The entire world is excited for the upcoming World Cup, but not fans in the United States have causes for concern. The United States Men’s National Team has a lot of questions that still need to be answered after another disappointing friendly performance, this time a 0-0 draw against Saudi Arabia before a total of 364 people at Estadio Nueva Condomina in Murcia, Spain.
After the 2-0 loss to Japan, USMNT head coach Greg Berhalter added veterans DeAndre Yedlin, Kellyn Acosta, and Christian Pulisic to the lineup to bring some energy to the back line, midfield, and attack, and for the first 20 minutes, things were looking bright. Fans could see the difference with Pulisic in the lineup. The USMNT pressure on the offensive end was much better than it was against Japan. Tyler Adams had the cleanest look of the half when he jumped on a failed clearance by Saudi Arabia that landed in front of him. However, his shot from just outside the box stayed low and went left of the post.
In the second half, the USMNT seemed to revert back to what fans saw in the Japan match: very little offensive pressure, no discipline in the backline, and no midfield control. As Berhalter proclaimed after the Japan match, the team lacked personality, and Berhalter isn’t the only one who feels that way. We can break down their performance from a tactical perspective but this was a poor lasting image of a team that is preparing for the World Cup in less than two months.
The one plus side about the last two friendlies was goalie Matt Turner, who achieved his 14th clean sheet in his short international career. Turner made great saves throughout the game, one coming 29 seconds into the game when Sultan Al-Ghannam had a clean look at the goal. Turner’s performances clarify who should be in goal when November rolls around.
USA: 1-Matt Turner; 22-DeAndre Yedlin (26-Joe Scally, 59), 3-Walker Zimmerman, 5-Aaron Long (16-Mark McKenzie, 59), 2-Sergiño Dest; 4-Tyler Adams, 23-Kellyn Acosta, 8-Weston McKennie (11-Brenden Aaronson, 75); 21-Gio Reyna (7-Paul Arriola, 30), 19-Ricardo Pepi (9-Jesús Ferreira, 59), 10-Christian Pulisic (capt.) (17-Malik Tillman, 75)
Substitutes Not Used: 18-Ethan Horvath, 25-Sean Johnson, 6-Sam Vines, 12-Erik Palmer-Brown, 13-Jordan Morris, 14-Luca de la Torre, 15-Johnny Cardozo, 20-Reggie Cannon, 24-Josh Sargent
Stats Summary: KSA / USA
Shots: 10 / 7
Shots on Goal: 2 / 2
Saves: 2 / 2
Corner Kicks: 4 / 3
Fouls: 10 / 9
Offside: 5 / 2
KSA – Saud Abdulhamid (Caution) - 57th minute
USA – Tyler Adams (caution) - 90+1