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USMNT earns respect after outplaying highly-favored England

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AL KHOR, Qatar — On paper, it was supposed to be a mismatch, but the U.S. men’s national team had no intention of sticking to that script when it took the field against highly-rated England on Friday night.

The Americans weren’t going to be content to just sit back and try holding on for a result, or a close defeat. No, they instead took the game to the English, in a performance that ultimately didn’t yield a victory, but did earn the USMNT a precious point as well as a mountain of respect.

“Tonight didn’t surprise me one bit,” England manager Gareth Southgate said of the USMNT’s performance in the draw. “I knew it’d be a highly-motivated team, they’ve got a lot of players who play in England and they’ve got a coaching staff who have spent time in England. So there was a high level of motivation for the game anyway.

“They way they pressed, the energy, the athleticism, was exactly what I thought, so it was going to be whether we were able to find the solutions tonight to cope with that, counter that, exploit that. We answered most of the questions, but not all of them.”

“I thought it was a really solid performance from the team,” Christian Pulisic said. “Obviously, against a good opponent a draw is not the worst thing, but I felt like there were stretches of the game where we showed dominance and we had a lot of the play, and even created chances and even could have won the game.

“All in all, I thought we managed it quite well. And to come out with a with a draw is a decent result.”

You needed only to scan England’s starting lineup to understand the gravity of the accomplishment that Friday’s 0-0 draw was for the Americans. Stacked with some of the most highly-regarded talent in Europe, the English were expected by some to run circles around a U.S. team that just four days earlier had labored on the way to a draw against Wales.

Instead of caving against the much tougher opponent, the USMNT stepped up its level and gave England all it could handle, outshooting the favorites while also finishing with a higher Expect Goals total.

Any doubts about which team came away looking more impressive on Friday were put to bed at the final whistle, when England fans filled Al Bay Stadium with disapproving whistles while USMNT supporters cheered approvingly.

“There’s a lot of people that obviously thought we’re going to get blown out probably,” Weston McKennie said. “We went into this game, to the outside world obvious underdogs, but for us we didn’t feel like an underdog at all because we know our capability. We know what we can do. We know what talents and and fighting spirit that we have.

“We’re not really afraid of playing against top-tier teams and I think it works in our favor if people think that we’re underdogs going into games because then they might take it lightly,” McKennie said. “I think we we surprise them every time.”

The performance wasn’t without its flaws — the U.S. attack is still struggling to generate clear-cut scoring chances and goals — but given the caliber of opponent and the stakes, Friday’s draw was a performance to be proud of for the Americans.

“Not happy because we didn’t win, how would have definitely preferred three points, but definitely, definitely happy with with the performances of all the guys that played tonight,” USMNT captain Tyler Adams said. “It was that next-man-up mentality. Guys ran and competed until they couldn’t run anymore, and you saw the guys come off the bench and give us that extra energy boost that we needed to continue to play the way we wanted to play.

“Definitely a good performance overall. We can take a lot of positives away from it, but we’ve got to continue to work to get some goals, but it’s good that we’re not giving up many goals.”

The Americans will now move on to Tuesday’s group finale against Iran knowing that a victory will secure their place in the World Cup Round of 16 for the third time in four World Cups. That match will give the USMNT a big opportunity to send a message about just how far the program has come since the rock bottom of failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup.

Friday’s match with England provided a similar opportunity, and while the Americans fell short of victory, they successfully boosted the level of respect the soccer world has for the USMNT.

“Regarding changing the way the world views American soccer, we’re chipping away at it, and you need games like tonight to be able to do that,” Berhalter said. “Otherwise, it’s hard for people to get a good assessment. And for us, we’re not done. Our focus is to keep going, and hopefully by the end of the tournament, people start to talk about it.”

