What psychopath calls the long-awaited US national team’s game on Black Friday against England a goalless draw? I’ll have whatever you’re drinking. After recovering from that stiff cocktail, and realizing that Matt Turner and Jordan Pickford’s conceding wasn’t just a quibble, it had a simple consequence for Wednesday’s US group stage final. Three against Iran: win and USMNT advance to stage knockout. Pass away? It will be on next flight out of Qatar. Tie? Who plays for a tie? It will depend on the goal difference for your score.
The Americans’ play in Qatar will draw many comparisons to their efforts at the 2010 World Cup. Draw with England, yes, that game with Robert Green’s all-time error, and Slovenia started Group match start. The exact same stakes were equalized for the USMNT’s group final against Algeria. An extra-time goal by Landon Donovan was the difference as the United States went from eliminated to group winner with a single shot. A goal against Iran could very well be the difference for the United States.
The USMNT’s goal in Friday’s match proves it can stick with the Three Lions. In the four years Gregg Berhalter led the Yanks, they had never met an opponent of such quality. There’s no such thing as a world-class team, especially in a competitive environment. Not only will Americans stick with the country they won independence from, the United States will win under the Queensberry Rule. The first 20 minutes of the USMNT were difficult but they did not concede a goal. Then the Stars and Stripes beat Union Jack better.
While Great Britain sparred, all that stood in the middle of the knockout round was Iran. What American fan wouldn’t have won against Iran to make it to the round of 16 a week ago? You will go crazy if you want more. Iran has not proved strong in either match so far of the tournament. The United States had time in both games against the United States.k. where it looks organized and scary. It only gives one goal.
Leaving the match against Wales, the Americans felt lucky get a point. After the draw with England, the Americans must have felt they could play with anyone. And their next match is against the team that conceded 6 goals against England. If the United States loses to Iran, Berhalter will not return to the United States with a job. His exaggerated thinking about splitting the World Cup into two tournaments, the group stage and the knockout stage, will be a great benchmark against which to judge the show going forward. Without seeing the USMNT in either of those phases, Berhalter should not be used.
After two draws, Berhalter had to make some changes to the starting lineup. Do enough not to break the chemistry and facilitate the appropriate shift to score more points. Haji Wright failed to do so at striker and Josh Sargent looked comparable to Wales at least. We have yet to see Berhalter’s favorite player in the league, Jesus Ferreira. I wouldn’t be shocked if he made a big change against Iran. USMNT has been looking for a stable striker who can score in big games for a long time. It will not be resolved at this World Cup. Throw everything against the wall and see what sticks. Another change I’m going to make is for Tim Weah to come on off the bench and get Gio Reyna or Brenden Aaronson to come on for him. Although Weah has scored the United States’ only goal at the World Cup to date, he hasn’t done much against England. The USMNT should provide Iran with a group of personnel that they cannot spy on together.
With that new look USMNT, the must win scenario seems much more achievable. Let’s not completely eliminate Iran here, it’s a united team. It did more than enough to make the World Cup. Nor should we pretend that Americans shouldn’t win this game so easily. We’ve seen one of the best efforts from USMNT in recent memory, despite not scoring, in the match against England. Now the Yanks have to do it again with their World Cup lives at stake.