AL RAYYAN, Qatar — If someone isn’t familiar with the results of the opening match of the World Cup between USA and Wales stood in the heart of Ahmad bin Ali Stadium afterwards, they could easily have assumed the match had been won.
Players from both teams were asked to go around a mixed-use area filled with journalists — think of a sort of Hollywood premiere setting — and field questions about the game. And as that process unfolded, the attitudes of the teams diverged.
As for the Welsh players who got through, they have a positive, playful energy. They’ve just gone 46 minutes without posing much of an attack threat against the national legend Gareth Bale earned and converted a penalty into the country’s first World Cup goal in 64 years. Wales manager Rob Page made it clear before the game that they wanted a single point and they left with that mission accomplished.
The mood of the US team is clearly less enthusiastic. Undoubtedly, it was a wasted opportunity, and even when many players tried to put the draw into a positive context, they still proved less authentic than their opponents.
American midfielder Brenden AaronsonHis description of the dressing room vibe may reflect a broader feeling from the fan base: “Disappointed,” he said. “Everybody was pretty disappointed.”
If the United States were given a point before the game started, it would not necessarily be considered a bad result. Under the current format, starting in 1998, the teams that drew in the opening match will advance 59% of the time. It keeps the US in a good position to advance but won’t do anything to quell any worries about meeting that standard.
Considering how the game plays out, a feeling of disappointment after the game is inevitable.
“It’s tough. To get that goal, and then you feel like you’ve got the game and you’re going to win the game, and that’s tough,” Aaronson said. “It’s a punch in the face and it is. But we have to go ahead and look at the positives and look at the movie, what we can do even better. Overall, I think that’s it. was a really good performance.”
The weight of World Cup expectations is immense — almost as intense as the expectations the players set for themselves — and that’s where the inexperience of the youth team at this stage comes in. most likely to be felt. Tyler Adams, the 23-year-old captain wiser than the team’s age, seems to understand that. Since he joined the team in 2017, he has always been able to apply the appropriate perspective to any situation he finds himself in and that hasn’t changed after Monday’s game.
“We have to stay disciplined. We have to stay calm,” he said. “We have to know that it’s a long tournament, at the end of the day. And we have to play game by game. Going into the next game, obviously we will try to recover quickly, recover quickly, but mentally, you just need to stay on track, focus. Also, be satisfied with the performance at the end of the day — a point is better than nothing.”
Taking any other stance is unlikely to do much.
The change of tactics changed the game
While scouting the United States, Page concluded that his team would succeed by outsmarting the American press and playing in midfield. It was a serious miscalculation, and in part he attributed it to the US striker Josh Sargent move deeper into the midfield than expected, eliminating passes into the midfield. As a result, in the first half, America controlled the tempo, controlled the ball for the most part and, more importantly, prevented Wales from creating any dangerous stunts.
“We didn’t have any players on the ball and we had [to defend] Attack after attack,” Page said. “We can’t play 90 minutes like that; it could be two or three [goals for the US].”
However, despite US coach Gregg Berhalter’s superior tactical plan, the Americans failed to take advantage of the advantage in the way they should have. Goal — a nice sequence with Christian Pulisic drive forward and slide in Tim Weah — comes in a transitional time, not outside of the accumulation of the United States.
Page made two significant changes at halftime. First bring back 6-foot-5 Kieffer Moore to play more directly and secondly to squeeze the US backline with three players instead of two. With Wales forced to throw more players forward in search of an equalizer, that created more space for the US in their attack. More than anything that has happened on the defensive, the Americans’ inability to exploit that is worrisome from a forward-looking perspective.
“We had our moments in the transition and the last pass in the final third wasn’t quite there,” the midfielder Tim Ram speak. “It’s a new experience, of course, but at the same time, we’ve had our chances with 5v4 and 4v3 and we haven’t done enough. It’s not even to see the game end — they I think. there was another shot on target other than the penalty. To limit them as much as we did and still get one point, yeah, listen, that’s disappointing.”
Blame or recognition can be a tough game for anyone who doesn’t fully understand the intricacies of game planning. It’s hard to argue that Berhalter didn’t have the right starting line-up and the team set up with dominant tactics in the first 45 minutes. Once Page made his changes, however, the United States was largely in a passive position, and Berhalter’s adjustments and substitutions to account for that did not have a positive effect. It was a failure that Berhalter must possess.
Changes to expect for England
In general, Berhalter does not notify players of lineup decisions until the day before the game. That was the process against Wales, who had a light training session in preparation for the game, and it will likely be the same approach ahead of Friday’s game against England. Adams said he hopes there will be some rotation.
An expected change: Aaronson in the starting lineup. Weston McKennie got off to a good start against Wales, but he quickly fell apart after a few weeks out of the league. Aaronson’s energy and dribbling skills are an improvement over McKennie’s and should make this a simple change, with McKennie being able to come on off the bench for whoever is decided. by the game situation.
As a striker, Sargent didn’t do enough to guarantee a second start, although that is certainly still possible. If Berhalter chooses to make the change, the expectation here is that it will involve Jesus Ferreirabased on how the coach expressed his opinion about FC Dallas designated player and haji wright. Berhalter praised Ferreira’s ability in the team’s preferred playstyle and liked the style change offered by using the larger Wright from the bench.
Gio Reyna doesn’t seem like a good place to start. If that’s the case, it’s hard to explain why he wasn’t used as a substitute against Wales. While allowing the game’s ability, Berhalter said, “I can imagine [Reyna] play some part in the game against England.” That’s not exactly how a coach usually talks about a player he wants to play for more than 60 minutes, but the fact that a coach is not entirely open when discussing trauma is not unheard of.
Assuming the Destination matches, the back route will not change. Walker ZimmermanHis momentary misjudgment was a bad moment that could have cost the team two points, but that had no effect on the rest of the game, in which the four defenders played in a form. very high.