Comments

  1. so reports of MU looking at ‘Pulisic to replace Ronaldo’

    classic Crown BS, releasing it now trying to get in his head…my strong opinion

    F them CP!! stay focused in, stay on target

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  2. I need to see what Ream and CCV look like paired together and rest Dest and start Scally. Robinson-Ream-CCV-Scally. I wish he would start them against Iran and maybe Horvath to rest Turner. Turner has been great, but I was just suggesting a rest for 100% stamina and energy regains. Ecuador, Senegal, and Netherlands USA can def beat if we play like we did against Eng and also score . I am a Senegal fan. Since Senegal don’t have Mane USA can def make it past round of 16 against Ecuador, Netherlands, or Senegal.

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    • I’m not sure about resting the GK, how much energy has Turner used. I think you need Dest to start as Iran likely will be in a low block and we’ll need Dest to help break them down. Then sub on Joe if we’re up in the 2nd.
      ——————————
      Obviously you never know at the WC but I think it will be Netherlands. They’ve got Qatar left and I don’t see Wales taking any points from England so we’re playing for 2nd. Tactical Manager TV did a whole show on comparing US and Senegal last winter. It would be an interesting matchup.

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    • zimmermann looks off song maybe because his league season just ended. i think he needs to sit. not sure where to go from there. i think long is the second best CB of this bunch. i would like to have EPB right now. we miss richards and miles. CCV the people pimping that couldn’t have watched his sloppy caps or be familiar with his similar propensity to foul. ream, iran is a fast spring-loaded counter team and i worry you folks are setting us up for him to get beat for speed. he has looked solid this tournament but he also has had something closer to sweeper duties.

      i would swap long for zimmermann. not sure after that. don’t like GB’s roster of choices. iran will take advantage of sloppy balls to counter but a fast counter team may also expose ream.

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      • One thing about CCV is that he has played in Champions League while with Celtic, so he has been exposed to a much higher level of competition than either Long or Zimmerman (that includes WC Qualifying). If we can boss Iran’s midfield and keep our CB’s back, their lack of speed can be compensated for. At least Ream and CCV are less likely to make the mistakes that Zimmerman has been making.

      • I get that Gary, and if he’s been good in training with CCV getting time. However, Celtic was pretty picked apart in CL. They gave up 2.6 in Conference League games CCV played last season and 1.75 in the 4 CL games this season (which is better that 8 g in 2 matches he didn’t play). I think Gregg stuck with Zim for aerial ability against England with their size and set piece skill. I don’t know if Iran are header threats but if they are I think he sticks with Zim.

    • “I need to see what Ream and CCV look like paired together and rest Dest and start Scally. Robinson-Ream-CCV-Scally.”

      This is not a friendly. This is a must win game. Dest is the best right back right now and should start unless he’s hurt. Neither Yedlin nor Moore can do what Dest does. As for Scally, no one knows what he can do with the USMNT. It’s up to Gregg to see if he wants to take a chance on him. It’s his ass on the line if Scally doesn’t work out.

      “I wish he would start them against Iran and maybe Horvath to rest Turner. Turner has been great, but I was just suggesting a rest for 100% stamina and energy regains.”

      Turner is a keeper. He’s not tired. He’s also clearly dialed in. The only reason to rest him would be injury. He can rest after we get eliminated, whenever that is.

      Zimmerman played worse vs England than he did vs. Wales.
      He’s trending down but he’s mostly played well. Gregg is going to have to decide whether he trusts Zimmerman to bounce back. The alternatives are not exciting and making a World Cup debut at center back in a real must win game is not an ideal position to place anyone.

      “Ecuador, Senegal, and Netherlands USA can def beat if we play like we did against Eng and also score . I am a Senegal fan. Since Senegal don’t have Mane USA can def make it past round of 16 against Ecuador, Netherlands, or Senegal.”

      Not if they don’t win against Iran.
      You’re taking it for granted that we beat Iran. Hopefully the USMNT doesn’t because that’s the good old Couva attitude and a good way to lose games.

