The United States’ soccer team played 1-1 with Uruguay last night, improving the impression following the game with Mexico. Gregg Berhalter’s guys were looking much better than against El Tri and showed all that they have the quality to compete with top national teams.
It could be said that the US team looked solid on the pitch of Busch Stadium. They had better statistical parameters and also left a better impression than the guests.
However, it was Uruguay who reached the lead first. Five minutes into the second halftime, a quick counter-attack of the guests ended with Brian Rodriguez’s execution. The LAFC’s teenager, who debuted for his national team last Friday, displayed why he is one of the biggest talents in this South American country. He avoided Aaron Long and beat Brad Guzan to give Uruguay a lead.
But this didn’t demoralize the home team, who continued playing in the same rhythm. The American players were determined to level the score, which they did some 11 minutes before the end.
Following chaos in Uruguay’s box, in which Jose Gimenez tried to clear the ball but hit one of the US players, Jordan Morris reacted the best, placing the ball into the net with his chest. It was his sixth career international goal.
This comeback was significant for Berhalter, who knew that the Uruguayan side is very powerful once having a lead.
“The challenge today was the mentality of the Uruguayans is very strong, and it’s very warm out today,” Berhalter said. “We’re going to play qualifiers where it’s very warm. The capacity to battle through the challenge was very important.”
The visitors had a chance to strike first, but an early and promising counter-attack wasn’t executed properly. Then came the opportunities for the American side. The initial one, and the best in the first 45 minutes was when Cristian Roldan sent an excellent header towards Fernando Muslera’s net, but the Galatasaray’s goalie reacted superbly.
Tyler Boyd had a chance to strike in the 22nd minute, yet his strong shot went just above the post.
We need to mention a controversial decision of the referee in the finish of the first halftime. Uruguay’s Rodrigo Betancur handballed in the box, but there was no penalty for the hosts. Even though the entire team protested, the referee Ricardo Montero didn’t point towards the penalty spot.
The US head coach was pleased with the way his team played, and he decided to speak about the positive things at the press conference. According to Berhalter, his team showed a desire to fight against one very good and tough rival.
“But more importantly it was about the tenacity of our guys, the relentless next of our guys to fight. Uruguay is a team that fights for every single inch.”
The challenges for Team USA continue at the end of the year, when they play against Cuba and Canada at home, in the CONCACAF Nations League. However, this is not the primary focus of Berhalter and his crew. The qualifications for the 2022 World Cup are the main concern for this team.
After missing the tournament in Russia, the US team wants to bounce back and reserve the ticket to Qatar. Berhalter’s primary mission is to qualify for the World Cup, and anything besides that would be recognized as a massive failure. Trophy of the CONCACAF Nations League wouldn’t mean anything if the initial goal isn’t fulfilled.