Oh man, my heart. My heart is just racing.
The United States Mens National Team beat Iran 1-0.
THE USMNT JUST QUALIFIED FOR THE NEXT ROUND OF THE FIFA WORLD CUP!
What did we learn? WE LEARNED THE US IS ADVANCING!!
Oh man, I can’t breath.
There’s going to be a comprehensive analysis of the group stage, so I’m going to save the detailed examination for then. Because, right now, all I can muster between the excited hyperventilating, are some quick thoughts.
The US scored a wonderful team goal off a 12-pass sequence that went the full length of the field, and where 8 out of 11 of the American players touched the ball.
This goal is an absolute testament to the technical and tactical quality of the players and the diligence, organization, and vision of the coaching staff.
The goal starts with the team winning the ball back immediately off of an Iranian goal kick. From there, you have the ball played back to the goalkeeper, before it is advanced quickly to the right side of the midfield (Matt Turner absolutely dimes that pass!). From there, it shifts to the left, all the way to an advanced Antonee Robinson, before it comes to Weston McKennie. At this point, Iran’s sucked in over on the right, giving Sergiño Dest acres of space. Dest sees that space and drives down the field. McKennie spots the run and switches the ball to Dest, leaving Iran’s defense completely flatfooted. Pulisic also spotted Dest’s run, and he drove towards the goal, getting onto the following cut back from Dest. Goal, 1-0.
What vindication for Gregg Berhalter’s original refrain of disorganizing the opposition through possession.
And the thing is, this goal is not an isolated incident. This is the moment that Berhalter and his program have been building up to.
We saw a goal like this all the way back in the 2019 CONCACAF Gold Cup, in Berhalter’s first year in charge, with almost entirely different players.
This built up through 2021, and it’s now come to this moment.
This is a massive triumph. Yes, the game was still tight. Yes, the team should have scored more. Yes, the last part of the game was a mess.
But, you know what?
Right now, I just don’t care. We advanced.
However, the moment did come with an injury to Christian Pulisic, the goalscorer. Pulisic put his whole body in for the goal and he caught the keeper’s knee to the ... pelvis ... and had to leave the match for the hospital at halftime. The good news is that it’s just a bruise and we all can look forward to his return, hopefully in time for the next game v. the Netherlands.
Oh man, it’s 1AM already and my heart is still racing.
Let’s try and wrap this up with some thoughts I saw on Twitter.
First up is Tyler Adams and his insane work rate and output.
FIFA's technical report on USA-Iran says Tyler Adams ran 12.943 kilometers tonight, which is more than 8 miles and as you might guess, a team high. https://t.co/QmWn1bpukp— Charles Boehm (@cboehm) November 30, 2022
There are many reasons why Antonee Robinson is my favorite player, and this is one of them.
Final thing we learned: The USMNT will play on Saturday, Dec. 3, at 10 EST.