Gregg Berhalter’s first game back in charge of the USMNT was lackluster. It typified the style of game fans saw in his first cycle as US manager. As in so many of the games during his previous stint, the US got the win by a scoreline that was more flattering than the game suggested. The best thing that can be said is that they got a win and nobody was hurt. Hopefully, the story is the same for USMNT vs. Oman
USMNT vs. Oman sets up along the same lines as so many of the other games during Gregg Berhalter’s tenure. It’s a home game against a team that is not highly ranked. It is in a small, soccer-specific stadium that the US has played in several times in recent years. Saturday’s attendance against Uzbekistan stunk. Will that be the case against Oman?
The US performance against Uzbekistan was quite a drab affair. The attendance was a paltry 15,569. That is the second-lowest crowd of the year. Perhaps the USMNT playing in St. Louis four games ago had an impact on that. Tim Weah put the US in front in the first five minutes. Then, nothing happened for about 80 minutes other than a few missed chances by the Uzbeks.
Ricardo Pepi continued the absolute tear that he has been on this year. In five US appearances in 2023, Pepi has five goals to go with the one goal in two appearances with his club, PSV Eindhoven. Christian Pulisic added a third from the penalty spot not long after. That was his 26th international goal, moving him into sixth place on the all-time USMNT scoring list.
Turning that into a preview of the USA against Oman
Much like the USMNT’s previous fixture, Uzbekistan, Oman does not figure to provide much of a preview for tougher opponents the USA may face down the road. Funnily enough, they are ranked one spot higher in the world than Uzbekistan at 73rd.
Oman has never qualified for the World Cup. Their best performance at the Asian Cup was a Round of 16 finish at the 2019 edition of the tournament. Their roster for this game is entirely domestic-based. Only their manager, Branko Ivankovic, seems to have experience outside of Omani soccer as he managed Iran at the 2006 World Cup in Germany.
The game against Oman will be the third time the USMNT plays at Allianz Field in St. Paul since it opened in 2019. First was a Gold Cup game against Guyana in 2019 and most recently just last year was a World Cup Qualifier in sub-freezing temperatures against Honduras.
Kickoff against Oman from Allianz Field in St. Paul is set for 8:30 p.m. ET on Tuesday, Sep. 12. It will air on TNT in English as well as NBC Universo and Peacock in Spanish.
PHOTO: IMAGO / Agencia-MexSport