Share All sharing options Share All sharing options for: 2019 September Friendly recap – USA 1-1 Uruguay: If they dont win its a shame Reddit Pocket Flipboard Email Jeff Curry-USA TODAY Sports The US Mens National Team followed their 3-0 loss at a football stadium in New Jersey, played in front of a crowd that overwhelmingly supported the visiting team, by playing on a temporary surface at a baseball stadium. Uruguay tried out defensive tactics for half of the game before coming forward in the second 45 and the US took what they were given while missing basically all of their best players. The result was a 1-1 draw and an overall match that had friendly played in a baseball stadium written all over it.
Uruguay was content to play the match as a friendly. With Edinson Cavani, Diego Godin, and Luis Suarez, it seemed like the team was much more focused on keeping their defensive shape and setting up attacking sequences that their stars may have done better with in a low-tempo effort… at least through the first half. The second 45 saw a much livelier, at times, La Celeste push forward earn a well deserved lead in the 50th minute. Despite giving up the lead, the team will probably walk away more or less satisfied that they tried some things and did score a solid goal for their trouble.
Following the return of several players to their clubs, Gregg Berhalter changed things up and the Americans lined up in a 4-3-3:
In addition to the changes, it would be a chance for US Soccer to showcase one of the marquee soccer stadiums in the country as the team looked to somehow improve on a performance the manager was happy with against Mexico. The result was a decent showing given the roster options and how Uruguay approached the match. Still, the US dominated possession and had trouble creating dangerous chances and all of the runners that were left stranded in scoring position sent this one to extras led to a 1-1 draw.
As opposed to the match against Mexico, Uruguay took a less aggressive strategy into the game. Rather than relentless pressing, the South Americans seemed content to let the US have its share of the ball. When not in possession La Celeste focused on stepping to the American in with the ball while keeping a tight and cohesive shape in a 5-4-1. Theyd then try to break on the counter, playing short, incisive passes to create space. Though, when they did counter it seemed fairly effortless for their entire team to converge in the final third of the US.
The idea of being a passing team doesnt mean you cant be a ruthless defensive team. The process of the attacking plan is in full swing – and it seems to be progressing – but they need to do the same with the defensive side of the ball. Can the US be as fearless against the ball as they hope to be with it?
Aside from a cross that was out of the reach of Josh Sargents head and a freekick from Tyler Boyd that was easily gathered by the right fielder, there wasnt much that the US had to show for dominating possession. The team did come to life though when Jordan Morris slapped a cross to Boyd, but Matias Vina did just enough to disrupt his timing and a threatening chance was just another stranded runner once again around the 25 minute mark.
Attacking is hard! The ability to create goalscoring opportunities and finish opportunities is what separates rich players from poor players. Its the most subtle yet the most important part of the game. If you have Leo Messi, then you let him ball. If you dont, you have to take a more systematic approach.
By about the third inning, the game took on a familiar pallor seen during the Gold Cup. The US did well to keep possession, worked the ball into the final third, but the home run swing was lacking. That didnt really hurt the Americans in the regional tournament until the final, but the mystery of the match would turn on the question of if the US would breakdown their opponents or if Uruguay would get through on a counter first. Despite out hitting the team in blue, and possibly having a penalty shout before the half ended, the Stars and Stripes went into the dugouts with the score at 0-0 in a true pitchers duel through 45.
As the second half got underway, the match seemed to open up. The US tried to be savages in the box and pushed more numbers into the attack as the team searched for a goal. The South Americans also seemed to realize that if they wanted to, they could just run past the entire US midfield and backline. Just after the 50th minute, Uruguay did just that and would strike first when Brian Rodriguez ate the best centerback in MLS like he was the moon if it was made out of BBQ spare-ribs and launched a ball that looked like it would fly so far it would need a flight attendant into the net.
Uruguay strike first! Its LAFCs Brian Rodriguez who opens the scoring with his first career international goal on just his second cap! #USAvURU pic.twitter.com/SgcV1Gb962
The US was able to adjust somewhat to the higher tempo effort from Uruguay, but the passing seemed more rushed, the possession had less intent, and the result was much the same regardless. However, near the hour mark, Jordan Morris, typically a long relief specialist but who got the start this time, managed a flying header that was saved by Uruguay keeper Fernando Muslera.
In an effort to inject some life into the game, Berhalter went to the bench to bring on the best one v. one defender in MLS (see video above) Miles Robinson and Corey Baird taking off Aaron Long and Tyler Boyd. It was an off-night after an anonymous performance against El Tri for the Besiktas man who was perhaps understandably wondering why everyone in the stands kept yelling for him to sacrifice himself to move the runner from second to third.
