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Berhalter reveals USMNT lineup to face Uzbekistan


Gregg Berhalter didn’t keep any secrets on Friday when asked about who would get the starting nod in the U.S. men’s national team’s first international friendly of the September schedule.

Christian Pulisic, Folarin Balogun, and Timothy Weah will headline the USMNT’s attacking front on Saturday night at CITYPARK, Berhalter revealed Friday afternoon in his pre-match press conference. All three players have begun their club seasons with new teams as Pulisic and Weah made the move to Serie A while Balogun earned a permanent move to Ligue 1.

Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah will both start in midfield while the third spot will come down to either Luca De La Torre or Tanner Tessmann. If De La Torre can shake off a calf injury, he will get the starting nod, but if he cannot, Tessmann will make his first senior start.

Matt Turner remains first-choice at goalkeeper while the backline in front of him will feature Sergino Dest, Chris Richards, Tim Ream, and Antonee Robinson. Saturday will mark the first match back for Berhalter after Anthony Hudson and B.J. Callaghan led the program on an interim basis earlier this year.

“I think the emotions were probably last week before you come into camp, and then when you get into camp you just feel so comfortable, whether it’s with the staff or with the players,” Berhalter said Friday.

“You pick right up where you left off, and we built some really strong relationships over these last four years. It was good to get in the camp and rekindle them and see the staff. The whole group has been working at a really high level for these last eight months and it’s been really nice to see from afar.”

The USMNT already knows its schedule for the next two international windows with Oman also taking on the Americans next week in St. Paul, Minnesota. Germany and Ghana will visit the USMNT during the October window before the 2023-24 Concacaf Nations League quarterfinals begin for the two-time defending champions in November.

With no qualifying cycle to take place in, the USMNT will look to face teams from all around the world in order to be fully prepared for the 2026 FIFA World Cup. The next World Cup is still 33 months away, but Berhalter already has his mind set to taking the team to new heights with the competition on home soil.

“For us, it’s really the work we can do in the next three years to build the group that when we go into the World Cup, we’re confident that we can beat the elite of international soccer,” Berhalter said. “That’s what it’s going to take to do what we’re talking about doing, right? If we want to go to rounds that we’ve never been before, it’s going to be we have to beat those teams and we use the next three years to build the team up to gain the experiences that we’re confident that we can actually do that.

“When we say change soccer in America forever, for me it’s both on the field and off the field,” he added. “We have a fantastic group of guys. I think the world got to see that in the last World Cup with their humility and how they act and what type of people they are and I’m excited for America to get to know the group better both on and off the field.”


  1. We got an early goal and look pretty decent until DeLaTorre went out.
    Then it was a totally different game until extra time vs. 10 men.
    Even though there’s no Adams or Reyna, for us to look that bad is ridiculous.

  2. Did Luca De La Torre break his nose or was it just a cut on his nose? I hope he is okay for next game. Tessman wow, I was not impressed a lot of giveaways and he was playing very slow and lazy. Would rather have seen Tillman or Aaronson instead in that Central position.

  3. Berhalter is back and the team once again struggles and looks stiff (no creativity, too rigid, too predictable). Again we play a 4-3-3 without any central creativity. Instead we were trying to fizz in crosses over & over again without success.
    Wingers & Outside backs were too often occupying the same space which made it easy to defend and easy to counter attack.
    Both Hudson and BJ had this same group of players playing free and creating goal scoring chances. Conversely Gregg again had the team/players playing down to the opponents level.

    • Hudson only had the team creating chances against Grenada to be fair. The 3 g in his other 4 matches certainly could be described as “against the run of play”.
      Gio is the difference though, his tidiness in tight spaces and his ability to unlock defenses with his passing was missing yesterday.

