KANSAS CITY, Kan. — The US males’s nationwide soccer staff stated it needed a tricky check when it scheduled two World Cup-bound opponents for this worldwide window. On Sunday, the U.S. received exactly that in a 0-0 draw with Uruguay.
It was a outcome that in some methods the U.S. was lucky to stroll away with. Goalkeeper Sean Johnson produced an outstanding reflex save from Mathias Olivera’s shut vary effort within the 63rd minute, after which the usually deadly Edinson Cavani squandered a transparent alternative in second-half stoppage time.
The U.S. had some possibilities, with Jesus Ferreira failing to transform a pair of first-half alternatives. However general, whereas a draw was deserved given the stability of the sport, it might simply have resulted in a loss, one that may have snapped what’s now a 25-game dwelling unbeaten streak.
Ferreira’s failure to search out the again of the web will do little to cease questions on who the staff’s beginning striker will probably be going ahead. However this was a match through which Uruguay appeared to grind down the house facet, and the U.S. assault fizzled as the sport wore on.
A few of the U.S. staff’s difficulties in assault had been right down to Uruguay’s high quality. Later this 12 months, La Celeste will participate in its sixth consecutive World Cup, and on at the present time, Uruguay lived as much as its status as a defensively stable facet.
The plethora of second-half adjustments did not do a lot to assist fluidity both. The truth that Ferreira’s substitute, Haji Wright, touched the ball all of 4 instances in 29 minutes of labor speaks to the diploma through which the U.S. assault struggled within the closing third.
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So, whereas U.S. supervisor Gregg Berhalter referred to as the efficiency an “A-plus effort from the group in robust situations, heat situations,” the Individuals’ finish product was missing, as was the standard of the staff’s set piece deliveries.
“We received the ball into actually good positions after which simply did not reap the benefits of that,” Berhalter stated. “They blocked some crosses. We received some corners. The ultimate cross was a bit off.”
It wasn’t an excellent day for some gamers hoping to state their case for extra first-team minutes, both. Joe Scally struggled mightily along with his defensive positioning within the first half and appeared nearly overwhelmed. He appeared a tad extra comfy after shifting to his extra customary proper again place halfway by means of the second half, and whereas he deserves credit score for hanging in there, the seek for a backup to presumed beginning left again Antonee Robinson goes on.
Erik Palmer-Brown is one other participant followers are clamoring to get extra enjoying time. However he got here up second greatest on a few events, together with one occasion late when Diego Rossi surged previous him and it was left to defender Walker Zimmerman to stifle the assault with a important block of the previous LAFC ahead’s shot.
Berhalter gave the impression to be talking for all of his current call-ups when he stated in relation to his forwards, “There have been moments and we got here up just a little bit quick, however we’ll hold working with these guys.” He added, “It is simply one thing to construct on. That was the entire thought with staff efficiency, particular person performances. We needed guys to set a baseline to now hold bettering.”
Among the many positives was that Weston McKennie made it by means of his 45-minute stint unscathed as he works his means again from a damaged foot he sustained in February.
One other plus was the play of Yunus Musah. The Valencia midfielder has lengthy introduced one thing distinctive to the U.S. midfield by means of his capability to dribble the ball up discipline. However on at the present time, he utilized his vary of passing to a larger diploma, particularly in linking up with Timothy Weah and DeAndre Yedlin on the proper flank.
“Yunus is a man that simply blows me away at his age what he can do, loopy stage of expertise,” Berhalter stated. “We have to work with Yunus on this closing, the ultimate product, the ultimate cross, the ending, as a result of he has an enormous ceiling.”
Defensively, the U.S. bent however did not break, and it appeared that at any time when a mistake was made, a teammate was there to supply cowl.
“I assumed we caught with their runs effectively,” Zimmerman stated. “They’ve intelligent motion within the field. We had a pair performs the place we needed to slide and get in good positions to forestall them from good goal-scoring alternatives. So finally stored one other zero towards the standard opponent, so we will take that as a constructive.”
And on these events when the again line did not come by means of, Johnson was there in purpose to come back to the rescue. It is nearly mind-boggling to suppose that Johnson has been concerned within the nationwide staff program for 11 years. The truth that he now has simply 10 caps reveals the problem he has confronted in making an attempt to crack the U.S. lineup.
To be clear, Johnson remains to be battling it out to be the staff’s third goalkeeper on the World Cup later this 12 months, however he did his prospects no hurt; and because the 12 months progresses, he would possibly find yourself being the one U.S. keeper getting regular enjoying time. Time will reveal the extent to which that counts for one thing.
“As an expert participant who’s has been across the nationwide staff for some time, who’s been round this group for some time, the chance meant every thing,” Johnson stated. He later added, “Sustaining stage, good type, good rhythm coming into these camps helps, positively, so there is a easy transition to the sport at the moment.”
The present worldwide window now enters a brand new section, with a pair of CONCACAF Nations League video games towards Grenada and El Salvador arising. The competitors actually will not be as intense, however El Salvador proved to be a tricky opponent throughout World Cup qualifying, and it ought to present a good sufficient check for these gamers nonetheless pushing to be a extra constant presence on the staff.