After suffering from a severe case of the Mondays in a 1-1 draw with Wales, the USMNT would take on England. The Americans would head into the match with the knowledge that a win would put them at the top of the group, a draw would let them control their destiny as far as advancing and a loss would make things complicated.
Going into the game there were questions: would England be picked over and left on the ground in a heap of broken dreams like so many shoppers trampled by their compatriots at 2 am on Black Friday? Or would Tim Ream’s experience in watching English players score goals over the course of his career would be a decisive factor? Perhaps the match would be like a fried turkey - either 90 minutes would pass and it would end with something completely perfect that succeeded in making turkey edible or a series of small errors would add up to a gigantic fireball that consumed an entire residential neighborhood. In any event, the Thanksgiving references would mercifully end after the match.
The USA would try to exert its freedom over the tyranny of the newly crowned king with just one change from the game against Wales as Haji Wright lined up at striker.
For their part, England lined up their team of really talented players who play at the highest level, and for Everton, of the best league in the world and yet who are most well known for a song with the lyrics “30 years of hurt” in it for their failure to live up to their potential generation, after generation.
In the end, the USA did keep a cleansheet against a side that hung six goals on Iran in their first game. However, the game also ended in a 0-0 draw as it seemed like the adjustments that were needed didn’t come for Americans. The Stars and Stripes did create some nice chances in the first half, but by the second 45 the threat on goal virtually disappeared. Still, the defense stayed strong and the result seemed fair after the final whistle blew.
Gifs of AMERICAN HEROS WHO WOULD RATHER THROW TEA INTO A HARBOR THAN PAY TAXES
The USA once again started with a decent half to begin the game. The team looked confident against the European underachievers, though the first big chance of the game did come from Harry Kane.
Luckily, this time Walker Zimmerman did what he was supposed to do and the score stayed at 0-0. The teams would each play an open attacking game, though England did control most of the possession and it would be about 15 minutes before the Stars and Stripes did anything that might concern Jordan Pickford.
A huge chance for the USA would go wanting when a cross found Weston McKennie at the penalty spot, but the midfielder hit his shot well into the warm November air.
Another fantastic effort for the Americans would show up as nothing more than a missed shot on the box score as Christian Pulisic found out that there’s a big sale on posts this Black Friday.
Sergino Dest tried to write and sign and steal the Declaration of Independence all by himself, but even Nic Cage had help when he did that as the right back’s effort was unsuccessful.
England would not just go away without trying and throughout the half kept most of the possession, though the USA backline was solid in limiting their chances. And yet, Matt Turner also had to make a diving save to keep the score 0-0 before the half.
In the second half, England came out a bit more determined to press and breakup the American build up. It seemed like the USA would have difficulty overcoming this, again, but by the hour mark the Americans had found their footing and began pushing forward and winning corners. Aside from Tyler Adams doing this, highlights were... sparse.
At the 70th minute Jordan Henderson and Jack Grealish came on for Raheem Stirling and Jude Bellingham, but Gio Reyna was still on the bench. Gregg Berhalter would make a change of his own at near the 75th minute to bring Weston McKennie off for Brenden Aaronson and a few minutes later Shaq Moore came on for Sergino Dest, but Gio Reyna was still on the bench.
The secret plan to win the game was finally sprung after the 80th minute when Josh Sargent and Gio Reyna came on for Tim Weah and Haji Wright. By that time England had decided that four points sounded good heading into the final game of the group and was mostly focused on not being caught out in transition and let the Yanks try and break them down. That didn’t mean that all of America didn’t almost have a collective heart attack when one of those shots where it looks like it would 100% be a goal on TV but might not have been remotely close happened just before the final whistle though.
Thankfully, that did not go in and the game would finish up 0-0 in what was a fitting end to a game where each team couldn’t finish their chances but whose defenses were up to the task.