The U.S. Men’s National Team will continue its 2022 FIFA World Cup campaign on Friday, Nov. 25 against England. After a strong showing in its return to the global stage, a 1-1 draw against Wales that featured a team-record 14 World Cup debuts, the USA will face off against tournament favorites England, currently ranked No. 5 in the world.
Kickoff for England-USA from Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar is set for 2 p.m. ET and will be broadcast live on FOX and Telemundo.
Playing on Black Friday, the day after Thanksgiving, a massive stateside audience is expected for the match, the nations’ third meeting at the FIFA World Cup. The USA and England have clashed in some of the USMNT’s most memorable matches at the World Cup, including one of the greatest upsets in soccer history at Brazil 1950, when a team of American amateurs downed the mighty Three Lions 1-0, as well as a 1-1 draw at South Africa 2010.
Fresh off an opening 6-2 victory against Iran, England has made waves at major international tournaments as of late, making a run to the semifinals at the 2018 World Cup in Russia, its best finish since 1990, and finishing runner-up at the 2020 UEFA European Championship (played in summer 2021).
HARD-EARNED POINT TO START
Returning to the World Cup for the first time since 2014, the USMNT secured a hard-fought point in its opening match against Wales. The U.S. dominated the ball for long stretches of the match as it worked to break down the physical, well-organized Welsh defense, and finally found a breakthrough in the 36th minute. After a nice sequence of combination play in tight spaces near the half line, forward Josh Sargent sprung forward Christian Pulisic into open Wales territory. The Chelsea winger made a dynamic, cutting run up the field and slipped the ball to forward Tim Weah, who slotted in a shot as the goalkeeper and a Welsh defender closed in on him.
Wales came out of halftime with a newly found fervor and created a number of chances on restarts in the second half. Goalkeeper Matt Turner made an impressive leaping save to keep things level in the 64th, but the Welsh tallied the equalizer on a penalty kick in the 82nd minute. After a hard tackle from Walker Zimmerman during a flurry of activity in the box, the referee pointed to the spot and Welsh captain Gareth Bale hammered it home to salvage a point for his side.
DEBUTS ABOUND FOR USA
Playing in its first World Cup in 3,065 days, a team-record 14 players made their World Cup debut against Wales on Monday night. DeAndre Yedlin is the lone player on the 26-man tournament roster with prior World Cup experience, the defender having appeared in three matches at Brazil 2014. Eleven players are still aiming to make their debuts against England on Friday.
Yunus Musah’s debut was particularly noteworthy, the midfielder becoming the youngest player to start a World Cup match for the USA at 19 years, 358 days. Only four players have been younger than Musah on their first matchday of the World Cup: 2022 teammate Joe Scally (19.89 years), Chris Henderson in 1990 (19.5), Julian Green in 2014 (19.03) and Joe Martinelli in 1934 (17.76). The Valencia midfielder turns 20 on Nov. 29, the day of the USA’s final group stage match vs. Iran.
MAKING THEIR RETURN TO THE BIG STAGE
Two of Monday night’s impact players made their first USMNT starts in more than a year in the draw against Wales. Veteran defender Tim Ream saw his first time for the U.S. since Sept. 2, 2021 at El Salvador in the opening match of World Cup qualifying. Starting alongside Walker Zimmerman, Ream put on a strong showing in central defense, helping the USMNT weather the Welsh attacking storm in the second half.
Sargent, whose call-up two months ago was his first since last September, started at striker for the USA, his first time in the starting XI since Sept. 8, 2021 at Honduras in World Cup qualifying. He nearly netted the opening goal in the 10th minute when his header bounced off the post, and helped set up the USA’s tally by playing Pulisic into open space.
USA ROSTER NOTES:
- The USMNT’s Starting XI vs. Wales had an average age of 25 years, 102 days, the team’s fourth-youngest U.S. lineup at a FIFA World Cup, behind only the three lineups at Italia ’90 where the XIs averaged just over 24 years old.
- The USA’s lineup against Wales was also the youngest Starting XI of the 24 World Cup teams that have played matches through Wedneday, Nov. 23. The Ecuador XI that faced Qatar on Nov. 20 was second with an average age of 26 years, 81 days.
- Tyler Adams was elected by the USMNT as the team captain for the 2022 FIFA World Cup and wore the armband for the 10th time vs. Wales. At 23 years, 279 days, Adams is the youngest player to captain the USA at a FIFA World Cup since 1950 and third youngest overall. The USA is 4-1-5 in matches captained by Adams.
- Gregg Berhalter became the first person to both play and manage the USA at a FIFA World Cup. Berhalter appeared in both knockout round matches against Mexico and Germany at the 2002 FIFA World Cup in Korea/Japan.
- Matt Turner (Park Ridge, N.J.) became the fourth New Jersey-born goalkeeper to start a World Cup match for the USMNT. He follows Jimmy Douglas (East Newark, N.J.; three matches in 1930), Tony Meola (Belleville, N.J.; 7 matches in 1990, 1994) and Tim Howard (North Brunswick, N.J.; 8 matches in 2010, 2014).
- With his second-half substitute appearance, forward Jordan Morris became the 58th player to earn 50 caps for the USMNT.
- Musah (Valencia) became the first player from a Spanish Primera club to play for the USA in a FIFA World Cup.
- Defender Sergiño Dest (AC Milan) and midfielder Weston McKennie (Juventus), both the sons of U.S. servicemen, were the second and third players based in Italy’s Serie A to start for the USA in a World Cup match. Oguchi Onyewu (AC Milan) was the first to do it when he played two matches for the USA at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.
- Tim Weah became the first member of his family to appear in the FIFA World Cup. The 22-year-old forward is the son of 1995 Balon d’Or winner and current President of Liberia, George Weah.
- The Fulham duo of Ream and Antonee Robinson were the third pair of foreign-based club teammates to start a World Cup match together for the USMNT. Previously, Chad Deering and Claudio Reyna (Wolfsburg) started together against Germany at the 1998 World Cup, before another Fulham duo — Carlos Bocanegra and Brian McBride — were in the lineup together against Italy and Ghana at the 2006 tournament.
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