  4. First of all, why doesn’t SBI have an article on this game? I can’t recall a game where a team won by 3 goals and looked so underwhelming. The Uzbeks were obviously a better team, but the US was saved by Turner and the corner of the goal. The Uzbeks could have easily scored 4 while 2 of our goals were when we were a man up. So many poor giveaways by the US. As the game was winding down, I was trying to come up with any US player who had a good game and could only think of Aronson and Pepi and they only played a small part of the game. Some players looked good for a while at points, but overall, didn’t show much. McKennie and Weah looked good on their goal, but showed little after that. Pulisic was mostly invisible. Tessman looked pretty bad, Ream had a horrible giveaway that should have been a goal, the US was lucky. Jedi was okay, but only that. It was hard to believe that all the US players play in Europe, mostly in top leagues. The passing and movement by the Uzbeks was so much better. What does it say that Turner would take a ball, run up to the top of the box and try to pass it forward, but had no one to throw it to. When it comes to potential vs. reality, this is one of the worst performances from a US team I can recall.

  5. 1. “Putting 9 guys inside the 6 snobs” had to love this from the Uzbeks.
    2. The plan to spread the deep set backline by pushing the wings wide didn’t work. Like at all, like it actually hurt. Just ended up with the FBs and Ws in the same space and too in line with the 8s and Balo to connect.
    3. Uzbekistan was really good at tackling the ball away. They US would try to dribble by and boop they’d lose the ball.
    4. This is how I imagine the post game speech went. “Anyone seen Gregg?” “He said he had to make call.” ……. “Hey Gio I know it’s late over there. I just thought we could forget about the mediators and just have a chat or you know whatever. Anyway your’re probably sleeping and I’ve got to go talk to the guys so let’s talk soon, ok bye”
    5. Lund was on for like 10 minutes but was the first guy in every celebration. First to hug Pepi, first to help Malick up, first to celebrate with Pulisic.

    • 5. For all the St. Louis is the Soccer Capital, the crowd was pretty weak. They showed up in the smoke and the heat at the GC. I get it’s a terrible kick off time and it’s Uzbekistan but that was not a good look.
      6. Sounded like maybe Turner was leaving after the match for the birth of his 2nd but he was vague.

    • the one time lund had to defend someone that energetic 3 kid cut back inside, got space, and a shot off. i’m going to call it incomplete and undecided — there’s a reason i said we need defender minutes to tell anything — but whether they run over to celebrate is low down my list especially if they aren’t celebrating their own assist.

      • It was just funny. He was clearly excited to be there. The scout I’d gotten from people in the know is that he’s a project. Hasn’t adjusted yet to the speed of the game in Serie B and we saw from Tessmann there’s apparently a big gap in the speed of Serie B and NTs.

      • Doing a rewatch we were actually really good for the first 30 mins. Contrary to some opinions Luca was doing very well and unlocking them by finding space between lines and then quickly progressing. The Uzbeks were very organized and hustled to get people back behind the ball. Until Luca goes out they had the one shot from #3. I’m not blaming Tessmann for the regression, it appeared Uzbekistan used the injury timeout to make some adjustments. They certainly moved their line up further after the injury. We then have a couple bad turnovers to give them confidence.

    • i have played 11 in the box teams and sorry that was not it.

      sorry but it was just a fundamentally sound hustling defensive squad, who was going to give us a game, and we should have known that from 1-2 L to costa rica and 0-1 L to iran. they didn’t pack it in that deep, they played a defensive formation and each did their jobs.

      one of the reasons i was saying “go to goal” is based on what i saw at the end that was a soft keeper but if all you do for 70′ is whack crosses in you will never know that. that and to me soccer is get the ball in the box and create chances, possession is overrated unless you can pass teams off the field which we can’t.

  6. i have decided the fundamental tension is they often seem to want to press and chase early but then they seem to want to grind teams down like today and i don’t think the two actually work together.

    i thought this was regression from nations league with double 6s and a 10 where we were going to goal more. this was more keepaway soccer in which case you need to gameplan to conserve energy defensively and win later.

