KANSAS CITY, Kan. — For the United States males’s nationwide soccer crew, a string of 4 video games this month in opposition to a various set of opponents presents any variety of productive alternatives.
There are moments to workshop collective techniques, moments to guage particular person gamers, moments to strengthen the interpersonal bonds that make up the group’s basic character.
And then there are moments like Sunday, when the crew may face an elite opponent, pull out a measuring stick and plainly take inventory of its personal high quality in the course of its monthslong preparations for this yr’s World Cup.
Providing the take a look at was Uruguay, the Thirteenth-ranked crew on the earth, and the Americans can be moderately glad with the consequence: a tough fought, 0-0 attract an exhibition performed earlier than a crowd of 19,569 followers in Kansas City, Kan.
The testing and inquisition and self-reflection will proceed within the months to come back, although earlier than the sport, there did emerge a minimum of one little bit of certainty: Wales would be the United States’ first opponent on the World Cup in Qatar after beating Ukraine, 1-0, in a scintillating play-in recreation earlier within the day in Cardiff, Wales.
In Kansas City, Diego Alonso, the Uruguay coach, rotated his lineup considerably from the crew’s earlier recreation in opposition to Mexico. Big names like Federico Valverde and Edinson Cavani (who misfired on an open web within the waning moments of Sunday’s recreation), as an illustration, performed solely the ultimate half-hour or so. But La Celeste, because the crew is understood, nonetheless offered a stern, star-studded process for the U.S.
In its conventional sky blue shirt, Uruguay managed play early, dissecting the American protection with purposeful passing, leading to plenty of nervy, slender misses. But the U.S. step by step gained a foothold after withstanding that early stress, threatening Uruguay with a sequence of probabilities, with proper winger Tim Weah particularly offering repeated spurts of hazard and creativity within the first half.
“Lots of us are younger, and we’re nonetheless getting that have in opposition to these high-level groups,” Weah mentioned earlier than the sport. “So I really feel like taking part in a crew like Uruguay that has a whole lot of stars is superb.”
The Fifteenth-ranked United States started its coaching camp this month with a recreation in opposition to Morocco, ranked twenty fourth. And the crew’s subsequent two video games this month characterize a little bit of a drop-off in total high quality: Grenada (a hundred and seventieth) on Friday in Austin, Texas, and El Salvador (74th) on the street on June 14.
So the match on Sunday and the Americans’ strong efficiency — that they emerged from a sparring session with a prime crew principally unscathed — will characterize an optimistic growth for a younger crew attempting to mildew itself right into a contender.