The USMNT continued its road struggles on Tuesday, playing to a draw against Saudi Arabia. Playing against Saudi Arabia in Spain, the Americans looked sloppy and failed to score yet again. The matched ended 0-0 on the night.
Both teams entered the game on a bit of a low. The USMNT have only collected one away win in their last 10 attempts. Also, it only managed to score once on the road this year. Even that was a 91st-minute equalizer against El Salvador.
Saudi Arabia have now not scored in their last four competitive matches and have not collected a victory since March. While the opposition has also qualified for the upcoming World Cup, this team was missing multiple key players.
The Green played the game without their starting goalkeeper and top two goal-scorers. In fact, the starting keeper on the night currently plays in the country’s second tier. Nevertheless, the USMNT failed to really trouble the Saudi’s defense.
USMNT plays to dreary draw with Saudi Arabia
The Americans did, however, actually have a shot on target in the match. They failed to do so in their 2-0 defeat to Japan last week. Ricardo Pepi made his first start for the USMNT since March. Yet, the forward failed to make a real impact in the match. Manager Gregg Berhalter subbed him off after 59 minutes. He departed the pitch having touched the ball just 13 times, the lowest of any other starting USMNT player.
Giovanni Reyna also found himself back into the starting XI. While he made his first start for the team in over a year, the Borussia Dortmund attacking midfielder did not make it to halftime. Reyna was subbed off after 30 minutes reportedly due to muscle tightness. The 19-year-old star did, however, manage to walk off the pitch without much of a noticeable limp.
After the game, head coach Gregg Berhalter claimed that the performance was an improvement compared to the Japan match. “I think it was improved,” said Berhalter. “I still think we are not as confident as I’d like. We’re playing tentative. You see the connections are not there like we want.”
The coach also liked the overall effort of the team. “The effort was great today. The intensity was great, especially at the end of the game. We kept pushing, kept trying to score. I can’t fault the effort but we need to keep improving.”
This was the team’s final scheduled match prior to the start of the World Cup. Final squads need to be turned in to FIFA by November 13th and the Americans begin their tournament against Wales on November 21st.
PHOTO: IMAGO / ANP
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