    • there was a sequence second half where dest and weah are turning their defenders in spins by the corner flag…….but then no one uses the separation to do anything, go to goal, get to the line, etc.

      we got the 2 goals late because they went down to 10 and the subs we sent on starting going straight to goal. most of that game, though, it’s like, what’s the plan to score here?

      that was a well-coached and hard-working fundamentals uzbek team but like you’re saying there was little dynamism or combining to net. the “fresh” ideas seemed to be to revive the passing 6 a la 2019 in the absence of adams.

      to me we lack creativity and are too predictable. the alternative is be fast and just run by people. to me if the plan is whack crosses in they need a vazquez in the middle who can do something with that.

    • i also would swear we had solved backup or maybe even starting 6 this summer with musah deputizing and couldn’t be bothered today even when LDLT went off hurt. kind of like why am i not watching miles in the back.

  7. tad absurd monaco is ordering us around on balogun minutes when they run him out there as a 16′ sub when they have him. btw it’s our window our choice. this isn’t a january or june friendly.

  8. the uzbeks have been going after ream and jedi. i was being lectured about one of them, wasn’t i?

    passing 6 is the only change i see tactics-wise, which is working less well with tessman now in. otherwise a halting cross-and-defend effort against a fairly plodding but intense and dogged uzbek team.

    LDLT as passing 6 lasted a grand total of 30′ before the scrappy uzbeks broke him, which was fairly predictable. does GB consider your 6 will have to defend sometime? most of the time? if it worked today who else did he think this would work against? my memory of this kid on defense was him getting bullied around….

    • He got a broken nose because a teammate collided with the Uzbek player and he collided with Luca’s face. It was hardly a “glass player” being broken.

      • okay, i call bs. he had already been muscled off 2 balls in 30 minutes before that. he has a history going back to previous games of that happening. yes, this was unfortunate. but sorry, bs, i think if you put a little soft runt at 6 he might get shoved around or hurt.

        i think this is predictable. period. it is a man’s position and you put a soft player in it. why don’t we un-retire nguyen and play him as a 6????? or adu???

      • Just about everyone got muscled off the ball today. He got hurt not because two players collided and he get nailed in the face. I’m sorry his injury doesn’t fit your narrative. Just because actual fact doesn’t align with your fantasy doesn’t make it bs.

      • “i forgot sacha kljestan or mixx. let’s have them try and play DM.”

        Mix was not a DM. His instinct were better used as a central attacking midfielder more like a #8. Luca who wasn’t really being used as a DM is more suited than Mix for the role he was playing today.

        Sacha’s best period was when he played in a double pivot for Anderlecht but I wouldn’t say he was suited for use as an orthodox #6.

  9. I just have a feeling Tanner Tessmann is going to start, combine well and have a good game with the first team. Given his physical attributes, sizes and style of play this should be interesting against a team that beat Bolivia and tied Venezuela.
    Lets Goooooooooo!!!!!!

    • per usual GB has to show he’s smarter than the rest of us so i am going to watch mr. glass LDLT and then tessmann at 6 instead of the obvious musah we figured out this summer…..tessmann is a serviceable 6 but to me the move should have been put on an AM and push musah back…..

    • Looked not very good. Some bad give aways, often held the ball too long or tried squeeze a ball between multiple defenders and it didn’t come off.

  10. I totally disagree with this philosophy. The point of a friendly (especially one so far removed from an actual competition) is to gain information on who can best fill all 23 spots on the roster. Essentially playing your first team makes choosing the 2nd more difficult, which is irresponsible because it is usually harder to determine who should be cut rather than who should start.

    Consequences of Berhalter’s approach are that it makes it much harder for players to earn a spot on the team or get promoted within the team and risks setting the current team in stone, which is something that happened with the women’s team to their determent. Additionally, injury risk is real. Lots of US players have sustained lengthy while serving the national team (most recently Gio Reyna) and many of our top teams have history of injury, so why squeeze of another round of Russian roulette when much can be gained for not doing so?

    I think the motivation behind Greggs lineup is to rack up a few easy wins in order to claim that things are great and to allow the USSF to promote games and the by featuring all of the “big names.” Sort of like what happened with the women’s team this past world cup cycle.

