MX23RW : Monday, June 21 18:54:47| >> :600:1131057:1131057:
Mar 28, 2021 at 5.05pm UK at Windsor Park
N. IrelandNorthern Ireland
McGinn (88')
Saville (43')
FT(HT: 0-1)
Reyna (30'), Pulisic (59' pen.)

Preview: Northern Ireland vs. USA - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Sunday's international friendly clash between Northern Ireland and USA, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.

Northern Ireland take on USA in an international friendly at Windsor Park in Belfast on Saturday evening, aiming to bring an end to a six-match winless run.

Ian Baraclough's men went down 2-0 to Italy in their opening World Cup 2022 qualifier on Thursday, while the United States beat Jamaica 4-1 in a friendly on the same day.

Match preview

Northern Ireland's Paddy McNair in action with Romania's Ianis Hagi in the UEFA Nations League on November 18, 2020© Reuters

Norn Iron boss Baraclough's wait for a first win inside 90 minutes goes on following the defeat to in-form Italy in Parma.

Domenico Berardi and Ciro Immobile gave the Azzurri a two-goal lead before half time and it was plain sailing from that point on.

The visitors did have some bright moments in the second period, with Gavin Whyte, Michael Smith and Steven Davis also testing Gianluigi Donnarumma, while Paddy McNair blazed over from a good position late on.

Baraclough, whose only victory so far came on penalties against Bosnia-Herzegovina, will certainly be taking a lot of positives from that contest.

Of his side's three fixtures this month, however, it is next Wednesday's visit of Bulgaria that will take priority for Baraclough, with this friendly undoubtedly bottom of the list.

Wales' Josh Sheehan in action with United States' Sergino Dest in an international friendly on November 12, 2020© Reuters

That is not to say Northern Ireland will completely discredit Sunday's game, but it will likely be used as an opportunity to give some fringe players minutes ahead of bigger matches to come.

USA do not have any competitive fixtures until the CONCACAF Nations League resumes in June, with friendlies against Northern Ireland and Switzerland pencilled in before then.

Gregg Berhalter's side have some positive momentum on their side heading into their semi-final with Honduras, having gone eight matches without defeat, winning seven of those.

The only game USA have failed to win since October 2019 was a goalless friendly draw against Wales four months ago when bedding in a number of new faces.

After seeing off Jamaica with ease last time out, with Sebastian Lletget scoring twice and Sergino Dest also on the scoresheet again, Berhalter will be looking to pick up another friendly win this weekend.

The clash at Windsor Park will be the first ever between the two nations.

Northern Ireland form (all competitions):
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

USA form (all competitions):
  • W
  • D
  • W
  • W
  • W
  • W

Team News

Steven Davis in action for Northern Ireland on September 11, 2018© Reuters

Jordan Jones recently withdrew from Northern Ireland's squad and has been replaced by Niall McGinn, while Jamal Lewis is expected to recover from injury that forced him out in midweek.

Dion Charles and Liam Hughes are among those in line to earn their senior international debuts on Sunday evening.

At the opposite end of the scale, Steven Davis earned his 125th cap in the loss to Italy - matching Peter Shilton's record for a British player - but is not expected to start this friendly.

As for the USA, Nicholas Gioacchini has been called up to the squad, though Tyler Adams and Tim Weah will play no part due to coronavirus protocols.

Reggie Cannon and John Brooks were part of the squad that faced Jamaica, but both players have since returned to Boavista and Wolfsburg respectively.

Northern Ireland possible starting lineup:
Peacock-Farrell; Ballard, Cathcart, Brown; Kennedy, Thompson, Smith, Saville, Lewis; Whyte, Charles

USA possible starting lineup:
Steffen; Ream, Miazga, Robinson, Dest; Musah, Acosta, Lletget; Pulisic, Sargent, Reyna

SM words green background

We say: Northern Ireland 1-2 USA

Northern Ireland will not field their strongest XI, though they could really do with a morale-boosting victory to take in their qualifier against Bulgaria next week.

USA have been scoring goals for fun recently and, should Berhalter go with a strong XI in Belfast, we can see the visitors extending their winning run.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at are predicting under 3.5 goals in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Under 3.5:data

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Steven Davis at a Northern Ireland press conference on September 8, 2019
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