Having escaped a daunting "group of death," the United States enters the FIFA World Cup Round of 16 against Belgium on Tuesday at 3 p.m. CT in Salvador, Brazil. The match will broadcast live on ESPN and Univision and can be heard locally on Sports Radio 810 WHB.
With a victory, the U.S. would reach the World Cup quarterfinals for the third time in the nation's history. The winner of Tuesday's game will face either Argentina or Switzerland on Saturday in Brasilia (11 a.m. CT, ABC).
Sporting KC defender Matt Besler and midfielder Graham Zusi played integral roles in the Americans’ three group stage matches. In a 2-1 win over Ghana, Besler started and Zusi provided the game-winning assist with an 86th-minute corner kick. Against Portugal, Besler led all players with 12 clearances and five interceptions and Zusi assisted another goal as the U.S. battled to a 2-2 draw. It marked the first time since 2002 that two players from the same MLS club started together for the U.S. in a World Cup game.
Both players started against Germany in the third and final group stage encounter, and despite a 1-0 loss, the U.S. progressed to the Round of 16 with a superior goal difference over Portual.
Should Besler or Zusi feature on Tuesday, it will be the first time a player has seen action in a World Cup knockout stage match while playing club soccer in Kansas City.
Kansas City fans are invited to watch Tuesday's game at the Kansas City Power & Light District. More than 10,000 fans were in attendance for each of the last three watch parties during the group stage. A VIP package is also available at Mosaic Lounge, where fans receive four domestic beers, inside and outside viewing opportunities as well as other amenities for $20. Click here to purchase.
Belgium won Group H with a perfect record, defeating Algeria (2-1), Russia (1-0) and South Korea (1-0). Each of their four goals came in the 70th minute or later, and three were scored by second half substitutes. Belgium’s only goal conceded came from the penalty spot in the first half of their opening game. Winger Eden Hazard leads the Red Devils with two assists.
The countries last met in a friendly on May 29, 2013 in Cleveland. Belgium won 4-2, the final U.S. loss before its team-record 12-game winning streak that lasted until September.