    • That teams do what you’re suggesting is myth. I know there are loud voices on here that try to make you think they do but no one does this. Messi went the full 90 in friendlies vs Panama, Curcao, and New Zealand this spring. We had basically a reserve team get a run of games during GC plus January matches and El Cashico against Mexico in April. You also will have Olympics camp next month for younger players. Berhalter played over 100 players in his first three years. Berhalter tried heavily rotating players, remember at Panama in qualifying. His problem wasn’t not giving players chances it’s the second tier being fairly average and one dimensional.
      Your comparison to the women’s team is laughable. Rapinoe 38, Ertz 31 had been retired for 2 seasons, Morgan 34, that these three couldn’t lead the squad to the third straight WC was fairly predictable considering how they played in Olympics and that they were not playing well for their clubs. Comparing them to Pulisic 24, Weah 23, Balo 22, Reyna 20?

      • sorry i do not consider that pressing BS GB tried in panama to be “rotation.”

        i think what you don’t get is the idea is to be conducting the tryout now and by the end be set and gelling and tweaking. we have a backwards tendency to lean on prior history at the start and then try at the very end to patch bad decisions within that. at the end of the cycle it’s too late. that’s why the OP and i say TRY IT NOW.

        you’re wrong. you’re wrong. watch big 5 league teams during the window. watch a college team in its preseason and non-conference openers. they try things. pro teams will then buy players for positions they see holes. college teams will change the personnel or the formation. the idea isn’t to win today. the idea is to set this up to be on a roll years 2 and 3 going into the world cup.

        i wholeheartedly agree with the OP that the fanboy like obsession with name brands leaves this team stuck in single tactics with trouble adjusting, and also means we struggle to cope with injuries. despite, as the OP notes, abundant injuries. you even routinely use those injuries as a shield when people complain about selections. then maybe prepare the team like the first choice won’t play every minute. that’s both in terms of reps and caps.

        i feel like the US has regressed on this because of a mix of fanboys who want to see the hype players all the time, and a sort of inferiority complex where we don’t trust we can get results with anything less than the first team.

        you also miss that the test gets graded in 3 years. you keep mentioning argentina’s methods now. yes, they are doubling down on an old team. ask me about them in 2026. i think it may be like belgium going one cycle too many. you may see things different at the endgame.

      • College soccer does tryouts. Cool! Guess what this ain’t college soccer. You want to play get out of Hungary or Norway or 3 division in Germany. Establish your self in a good league and play well. Until you do that no you don’t get a tryout.

  11. About what I would have done for Game 1 with the exception being I probably would have started Malik Tillman at the 10 and played a double pivot behind him with Musah and McKennie.

    Gregg’s lineup pretty much guarantees there will be no double pivot, and no creative force or scoring threat (aside from Tessmann if he starts with that long-range cannon of his) from the midfield.

    I’m genuinely curious to see if our problems doing anything in the final third, getting our striker isolated, and creating actual scoring chances suddenly re-appear now that Berhalter Ball is back. Oman and Uzbekistan rank #73 and #74 in the FIFA rankings, respectively – one spot ahead of El Salvador, by way of comparison. If we struggle to create against them like we always seem to against El Salvador it’s probably a glaring red-flag for this team’s prospects going forwards under Gregg. BJ Callahan already demonstrated pretty conclusively this past summer our team is more than capable of effective – and often stylish – offensive play against teams far better than either.

    I doubt very much the fans are going to tolerate another cycle of mediocre crap. The expectations aren’t just coming from Gregg; if the team reverts to its old frustrating form I suspect the fans are going to go toxic and turn on him. And they should. We passed on a whole lot of intriguing guys to bring Gregg back.

    This is where the rubber starts meeting the road, IMHO.

    • yeah it’s weird when i read response like ream was a god in qatar or we are awesome. we got drubbed out of the round of 16 and the defense that round looked like swiss cheese.

      at least some of what i am reading reminds me of the sarachan amnesia last cycle. we played 9 months without GB. during a lot of that period ream was out hurt. we had a good nations league final. reverting to ream and some of this other stuff is basically 9 months of amnesia. we really back to talking “qatar” and with rosy glasses?

      the caretaking process is a waste if we ignore the players we tried and games we played within it.


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