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USMNT youth faces Uruguayan stars

USA-Uruguay preview

The final series of home games prior to the 2022 World Cup in Qatar got off to a flying start for the US as they were resounding 3-0 winners against a Morocco team that will also be in Qatar this November. It saw Brendan Aaronson open the scoring, Tim Weah get back into form, and Haji Wright score a penalty for his first international goal on his international debut. But now the test gets tougher as the US gets set to play Uruguay.

The US was mostly dominant on the night against Morocco, save for a few first half chances from the visitors, but it was Christian Pulisic’s comments after the game that seem to have gotten the most attention. Pulisic was displeased at the lack of a true home field atmosphere (as, not only were there roughly 7,000 empty seats, but there were a number of fans there wearing Morocco shirts and waving Moroccan flags as well) and said as much to ESPN after the game. These comments led to a wide variety of discussions but seemed to solidify the argument that not only does US Soccer need to lower their ticket prices, but also USMNT needs to start playing in some new locations.

Overblown reactions to innocuous postgame comments aside, the US looked very good on Wednesday night. While it was just a friendly it is very important for the US to get into a good run of form as they prepare for the World Cup. So far in 2022 the US has yet to win consecutive games and their record stands at only 4-2-1 (W-L-D). This next game against the Uruguayans will no doubt be tough but following it up with Nations League games against Grenada in Texas and then away to El Salvador could provide a solid launching board for attention and momentum heading to Qatar.

Uruguay comes into this game playing the best they’ve played in quite some time. While they gave a decent showing in the 2021 Copa America (losing on penalties in the quarter-finals to Colombia) things were looking dicey for their World Cup prospects. They went winless in five straight qualifiers to close out 2021, the last four of which were losses. But with the calendar flipping to 2022 it seems that a switch was flipped as they won their final four qualifiers to finish 3rd in CONMEBOL qualifying with 28 points (well behind Brazil in 1st and Argentina in 2nd) and secure their place at a 4th straight World Cup. Perhaps the flip of the switch can be attributed to a change in manager as the legend Oscar Tabarez was fired in December after 15 years in charge. In stepped Diego Alonso who had managed previously in both Liga MX (with Pachuca and Monterrey) and in MLS (with Inter Miami).

So far he’s posted a perfect record: 5 games, 5 wins (four in World Cup Qualifying and most recently a thrashing of Mexico in Phoenix a few days ago). The roster called in by Alonso features most of Uruguay’s big guns, though Luis Suarez is not present. Fernando Muslera is in goal, Diego Godin and Martin Cacaers anchor the back line with 158 caps and 112 caps apiece, the midfield is led by 28 year old Giorgian de Arrascaeta who was second for Uruguay in goals during their qualifying campaign, and up front of course is Edison Cavani (56 goals in 131 caps for the Manchester United man) as we all as Diego Rossi, formerly of LAFC, looking to earn his second cap for La Celeste.

1. Sunday’s game against Uruguay will be the fifth USMNT game at Children’s Mercy Park in Kanas City during the current cycle.

When and Where to Watch the Game on TV
Sunday, June 5, 2022
Children’s Mercy Park
Kansas City, Kansas
5pm ET
Live on FOX, Univision, TUDN and fuboTV

All-Time Series
Series tied at 2-2-3

Last Meeting
Tuesday, September 10, 2019
Busch Stadium
St. Louis, Missouri
USA 1-1 Uruguay

Current FIFA Ranking
USA: 15
Uruguay: 13

Next Game
Friday, June 10, 2022
Nations League
USA vs. Grenada
Q2 Stadium
Austin, Texas
10pm ET
Live on ESPN+, UniMas and TUDN

PHOTO: Robin Alam/ISI Photos/Getty Images

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