World Cup 2022: USMNT Group Stage Recap
The United States Men’s Soccer team advanced to the knockout stages of the World Cup after defeating Iran 1-0 in its last group stage match. Despite only finishing with one win and two goals in three matches, the U.S. looked like the better team in every match.
Where the team looked best was in the defensive third of the pitch as they only allowed one goal, which was on a penalty kick, in their group. A lot of credit for this defensive performance must go to goalkeeper Matt Turner.
The Arsenal keeper has only made six saves in the World Cup so far, but all have come in key parts of the games. It was hard to predict how Turner would perform in net as he has only made four appearances with his club this season, but he is playing like one of the best keepers in Qatar right now.
The U.S.’ back line has also been amazing so far and they have been a huge reason why Turner has not faced many shots. Fullbacks Antonee Robinson and Sergiño Dest have also played a huge part in the attack by providing support and crosses from the wings.
In addition to the defense, the midfield play has been a key factor in the U.S. advancing. The trio of Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah have controlled the middle of the pitch by intercepting key through balls and through their precise passing which has started many attacks for the U.S.
Adams has been the main contributor to the midfield’s success. He has been aggressive with his tackling and has been a great facilitator as well. At 23-years-old, Adams is the youngest captain at the World Cup, and he’s stepped up to the occasion on and off the pitch.
An area the U.S. has struggled in is finishing, as they haven’t scored more than a goal in a game and were shut out by England. The American’s have no trouble creating chances but have struggled with converting those chances.
They have been able to attack the wings and cross the ball in every game, but the crosses aren’t always accurate, and the attackers typically don’t get clean shots on net when they are able to receive a cross.
Also, there have been multiple instances where the U.S. attackers have had great opportunities for a shot on goal, but they end up shooting the ball over the net.
One goal isn’t going to be enough to win every game, so the Americans are going to have to be crisper on their crosses, get power behind the finishes off the crosses and get their body over the ball when they have a shot in the open field.
The U.S. has also executed their set pieces very poorly as they have had very few to no chances created from corners or free kicks.
The Americans have played very well so far, but must clean some things up and convert on the chances they create. They will face better defenses as they go on in the tournament and aren’t going to have as many chances as they have had.
But if the defense and midfield can continue their good form and the attackers capitalize on the chances created, the U.S. can be a dangerous team in the knockout rounds.
The Americans’ will take on Netherlands in the round of 16 on Saturday at 10 p.m.
Jayson O’Connell is a fourth-year majoring in broadcast journalism. To contact him, email firstname.lastname@example.org.