percent of possession. For the United States, the match will be all about breaking through defenders like Carla Guerrero, Camila Sáez and Javiera Toro.
Having players like Christen Press and Carli Lloyd find the back of the net early is crucial. Chile learned their lesson about tired legs and could save their substitutions for later in the match, with the United States having plenty of firepower off the bench. Alex Morgan, anyone?
Get Alyssa Naeher Some Touches
This might sound like a contradiction.
To score, the United States needs to play good defence. This means not letting Chile score. However, goalkeeper Alyssa Naeher needs to get some touches in goal to warm her up into tournament form. The United States shouldn't part the Red Sea so Chile can score though, and they shouldn't let up on the gas and give Chile the opportunity to get a shot on frame.
The fact remains, Naeher needs to get some touches before the Sweden game. If she goes without making a single save and then gets put under extreme amounts of pressure by the Swedish offence, it's not going to go well – it's why the United States should have arranged in friendlies against teams who could score on them.
Naeher needs to build some confidence with a big save or two. She's going head-to-head with a young Chilean attack, and she's got goalkeeper competition with Endler within the US squad.
The United States and Chile will kick off on Sunday at 11:30 p.m. ET.
Should the United States win, they will qualify for the knockout round with a game to spare. However, Sweden's win over Thailand in the early game means that the pair will have to battle for first place in Group F.