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Aaronson and Weah score as USMNT cruises past Morocco

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The first step in the U.S. men’s national team’s preparations for the 2022 World Cup was a successful one, and even though we are still six months away from the Americans kicking things off in Qatar, Wednesday’s performance gave USA fans reason to feel optimistic.

First-half goals from Brenden Aaronson and Tim Weah held up with the help of some stellar saves from Matt Turner in a 3-0 victory against fellow World Cup participant Morocco at TQL Stadium on Wednesday night.

The Americans opened the scoring in the 26th minute on a beautiful sequence orchestrated by Christian Pulisic, who collected a perfect long pass from Walker Zimmerman with a deft touch, then maneuvered to his left to deliver a pass to a wide-open Aaronson for the easy finish.

Weah doubled the lead just six minutes later when he unleashed a left-footed blast past Yassine Bounou from 20 yards out, leaving the Sevilla goalkeeper helpless to stop the right-footed shot.

Turner made the most of his chance to start in place of Zack Steffen — who withdrew from USMNT camp due to family reasons — by making a handful of top-notch saves. The Arsenal-bound goalkeeper finished the night with seven saves in recording his 12 national team shutout.

Gregg Berhalter gave USMNT debuts to three players, including Haji Wright, who marked his debut with a goal after converting a penalty kick drawn by Pulisic in the 64th minute.

Joe Scally and Malik Tillman also made their national team debuts, with Scally coming on at halftime and Tillman entering in the 65th minute.

The Americans will now head to Kansas City, where they will face Uruguay at Children’s Mercy Park on Sunday, before playing their final home game before the World Cup on June 10 in Austin, Texas against Grenada in their opening match of the Concacaf Nations League.

Comments

  1. Also I want to see Musah at Leeds United with Aaronson. Marsh and Leeds should strongly consider seeing if they can pry Musah from Valencia.

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    • Dangerous to have too many Americans at Leeds. If they get out slow and Jesse is fired (like happened at RBL) now the American players become the scapegoats and get benched. I think Valencia will give Yunus a bigger role this season.

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  2. Bac,

    BA is a very good player who also happens to work exceptionally hard.

    Which is good because if his value is entirely due to his exceptional work rate as soon as he’s injured or older and can’t work quite as hard, that value will fall off a cliff right away.

    Look at Daniel James of Leeds who is similarly, quick, speedy and hard working.

    The difference is BA is a better soccer player.

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    • wrong again. he’s got great quality on the ball, excellent vision, and incredible touch. Sounds like the same BS criticisms people gave of LD back in the day, and wrong back then too

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      • Who are you replying too? I didn’t see anyone say anything bad about Aaronson in this thread. Did I miss something?

  3. Wow, that first half was as good as this US team has ever played offensively imo. Really fantastic stuff but flip side is that we were very vulnerable to counters, especially when they would switch point of attack. Only great goalkeeping (and subpar finishing) kept them from scoring a couple of their own in that half. One of the central players (Adams) is going to have to stay home to slow counters if we are going to play this way against top teams. If the objective was to see if our A team could high press a world cup team and cause turnovers and create chances then the answer seems to be yes….The game changed in the second half with all the subs and as players tired. As far as the subs, they seemed a little off the pace of the game (to be fair that first half was played at a very high tempo) and by the time they settled the game had slowed considerably. LDT looked as skillful as ever and did well, just not quite as physical as Musah but not a huge drop off either. Wright showed flashes but clearly wasn’t used to the speed of play, hopefully the experience and the goal help push him on. CCV seemed steady, and it was good to see Long was able to make those defensive recoveries. Weah and Aaronson were great, and Pulisic had maybe his best match yet, he was fantastic.

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  4. Aaronson was great! He doesn’t have the straight line speed of Weah or Pulisic, but his ability to be quick in small spaces with his movement or decisions was spot on! As someone mentioned also, loved seeing these guys playing creative and playing great off one another, instead of just relying on wide crosses from wingbacks (which also happened, but more complementary).

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  5. Good Game but there is one thing GB could do better and that is to keep the last sub in his pocket in case a player gets a knock. Tim Weah was looking a bit banged up toward the end of the game but we had already made all of our subs. Nothing has done more to kneecap our team than injuries to key players and the best thing that can happen during preparations for the WC is to have a healthy team at the end. If GB must use all of his subs then he should accept the fact that these friendlies are at the end of the day meaningless and remove a player as a precaution even if it means playing with 10 and just mailing in the last 10 minutes of a game.

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    • Right.

      It was a friendly.

      Subs were mostly pre planned and some guys needed to be seen.

      If someone was struggling towards the end, pull them before they get seriously hurt and play with ten.

      It would be good practice in “real time” for when it really happens.

