The odds were stacked against the United States Men’s National Team heading into their second match of the FIFA 2022 World Cup on Friday as the Americans faced No.5-ranked England. For only the second time in U.S. World Cup history, the USMNT held a European opponent to no goals. The last time the team kept a clean sheet was in 1950 when the U.S. team defeated England 1-0.
Now with two draws under their belts, the USMNT is in a position to advance to the Round of Sixteen with a win on Tuesday over Iran. Iran lost in the opener to England, then defeated Wales earlier Friday by a score of 2-0. England currently holds 4 points, Iran has three points, the U.S. sits at two, and Wales, holding just a single point, has been eliminated following the loss to Iran.
WHAT TO KNOW
England has never beaten the U.S. in the World Cup in three opportunities. While the Three Lions have earned 12 scoreless draws in World Cup history, this was the first time the U.S. team has accomplished the feat. The clean sheet was a first for the U.S. since 1950, having conceded at least one score in each of the previous 18 matches.
The draw means the U.S. must win against Iran to prevent being eliminated in the first round. Any result other than a win will propel Iran and England to the Round of Sixteen.
FC Dallas forward Jesus Ferreira has yet to take the field in a World Cup match. The dynamic young player is a substitute for the USMNT but has not had his number called.
BY THE NUMBERS
The USMNT dominated in key phases of the game against England. The U.S. team outshot England 10 to 8, but had just one shot on goal against three by England. The U.S. team had several opportunities early in the game to find the back of the net but could not dial the shots in. The first opportunity came on a header at the 17-minute mark when a crossing pass was headed wide by Weston McKennie.
At the 26-minute mark, McKennie got another opportunity for a goal, this time chipping a half-volley over the crossbar. Had McKennie controlled the ball downward, the net was wide open for the score. McKennie, a native of Little Elm, Texas, was sporting a red, white, and blue hairdo for the match.
Christian Pulisic also had a terrific weak-side shot at the 32-minute mark that banged off the crossbar with force. The shot came on a pass from McKennie to Yunus Musah, who fed the ball across to Pulisic for the shot. McKennie played a total of 77 minutes against England before Brenden Aaronson substituted in for him.
On the defense, Walker Zimmerman looked unsettled through much of the game and had numerous errant passes. Zimmerman drew a foul against Wales in the opening match, leading to a penalty kick goal and a tie.
Goalkeeper Matt Turner had another excellent performance in the clean sheet match, showing aggression early to attack the ball and keep England from organizing a driving attack. Throughout the game, Turner kept the fire lit beneath the U.S. team that played with a high energy level for all 90+5 minutes of action.
Following the match, USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said: “I’d like to see goals. We are proud, but our work is not done. We know five points gets us in.”
McKennie said: “It’s all about winning the game, so we have got to come out very aggressive and win the game and move on to the next round. I am very confident we can do it.”
The USMNT will conclude Group B competition against Iran on Tuesday, November 29. The match will begin at 1 pm CT.