USMNT escapes group play, falls in Round of 16

Christopher Elwell, Sports Editor

The United States men’s national soccer team advanced to the Round of 16 after their nail-biting 1-0 win over Iran in the 2022 FIFA World Cup on Tuesday. After not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup, the American team has bounced back in a big way to move past the group stage for the seventh time out of 11 tournament appearances.

The stage was set prior to the start of the match for the United States, who needed a win to advance to the knockout round, and Christian Pulisic’s goal in the 38th minute proved to be all the team needed to push through. Pulisic ended up getting injured on the play, and came out of the game at halftime suffering a pelvic contusion.

Pulisic was replaced by Brenden Aaronsen, who helped the U.S. hang on at the end of the match when nine minutes of extra time were added. Iran did not go down without a fight, though, but in the end they were unable to come through with a goal, which eliminated them from the tournament.

The American defense played a huge role in the advance, which eclipsed the mark that many critics said they would not reach. It was a fight to the end, but the defense stood strong, largely because of the great play of goaltender Matt Turner, who has only allowed one goal in three games.

America finished second in Group B only trailing England, who finished with two wins and a draw which came in their scoreless affair last Friday.

The team entered a Round of 16 matchup against the Netherlands on Saturday looking for the upset. They ultimately came up short though, losing 3-1. The Netherlands got out to a strong lead early in the match, going up 1-0 off a goal from Memphis Depay at the 10 minute mark. Another crushing blow was dealt just before halftime, as Daley Blind knocked in the team’s second goal of the match.

Facing a 2-0 deficit, the United States couldn’t seem to connect in any of their opportunities. However, there was hope after Haji Wright looped a ball over the goalkeeper to cut the lead back to just one in the 76th minute.

Any hope of a comeback would be crushed just five minutes later as the Netherlands’ Denzel Dumfries scored to give them a 3-1 lead. This would hold through the end of the match, as the Netherlands advanced to the next round with the 3-1 win.