USMNT vs Uruguay: U.S. escapes with a 0-0 draw

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KANSAS CITY, KS – From Children’s Mercy Park in a pre-World Cup tune-up match, the United States Men’s National Team would host Uruguay in a friendly where the U.S. escapes with a 0-0 draw despite last-minute efforts from Edinson Cavani and company.

USMNT vs Uruguay: U.S. escapes with a 0-0 draw

Ferreira misses opening opportunities for the U.S.

It wouldn’t take long for Uruguay to find a chance as Diego Alonso’s squad got going in the 10th minute with a cross chipped into the middle of the United State’s penalty area. Despite Yunus Musah boxing out on the initial pass, the secondary ball would fall right to Diego Godín for a shot beyond goalkeeper Sean Johnson which was swiftly kicked off the line by DeAndre Yedlin.

The U.S. would answer back in the 12th minute as Christian Pulisic dribbed his way around the left side wing looking to create space between two Uruguayan defenders. With a cross floated at the back post, Tim Weah would rise to meet it but jumped slightly early and got only an awkward attempt on goal which was easily picked out by goalkeeper Fernando Muslera.

Continuing on the attack in the 19th minute would be Pulisic slotting a through ball into the path of Jesús Ferreira who would take one touch to his right and a shot just inside the box for a save well handled by Muslera.

Again in the 21st minute, the U.S. would find themselves on the attack this time the ball working its way to Yedlin, breaking down the wing to meet a pass with a one-time cross to a wide-open Ferreira running towards goal. With Yedlin’s pass slightly behind Ferreira and Martín Cáceres doing just enough to throw him off, the open header would go over the crossbar to keep the scoreline even.

To close out the first half in the 45th minute, the ball would find Weston McKennie just inside the box who; weaving his way between the Uruguayan defense, would send a short pass to the edge of the area intended for Pulisic. But with a smart “dummy” move from the Chelsea man, the ball would instead find Captain Tyler Adams for a shot on goal caught by Muslera.

Cavani can’t manage last-minute chance; the U.S. escapes with a draw

The second half would start with a chance for Uruguay as in the 56th minute, the ball would find 22-year-old Darwin Núñez after bouncing around from a throw-in. Settling a headed pass with his chest, Núñez would volley a shot over the head of Johnson and out of the American’s reach but just wide of goal.

It would take just seconds for Uruguay to find another golden chance as Núñez received the ball in the 57th minute and working down the wing had the USMNT defense in a full retreat. Stopping at the touchline, Núñez would hit something of an off-balance cross finding its way to a wide-open Fernando Gorriarán for a one-time volley that skyrocketed into the crowd to the dismay of the midfielder.

Sean Johnson would manage some heroics in the 63rd minute as an inch-perfect cross from Matías Vecino fell right in front of Federico Valverde with a reaction save from Johnson keeping the score at 0-0.

The last American shot on goal would come in the 80th minute with Pulisic standing over a corner and picking out an open Walker Zimmerman circling around the back post but his header would be hit directly at Muslera for another simple save.

Uruguay would finish off the match with a ball over the top expertly taken down by Núñez with two Americans chasing in the 90th minute plus added time. With Núñez carrying into the box and now one-on-one with Johnson, a shot seemed almost inevitable but instead, Núñez opted for a layoff pass to Edinson Cavani. For the Veteran Cavani, this looked like a surefire goal as Johnson scrambled across the net, but off-balance and falling Cavani hit the shot wide to preserve the draw.

Last Word: Where was the end product for the Yanks?

While the USMNT was probably lucky to manage a 0-0 draw in this matchup against the No. 13 ranked nation in FIFA’s International Men’s Rankings, it would be fair to say they held their own, especially in the first half where the offensive opportunities where coming often.

The main concern now seems to be where is that offensive production in front of goal going to come from when this squad gets to the World Cup and while head coach Gregg Berhalter has suggested he’ll base that decision on form, we’ve yet to really see anybody do that consistently for the Americans. This will hopefully be sorted out in the lead-up to the World Cup and over the USMNT’s next few matches as the player pool has certainly has viable options and particularly some who had great seasons at the club level.

Photo Credit: Henry Hauck Jr., Last Word on Soccer.