By Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports activities Soccer Author
The United States males’s nationwide group performed to a disappointing scoreless draw with Saudi Arabia Tuesday in Murcia, Spain, of their closing recreation earlier than the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar in November.
The tie comes on the heels of final week’s dreadful 2-0 loss to Japan, elevating severe questions on how far the People — which reached the second spherical at each the 2010 and 2014 World Cups earlier than failing to qualify for the planet’s largest sporting occasion 4 years in the past — can go at this yr’s occasion.
Listed below are three ideas on Tuesday’s match:
Regarding Gio Reyna sub compounds U.S. frustrations
Failing to win or play effectively in any respect in both of their final two tune-ups is unhealthy sufficient. Seeing Gio Reyna depart the sector and head on to the locker room after an unplanned thirtieth minute substitution Tuesday makes it worse.
“He felt some tightness and got here out for precautionary causes,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter, who confirmed the twinge occurred within the 19-year-old’s hamstring.
That is not an important signal.
The plan for the 19-year-old, who missed a lot of the 2021-22 season with hamstring points, was by no means to play all 90 minutes in each of those September friendlies. However Reyna was supposed to have the ability to go for a minimum of your entire the primary half towards the Saudis, as he had towards the Blue Samurai final week.
On the one hand, it is sensible for the U.S. workers to not take any possibilities with one in all their most gifted attacking gamers. On the opposite, the World Cup is now lower than eight weeks away. It is utterly honest to surprise how practical it’s to count on Reyna to play a significant a part of issues for his nation in Qatar if he is nonetheless not again to full health by then.
Reyna is likely one of the few People who can change a recreation on his personal, so the U.S. will gladly take him even when he is restricted to a job off the bench. It is not best, although. As these two matches confirmed, the USMNT wants all the assistance they will get.
People higher defensively however sloppy in assault as soon as once more
Berhalter and his gamers had been fast to confess that the efficiency towards Japan wasn’t acceptable. They vowed to be higher on this one. Higher they had been — however not by almost sufficient.
“As a substitute of popping out and actually performing like a group, we lacked a bit confidence,” Berhalter stated in his put up match press convention. “There was actually areas to reap the benefits of immediately, and we did not do this sufficient.”
At the very least the U.S. managed a few photographs on aim on this one after not placing a single effort on the right track towards Japan.
Like final week, they solely created one actually harmful scoring probability. Like final week, Jesus Ferreira — who got here on earlier than the hour mark for the ineffective Ricardo Pepi — was unable to transform it.
And Tuesday’s attacking troubles got here with star winger Christian Pulisic, who sat out final Friday due to a minor ailment, taking part in all however the closing quarter-hour of the competition.
Defensively, the coach caught with heart again pairing Aaron Lengthy and Walker Zimmerman however moved Sergiño Dest from his regular spot at proper again to the left to make room for DeAndre Yedlin. Whereas the People did not give the ball away with almost as incessantly as they did of their final outing, there have been nonetheless a few nervy moments that keeper Matt Turner was pressured to bail them out of — particularly after Mark McKenzie changed Lengthy within the second half.
USMNT should be much better on the World Cup
The hope for the U.S. is that the 2 surefire starters lacking this month due to harm (Yunus Musah, Antonee Robinson) should not solely good to go when the curtain goes up on the fundamental occasion, however that their presence helps restore a few of the self perception that Berhalter stated was missing over these final two matches.
The U.S. will want much more than that if they’re to outlive group play on the World Cup, although. Pulisic, Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie will all need to each keep away from harm and sharpen their kind over these subsequent eight weeks, too, taking their teammates on their backs within the course of.
“I do know when the blokes are assured we’re very harmful group, a really dynamic group,” Berhalter stated.
Can this younger U.S. squad show that when issues most? It is onerous to make certain based mostly on this newest proof. If the People are to achieve success in Qatar, they need to play like a unique group than the one they had been in September.
One of many main soccer journalists in North America, Doug McIntyre has lined United States males’s and girls’s nationwide groups at a number of FIFA World Cups. Earlier than becoming a member of FOX Sports activities in 2021, he was a workers author with ESPN and Yahoo Sports activities. Observe him on Twitter @ByDougMcIntyre.
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