USMNT vs. Saudi Arabia Score: US limp to goalless draw in final friendly ahead of November World Cup

In the team’s final game before the World Cup, the United States drew 0-0 against Saudi Arabia on Tuesday in Murcia, Spain, thanks to a strong performance from Matt Turner in the net as he battles for the number one shirt.

It was an opportunity for the United States to enter Qatar with momentum, but with Gio Reyna leaving as a precaution after just 30 minutes of action and another disappointing display from Ricardo Pepi, more questions than answers remain. Christian Pulisic’s return to the lineup was expected to improve offense from their 2-0 loss to Japan, and while it did statistically, with seven shots, four on target, it wasn’t good enough to take a win. to secure in Saudi Arabia. Arabia.

The match started well with the trio of Sergino Dest, Weston Mckennie and Christian Pulisic making inventive runs, but outside the trio the attack was nowhere to be seen. Pepi was unable to control his runs to stay onside or get airborne at the end of crosses, while the loss of Dest’s passing ability on the right was drastic with DeAndre Yedlin taking the place there.

After the game, Berhalter was happy with the performance but not with the execution, saying timing was an issue. With the amount of rotation the team has had to deal with, there hasn’t been much time to put together his best line-up, clearly adding to Pepi’s difficulty getting to the end of his runs during the match. Major cogs such as Christian Pulisic, Tim Weah, Gio Reyna, Antonee Robinson and Yunus Musah have all been missing time during the last few international windows, so it’s fair that the team’s timing is off, but it also shows how vulnerable their lows are. are with only 55 days left until the World Cup.

Next, the US will take on Wales in their Group B opener on November 21 at 2pm ET.

Here are a few take-aways from the competition:

Learn from mistakes, don’t dwell on them

After just two shots on goal in 180 minutes of football during this international break, you couldn’t ask for a flatter performance from the national team forwards. But there is time to improve before the World Cup against Wales kicks off in Qatar in November. If players like Christian Pulisic, Sergino Dest and Luca de la Torre can use this camp as inspiration to start and earn starting places at their respective clubs, things could be very different in a few months. Combined, the trio have played just 536 minutes for club and country this season, which is fewer minutes than Tyler Adams has recorded for Leeds United (540) this season. Berhalter needs his best players playing minutes before the World Cup as the prep time between getting together for camp and kicking off against Wales will not be enough time to get up to speed when it comes to decision making. This is only possible through minutes that they have to earn at their respective clubs.

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Stock down for depth options

During these two matches, it has become crystal clear that the national team’s depth options are not good enough when the regulars go down. There is depth to the attack when someone like Josh Sargent is called up instead of Pepi, but after the primary trio in midfield, no one has stood up. Berhalter has been reluctant to use Reyna and Aaronson in deeper positions and he still hasn’t given Jordan Pefok a fair chance as a backup for a change of pace towards Qatar. When Berhalter’s plan is based on starting players he has admitted he may not have at the World Cup, it is reasonable to be concerned about whether the team will make it to the group stage. The best managers can adjust things if their system doesn’t work, but Berhalter has shown reluctance to make those shifts and the players won’t make them without him making the call.

What a difference the balance in midfield makes

While the attack wasn’t great, the defenses did their job, stopping Saudi Arabia in key spots. Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman were more confident at the back, knowing the midfield would not be overrun while Dest and Yedlin also made key stops on the flanks. Acosta and Adams provide a security blanket for the defense, but then have the added problem of choking the attack buildup. The team needs Robinson back as soon as possible as Yedlin’s crosses came into contact with a Saudi defender rather than a US attacker, but he did the job when called up on the defensive. It won’t be pretty, but it feels like Berhatler’s backline of Robinson, Long, Zimmerman and Dest is set with three positions open for the World Cup. That’s goalkeeper where Turner leads, forward where Ferreira leads and the right wing where it looks like Tim Weah has an advantage.

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