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Professional

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United States
vs. Ghana
Result: 2-1 win
vs. Portugal
When: 6 p.m. Sunday
Where: Manaus
TV: ESPN
vs. Germany
When: Noon Thursday
Where: Recife
TV: ESPN

US convinced it can control Portugal star

– Just after he was cut from the U.S. roster last month, right back Brad Evans posted this snarky tweet: “You got off easy this time @Cristiano.”

The Americans are confident their defensive depth can stop the two-time world player of the year when they play Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal on Sunday night in a World Cup match in the Amazon rain forest capital of Manaus.

“He’s a complete player,” midfielder Michael Bradley said Friday. “When you look at the game today, there’s such a premium on the physical aspect of the game – speed, strength, endurance – and he is a guy who checks all those boxes. And then when you talk about his technical ability – the way he shoots with his right foot, his left foot, how good in the air he is – he’s somebody who can make the difference at any moment.”

Coming off a 2-1 opening win over Ghana, the U.S. could possibly clinch advancement with a win and would put itself in excellent position with a tie.

Right back Fabian Johnson, left back DaMarcus Beasley, a Fort Wayne native, and central defenders Geoff Cameron and Matt Besler figure to fixate on Ronaldo. Bradley, Kyle Beckerman and Jermaine Jones will assist in marking him from the midfield.

The 29-year-old forward has topped 50 goals in four straight seasons with Real Madrid. He was voted FIFA player of the year in 2008, then in January ended Lionel Messi’s streak of four consecutive awards.

Ronaldo has been bothered by tendinitis in his left knee for more than two months, and he wore a brace Friday during Portugal’s training session.

The U.S. has experience going up against top players, keeping Argentina’s Messi scoreless at the 2007 Copa America and during exhibitions in 2008 and 2011. England’s Wayne Rooney was held without a goal in the Americans’ 2010 World Cup opener.

“We have a lot of respect for Cristiano. He’s a great player. But I think you have to respect for the whole team of Portugal,” Jones said. “When we stick together like a team and fight like we did it against Ghana, then I think we have chances to win this game.”

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