Salem Radio Network News Thursday, December 8, 2022


Soccer-Lacklustre United States held to 0-0 draw by Saudi Arabia

MURCIA, Spain (Reuters) -The United States were held to a 0-0 draw by Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain on Tuesday as they again struggled to create chances in their final friendly before the World Cup.

The pressure was on the U.S. after a woeful 2-0 defeat by Japan in their penultimate warm-up when they failed to record a shot on goal and they left fans with plenty to worry about ahead of the finals in Qatar as they failed to break down the Saudis.

A pair of brilliant saves from Matt Turner kept out a low shot in the first minute from Sultan Al Ghannam and a 70th-minute effort by Haitham Asiri.

But the performance left little cause for optimism as the Americans get set to return to the World Cup stage four years after failing to qualify.

With just two shots on goal, the lacklustre U.S. created few opportunities and the departure of midfielder Giovanni Reyna in the 30th minute as a precautionary measure was a heavy blow.

Mohammed Al-Rubaie saved Weston McKennie’s shot from outside the box in the ninth minute while forward Jesus Ferreira squandered a prime opportunity to get on the scoresheet when he fired straight at the Saudi goalkeeper.

“I can’t fault the effort but we need to keep improving,” U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said. “It’s nervy times – people are worried about being on the roster or not… The confidence isn’t there yet but we’ll get there.”

The U.S. will play in Group B with England, Iran and Wales at the tournament which begins on Nov. 20. Berhalter is expected to announce his final squad for the World Cup on Nov. 9.

Saudi Arabia face Group C rivals Argentina, Mexico and Poland in Qatar.

(Reporting by Amy Tennery in New York; Editing by Toby Davis and Ken Ferris)


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