Game Recap: United States vs Iran



Soccer Football – FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 – Group B – Iran v United States – Al Thumama Stadium, Doha, Qatar – November 29, 2022 Christian Pulisic of the U.S. collides with Iran’s Alireza Beiranvand after he scores their first goal REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach

Javier Centellas, Staff Writer

Yesterday, set up for another classic in the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the U.S. National team beat Iran 1-0, in a (somewhat disappointing) match that determined which of the 32 teams would advance. With the win, the U.S. has advanced to the Round of 16, alongside group leader England, who won their game against Wales 3-0. 


There were several great moments, mainly in the first half, such as a heroic goal by Chrisitan Pulisic, #10, who suffered a pelvic contusion while sliding into the goal box. Later in the match, another goal from Timothy Weah, #21, was taken away due to an offside penalty. 


For the second half, however, there were multiple subs, who put the U.S. all on defense, which resulted in a nerve-wracking 45 (or really, 55 due to stoppage time) minutes, with it feeling like the U.S. defense was barely holding the Iranians from getting a tournament-ending goal. There is no clearer example of this then when Walter Zimmerman, #3, made a beautiful save, as he kicked the ball downfield after an Iranian player defeated the goalie, at a terrifyingly close distance to the line. 


However, despite this victory, things don’t look good for the U.S. given their performance at the last three games, especially since settling for a draw is no longer an option. 


The general attitude of the American team seems to fade once a single goal is scored, seeming content with winning 1-0, with seemingly no attempt to score more. Although this dangerous approach worked out during the game against Iran, this attitude was apparent in the draw with Wales, where the U.S. apparently relaxed after scoring once, only for the Welsh team to even out the score to 1-1. 


It is unknown why the U.S. relaxes so easily, when other teams keep pressure up, throughout the entire game in an attempt to run up the score (look no further than the recent Spain-Costa Rica game, which resulted in a 7-0 Spanish victory). We must hope that it is a measure to save energy before the next game against the Netherlands, and we must also hope for some lineup changes, given how midfielder Giovanni Reyna, #7, has been almost completely absent, with his only appearance in this World Cup being during the last few minutes of the game against England. Despite having 15 caps, 12 goals, and 1 assist, both playing for the U.S. national team and the top team in Germany


It is perplexing that one of America’s brightest stars has been absent from the starting lineup, with the official statement from head coach Gregg Berhalter reason being previous injuries, (despite Reyna saying he felt healthy), and the strengths of other players making them a better choice for a starting lineup, which many fans (and even former U.S. Captain Landon Donovan) have objected to. 


We must hope for a new mentality and a better lineup, or we will have no chance when we face the Netherlands in the knockout stage on Saturday.