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USMNT ends international break with more questions than answers

To Doug McIntyre
FOX Sports and Soccer Writer

In the final game before the 2022 FIFA World Cup kicks off in Qatar in November, the US men’s national team finished in a scoreless draw with Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain, on Tuesday.

The draw follows last week’s embarrassing 2-0 defeat to Japan and saw them qualify for four of the world’s biggest sporting events after reaching the second round at both the 2010 and 2014 World Cups. It raises serious questions about how far Americans who missed the A few years ago — you can attend this year’s event.

Here are three thoughts on Tuesday’s game.

about Gio Reina Sub-Compound US Frustration

Not winning or playing well on either of the last two tune-ups is bad enough. Things get even worse when we see Gio Reina leave the field on Tuesday for an unscheduled half-hour shift and head straight for the locker room.

“He felt some tightness and came out for precautionary reasons,” said U.S. coach Greg Verhalter, who confirmed that Reina had a hamstring cramp.

That’s not a good sign.

The 19-year-old, who has missed most of the 2021-22 season with a hamstring problem, never planned to play 90 minutes in both of September’s friendlies. However, Reina should have at least made it into the first half against Saudi Arabia, as he did against Blue against Samurai last week.

On the one hand, it would be wise for the US staff not to give one of their most talented attacking players a chance. Meanwhile at Worlds he is less than eight weeks away from the Cup. If he’s not back to full fitness by then, it’s entirely fair to wonder how realistic it is to expect Reina to play a major role for his country in Qatar.

Reyna is one of the few Americans who can change the game on her own. But it’s not ideal. As his two bouts have shown, the USMNT needs all the help it can get.

The Americans improved their defense, but their attacks became sloppy again

Burhalter and his players were quick to admit that their performance against Japan was unacceptable.

“Instead of coming out and really performing like a team, we were a little bit insecure,” Verhalter said at the post-match press conference.

At least the USA didn’t take a single shot against Japan, but they made a few shots this game.

Like last week, they only created one really dangerous scoring chance. Like last week, Jesús Ferreira, who came out ahead of Ricardo Pepi’s ineffectual hour mark, couldn’t change that.

And Tuesday’s attacking trouble came after star winger Christian Pulisic missed the game last Friday with a mild illness and played all but the final 15 minutes of the contest.

Defensively, the coach persisted with the centre-back pairing of Aaron Long and Walker Zimmerman, but moved Serginho Dest to the left from his normal position at right-back to create space for DeAndre Yedlin. The Americans didn’t give the ball as often as they had in previous outings, but there were some nerve-wracking moments when keeper Matt Turner was forced to save them. Latter half.

USMNT needs to do much better at the World Cup

The hope for the U.S. is that two solid starters (Yunus Musser, Anthony Robinson), who were missing this month due to injury, will not only do well when the curtain rises on the main event, but their Existence helps restore a part of self. – In this two games he lacked the conviction that Burhalter said.

That said, America will need more than that to win group play at the World Cup. Pulisic, Tyler his Adams, Weston his McKennie also have to avoid injuries and sharpen their form in this eight week of his, and have to carry his teammates on his back in the process.

“I know when they are convinced that we are a very dangerous team and a very dynamic team.

Can this young USA national team prove that it’s the moment that matters most? It’s hard to be sure based on this latest evidence. For the Americans to succeed in Qatar, they have to play like a different team than September.

One of North America’s leading football journalists, Doug McIntyre has covered the US men’s and women’s national teams at multiple FIFA World Cups. He was a staff writer at ESPN and Yahoo Sports before joining FOX Sports in 2021. Follow him on Twitter @ByDoug McIntyre.

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