The U.S. Men’s National Team closes out its September schedule on Tuesday night at St. Louis’ Busch Stadium against South American opponents Uruguay. Not only will Gregg Berhalter’s side be seeking a better performance and scoreline against the Conmebol visitors, it will be looking for progression as a team.
Two players will be looking to savor every moment of Tuesday’s match as they return to their hometown. Veteran defender Tim Ream and young forward Josh Sargent will be pushing to start after not getting the nod in Friday’s 3-0 loss to Mexico in New Jersey.
“When I heard I was going to be on the roster for this game, I was really excited,” Sargent said. “It’s every kid’s dream to play for the National Team, but to do it in your hometown is something special. It’s really refreshing to come home and it makes you enjoy the little things even more than before.”
“I’ve been lucky to represent the National Team here once before and it’s just going to be a fun feeling,” Ream said. “It’s always special when you represent your country, but to do it in your hometown just makes it even cooler all around. I’m going to be excited to play in front of family and friends and see them afterwards. I haven’t been able to do it much with being overseas.”
Uruguay will be without the likes of star forwards Edinson Cavani and Luis Suarez, as well as captain Diego Godin. Regardless, they are coming off a 2-1 road win over Costa Rica on Friday as well and will look to end on a high note to close international play.
While Mexico pressed the USMNT for most of last week’s friendly, Uruguay will likely sit back more and wait for chances to attack. It may be a new opponent, but Berhalter will keep the game plan the same as his team aims to work the ball out of the back and upfield against La Celeste.
“We were disappointed with the result last week, ” Ream said. “We’ve watched film of that night and analyzed how we’ve let ourselves down. There is another game ahead and another day to try and get better and we’re going to stick to our gameplan. We want to be able to cause Uruguay problems so we’re going to work the ball and try to use our wingers and passing to get behind them.”
“We think it will be a different test, they won’t press as high as Mexico did, but they are No. 5 in the world for a reason. You’re going to have talent all around the pitch, especially in the offensive end even though guys like [Luis] Suarez won’t be here. Solid defensive group that will be hard to break down.”
Sargent had the best chance to score in Friday’s loss, however the Werder Bremen man was denied from the penalty spot in the final moments at MetLife Stadium. With a start in front of his family expected on Tuesday night, the 19-year-old isn’t letting his penalty mess with his mind and will be ready for the atmosphere and challenge ahead.
“Sometimes in soccer things don’t go your way and even though I missed I am going to be ready for the next penalty, I’d be ready to do it again if I have to,” Sargent said. “We’re going to be ready for Uruguay and hopefully correct the things we didn’t do well with against Mexico.”