Things didn’t go to plan for the USMNT against Japan. A match I fully expected them to win, against a side ten places behind them in the FIFA World Rankings, ended in a 2-0 loss.
That places a lot of emphasis on this clash against Saudi Arabia. Fans and pundits alike, will look for a less directionless and sloppy performance from Gregg Berhalter’s men. If that doesn’t eventuate in this clash, the pressure will ramp up on the Stars and Stripes.
This fixture will take on a lot more importance for the players involved, despite it being a friendly. This is the last chance for players on the fringes of the squad to impress for a potential berth in the USMNT World Cup squad.
USMNT vs Saudi Arabia
Kick Off – Tuesday, Sep 27, 2022 at 7pm UK at, Estadio Nuevo Condomina, Murcia, Spain
Competition – International Friendly
Starting XI Prediction: go here
Watch – TV: Fox Sports 1
Form – USA – LWDWDL Saudi Arabia – LDWLLD
Odds – USA – -110 Saudi Arabia – +335 Draw – +230
Chris Richards and Cameron Carter Vickers have withdrawn from the squad, replaced by Mark McKenzie and Erik Palmer-Brown.
Another defender, Reggie Cannon, also misses out after picking up a knock in the clash with Japan.
The other injury concern is Christian Pulisic (surprise, surprise). Captain America withdrew on the eve of the Japan clash, but has been spotted training in Spain. We will tentatively say that he will be fit to play some part in this clash.
Whether it is off the bench or from the opening whistle is another question altogether.
Stuey’s Two Cents
Although the US has the talent to have a good run in this year’s World Cup, the proper focus is on having a good run on home soil. The next World Cup is scheduled to be played across North America in Mexico, The USA, and Canada.
That said, anything other than a convincing performance against a Saudi Arabia side will be a huge issue. The bare minimum in this match will be a marked improvement from the clash with Japan. Are they capable? Yes. Will it occur? That I am not as confident about.
Stuart Kavanagh is a journalist currently residing in Broken Hill, Australia. He writes for the Barrier Truth newspaper, along with being the owner of the sports and entertainment website thepyrrhic.com, He co-hosts the ‘After Extra Time’ podcast and contributes at edgeofthecrowd.com when time permits. He is also the Media & Communications Director at the Newosis Mental Health Foundation. You can find more about what the Newosis Mental Health Foundation is about here.
Football mad, he is always down for debate and discussion at @stueyissickofit on Twitter.Follow paulmbanks