The US Men’s National team take on Wales in their opening World Cup clash on Monday and former goalkeeper Brad Friedel has claimed that the players are in great mood and feel confident about their chances.
Head coach Gregg Berhalter has an injury free squad to choose with all 26 players in the squad participating in the full warmup at the training camp last night.
The US appear to be in good spirits after defeating local team Al-Gharafa in a closed-door scrimmage on Thursday, scoring six goals in the friendly.
AC Milan full back Sergiño Dest spoke on his firness at the USMNT press conference: “I’m feeling good. Of course, after the last game, I had a little bit of fatigue. Right now, it’s going well. I’m ready to play.”
Friedel claimed that his country’s world cup group is scary, having been pitted against England, Wales and Iran. The former Tottenham Hotspur shot stopper also mentioned that the game against Wales will be a tough one, but the team does well whenever they are deemed underdogs for a clash.
Bale The Threat For Wales
Friedel’s former teammate Gareth Bale would the most obvious threat for the US, but with the likes of Juventus’ Weston McKennie and Chelsea’s Christian Pulisic, the North American side too boast of quality in the middle of the park.
Gio Reyna of Borussia Dortmund is fit and fine again after a lengthy injury layoff and the 20-year-old sensation is poised to shine in the biggest of stages. Reyna missed majority of the USMNT’s qualification for the World Cup and his availability for the tournament will come as a huge boost for Berhalter.
Friedel also commented on the strength of this team: “Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah are exceptionally fun to watch in midfield and if they control the middle of the park, that will be huge in tournament play. I think a lot of these games will be won and lost in the transition, in the conditions when the heat takes over.”
Jurgen Klinsmann Weighs In
Former head coach of the USMNT, Juergen Klinsmann also weighed on his thoughts on the tournament in Qatar saying we could in store for some surprises. The 58-year-old German said, “Underdogs like the Asian or African teams can spring surprises if they’re courageous. You won’t go far if you have a defensive approach in this tournament.”
The USMNT aim to start well in their campaign and must look to get a positive result against the Welsh before the crunch second group clash against England. The players are fully aware that any slip up would be disastrous in their bid to qualify for the knockout stages.
National team television broadcaster FOX Sports is treating the match against Wales as a given but Berhalter’s side must exert caution against Gareth Bale and co.
Photo credit: IMAGO / Pacific Press Agency
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