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      • You are hilarious Vacqui how you take everything literal and assume, ass-ume maes yu look like the first three letters before ume. So you think Zimmrman should not sit? Nobody sad it’s a friendly where do you all come from, putting words in people’s mouths and miscontruing what people say. We have seen what Scally can do for US men, did you not watch the last two friendly windows before WC, where he played against Uruguay and Saudi Arabia? Your not a real USA fan. If your not taking for granted USA for without a doubt will beat Iran! I am not saying be cocky like we were against Trinidad and Tobago in 2017!

      • “You are hilarious Vacqui how you take everything literal and assume, ass-ume maes yu look like the first three letters before ume. So you think Zimmrman should not sit?

        You’re assuming I want Zimmerman to sit.

        I don’t. I don’t know and frankly don’t care because the choice is Gregg’s not mine. It’s not like Walker’s keeping some superstar centerback on the bench. I’m hoping that whatever Gregg does about it, that it works. He’s often disappointed me.

        On the good side Zimmerman has mostly done a good job. That argues for starting him and keeping his relationship with Ream, who has been excellent, consistent. That relationship matters.

        On the other hand, he was significantly worse vs. England as opposed to what he did vs Wales. With a center back, one more mistake than you had in the game before is “significant”. Which maybe suggests he is tiring, getting found out, whatever. Other teams do watch film. If I’m Iran’s players I’m doing a lot of video study.

        But sitting Walker? That’s Gregg’s choice and his alternatives are grim. So we’ll see.

        ” Nobody sad it’s a friendly where do you all come from, putting words in people’s mouths and miscontruing what people say.”

        You implied it.
        You “need to see” a significant lineup change:
        “I need to see what Ream and CCV look like paired together and rest Dest and start Scally. Robinson-Ream-CCV-Scally. I wish he would start them against Iran and maybe Horvath to rest Turner.”

        This is the World Cup, not the friendly with Serbia. That’s where you might want to wait to switch out 50% to 75% of your back four.

        That’s a big change for a successful side. I’m not talking about subbing, I’m talking about starting.

        Zimmerman /Ream made some mistakes but overall worked out better than any other USMNT pairing in recent memory. Against real opposition in the World Cup.
        It doesn’t get any tougher for this team. I’d need a real good excuse to break up that pair. Plus you want to switch out the keeper. Ethan is great but he should not play one minute unless Matt gets hurt.

        One reason Zimmerman/ Ream work so well together is because they also work well with Matt. And you want to risk that Ethan will work as well with Z/R as Matt does. I don’t know if those three have played together before. Certainly not under such real circumstances. When your keeper is hot you don’t mess with him. And Matt is hot right now.

        “We have seen what Scally can do for US men, did you not watch the last two friendly windows before WC, where he played against Uruguay and Saudi Arabia?”

        The US is the only country that takes friendlies seriously. In an ideal world Scally doesn’t play a minute. Subbing in is one thing but barring injury, he shouldn’t start. He doesn’t offer what Dest does. I will say Scally is probably a better sub than Moore, who has a complicated love/ hate relationship with the ball and scares the hell out of me.

        “Your not a real USA fan. If your not taking for granted USA for without a doubt will beat Iran!”

        Whether I’m a real USMNT fan or not, it’s not your decision. No one died and left you as the official USMNT fan sorting hat.

        I’m on record as saying I expect Iran to beat the USMNT. I’d like the USMNT to win but I don’t think they will. I’m also on record as saying that the USMNT would beat England so I’m not sure what that says about my predictions. They should have beaten Wales and England and if they lose to Iran will have only themselves to blame.

        “I am not saying be cocky like we were against Trinidad and Tobago in 2017!”

        That TNT was a pretty bad team. Mind numbingly bad. This version of Iran is much tougher. The point is the USMNT doesn’t have to be that Arena/Ariolla cocky to lose on Tuesday.