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  6. For the Berhalter critics, and I am one of them, that was not the 4-3-3 we saw in qualifying and he changed tactics. What I liked: attack was not centered on wingbacks but instead Pulisic and Aaronson were given freedom to be creative in attack, Wright had a lot of good touches with feet, LDT looked like a legitimate option at 6, and I didnt see them playimg a high back line. What I didnt like: obvious confusion with cannon and defensive shape between 10 – 20 minutes, Adams was pressed way too high very often, 9s are there to score and both F and W missed opportunities, Arob was often pressed higher than everyone ecept c.f., Musah seems to lack stamina. Seeing the change in tactics was very encouraging to me because the tactics during qualifying was my gripe, not so much player selection. Maybe we will see a 10 also. The more different ways the team can play cohesively the better they will do in Qatar. I know there are a lot of posters here who dont like player selection and tactics, but i think he got the tactics right last night.

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  7. Morocco since Covid shutdown hadn’t lost in regulation 18w 4t 2 l (one extra time one penalties) outscored opponents 55-12. Their players play in top leagues in Europe for the most part, their two center strikers have 19 and 18 goals in Belgium and Turkey, we took it to a good side. It’s just a friendly but can we back that up with another good performance? They would have been a lot tougher with Ziyech in the middle, but he didn’t play in Arab Cup, Afr. Cup of Nations, or WCQ so they’re used to not having him. Interested to see how we do against Uruguay Sunday. Uruguay has an aging roster on one fewer days rest not sure what lineup we’ll see.

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  8. Thought Haji did just fine for his first team debut. I would like to see him start the next game with the first team. Ferriera was good too. Tillman is raw but you can see he has talent. Will be interesting to see what his best position ends up being. Bayern have moved him more as a striker. Aaronson was great and Weah is brimming with confidence. Still think Pulisic has another gear to him, but had some very world class moments today. Turner for me is ahead of Steffen, and he may just win that Arsenal starting role. Cant wait to see the team on Sunday. Oh and good on Pulisic for calling out the American fanbase.

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    • Wednesday night friendly, 4th match in the state in 9 months, high ticket prices, high gas prices, airline cancellations not sure it was really fan bases fault. I was going on Sunday but my twin nieces scheduled their graduation party that day.

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    • Personally, one rule I would change in soccer is that the player who wins the penalty kick is the one who takes it, just as in basketball the person fouled takes the foul shot. Thus, Pulisic should have taken the penalty since he won it. One time when Musah drove up the middle all the way to the top of the box, he should have taken a shot, but he passed the ball off. He may be a bit too unselfish.

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      • “Personally, one rule I would change in soccer is that the player who wins the penalty kick is the one who takes it, ”

        That means it matters WHO you foul. There are guys who are notably bad at penalties.

        It may not matter as much as it does in basketball but it does matter.

        Also that’s incentive to make sure that if you give away a penalty. really shake up the guy you foul.

  9. Good result, but Uruguay will provide a much better test. If our defense leaves so many attackers unmarked in the next game, expect to see them score 2 or 3. We were lucky that Morocco didn’t play very well. I just fear that we are not ready to play top teams with MLS based CB’s.

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    • It was the midfield that didnt defend well not “the MLS based” CBs. We cant play a true 4-3-3 and have the mdifield forget to track their marks.
      Not sure why it mattered that the CBs were MLS based? Well….. except for bias.

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      • Do you really think the quality of play in MLS is equal to a top 5 European league? MLS has certainly improved and is on a par with Mexico, but still has a ways to go to equal top 5 Europe. Talk about bias, it is you who are out of step.

      • Gary the quality of play is certainly better in France but that doesn’t mean every individual on each team is better. Especially say someone on a lower half team. According to Global Football Rankings, Troyes has 53.7 rating, NYCFC has 55.8. Computer ratings are just a piece but there isn’t a huge difference between Troyes and a top MLS team. The top 10 in France would all run away with the league the bottom half would just be in the running for playoffs in MLS. I don’t get BeIn TV so I can’t tell you is EPB their best player or their 10th best.

      • Long had to resort to fouling a lot.

        Hard physical play is fine but with Long it seemed like he needed to foul.

        Depending on how they ref in Qatar I’m not sure he gets away with that as much.

      • the guy who struggled was Scally, just go watch the replay. he is not in MLS and they went after him with speed, beat him, and even tho the PK was a dive, after getting beat often the ref thought he saw him get beat again even tho he didn’t. Does that mean that Scally can’t play at this level? Of course not. He’s got quality, you can see it, but struggled

      • Vacqui he did get an early yellow. I think Long earned his chance to return to the lineup, especially since Richards is hurt. But being strong and physical is kind of his thing and he lost a lot of those battles. CCV looked equally OK. Hopefully we’ll get to see EPB Sunday.

  10. I expected a much closer game with a quality opponent like Morocco. Credit must go to a cohesive game from the US.
    – The US switched formations with a back 3 to free up A Robinson to attack. Now is the time to experiment, and got a shutout against a good side.
    – Losing M Robinson is tough but Aaron Long acquitted himself well, Cannon was effective, and CCV played well too. Depth is there.
    – MOTM? Probably Aaronson who was plugged in as AM. Honorable mention? Probably Turner who stood out in goal.
    – As for debuts..Tillman’s 20 minute debut shows he is a raw talent..Ferreira was more dangerous than Wright..Scally passed the test

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    • PN – I think the greatest benefit of the 3 back was that it left them way less susceptible to counters. They still were very susceptible but they always had three back amd when Adams and Musah prrssed way too high. I think if Morocco had those chances against the 4 backs with no cover in qualifying they would have scored 2 or 3 between minutes 10 and 20.

