The USMNT is playing Saudi Arabia in their final international friendly before the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Fresh off a 2-0 loss to Japan, the Stars and Stripes are down at least five starters due to injury, claims soon-to-be ex-head coach Gregg Berhalter.
Berhalter never clarified which starters he was referring to, springing ample speculation on Twitter. Stars missing from the roster include Valencia midfielder Yunus Musah, Lille forward Tim Weah, Fulham left-back Antonee Robinson, Crystal Palace CB Chris Richards, Boavista RB Reggie Cannon, Middlesbrough GK Zack Steffen, and Celtic defender Cameron Carter-Vickers.
That’s the bad news. The good news – Christian Pulisic, aka Captain America, is back.
The US has played Saudi Arabia six times, barely holding on to a 3-2-1 winning record. The Green Falcon (awesome nickname) finished third in the 2021 FIFA Arab Cup and ahead of Japan in their Asian Football Confederation World Cup qualifying group.
The US’s MLS All-Star defense will have their hands full with Saudi striker Saleh Al-Shehri, who scored four goals during the team’s third qualifying round.
The Arabians are massive underdogs in World Cup Group C against Poland, Mexico, and Messi’s unstoppable Argentina.
The road only gets harder for The Green Falcon after this.
World Cup friendlies are roughly the equivalent of pre-season matches – the results don’t always hold up in the heat of real competition. Still, the US will want a better showing against Saudi Arabia today. In Berhlater’s own words, their last showing was just bad.
“I’m really glad the game happened when it did. I think it was poor coaching, poor execution, poor training beforehand, a lot of everything. It’s just one of those games and we were very bad.”
Hopefully, Berhalter’s moment of self-realization and clarity translates into on-the-field results.
The USMNT will take on Saudi Arabia today at 11 pm PST on Fox Sports 1.
Featured Image: Pexels/Jean van der Meulen/FlagofSaudiArabia/USSoccerFederation/DM