USA Progress To Second Round
1 December 2022
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U.S. men’s national team coach Gregg Berhalter likened the squad’s last group match at the 2022 World Cup to a knockout game, and he wasn’t wrong.

It took every last second—including that in the nine minutes of second-half stoppage time—but the U.S. beat Iran in a match it had to win, riding Christian Pulisic’s 38th-minute goal to a 1–0 triumph and a second-place finish in Group B. England, a 3–0 winner over Wales, topped the group, meaning the Three Lions are set for a date with Group A runner-up Senegal. The U.S., meanwhile, will face the Netherlands on Saturday in what will actually be a knockout game.

Berhalter made two changes from the lineup that started against England on Friday, giving Cameron Carter-Vickers his World Cup debut in place of Walker Zimmerman, while Josh Sargent was restored to the XI after sitting vs. the Three Lions in favor of Haji Wright. Gio Reyna, whose lack of playing time has become a talking point surrounding this team, remained an option off the bench, but did not play. Carter-Vickers didn’t play at all in World Cup qualifying, and he had never partnered with the U.S.’s other center back, Tim Ream, before Tuesday.

Three of the U.S. starters (Weston McKennie, Sergiño Dest, Ream) were carrying yellow cards that they saw in the opener vs. Wales, but all remained unscathed from picking up a second, which would have resulted in a suspension for Saturday.

The U.S. avoided the worst imaginable start in the opening minute, after Iran won a free kick in the U.S. half. The curled-in service was cleared, but it also signaled how nerve-wracking an occasion this could be, each set piece an opportunity to secure the edge needed to tilt the scales.

The U.S. answered with an immediate counterattack spearheaded by Pulisic, but he took perhaps a touch too many instead of trying to find Sargent to his right, with Iran taking the ball off him and stopping the threat.-