USA vs Iran score: 2022 FIFA World Cup win puts USMNT into round of 16 after Christian Pulisic goal

The United States qualified for the round of 16 with a 1-0 win over Iran. A fine team goal capped off by Christian Pulisic was just enough to see them win the game. After Sergino Dest’s cross, Pulisic pounced on the ball, scored the goal, then collided with Iranian keeper Alireza Beiranvand and had to be taken off at half-time for Brenden Aaronson. From there, the team was able to maintain their solid defensive form even with the departure Cameron Carter-Vickers in place of defensive stalwart Walker Zimmerman. The team were unable to score an insurance goal allowing Iran’s late pressure, but the one goal was all they needed to advance.

Next up will be a clash with the Netherlands on Saturday December 3 and they may not have Pulisic or Josh Sargent for this game after both left with injuries. Sargent will be particularly worrying as Haji Wright hasn’t looked like a starting striker for the national team, but Jesus Ferrerira is yet to register a minute of playing time at this World Cup. But despite injuries – and poor underperformance from Shaq Moore – the team dug deep and managed to make it to the last 16 for the third time in the last four World Cups.

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It’s an emotional moment for the team after missing out on the 2018 World Cup, but it’s important to remember that the job is not done. The flat attack when Weston McKennie leaves the field cannot continue against the Netherlands when Cody Gakpo hides, but the basics are there to overthrow them as the defense did not allow a goal in open play during the World Cup so far.

Here are some excerpts from the game

Pulse power

The United States have been great at starting World Cup games and this game was no different. Antonee Robinson and Dest were advancing easily, but Sargent and Tim Weah weren’t getting the end of the serve they were providing. But Pulisic was motivated enough to score the goal. Started by McKennie from deep with a fine pass, we saw the best of Dest as he moved forward and played a great cross aimed at Pulisic. Nothing prevented him from putting the ball in the back of the net, including the Iranian goalkeeper.

While Pulisic left with an abdominal injury that sent him to the hospital, wing depth is something the USMNT has quite a bit. Gio Reyna has been used sparingly at this World Cup but if Pulisic can’t go he will be needed against the Netherlands as one of the team’s few unpredictable players. Aaronson was a good choice to close things out to provide some defensive trickery and stabilize things, but to start a knockout game, Reyna would be the way to go.

US depth is a concern

This match is the one that exposed some fringe players on the team. Shaq Moore had to raise his hand several times to speak ill when he was beaten to the flank, but Zimmerman and Carter-Vickers were there to clean things up. If Dest can’t go 90 against the Netherlands, it’s time to turn to another teenager in Joe Scally because the team knows what they have in Moore and it’s not good enough at the moment. Experience is important if Moore will be a depth option in the future, but it’s hard to count on him right now.

Same goes for Haji Wright who didn’t offer enough of a lead. Late in the game, Wright had a chance to dribble into the corner, ending the game, but instead opted for a shot that offered Iran possession to drive down the field. Another day, the VAR review she caused may have resulted in a penalty. Jesus Ferreira hasn’t played a minute at this World Cup, which is surprising as he was involved in qualifying, but he has to start on Saturday if Sargent can’t go. Ferreira does a lot of the same things to drag defenders, which leaves space for wingers in attack and that will be needed as the Netherlands have not been disciplined defensively in this World Cup.

Credit granted at maturity

Gregg Berhalter made massive calls during this World Cup. Not only leaving Zack Steffen and Ricardo Pepi off the team, but also starting Sargent, Ream and Matt Turner. All three played a big part in why the team are in the last 16 right now, along with Carter-Vickers who was a surprise inclusion in the line-up against Iran. Although the job is not done, Berhalter’s plan has been perfect this World Cup and he will have more calls to make if Pulisic and Sargent can’t go.

Final classification of group B

England

3

2-1-0

9

2

+7

seven

United States

3

1-2-0

2

1

+1

5

Iran

3

1-0-2

4

seven

-3

3

Wales

3

0-1-2

1

6

-5

1

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