On Monday, the US Men’s Soccer Team defeated Iran 1-0 in their final group stage match of the 2022 FIFA World Cup to advance to the Round of 16.
Entering the game, the US faced a win or go home scenario, needing to secure all three points to avoid a flight home. With the stakes set, coach Gregg Berhalter set a mostly unchanged starting XI from their last game against England. The only changes saw Josh Sargent return to the forward line after starting against Wales in their first game and Cameron Carter-Vickers replace Walker Zimmerman as the starting center back alongside Tim Ream. The starting lineup was the youngest starting side featured in the World Cup so far.
In the first half, the US started strong, controlling possession and pushing for an early goal. The breakthrough finally came in the 38th minute courtesy of Christian Pulisic. After a through ball over top the Iran defense from Weston McKennie, Sergino Dest headed the ball into the path of the onrushing Pulisic who put everything on the line to finish the ball into the back of the net, colliding with Iran’s keeper and getting injured in the process. Pulisic left at halftime with an abdomen injury, but his first World Cup goal.
The second half was more of a contest as Iran made a late push to grab the equalizer that would have seen them advance to the next round. But the defense stayed strong and the US finished the game 1-0. The team was overcome with emotion as their World Cup journey continues. They advanced out of Group B along with England. Wales and Iran were knocked out of the World Cup.
Next, the US face Netherlands on Saturday December 3 at 10 AM. Netherlands won their group with wins over Senegal and Qatar and a draw against Ecuador. Netherlands are the eighth ranked team in FIFA World’s rankings, better than the US’s 16th place ranking. It will be a tough test for the young side who face a strong Dutch side. Netherlands’ Cody Gakpo is a joint top scorer at the World Cup with 3 goals in 3 games. But, the US had only allowed 1 goal in their 3 games, and 0 from open play. The only goal conceded came from a Gareth Bale Penalty kick that led to our draw against Wales. Our defense has shown up big, something they’ll have to do again to advance to the Quarterfinals of the 2022 FIFA World Cup.
Catch the action this Saturday December 3 on Fox. Coverage begins at 9 AM.