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Since it was a friendly, the US made a bunch of other subs to bring in Daniel Lovitz for Sergino Dest, Nick Lima for Reggie Cannon, and Gyasi Zardes for Josh Sargent between the 65th and 75th minutes, just in time for the 7th inning stretch.
Playing on the left wing, Morris had a clear Man of the Match performance, creating most of what passed for dangerous chances for the USMNT. Taking advantage of his pace on the wing, he repeatedly got past the Uruguay backline to send in dangerous crosses with his left foot. In the 22nd minute, he drove to the end line and sent in a pinpoint cross that forward Tyler Boyd impossibly missed.
The Americans finally scored thanks to a tried and true, never fail, totally planned tactical innovation – a deflection.
Still, I guess give Morris credit for being at the right place to score and not leave a fat fastball hanging over the plate like that.
Wanting a left-lefty matchup, Berhalter once again made a sub taking off Morris for Paxton Pomykal with five minutes left in the match as the US looked for a win in the city of the best ever showing for an American mens soccer team in history. Alas, it would not be enough time for the home team to eat their Cracker-Jacks and in the end the Yanks just didnt run out enough grounders to make a difference in the result.
Sergiño Dest and the U.S. mens national team were solid against Uruguay in a 1-1 draw. (Getty)MoreST. LOUIS — It took an unknowing thigh and a rather fortunate chest. But after 90 minutes at Busch Stadium on Tuesday, at the end of a trying international break, the U.S. mens national team got what it deserved.
Most importantly, both players appeared to escape the game (and questionable playing surface) without injury, and should be available this Sunday for a pivotal home game versus the New York Red Bulls. The game has been rescheduled from its original 12:30 PM start time to 3:00 PM and will air locally on JOEtv.
Specifically, the USMNT got a 1-1 draw with Uruguay in front of 20,625 in St. Louis. More importantly, it was calm and convincing. It was rational and balanced.
Tuesday was, for reasons both in out outside the Americans control, everything Friday hadnt been. The Yanks matched the worlds fifth-ranked team chance for chance, pass for pass, tackle for tackle.
For much of the second half, it appeared quality would win out. A Uruguay B-plus team had more of it than a U.S. B-plus team – most noticeably in the 50th minute, when the visitors broke from infield to outfield in the blink of an eye and punished the hosts:
USA vs. Uruguay, 2019 Friendly: Community player ratings
Uruguay strike first! 🇺🇾Its LAFCs Brian Rodriguez who opens the scoring with his first career international goal on just his second cap! #USAvURU pic.twitter.com/SgcV1Gb962
But the Americans kept pushing, with a combination of patience and incisiveness. And in fluky fashion – but at the end of a two-pass move emblematic of their success – they got their goal:
The U.S. was better – than it had been Friday, and than many expected it to be Tuesday – in part because Uruguay declined to press like Mexico had. Because the World Cup quarterfinalists have a stylistically-driven tendency to play both up and down to their competition. They allowed the Americans to possess; to get comfortable; to dictate the game.
Heres a look at how; at why Tuesday was so different than Friday; and at what we can take away from it.
Therell be a tendency to consider Tuesday in last Fridays shadow. But theres little use in considering one in the context of the other. Opponents approaches were night and day. So was the U.S. starting 11, with Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie and others returning to Europe after the 3-0 loss to Mexico.
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Psychologically, Tuesday was a strong response. But lets analyze U.S. 1, Uruguay 1 as its own beast, rather than as half of a larger one.
We talked about how this opponent was going to be compact and be physical, Berhalter noted in his postgame press conference. I think the team did a great job on set pieces. More importantly, it was about the tenacity of our guys and the relentlessness of our guys to hang in there and keep battling. We did a good job, particularly in the first half, of keeping our structure. And I really liked our crosses into the penalty area. SeatGeek has great deals for future MLS matches GET TICKETS Official Ticketing Partner of Major League Soccer
Jordan Morris, the USMNTs goalscorer, was also the USMNTs best player Tuesday night. His direct attacking was a welcome departure from Fridays allergies to exactly that. He drove at his opposing fullback, and created the best American chance from open play with a driven left-footed cross that whizzed through the six-yard box. (Tyler Boyd botched the finish.)
