Tyler Adams of the United States and England's Mason Mount battle for the ball during the World Cup group B soccer match between England and The United States, at the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor, Qatar, Friday, Nov. 25, 2022. (AP Photo/Abbie Parr)

USMNT Vs. Iran Preview

Somewhere in the air at Al Thumama Stadium, the future of the U.S. Men’s National Team will be up for grabs on Tuesday.

A 0-0 draw against England, magnified by Iran’s 2-0 win over Wales.

The scenario is now as clear as ever for Gregg Berhalter’s men: It’s now or not for another four years.

It comes down to a matchup that extends well beyond the confines of the pitch.

History, years of work, and months of preparation will be on the line as Group B closes with the USMNT Vs. Iran.

A win for the Star and Stripes will put them into the Round of 16, anything else puts Iran through for the first time ever.

Key Storylines

  • No end product: It’s simple, you can’t win games if you can’t score and Berhalter’s men have managed one goal in their two games so far. But it’s their meager two shots on target in the tournament that’s most alarming. Iran only needs a draw and will likely concede possession, picking their shots and avoiding the U.S. speedy counter. The USMNT has already shown a second gear in their build-up play against England. They will need a repeat performance and an end product to show for it if they are to keep their Qatari dream alive.

  • Christian Pulisic: The first U.S. World Cup appearance since 2014 begs for a Christian Pulisic goal, and boy did he come close against England. The football gods robbed the leader of world soccer in a crossbar shot that rattled from Al Khor to Hershey, Pennsylvania. But the fate of the U.S. will lie on his feet.

  • Matt Turner: With just one goal given up after two games, the Arsenal goalkeeper has been outstanding in goal. Except for Walker Zimmerman‘s tackle of Gareth Bale, which resulted in the penalty, the American defense has held up in front of him. This has been the highlight of Berhalter’s team, a stingy defense bolstered by a relentless press. Iran holds the strikers in Sardar Azmoun and Mehdi Taremi, tied for the tournament’s second-leading scorer, to hurt Turner. The 28-year-old New Jersey native could be called on for the performance of a lifetime come Tuesday. The question will haunt the U.S. until the final whistle, will he be ready?

Predicted Lineup: USMNT

Berhalter has turned to his trusted 4-3-3 all tournament and the same will be expected against Iran. But who plays nine? Haji Wright and Josh Sargent have gotten a start, but both have failed to be goal threats. Could Jesús Ferreira be a viable option? Or is a false nine Christian Pulisic the last lifeline for Berhalter? It’s come down to question marks with the tournament on the line.

GK: Matt Turner; LB – Antonee Robinson, CB – Tim Ream, CB – Walker Zimmerman, RB – Sergiño Dest; CDM – Tyler Adams, CM – Yunus Musah, CM – Weston McKinnie; LW – Christian Pulisic, ST – Haji Wright, RW – Tim Weah

About Rafael De Los Santos

Junior studying Journalism - Sports & Media at the University of Florida

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