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USMNT preparing for “great test” against Oman to close September window


The U.S. men’s national team struggled to break down Uzbekistan in majority of Saturday’s friendly victory in St. Louis and now a different challenge awaits it in St. Paul on Tuesday.

Oman opposes the USMNT in the second and final friendly of the September international window. The West Asian country is ranked No. 73 in the world and is fresh off a 2-1 victory over Palestine last week in its first of two matches this month.

Branko Ivankovic’s squad will bring a different set of tactics to Allianz Field this week and the USMNT will need to be ready for a strong 90 minute performance.

“Oman is completely different than Uzbekistan,” USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said Monday in his pre-match press conference. “Uzbekistan was a 5-3-1, at times a 5-2-3, but a very difficult block to break down.

“Defending with four players on the wing, very compact,” he added. “Oman has played a 4-4-2 diamond and they have a very, very dynamic counterattack. Part of the emphasis in this camp was finishing attacks against the low block of Uzbekistan, and now preventing transitions against Oman.”

The USMNT rode an early first-half goal from Tim Weah to take a 1-0 lead against Uzbekistan before adding two late goals through Ricardo Pepi and Christian Pulisic. However, the Americans were lucky to not be pegged back on multiple occasions in the match as goalkeeper Matt Turner made three saves and also received help from his post once.

Oman has posted a 7-2-2 record in 11 matches this year, reaching the Gulf Cup Final before losing to Iraq 3-2 in extra time. Germany was Oman’s toughest opponent over the past two years and Ivanovic’s squad only suffered a 1-0 loss to the European nation ahead of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.

Berhalter specifically referenced that result and praised the all-around abilities in the Oman squad ahead of his second match back in charge of the USMNT.

“It’s going to be a great test for us,” Berhalter said. “We watched the game against Germany where Germany won 1-0, but [Oman] absolutely battered Germany with their transition moments. They were all over [Germany] in that game, so it’s gonna be important for us.”


  1. what i want to see is more like the flicks and turns play right at the start of the second half where aaronson has a throughball that is just a tad off. grand total of about 4 passes from where the play started with the wingback. on the floor, pretty, not uglyball, just more direct. i think it’s tentative as heck to work a ball quickly down a wing to about 35 yds out wide then put your foot on the ball and wait. from a “cross-happy” standpoint, at least it’s not all whacked lofted crosses, there are some diagonals (then left back or volleyed across) or occasionally they are having the bright idea from further out of swerving a skipper ball behind the line.

    but generally it’s more lively second half because aaronson is making some vertical runs on and off the ball — like reyna this summer — and it’s not all “perpindicular” play from the flag.

    and now he just scored off the kick.

    • As I said in my very limited scout, Oman was really weak on crosses to heads. Berhalter’s comments at half was play it more up the middle and on the floor. Wes gave some insight post game. Said they were trying to overload a side then quickly switch to the opposite side and then hit the #10 in the pocket. It never quit came off tonight to Tillman but it was the basic idea that Dest’s rebound fell to Balo. If they can make that play to Gio that’s a start. Actually playing with a 10 shows Gregg maybe has realized we can’t be so one dimensional. Until Pulisic trusts his FB those quick movements won’t happen on one side. Hard to gain much Oman wasn’t that interested in defending especially after 2nd goal. Aaronson’s goal pretty lucky, (if you remember I said they were terrible defending set pieces, not because I’m a savant but because it was obvious) if the wall defenders just stay solid it hits him in the stomach.

  2. Seems to have kind of gone under the radar but El Salvador fired Hugo Perez. He did t hold back on the inadequacies of the fed and domestic league. It was fine when they were winning, when that stopped it wasn’t.

    • “winning?” based on what i see they had barely won anything since gold cup 21. they hadn’t won a game since fall 22. winless at gold cup 23 out in group. lost their first two NL games. even if they looked prettier now to snob eyes, 7/8 in quali was meh. i think they looked at the math and were like, wow, we thought maybe we’d have a shot at qualifying this time, and now we’re almost out of NL 2 games in. can him now and start rebuilding for WCQ while you can.

      i think some of this convo is people applauding their “direction” regardless of “results” which sounds familiar. the job isn’t play pretty it’s win soccer games.

      it’s kind of like hearing germany in october talked up like a sure thing beast and not a mess that just fired their coach, and who knows what shows up next month. i expect a game then but sometimes all this talking up of opponents seems like expectations management. to me if we can’t start beating good team none of the golden dreams are happening and what’s the point.

      • He won something 6 of his first 7 which is what got them into the octagonal. He was 2-2-1 in the first five after qualifying but you can’t go 0-3-7 and expect to stay around. He did a ton of work to bring in dual nats and had to do a lot of fundraising on his own just to keep them going. Remember when they didn’t have winter clothing for their qualifying in Ohio. Their league is the worst in Central America (okay after Belize) and the Fed is run by the league owners (literally, not the conspiracy theories US fans throw around) it wasn’t about style it was about punching above their weight just to get a draw. You could put Pep or Mourinho in there and they wouldn’t qualify.

  3. Well here’s what I know about Oman. They beat Saudi Arabia in January which had just beaten Argentina. Then June they lost to Uzbekistan 3-0.
    They beat Palastine 2-1 last Wednesday in Oman so they’ve had some travel. The team is mostly made up of players from the 3 clubs that finished top of the domestic league last year. However, it looks like one of those teams disbanded after finishing 2nd last year. It’s hard to find lineups and they seem to be a bunch different variations 4-3-1-2, 4-2-3-1, 4-3-3, 4-1-3-2 so that just leads me to believe the formations are just guesswork from SofaScore. Against German right before the WC they lost 1-0 using a 4-3-1-2. Germany had 71% possession and 19 shots to 7 (0 on target). Remarkably the fouls were 17-2 so Oman was being very kind to the WC bound squad. According to Footystats the xG was 2.40-0.74 so they proved hard for Germany to break down. Half of the German shots came from outside the box. Took Germany 79 minutes to score and Oman missed one unmarked from Wondo range. Of course Germany hasn’t been shrouding themselves in glory of late either. Found highlights of the Gulf Cup Final against Iraq. They certainly look like they’ll play a bit more than the Uzbeks at least have a higher line. They look shaky on set piece defending. The keeper looked great against Germany but ok against Iraq, and a stinker vs the Saudis. That match looked like a lot of fun 3 g in extra time Iraq taking the lead Oman answered Iraq just before the death to win. Huge crowd go find it on YouTube. Their captain MF Harib #23 has a golazo winner vs the Saudis but it’s his 1g in 55 caps so. Ok finally watched extended highlights vs Oman. They defended really poorly on aerial crosses #10 Mashiropov had a brace and #3 Ajinov had a goal. They only showed 2 chances the whole match for Oman. Side note any MLS clubs needing an experienced RB who can get into the attack should call Ajinov. He’d be great for Wilfred Nancy in Columbus. Ok that’s over 1/2 an hour of watching Oman on YouTube. Go! Go! USA!

    • germany generally looked trash in qatar and just fired their coach, that’s hardly convincing. the winter tournament results look all wacky and upside down like it was “B” team stuff. like is the gold cup predictive of anything in north america? i mean, iraq wins it all? iraq got destroyed by mexico. so i get very little from the saudi result. vs. the uzbek results, close CR and iran games, consistent low scores, bunch of wins and ties, few losses, hinted to me they would play us tough unless we figured out some trick that worked. signals i am getting on oman’s results list are unimpressive.

      i did have the same response re uzbek #3 as he made CP look bad. but we also reverted to static iso ball as opposed to running attackers at people with a full head of steam from upfield.


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