The United States continued their international play this month, resulting in an impressive 4-0 victory over Oman.
After a fair result in Saint Louis against Uzbekistan, The United States was tasked with improving their quality of play as the team is trying to reinvent themselves. This is something Head Coach Gregg Berhalter admitted in a pre-game press conference.
“I think there were some careless loss of possessions, that was the first thing,” Berhalter added. “Second thing is, I think, more often recognizing what exactly is happening with [the opponents’] shape and how we can break it down.”
Ahead of what will be a busy international calendar with the CONCACAF Nations League and a potential Copa America bid, the stars and stripes are seeking to lock down a team that can be competitive in those competitions. The goal was simple: be a more inspired team and maximize the talent that is present.
Statistically, the U.S. outplayed Oman in every category throughout the game. It didn’t take long for the U.S. to strike first. In the 13th minute, after the ball was blocked by Oman’s goalkeeper, Folarin Balogun took advantage and gained possession of the ball, resulting in a goal. A few minutes later, it appeared that American Timothy Weah extended the lead after hitting the ball over the goalkeeper. However, Weah hit it with his arm, and the goal was ruled out. The first half continued to be one where the U.S. pressed Oman’s defense. The main culprit was PSV’s Sergiño Dest, who created multiple chances for the Stars and Stripes, but his shots were either too wide or stopped by the Oman goalkeeper. At the end of the half, the U.S. entered the break with more energy, something that was not seen in the previous game.
A more inspired U.S. side was seen in the second half. Already, opportunities started arriving for the stars and stripes. In the 54th minute, Ricardo Pepi came close to converting a corner to a goal, but his shot hit right outside of the net. However, just five minutes later, a foul was awarded to the U.S. team. Brenden Aaronson stepped up and buried the goal after the Oman goalkeeper sloppily attempted to block the shot. While the second half progressed, substitutions were made, most notably Inter Miami’s Benjamin Cremaschi, who was a key figure in Miami’s Leagues Cup run earlier in the summer. This game marks his first international appearance with the U.S.
Heading towards the end of the game, there was a combination of an American offense that was hungry for goals and an Oman defense that became careless. This careless back line soon was punished as Pepi took advantage of the space left in the penalty box and scored another goal, his second in the last two games. To top it all off, in the 81st minute, Oman defender Khalid Al-Braiki tapped the ball into his own goal after failing to clear a pass that was created by Kevin Paredes, who also earned his first international appearance for the Stars and Stripes.
The showing that was produced by the U.S. was an improved one, compared to their performance against Uzbekistan. The Americans have a lot of potential with young talent that will be great assets. Balogun and Pepi are both young stars who chose to play for the United States over their other home countries. Both players not only had impressive outings in the last two games, but in previous tournaments such as the Nations League. Then comes Cremaschi, who has rapidly been gaining international attention. Cremaschi will soon have to choose whether to remain playing for the U.S. or play for the reigning World Cup Champions, Argentina, the other country he’s eligible for.
The U.S.’s next international window will take place in October. The two matchups include a highly antiquated match against Germany at Connecticut’s own Rentschler Field and another versus Ghana, which will take place in Nashville.