World Cup 2022: USA settles for draw vs. Wales after dominant first half

The United States battled Wales tough for the first half of their match in the Group Stage of the 2022 World Cup, but conceded a penalty in the 82nd minute which Gareth Bale buried to secure a 1-1 draw. The United States will play England in its second match of the Group Stage on Friday at 2pm ET.

Video Transcript

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NICK BROMBERG: Halftime euphoria turned into second half frustration for the United States Men's National team and its 1, 1 draw against Wales in its World Cup opener on Monday. The US dominated possession in the first half as well as was content to let the [INAUDIBLE] keep the ball. The US finally broke through in the 36th minute when Christian Pulisic made a phenomenal run and a sublime throughball to Timothy Weah who slotted the ball past Wales keeper Wayne Hennessey for the 1 , 0 lead. It was a deserved lead to the United States. But Wales started putting the pressure on after half time. The Welsh put on target man Kieffer Moore and push towards the US goal.

But the US handled the pressure well until a clumsy challenge in the box on Gareth Bale by Walker Zimmerman. Bale slotted home a rocket of a penalty in the 82nd minute for the game tying goal. The US had opportunities to get a second goal in the second half, but simply could not find a good ball into the box. There was space available on the counter myriad times over the course of the second half. There just never a cross good enough for a legitimate chance on goal.

It seems overly simple to say that it draws a much better result than a loss. Teams that lose their first games of the World Cup advance to the knockout stages less than 20% of the time. And there's still a scenario where the United States can advance to the round of 16 without getting a result against England. But a win on Monday would have put the US in a fantastic position entering Friday's big England game with points from the game more of a luxury than a necessity. Now the US especially needs to secure at least a draw against an England side that was dominant against Iran to avoid sweating out the final game against Iran and worry about a win and goal margin, while also needing England to beat Wales.