US to open World Cup vs Wales, held to 0-0 draw by Uruguay

Two months after the World Cup draw, the United States learned they will open the tournament on November 21 against Wales.

KANSAS CITY, Kan, (AP) — Two months after the World Cup draw, the United States learned they will open the tournament on Nov. 21 against Wales.

“It’s going full steam ahead, we’re concentrating on Wales,” said US coach Gregg Berhalter after Sunday’s 0-0 draw against Uruguay.

The April 1 draw allowed the USA to open Group B against Wales, Ukraine or Scotland, play England four days later and end the first round against Iran on November 29. FIFA postponed Ukraine’s playoff games after Russia’s attack, and the Ukrainians won 3-1 in Scotland on Wednesday before losing 1-0 in Wales on Sunday, in a game that started about three hours before kick-off the American ended.

“My heart beats for Ukraine,” said Berhalter. “Probably the whole world was behind Ukraine and wanted them to go to the World Cup.”

Wales ranks 18th in the world, three behind the United States

“We know what their team is about and we have to perform well,” said American star Christian Pulisic.

US players watched the last 15 minutes.

“I think playing a guy like Gareth Bale is something we can all be happy about,” said defender Walker Zimmerman, referring to Wales’ top scorer.

Jesús Ferreira missed two first-half chances as the US forwards continued their goalscoring struggles in their second of four World Cup warm-up games this month.

Since losing to Mexico in September 2019, the Americans extended their unbeaten home streak to 25 games. That’s just one short of the 2013-15 team record.

Ferreira had America’s best chance, a 15-yard shot saved by Fernando Muslera in the 19th and an open header a minute later going wide. Haji Wright, who debuted Wednesday, replaced Ferreira in the 61st round.

American forwards have scored in the team’s last 13 games – by Ferreira in their 5-1 win over Panama in a World Cup qualifier on March 27.

“The final pass was a bit off the mark,” said Berhalter. “We will continue to work with these guys.”

Edinson Cavani went wide with an 8-yard shot for Uruguay in the third minute of second-half added time.

In the United States’ first game against South American opponents since a 1-1 draw with Uruguay in St. Louis in 2019, midfielder Weston McKennie played the first half in his first start for club and country since suffering two bones in his left foot had broken with Juventus on February 22.

Sean Johnson was in goal for the United States for the 10th time, the first since January 2020, and in the 61st he used his left shin to block Darwin Núñez from close range.

“I’ve been waiting for a moment like this for a long time,” said Johnson, 32. “Would like to build on that.”

At 23 years and 71 days, Pulisic was the seventh youngest American with 50 caps after Landon Donovan (22 years, 28 days), Chris Henderson, Jozy Altidore, DaMarcus Beasley, Michael Bradley and Tony Meola.

The 15th US rank started with right-back DeAndre Yedlin for Reggie Cannon, left-back Joe Scally in place of Antonee Robinson, and McKennie in place of Brenden Aaronson.

Yedlin stood out with light green hair. Scally made his first start from his debut against Morocco, switching to the right when Robinson replaced Yedlin in the 62nd.

The US wore jerseys with rainbow-colored numbers and orange armbands for Pride Month to raise awareness against gun violence.

In a strange twist, match officials allowed Uruguay to make seven substitutions, one more than the rules allow.

Uruguay coach Diego Alonso has made 10 substitutions since Thursday’s 3-0 win against Mexico, keeping only defender Jose Giménez.

The USA play 170th-ranked Grenada in Austin, Texas on Friday in their World Cup final, the first of two CONCACAF Nations League games, then No. 74th El Salvador on June 14.

Number 13 Uruguay meet South Korea, Portugal and Ghana in Group H. US to open World Cup vs Wales, held to 0-0 draw by Uruguay

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