The United States Men’s National Team concluded their tune-up to the World Cup with a to Saudi Arabia.
The starting XI was strong featuring Christian Pulisic, Ricardo Pepi, Gio Reyna, Weston McKennie, Sergino Dest, and of course Matt Turner.
Saudi Arabia got off to a hot start, forcing Turner to make a save within the first minute of the match.
With possession, the United States had a clear plan, they opted for direct balls to break down the opponent’s back line. In the first half, this plan didn’t pay any dividends.
There was also some concern in the 30th minute as Reyna kicked the ball out of bounds and was subbed off. Reyna went immediately down the tunnel and was followed by Gregg Berhalter. U.S. Soccer came out and said that the substitution was precautionary and that Reyna was experiencing muscle tightness.
Pepi had a dismal first half according to myself and Stu Holden on the broadcast. He only had 13 touches after being taken off in the 59th minute and was basically a ghost out on the field in Spain.
Three changes came in the 59th minute as Joe Scally came on for Deandre Yedlin, Mark McKenzie replaced Aaron Long and Pepi came off for Jesus Ferreira. Then in the 76th minute, Malik Tillman and Brenden Aaronson came on for Pulisic and McKennie.
Overall, the USMNT attack was lacking. They struggled to get the ball into the box and registering just one shot against Saudi Arabia in the first half is terrible. The fact that they scored zero goals in two games is appalling.
Turner was once again the lone bright spot making two saves and completing over 80 percent of his passes. If he isn’t the starting goalkeeper for the United States when the World Cup kicks off, it would be a crime against all that is good and just about soccer.
I also want to credit Ferreira who did a good job coming off the bench. He sparked the United States and had one of the better chances to find the back of the net,
If the United States can’t score agains Japan or Saudi Arabia (nevertheless win a game), this team is in real trouble. If they continue to perform at this level, they won't make it out of the group and Gregg Berhalter should be sent packing.
The USMNT has little to time to make the necessary changes before the World Cup but their performance in this window leaves fans feeling uninspired and with little hope for any sort of run in the 2022 World Cup.