The United States Men’s National Team kicked off their first World Cup game in eight years and walked away with just one point.
New England Revolution fans were excited to see Matt Turner get the start in net for his first World Cup appearance. Yunus Musha started in the midfield and became the youngest USMNT player to start a World Cup match.
The biggest changes came in the back and up top with Tim Ream being paired with Walker Zimmerman and Josh Sargent replacing Jesus Ferreira up top. Tim Weah will also start in the wing with Gio Reyna on the bench. Brenden Aaronson also failed to make the starting XI.
All eleven players in the starting XI will be making their World Cup debuts.
In the beginning of the match, the USMNT dominated possession. The first real chance came when Sergino Dest served a beautiful ball to Weah to get behind Wales’ back line. Weah rifled a cross that was nearly an own goal but Wayne Hennessy made an impressive save. Sargent nearly scored off a header moments later.
The United States will have some lineup decisions to make as Weston McKennie and Dest picked up yellow cards within the first 15 minutes. The decisions to hand out cards were questionable to say the least with fouls appearing to deem warnings at the most.
Second balls proved to be key for the USMNT with Wales playing conservatively and looking to strike on the counter. The United States eventually struck in the 36th minute as Christian Pulisic played a beautiful ball into Weah who slotted home his first ever World Cup goal. The USMNT was up 1-0 and soccer was officially back.
The United States entered half time with control of the game and the lead. It was hard to ask for any more from them. They dominated possession (66% according to FoTMob. Turner completed 10 of his 13 passes and had 15 touches. The goalkeeper wasn’t forced to make a save in the first half.
Pulisic and Weah were the stars of the show in the first half. When on the ball Pulisic was causing problems for Welsh defenders. Pulisic then made a great run to spurn Weah’s goal that gave the United States the lead. The Chelsea attacker had 36 touches and completed 14 of his 18 passes in the first half while drawing three fouls.
In the second half, the United States was under a lot more pressure. Turner made his first save, an amazing one, that he tipped over the bar. Gregg Berhalter then made his first substitution in the 65th minute with Aaronson replacing McKennie. Then in the 74th minute Dest, Sargent, and Musah came off for Haji Wright, DeAndre Yedlin, and Kelly’s Acosta.
Then devastation occurred in the 82nd minute with Walker Zimmerman committing a foul on Gareth Bale in the box. Bale blasted a penalty kick past Turner (even though he got his hands on the shot) and the game was all tied up. It was a dumb decision from Zimmerman who needs to be much smarter in the box.
Jordan Morris ended up being the final sub for Berhalter with the Seattle Sounders attacker replacing Weah. A questionable decision seeing that Reyna was available off the bench.
With the draw, the United States and Wales are tied for second in the group with England at the top. With a Black Friday matchup next up for the USMNT against England, The draw on Monday ensures that the United States need to get points against the mighty Three Lions if they hope to make it into the Knockout Round.