The Republic of Ireland soccer team is set to round out its season with a match against the USMNT at Aviva Stadium in Dublin. While neither team qualified for the 2018 World Cup, the youthful energy of the USMNT and the scrappy play of Ireland, led by legendary defender John O’Shea (who will be retiring after the match), should make for a competitive and exciting watch.
The match is scheduled to start at 3:00 p.m. ET and will be broadcast on ESPN 2. If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can still easily watch the match live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live TV channels, including ESPN, ESPN 2 and ESPN U. You can sign up for “Hulu with Live TV” right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the game on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
DirecTV Now: ESPN and ESPN 2 are both included in all four of DirecTV Now’s channel packages, while ESPN U is in the “Just Right”, “Go Big” and “Gotta Have It” bundles. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch the game live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
WatchESPN: You can also watch live ESPN, ESPN 2 or ESPN U on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. You’ll need to sign in to a cable provider in order to watch these streams, but if you don’t have that, you can sign up for one of the above options and then use your Hulu or DirecTV Now credentials to sign in and watch on ESPN’s platforms.
The USMNT are coming off a strong 3-0 victory over Bolivia on May 25th. The team dominated through a mix of energy and youthful aggression, but many believe the match against Ireland will prove much more challenging. For one, Ireland far surpasses Bolivia in experience, as the trio of James McLean, Shane Long, and John O’Shea have more international caps that the entire Bolivian roster. Energy alone may not be enough for the USMNT to overpower Ireland’s established vets.
US manager David Sarachan is keenly aware of this heading into the Ireland match. “I think it’s my responsibility to make sure that they understand there are still steps,” Sarachan told MLS Soccer. “If you want to get to A, you still start at D and then C and B. We’re very quick to jump into that A category. That’s a process we have to manage, with expectations, with a lot of noise on the outside.”
Sarachan also wants to make sure that the victory against Bolivia doesn’t go to the players’ heads. “They’re going to feel good about [Monday],” he pointed out, “But when I go through the tape and we have meetings with the guys and we talk, there’s a lot of room to get better.”
The focal point for Ireland is undoubtedly O’Shea, who announced that he will retire from international play following the match. The 37-year-old defender and team vice-captain is one of the most decorated Irish footballers of all time, and his last hurrah is likely to draw most of the attention on both sides of the pitch.
Ireland manager Martin O’Neill spoke to Sky Sports about the impact that O’Shea has had on the team. “I know people shower praise on someone who is just about to leave, but he has been a great influence,” O’Neill said, “And even though just in recent times he would have less chance of playing with other players younger than he being in the side, to have him around was particularly great for myself. I wanted him around at the time and his influence is there for all to see.”
That said, O’Neill will also have to contend with a team that’s run into a bit of an offensive slump. Ireland has not scored in three of their last four games, an issue that both O’Neill and team captain Seamus Coleman are eager to rectify as soon as possible. “As players on the pitch we have to take responsibility for that,” Coleman told Independent.ie, “it’s not just always the managers, we are the players on the pitch and in training we can look for the ball and get on the ball. On Saturday we need to do the same, make sure we are brave enough to make them decisions.” Ireland will also be playing without veteran forward Shane Long, who is out with a knee injury.
While neither team is the clear favorite, both are expected to take aggressive approaches, testing out different tactics and different lineups. A low-scoring match would be a fair assumption, with plenty of room for the players to compete and for O’Shea to enjoy his curtain call.