KANSAS CITY, Kan. — For the US men’s national soccer team, a string of 4 games this month against a various set of opponents presents any variety of productive opportunities.
There are moments to workshop collective tactics, moments to judge individual players, moments to strengthen the interpersonal bonds that make up the group’s general character.
After which there are moments like Sunday, when the team could face an elite opponent, pull out a measuring stick and plainly take stock of its own quality in the midst of its monthslong preparations for this 12 months’s World Cup.
Providing the test was Uruguay, the Thirteenth-ranked team on this planet, and the Americans shall be reasonably satisfied with the result: a tough fought, 0-0 attract an exhibition played before a crowd of 19,569 fans in Kansas City, Kan.
The testing and inquisition and self-reflection will proceed within the months to return, though before the sport, there did emerge at the least one little bit of certainty: Wales shall be the US’ first opponent on the World Cup in Qatar after beating Ukraine, 1-0, in a scintillating play-in game earlier within the day in Cardiff, Wales.
In Kansas City, Diego Alonso, the Uruguay coach, rotated his lineup somewhat from the team’s previous game against Mexico. Big names like Federico Valverde and Edinson Cavani (who misfired on an open net within the waning moments of Sunday’s game), for example, played only the ultimate half-hour or so. But La Celeste, because the team is understood, still presented a stern, star-studded task for the U.S.
In its traditional sky blue shirt, Uruguay controlled play early, dissecting the American defense with purposeful passing, leading to a lot of nervy, narrow misses. However the U.S. regularly gained a foothold after withstanding that early pressure, threatening Uruguay with a sequence of probabilities, with right winger Tim Weah particularly providing repeated spurts of danger and creativity in the primary half.
“A number of us are young, and we’re still getting that have against these high-level teams,” Weah said before the sport. “So I feel like playing a team like Uruguay that has a variety of stars is amazing.”
The Fifteenth-ranked United States began its training camp this month with a game against Morocco, ranked twenty fourth. And the team’s next two games this month represent a little bit of a drop-off in overall quality: Grenada (a hundred and seventieth) on Friday in Austin, Texas, and El Salvador (74th) on the road on June 14.
So the match on Sunday and the Americans’ solid performance — that they emerged from a sparring session with a top team mostly unscathed — will represent an optimistic development for a young team attempting to mold itself right into a contender.