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Berhalter ‘proud’ of USMNT, looks ahead to Netherlands; Pulisic injury update

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USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter was a relieved man as he spoke to media after the USA beat Iran 1-0 to clinch a spot in the last 16 of the World Cup.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub ]

After Christian Pulisic’s first half goal the U.S. held on late on as Iran create three good chances but the young American side dug deep.

They will now face the Netherlands in the last 16 on Saturday (kick off, 10am ET) and Berhalter was asked how proud he was of his side.

USA grind out win after impressive display

“Proud. First half we showed what we can do soccer wise. Second half we showed what we could do determination wise. The guys grinded. They gave every single ounce of energy. We are undefeated going into the knockout round,” Berhalter said.

He was then asked about his nerves late on as Iran almost scored in the 99th minute when Mehdi Taremi nearly got on the end of a ball into the box.

“This new injury time, counting every second, it is stressful. I think I have less hair on my head now,” Berhalter smiled. “We will take it and we will move on and we will go battle Holland.”

Christian Pulisic injury update

Pulisic, the goalscoring hero, was subbed out at half time after getting hit in the abdominal area (it looked like a nasty whack to the groin) when he scored the winning goal.

Asked about the status of the USMNT and Chelsea star, here is what Berhalter had to say.

“No update on his status but I’ve been saying all along, ‘it’s a wonderful thing when one of your best players is also one of your hardest working.’ He is certainly that. I can’t say enough positive things about Christian.”

Another update was that Pulisic was taken to the hospital after the injury and Weston McKennie said he had a message from Pulisic saying: “Best believe I’ll be ready on Saturday.”

“He was feeling some dizziness, it was a blow to his abdomen,” Berhalter said. “We FaceTimed him from the hospital and he was in good spirits.”

 

USMNT scenarios to advance: How can USA qualify for the World Cup last 16?’

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Everyone wants to figure out the USMNT scenarios to reach the knockout rounds.

“How can the USMNT qualify for the last 16 of the World Cup and make it out of the group stage?”

[ LIVE: Watch World Cup en Espanol en Peacock

That is the question you will hear time and time again ahead of their Group B finale against Iran on Tuesday, November 29 at 2pm ET.

This is intense.

[ MORE: Group B schedule, rankings, table ]

As the information below tells you, the USMNT scenarios is now very simple for Gregg Berhalter’s young side.

[ LIVE: World Cup 2022 schedule, how to watch, scores, hub

After their draws against Wales and England to kick off Group B play, it all goes down to the final 90 minutes against Iran to see whether or not they can reach the last 16 of the World Cup in Qatar.


Group B table heading into final group stage game

1. England – 4 points (+4 GD)
2. Iran – 3 points (-2)
3. USA – 2 points (0 GD)
4. Wales – 1 point (-2 GD)


Group B remaining schedule

Tuesday, November 29: Wales vs England – Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan – 2pm
Tuesday November 29: Iran vs USA – Al Thumama Stadium, Al Khor – 2pm


How the USA can qualify for the last 16

  • Win against Iran

How the USA will not qualify for the last 16

  • Draw against Iran
  • Lose against Iran

USMNT vs Morocco live! How to watch, stream, preview, lineups

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With precious preparation time between now and November, the USMNT is set for some early 2022 World Cup work when they host Morocco in a friendly at TQL Stadium in Cincinnati, Ohio, on Wednesday.

[ MORE: USMNT upcoming schedule – World Cup, Nations League, friendlies ]

With plenty of roster and lineup questions still to be pondered and answered, Gregg Berhalter will have only the June (four games) and September (two games) international windows between now and this winter’s World Cup in Qatar.


How to watch USMNT vs Morocco live, stream link and start time

Kick off: 7:30 pm ET (Wednesday, June 1)
All-time series leader: Morocco – 3 wins, USA – 0 wins, Draws – 0
Current FIFA rankings: USA – 15th, Morocco – 24th
TV channel/streaming: ESPN2, UniMas, TUDN


Perhaps the biggest question, from the start of World Cup qualifying to today, remains unanswered: Who can be trusted to provide a steady stream of goals from the center forward position?

Ricardo Pepi has been given every opportunity — and then some — to make the starting spot his own, but the 19-year-old FC Dallas academy product remains some way short of the finished article that Berhalter desires. The size, strength and technical ability are there, but the instantaneous reading and processing of the game remains one or two ticks slow, and the end result is only frustration. Pepi wasn’t called into this USMNT camp as he takes his first break in nearly 18 months after completing his transfer to Augsburg earlier this year.

[ MORE: Leeds sign USMNT attacker Brenden Aaronson ]

Jesus Ferreira, who is in USMNT camp this month, has been and appears to remain second in line for the job. The 21-year-old FC Dallas is red-hot in MLS this season, with 9 goals and 4 assists in 14 appearances despite the fact he’s more of a play-making no. 10 than a goal-scoring no. 9 and has been even slower to acclimate to the international game.

Has anyone considered that, perhaps, the solution to Berhalter’s most perplexing problem is: no one?

[ MORE: U.S. Soccer equalizes pay in milestone with USWNT, USMNT ]

Christian Pulisic is a virtual lock to start when fit, just as all three of Gio Reyna, Brenden Aaronson and Tim Weah would be if they didn’t add up to four players vying for three starting spots. Here’s the thing: Even with a natural center forward on the field, the players still most likely to score for the USMNT are typically the three players playing just behind the man up top.

