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USMNT ties Wales 1-1 in World Cup Opener

The USA Men’s National Team failed to build on an early lead and played Wales to a 1-1 draw in the 2022 FIFA World Cup Group B match on Tuesday. This match was the opener for both teams in group play in front of a packed house at Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar. 

The US put the pressure on early as Timothy Weah had a chance in the 9th minute which bounced off a Welsh defender’s head and nearly into his own goal but was narrowly saved by Welsh goalie Wayne Hennessy. On the rebound, American striker Josh Sargent had a header shot bounce off the left post. The match featured tight but uneven officiating which led to multiple yellow cards issued to the US early. In the 36th minute, Christian Pulisic sent a pass forward to Weah in the center of the box with a defender trailing on his right and Hennessy coming out for the ball and Weah easily sent the ball past Hennessy to put the Americans up 1-0. 

In the second half the US team seemed to lose all their momentum from the first half and played a bit sluggish while Wales got a second wind. A Wales free kick in the 64th minute gave Chris Mepham a chance, heading the ball over to Ben Davies at the center of the box who took a header which US goalie Matt Turner was able to save, knocking the ball over the crossbar into the stands. The ensuing corner kick went to Connor Roberts in the box but his shot sailed over the net. 

Right as both teams appeared to slow down a bit feeling the effects of the heat and excessive travel, Walker Zimmerman committed a foul against Gareth Bale in the box to set up a penalty kick in the 82nd minute. Bale sent a rocket into the bottom right corner for the tying goal that Turner had no chance of stopping despite getting a few fingers on it. Both squads ran out of gas with every player gasping for air at every pause in play by the stoppage time as the clock ran out for the draw. 

News and Notes:

  • This was Gareth Bale’s second late game, hope crushing goal in three weeks as he scored the tying goal for LAFC in stoppage time against the Philadelphia Union in the MLS Cup on November 5 to send the game to a shootout where LAFC won the league championship. 
  • Timothy Weah was the first player to score a goal against Wales in a World Cup match since Pele in 1958. 
  • England clobbered Iran 6-2 in the other Group B match earlier in the day giving them a sizeable advantage in a potential goal differential tie breaker 
  • The US plays England for their next match at 2pm EST on Friday on Fox. Wales plays Iran at 5am EST on Friday on FS1. 

For more information on the USA Men’s National Team fans are encouraged to click on the link seen here:

U.S. Soccer Official Website | USWNT & USMNT (ussoccer.com)

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