USMNT plays 2018 World Cup quarterfinalist Uruguay to scoreless draw in international friendly

·2 min read

KANSAS CITY, Kansas — The U.S. men's national soccer team got what they needed out their game against Uruguay.

Not a win, but not a loss, either. They didn’t score any goals, but neither did they concede any. What mattered most in this 0-0 draw with the No. 13 team in the world Sunday was that the USMNT got a badly needed benchmark before this fall’s World Cup in Qatar.

After struggling against Uruguay’s pressure in the opening minutes of the game, the USMNT settled in. Sean Johnson made several nice saves, but the U.S. defense mostly held its own against the likes of Europe-based Edinson Cavani, Maxi Gómez and Darwin Núñez.

The USMNT had a few chances to score, with one of the best coming in the 53rd minute. But Christian Pulisic’s shot from the edge of the box in the 53rd was just a touch off target and couldn’t clear the near post.

USMNT goalkeeper Sean Johnson (25) tries to deflect a shot on goal from Uruguay's Darwin Nunez.
USMNT goalkeeper Sean Johnson (25) tries to deflect a shot on goal from Uruguay's Darwin Nunez.

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The USMNT now moves onto Concacaf Nations League, hosting Grenada in Austin, Texas, on Friday. It finishes this international window with a Nations League game in El Salvador on June 14.

Though the World Cup doesn’t begin until November, this was a badly needed test for the Americans. Because of COVID, and a heavy slate of World Cup qualifiers, the USMNT has played few teams outside of Concacaf over the last two years. Uruguay is, to put it nicely, an upgrade.

One of the top teams in South America, Uruguay reached the quarterfinals at the 2018 World Cup in Russia. Playing them was a good measuring stick for a young U.S. squad that is loaded with talent but short on experience in international tournaments.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: USMNT, Uruguay play to scoreless draw in World Cup tune-up friendly