It’s unlikely that Berhalter will abandon the traditional frontman at this stage, but when push comes to shove before or during the World Cup, that kind of fluidity and versatility could be an interesting wrinkle. Five months out from a World Cup isn’t the time to “try out someone new” or “give it one more go with so and so.” It’s time to accept reality (that the USMNT doesn’t have a center forward for the 2022 World Cup cycle — it’s OK, it happens) and make the very best of what’s in front of us.


USMNT team news, injuries, lineup options

OUT: Sergiño Dest (hamstring), Miles Robinson (achilles), Chris Richards (ankle), Gianluca Busio (rest), Ricardo Pepi (rest)

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MLS schedule 2021, odds, how to watch

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Major League Soccer’s 26th season is officially underway, as defending MLS champions Columbus Crew forge their title defense with a typically deep chasing pack hot on their heels.

[ MORE: MLS schedule & scoreboard ]

With plenty of summer tournaments going on across the globe over the last month, the focus is now back on MLS as an intriguing battle in the Western and Eastern Conferences takes center stage.

The 2021 regular season officially kicked off on Friday, April 16, and is set to conclude with Decision Day on Nov. 7. MLS Cup 2021 is currently scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 11.


How to watch MLS

Dates & times: Full schedule below
Stream: ESPN+

[ MORE: MLS standings | MLS stats ]


MLS schedule

Saturday, Sept. 4

Vancouver Whitecaps vs Austin FC — 7 pm ET
Orlando City SC vs Columbus Crew — 7:30 pm ET
Real Salt Lake vs FC Dallas — 8 pm ET
FC Cincinnati vs Inter Miami — 8 pm ET
San Jose Earthquakes vs Colorado Rapids — 10 pm ET

Friday, Sept. 10

Atlanta United vs Orlando City SC — 7 pm ET
Vancouver Whitecaps vs Portland Timbers — 10 pm ET

Saturday, Sept. 11

Colorado Rapids vs LA Galaxy — 3:30 pm ET
Seattle Sounders vs Minnesota United — 5 pm ET
New England Revolution vs New York City FC — 7 pm ET
New York Red Bulls vs D.C. United — 7 pm ET
Inter Miami vs Columbus Crew — 8 pm ET
Montreal Impact vs Nashville SC — 8 pm ET
FC Cincinnati vs Toronto FC — 8 pm ET
Houston Dynamo vs Austin FC — 8:30 pm ET
FC Dallas vs San Jose Earthquakes — 8:30 pm ET
Sporting Kansas City vs Chicago Fire — 8:30 pm ET

Sunday, Sept. 12

Los Angeles FC vs Real Salt Lake — 10:30 pm ET


MLS Cup 2021 odds – provided by our partner, PointsBet

New England Revolution +550
Seattle Sounders +550
Sporting Kansas City +650
Orlando City SC +700
Philadelphia Union +1200
Colorado Rapids +1400
Nashville SC +1400
Los Angeles FC +1800
Montreal Impact +2000
LA Galaxy +2000
Minnesota United +2000
New York City FC +2000
Real Salt Lake +3300
D.C. United +4000
Portland Timbers +4000
Atlanta United +5000
Columbus Crew +5000
San Jose Earthquakes +5000
FC Dallas +6600
New York Red Bulls +6600

Click here for match odds on MLS and beyond from our new official sports betting partner PointsBet, as there will be plenty of selections to make each week with game lines and more available via NBC Sports Bet.

PointsBet is our Official Sports Betting Partner and we may receive compensation if you place a bet on PointsBet for the first time after clicking our links.

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USMNT to play Costa Rica in post-Nations League friendly

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CHICAGO — The USMNT will play Costa Rica in an exhibition on June 9 at Sandy, Utah, the Americans’ fourth match in an 11-day span designed to simulate the compacted World Cup qualifying schedule.

[ MORE: Man City oust PSG to reach Champions League final ]

The team gathers in Europe and starts the run of games on May 30 with a friendly against Switzerland in St. Gallen.

The USMNT then plays Honduras on June 3 at Denver in the semifinal of the first CONCACAF Nations League, their first competitive match since beating Cuba 4-0 in the Nations League group stage on Nov. 19, 2019.

[ MORE: No away fans allowed at final Premier League games of season ]

The Nations League championship or third-place match, against Mexico or Costa Rica, will be at Denver on June 6.

The friendly match against Costa Rica was announced Thursday.

These figure to be the last prep matches for the full USMNT player pool ahead of the delayed start of World Cup qualifying. U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter expects to let his Europe-based regulars take vacation during the CONCACAF Gold Cup, where the Americans open against Canada from July 10-12, then finish the group stage against Martinique and then either Guatemala, Haiti, Guyana or St. Vincent and the Grenadines.

[ MORE: Pep “incredibly proud” of guiding Man City to UCL final, his own return ]

After failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup in Russia, the Americans open qualifying for the 2022 tournament in Qatar on Sept. 2, likely at either Trinidad and Tobago or El Salvador.

They are home Sept. 5, probably against Canada or Haiti, then play Sept. 8 at Honduras.

The following month has the USMNT home against Jamaica on Oct. 7, at Panama or Guatemala three days later and at home against Costa Rica on Oct. 13.

The USMNT hosts Mexico on Nov. 12 and is at Jamaica four days later to complete the 2021 portion of its qualifying schedule.