USMNT drew 0-0 with Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain as Gregg Berhalter’s team finished their World Cup preparations under a lot of pressure on them.
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Tyler Adams came closest to scoring for USMNT but it was actually a poor performance in a nearly empty stadium in southern Spain as an injured Saudi Arabia was dangerous at half-time.
It’s not the performance and result Berhalter would have wanted after last week’s disappointing loss to Japan, and it leaves him with a lot of questions to answer just 54 days before the start of the World Cup in Qatar.
What we learned from Saudi Arabia vs. USMNT
Trust in the USMNT camp is low: It wasn’t much better than the loss to Japan, and the US looked completely insecure with the ball. In the final third, they always seemed to pick the wrong option and there were still some very bad hands on defense as Long, Turner and Adams were at fault. This is a team that played safely and looked like a bunch of players who didn’t want to get hurt in the final match before the World Cup. There was no avant-garde in it, and you should feel sorry for Ricardo Pepi at the top, as there was no cohesion and rhythm in this show.
Musa, Robinson, Weah are very bored: Berhalter cited starting players he lacked ahead of this game and it’s clear the USMNT missed out on players who can hold the ball and provide quality from wide positions. Musa keeps the USMNT ticking in midfield and Weah and Robinson are so direct that it allows midfielders to get into dangerous positions knowing they will be found. The USMNT had nothing of the kind in that game, except for Pulisic and McKenney teaming up and hitting a few backhands in the first half. Pulisic especially disappeared in the second half.
Saudi Arabia will be a tough nut to crack: Except for a few key moments, it was a vigorous demonstration from Saudi Arabia. Herve Renard knows how to organize a team to be disciplined and dangerous on the counter, and Saudi Arabia was just that. They have a very difficult group with Argentina, Mexico and Poland, but they can cause some turmoil. The fact that they will play five more friendlies before the World Cup and all their players are based domestically (many of whom come from Al Hilal and Al Nasr) means that they are very familiar playing together. and are a solid team.
The USMNT were keen to go long early and often, and this worked to create more chances than they did against Japan. McKenny charged into the rear of the defenders, Pulisic wedged in from the left, and Long and Zimmerman both looked ahead when they could. Saudi Arabia continued to pose a threat at half-time and the distance between the midfield trio and defense remains a big problem for the USMNT as there were too many gaps at the transition.
How to watch Saudi Arabia vs USMNT live, updates and start times
Saudi Arabia vs USMNT live analysis! — Joe Prince-Wright
- Submit your questions for our live Q&A (click on the video above) right after the Saudi Arabia vs USMNT match.
- Gio Reina leaves the game after 30 minutes to be replaced by Paul Arriola
18 minutes left. Still 0-0. Not much is happening.
SHOT! Much better from USMNT as substitute Scully cleared a cross and moments later fellow substitute Ferreira hits on goal but the ball is saved. Subs have a big impact. It’s more like this.
Scully, Mackenzie and Ferreira as part of the USMNT. Yedlin (who had been in treatment for a long time after a nasty tackle), Pepi and Long left.
59′ – SUBSTITUTIONS:
Scully instead of Yedlin
Ferreira instead of Pepi
Mackenzie for a long time pic.twitter.com/BkdddAygXS
— USA Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) September 27, 2022
USMNT has yet to start work in the second half. Saudi Arabia looked more dangerous and made some crosses.
News about Gio Reina: He was taken down as a precaution (according to Jenny Taft of Fox Sports), and US Soccer has since stated that he “experiences muscle tension” which is why he was taken out.
The second half is on and no subwoofers on either side. So far, this has been all of Saudi Arabia.
BREAK: Saudi Arabia 0-0 USMNT – Again, not much more than half from the US. A few more moments where McKenny and Adams get close to each other and the balls go out of bounds causing problems. However, Saudi Arabia has had a few chances and looks good on the counters. To sum up the USMNT show in one word: sloppy.
The leaking news about Gio Reina doesn’t sound positive as US Soccer confirmed that no replacement was planned. All signs point to some kind of injury. Fingers crossed, this is nothing serious and the US has just been very, very careful given his recent injury history.
CLOSE! Saudi Arabia is practically the leader. Walker Zimmerman and Paul Arriola made decisive blocks after substitute Haytham Asiri came on the right and Hattan Bahebri failed to get his feet under control at the key moment. Huge vacation.
SUB: A warning sign for the USMNT when Gio Reina leaves at the start of the game and heads straight for the tunnel. Given his track record, this is worrying. Paul Arriola is coming. 30 minutes have passed.
USMNT fans won’t be thrilled with what they see. Sure, it’s better than playing against Japan, but it couldn’t be worse, could it?
WIDE! Tyler Adams hits wide from 25 yards. A decent effort after some sustained pressure from the US.
Pulisic with the captain’s armband looks very cool. A wave is coming from the left, and he appears everywhere.
There isn’t much going on at the moment as the USMNT regularly struggles to get into the final third.
A beautiful ball from above and McKenny has good control of the ball, but his shot goes straight to the goalkeeper. Still much better from USMNT.
A few decent runs ahead from USMNT. Since Pepi and McKenny both marked offside. Fast travel and move from the US the way you like it best.
KICK OFF: We’re on our way! Immediately, Saudi Arabia strikes from the edge of the box, and Turner pushes him away. A sharp start from Saudi Arabia, which is missing several key players due to injuries.
Anthems are played in a stadium in Murcia in front of a very small crowd that looks like less than 1,000 people. Can the USMNT respond to this heavy defeat against Japan? We’re going to find out.
tik tak! Kick-off is near and this is the last chance for players to impress Gregg Berhalter ahead of the World Cup. Will it be another jumpy, buggy show from Stars and Stripes? Or will the likes of Pulisic, Adams and McKenny persevere and truly lead this young team to a much-needed win and, perhaps more importantly, a positive outcome?
As we get closer to kick-off, the general reaction to the team’s news is centered on Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman starting back together at center back. This likely shows that Eric Palmer-Brown and Mark McKenzie are far behind in this position, with the injured duo of Cameron Carter-Vickers and Chris Richards well ahead of them. Plus, watching Pulisic and Reyna on the wings can be fun, especially if they’re allowed to drift inside at will.
Team news in from sunny southern Spain, as the beautiful Estadio Nuevo Condomina hosts the USMNT final game before the start of the World Cup.
For the USMNT, Matt Turner starts again in net with Zimmerman and Long at center back. DeAndre Yedlin moves to right-back while Sergino Dest moves to left-back. Ricardo Pepi replaces Jesús Ferreira at the top, Christian Pulisic replaces Brenden Aaronsohn on the wings and Kellin Acosta replaces Luca de la Torre in midfield.
Gregg Berhalter is a lot stronger with this starting XI than we thought. Does this show that he is being pressured to get a positive result? Maybe.
The end of September is strong. 👊
— USA Men’s National Soccer Team (@USMNT) September 27, 2022
Below is Saudi Arabia’s starting lineup as their entire lineup is from their domestic league and for all the USMNT fans who underestimate them, Saudi Arabia finished above Japan in World Cup qualifiers.
— Team Saudi Arabia (@SaudiNT_EN) September 27, 2022
Saudi Arabia Head-to-head record against USMNT
It will be the seventh meeting between the Yankees and the Green Falcons, but the first since 1999 against a national team representing political issues for the United States. Saudi Arabia won two of the first four matches, but the Yankees took home wins in the 1995 friendly and the 1999 Confederations Cup. All of the above field mentions mean absolutely nothing for Tuesday, but they are interesting to note…