The eight-year World Cup drought is over for the U.S. men’s national team. Though the match didn’t end as they would have hoped, they didn’t lose – and that’s all that matters.
The USMNT battled their Group B opponent Wales on Monday afternoon and the matchup ended in a 1-1 tie after a debut goal by Timothy Weah.
Weah, 22, scored the first goal of the game and the first goal for the United States in their 2022 FIFA World Cup journey.
“Christian gave me a beautiful ball and it was up to me to finish it,” said Weah in a postgame interview.
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Unfortunately, that momentum dwindled down a bit as the second half ensued, leading to Wales’ Gareth Bale scoring on a penalty kick against Matt Turner after a challenge by center back Walker Zimmerman.
“In the first half we had a lot of energy, a lot of momentum,” Weah said. “In the second half, it died down and Wales stepped it up a notch.”
“Wales were very direct in the second half … I think we lost a little bit of power but in the same sense Wales stepped up the pressure,” said USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter. “I thought the guys dealt with it well.”
“It was a hard fought game but we left everything out there,” he added.
When it comes to their upcoming matchup against their fellow Group B opponents England, Weah believes the team “[has] to be better in both halves.”
“The most important thing is that we didn't lose. We kept the tie. Now we need to focus on the next game, take the next step and just keep working,” said Weah.
Along with Weag, fellow USMNT teammates believe that quickly turning their attention to Friday’s high-stakes matchup is crucial for success.
“We have to keep our heads held high. We go away with a point and we have to focus on the next game now,” said USMNT captain Tyler Adams.
“All focus turns to us getting ready and being on the same page for Friday’s game,” added U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner, who came through with a huge save in the 64th minute.
The USMNT will take on England for their second game in the round-robin series on Friday, Nov. 25 at 2 p.m. ET.