        Besides, you can be as cocky as you want.

        It’s the player’s attitude that matters not the fans.

    • having just watched iran i would be concerned iran counters over the top and he can’t even keep up. horses for courses.

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    • I am for that too: Rest Dest and start Scally. I would also like to see CCV and Gio get a start. I saw the Iran vs Wales game twice and some of the Iranians looked more than fatigued. I am just hoping that they put so much into that Wales game that they just can’t recover. I say this because, I do not think Iran will rest too many players if at all. They are going to play with a low block going for a draw. I would put Gio in the starting line-up, because he is good at unlocking defenses. If he can do this in the Bundesliga, he can do it to an Iranian side with tired legs. There is no guarantee, but I think that the US has a better shot at winning with a fresh Gio starting

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    • i think our record against england at world cups is something like 1W 2D 0L and the result basically says we can do 2010 things perhaps. amazed at how after hiring GB to elevate the team we are back to praying for can we do the same ol’ stuff.

      it’s nice. it’s two ties. we still have a game to win is the proper context.

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      • I think what people see is a team that can play with England not just sit deep and absorb. 2010 you felt lucky to get a draw, 2022 you felt maybe we should have won. Very little was expected of that the 2010 England squad, whereas after semis in Russia and finals of Euros their expected to get pretty far.
        ————————————
        I do agree though if we don’t win Tuesday the draw means nothing. Much like Italy draw in 2006.

    • 2026 will be hard. We’re seeing in this tournament how the lack of real competition has hampered the development of this team

      After this, barring an unexpected participation in Copa America 2024, they won’t play any real tournaments until the actual World Cup itself.

      At least the 2022 edition had the Octagon WC qualifying to put some steel in them. 2026 will have nothing but a bunch of friendlies.

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  3. Respect comes with victories! USMNT has not won a game in this World Cup and after group play out scoring opponents advances teams. Great accomplishment with a draw against a heralded team but what has England done? They advanced to the WC with a group consisting of Andorra, Albania, Hungry, and Poland. England has proven they are a good team with good players but greatness has evaded them.
    USMNT needs to win Tuesday and build on that victory into group play. Then keep gaining respect with wins documented into history as World Cup accomplishments

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    • i thought they with 3 points banked and their next opponent wales, they were content to play a controlled game and try not to lose. i’ve been puzzling are they the team they were 2-3 years ago or are they their recent results. splitting the difference i see them advancing but the backfire noises i hear from their engine suggest maybe a semi or quarter team. in particular they don’t seem to be the same level defense as the euros.

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  4. – So many of us have serious concerns with the loss of Miles Robinson and Chris Richards to injury before the WC. I think we can all agree Tim Ream has done a really remarkable job next to Zimmerman at CB. He will be too old for 2026, but has already left his mark in this tournament.
    – Control of this game was in the midfield, and MMA outperformed their more famous English counterparts. I barely noticed Bellingham was on the field until he was subbed off.
    – No injuries and no suspensions for the Tuesday showdown. The US is better on paper. England put 6 past Iran. Just bring your ‘A’ game on Tuesday.

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      • Zimmerman has played outstanding defense in the first 70 minutes or so in each game, but as he tired he made a few bad plays, I think, just due to the lack of concentration that can come with exhaustion. Iran showed it can score late. I hope Zimmerman’s fitness is improving with two 90+ minute matches behind him.

      • Z is in “extra time” on a season where they were probably in camp in january and games by february, played into the playoffs, maybe this is exposing limits, or maybe he’s just tired. i do think when this is over we need to sort out a proper backline.

  5. “USMNT earns respect after outplaying highly-favored England”
    hmmm….But when it comes to the SBI faithful:
    Gregg Berhalter earns respect after England match
    Tim Ream earns respect after England match

    In other words JUST PUT SOME RESPECT ON THE NAME!!!!!!!……LOL
    Lets go, USA!!!! USA!!!!!

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