USMNT final score vs Wales: USA start Qatar World Cup campaign with draw after Gareth Bale penalty

USMNT final score vs Wales: USA start Qatar World Cup campaign with draw after Gareth Bale penalty

The United States marked their return to the World Cup with a 1-1 draw against Wales to open their game in Group B. A great goal from Tim Weah in the first half was then canceled out by a Gareth Bale penalty conversion late in the second half as the two teams tied the points. It was a draw and nothing out of the ordinary as the Americans looked extremely lively in the first 45 minutes as a brilliant through ball from Christian Pulisic put the team in front.

But the second half was a completely different story as the Welsh grew into the game and had Gregg Berhalter’s side on the ropes. With less than 10 minutes remaining, Walker Zimmerman, who had been excellent that day, negligently fouled Bale in the box to concede a penalty. Big saves from Matt Turner were needed from Turner on the night, and although he got part of Bale’s penalty, the shot was hit with too much power to save. It may seem like a wasted opportunity as three points would have made Wales-Iran a near-elimination tie. Instead, the Americans will lick their wounds and prepare for a Black Friday showdown against England at 2 p.m. ET.

Here are some excerpts from the match:

Big warning shot in the second half

In Concacaf, that kind of performance would probably have been enough to get three points, but mistakes are punished when you’re on the biggest stage. It’s not qualifying, and it only took a forgettable tackle from Zimmerman to spoil a great game as Bale powered his penalty into the net.

Bale was stripped late by Tyler Adams and kicked by Kellyn Acosta to stop an open-net chance. It goes to show that these moments can go either way, but the biggest storyline of the night hinges on Gio Reyna’s availability.

Back in top form for Borussia Dortmund, Reyna’s frankness could have been the difference maker at the end of the game when the United were pushing things forward. But Berhalter used Jordan Morris for Tim Weah as the last replacement. He told reporters after the match that Reyna would be available for the game against England, suggesting his status was uncertain for the opener. Morris, who stayed on the pitch for about 11 minutes, didn’t have much time to make an impact. He only got three hits and didn’t get any of his crosses. The contribution wasn’t good enough in his short spell on the pitch.

Overall, the USMNT is still in good shape to reach the round of 16, but it made the job harder. Even if England were to sweep their games, the United States would only have to improve on Wales’ result against Iran to progress to the next stage, so all is not bleak after this setback. If Wales somehow lost to Iran and England beat USA, we could be in a win-win game to close the group, in which case the USMNT would control always his destiny.

Pulisic must be healthy

Wales’ aim was to throw Pulisic to the ground so he couldn’t make an impact. He was somehow officially fouled four times during the game, and for the most part Wales’ game plan worked. But when Josh Sargent headed a ball his way, and it allowed him to drift through the middle, Pulisic shone as he dribbled and played Weah for the game’s first goal.

While his set play performance leaves a lot to be desired, there aren’t many national team players who are capable of opening a game like Pulisic. He finished the game against Wales but was clearly suffering from the sustained challenges. Against England he will have to be back there to dribble over their backline or the chances of securing a win drop significantly. It’s worth keeping an eye on his status with the next game just four days away.

Oh captain, my captain

Tyler Adams was beyond excellent. He was there at every turn when the United States needed someone to stop games and keep tabs on Bale. He also made sure all his passes landed in the right place. It’s easy to take Adams for granted sometimes because he’s such a consistent player, but at the World Cup and wearing the armband at such a young age, his star shone the brightest. Adams earned three tackles and had two interceptions while helping protect his central defenders. Having Tim Ream behind him made things easier as Adams didn’t have to stretch too much knowing someone could clean up attacks.

Want more World Cup coverage? Listen below and follow house of championsa daily football podcast from CBS Sports, bringing you top-notch analysis, commentary, picks and more during big games in Qatar.

Program

You can find the full United States Men’s National Team schedule hereand the the program of the entire World Cup in Qatar here. Track who is racking up the goals and assists throughout the tournament on our The World Cup stats page as well.

  • Monday November 21: USMNT 1, Wales 1
  • Friday, Nov. 25: England vs. USMNT, 2 p.m. ET (Fox, Telemundo)
  • Tuesday, November 29: Iran vs. USMNT, 2 p.m. ET (Fox, Telemundo)

Ranking

GROUP B deputy WDL GD PLS
England 1 1-0-0 +4 3
United States 1 0-1-0 0 1
Wales 1 0-1-0 0 1
Iran 1 0-0-1 -4 0


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