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  11. It’s always nice to win by 3 against a WC qualifier. To be honest, though, Morocco didn’t look that good. I still have worries about our defense. I’m sure some of it is that we haven’t played the same group of defenders enough. Still, too often Morocco had players unmarked within the box and we were lucky they didn’t shoot well. Against a better opponent we could have been in trouble. I admit to a bias. I would feel better if we played CB’s from top European leagues instead of MLS players. Once again Turner showed his mettle. One nice thought–just think how good we can be in 4 years.

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    • Given we played a formation we haven’t seen in the last 8 months it wasn’t unexpected to see some holes. I’ll be honest I wasn’t paying as close attention in the 2nd half but the transition D looked to have adjusted. I thought the d in the last 20 minutes in the final third just looked to have down shifted not sure if it was “friendly” mentality, subs, or having LDT instead of Adams in there. I hope we stick with the 3-4-3 just to see if we can make more adjustments.

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      • Personally, I prefer the 4-3-3. Every time I see a team play 3 in the back, I see a lot of holes and I don’t think we gain that much in offense to offset the loss of defense, especially against a quick counter attacking team.

      • We’ve tried it at times then scrapped it because it looked risky. I’d rather for the friendly give it at least a half. Let’s see if we can tighten it up some. If nothing else if we get down at WC and need to push.

      • JR – a few months back I was calling for the 3-4-3 and you were calling for the 4-2-3-1 (although in hindsight the 4 I picked was probably a little ridiculous) . On tv, I can’t see the whole field so I couldn’t really even tell what formation they were playing but they definitely had three in the back when attacking. In the post game presser, Gregg said he played a 3-2-2-3. Now I’m just confused, but IMO, it wasn’t the formation so much as basing his attack on his best attacking players and giving them the opportunity to be creative in the attack and not forcing it to be based on the wingbacks banging crosses in to an empty box. Was it the tactics or the formation or both?

      • Tele: probably a little of everything. In possession definitely 3 man backline, I guess Gregg was saying Ty and Musah as the second line and then Jedi and Weah further up. It seemed that this spread the field more and opened space for Aaronson and Pulisic to drive into. There was space for them to receive the ball as well not just keep the ball wide. Was that a result of the adjustment or just “friendly” defense?

  12. Fun to watch. We were on the front door and looked good going forward. Sweet touch from Pulisic. Turner did well. Adams looked good. Not impressed with Haji. I think Ferreira remains our yop attacking option. We looked more dangerous with him out there, and Wright struck me as a bit slow. Also, I’m not sure Morocco came to play… Trying to get their manager canned? Or maybe my expectations were too low. In all, I’m happy, but I’m not sure what to take away from this match.

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  13. If there’s one thing that jumps out at me, it’s that every player – especially those getting a first look or fighting for a roster spot – should look no further than the work rate of Aaronson every time he takes the field. He works so freaking hard and it’s shown in his improvement as a quality player.

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    • indeed, and how about his quality releases, breaks lines with nicely timed and weighted balls, his movement off of it is effortless, just look at the goal. One thing to me is he takes some hits, still could be just as effective but avoid more of those imo, but maybe it’s just his DNA. I really enjoy watching him play, teammate enabler who can also get his own, just love those guys

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      • Yessir, and to be specific about how his effort has led to a clear improvement in his game, as soon as he started getting time with this group you could tell he was ready for a spot on the wing, but he had a few early looks in midfield where he was out of sorts… The guy on the field last night could easily start and play in either role. I know he’s played like a number 10 at club.. But that was easily his best game box to box for us.. I tell you what I really wanna see is him and Gio playing together

    • It kind was his lack of work rate in recovery that left Long, Cannon, and Zimmerman isolated on the counters in the first half. I think related more to the unfamiliarity of being an 8 not mentality but Brenden still had a big role in shakiness of the transition D. As a 10 for RBS he could just jog back if the press was broke as an 8 you’ve got to sprint to cover the top of the box.

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      • I thought a couple of times when that switch happened Adams was the one caught out of position not Aaronson. When Aaronson finally dropped into that hole to help Adams the left sided switch was nullified.

      • 2tone some of both. Adams got caught a couple times but in that 10-20 min span when Morocco changed the momentum BA got caught too. I watched extended highlights at 11:00 minutes ball gets switched Adams goes on covers with I think Cannon. BA jogs and doesn’t see the LB running into the space between him and the ball. Leads to a Turner save. After about the 20 min mark I didn’t find any other glaring plays (so Brenden learned from his mistake) Greg Velazquez had a couple more times he noticed it in their pod review but nothing that was on extended highlights. I wasn’t going to rewatch the whole thing.

    • Bac,

      BA is a very good player who also happens to work exceptionally hard.

      Which is good because if his value is entirely due to his exceptional work rate as soon as he’s injured or older and can’t work quite as hard, that value will fall off a cliff right away.

      Look at Daniel James of Leeds who is similarly, quick, speedy and hard working.

      The difference is BA is a better soccer player.

      Reply

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