HOW!? 😱😱 Morris serves up a wonderful cross to Boyd but he skips it off the ground and over the bar from close range. #USAvURU pic.twitter.com/lLuDE1WAJL
A big part of Morris success was a U.S. gameplan that suited his strengths. Anticipating Uruguays compactness, U.S. boss Gregg Berhalter parked his wingers on the touchlines. With few opportunities to stretch the Uruguayans vertically, this ploy stretched them horizontally. And with Uruguay preferring to remain compact and deter line-breaking passes, deep-lying U.S. midfielder Jackson Yueill sprayed several long diagonals to Morris.
Gregg Berhalter needs to change the USMNTs style or find other players
From there, Morris could run at an isolated defender. He could wait for left back Sergiño Dest to join him, creating an overload. Or, he could look for left-sided attacking midfielder Sebastian Lletget as a passing option inside.
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(video via mlssoccer.com)MoreAll three choices, at one point or another, stimulated the U.S. in the final third.
Morris wide position also played to Dests strengths. The teenage Dutch-born fullback underlapped rather than overlapped, coming inside on his right foot. He swung in dangerous crosses, but also connected with midfielders in positions not dissimilar to the one Berhalter designed for Tyler Adams at the beginning of his reign.
ST. LOUIS – Contemplating what he had just seen as his US national team came back to earn a 1-1 draw with Uruguay Tuesday night, Gregg Berhalter called it a good step for this group.
And Dest, though still not polished defensively, looked comfortable in the role. It was really interesting to see him in the inside pocket, the winger wide, and him driving across the field, Berhalter said postgame. This is something we didnt talk to him about. We talked to him about the interchanging positions, playing inside, but as he drives and combines, to keep getting across the field, its an interesting wrinkle to his game.
… especially considering hes a 22-year-old with one previous national team to his name, who was up against a Uruguayan side featuring midfielders at Real Madrid, Juventus and Inter Milan. He didnt boss the match, but his passing kept it moving.
Jackson Yueills night in #USAvURU, via Opta: 49/53 passing (granted, 1 missed pass was an ugly turnover that led to a Uruguay transition), 1 shot (wide), 7 defensive actions. Hes still green & not really a 6 IMO, but I want to see more of him @ intl level. pic.twitter.com/BP4rcuoKnc
The situations Tuesdays game put him in, however, were unrecognizable compared to the ones Wil Trapp found himself in Friday. Yes, Yueill was more ambitious with his passing. But he consistently had time to pick his head up and survey the field. Trapp rarely did against Mexico. The past five days arent evidence that he should jump Trapp in the USMNT No. 6 pecking order.
The USMNTs most glaring defensive breakdown was a blend of individual and structural shortcomings. It was, in a way, the accepted risk of using fullbacks in attacking-third half-spaces. That being said, it could have been nipped in the bud by Christian Roldan at the edge of the penalty box.
(Original video: Fox Sports)MoreRoldan was goal-side. He was exactly where he needed to be. He just didnt do what he needed to do. He had two options: Stay goal-side, or commit a tactical foul. He did neither.
We had a chance to foul; we [didnt] do it, Berhalter explained postgame. He later confirmed its the type of play on which he wouldve taught Roldan to foul. We talk about that, Berhalter said.
He also broke down the shortcomings in detail: To be honest, I wasnt happy with our defensive transition today. Part of it is personnel. Theres a big difference if you have Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams on the field [instead of] the personnel we had on. But theyre smart players. Its just about being a little bit smarter.
In addition to missing an opportunity to foul, he said, the recovery wasnt great. And then we get isolated in the penalty box. The individual defending couldve been better. But against quality teams, you can get punished. In international soccer, theres a huge emphasis on offensive transition. For us, its about getting better in that phase of the game.
The absurdity of Nick Limas assist and Morris finish will distract from the buildup that got Lima into such an advanced position in the first place. But it shouldnt. Roldan did precisely what his role in Berhalters system demands of him. He checked into space, received a pinpoint ball from Tim Ream on the half-turn, and picked out Lima with eyes in the back of his head:
(Original video: Fox Sports)MoreHad the cross and finish been cleaner, wed be talking about this as a goal the U.S. had been building toward all night.
The U.S. should have had a chance to go into halftime 1-0 to the good. Josh Sargent rose above Atletico Madrid center back Jose Maria Gimenez to meet a Dest cross. His possibly-goalbound header struck Gimenezs raised arm.
The referee not only missed the call. He apparently knew it almost immediately. Sargent said postgame that the ref apologized at halftime for not awarding a penalty.
Josh Sargent told me postgame that the ref apologized at halftime for missing the handball.I asked him if he wouldve taken the penalty had it been called…Yeah. 100 percent.”
Henry Bushnell is a features writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Question? Comment? Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org, or follow him on Twitter @HenryBushnell, and on Facebook.