USA falters as Bale grabs point for Wales


The USA and Wales battled to a tight, tense draw in their World Cup opener as both teams will be quite happy with that result in Group B.

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But the US will feel this was one that got away as Gareth Bale equalized for Wales (playing in their first World Cup game since 1958) with eight minutes left as the young Americans couldn’t hold on to all three points.

After eight years away from the World Cup for the US, this was as exciting as you’d expect, as Bale picked up a point late for the Welsh as a draw was a fair result.


After a dominant start, the USA took the lead in the first half as Christian Pulisic blasted forward and played a perfect through ball to the onrushing Tim Weah who poked in confidently to drive American fans everywhere wild.

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Wales improved dramatically in the second half as Kieffer Moore gave them a focus point upward and he somehow headed from close range just after Matt Turner denied Ben Davies. Walker Zimmerman then made a terrible challenge on Bale and the Wales captain picked himself up to hammer in the penalty kick to take a point.

The USMNT will face England in their next group game on Friday, while Wales face Iran on the same day.

[ MORE: Latest Group B standings, schedule, scores ]

Berhalter’s master plan starts off well and then fades badly

For most of the past few years, the USMNT has been plagued by injuries and a lack of form among their key players. But everything came together at the perfect moment, at least for the first 45 minutes, for Gregg Berhalter and his team. Dest and McKennie were fit enough to start, Tim Ream has reached the shape of his life to strengthen the defensive unit. Christian Pulisic and Tim Weah are fit and firing on all cylinders and this is pretty close to being the USMNT’s first pick.

The high pressure play dominated Wales in the first half and the energy of this young team blew away their opponents. When they were on top, they got the goal they deserved and everything fell into place for the USA when they needed it. But then they faltered. Whether it was a lack of experience or a lack of energy, the USMNT wilted in the second half as Wales missed two big chances before equalizing late on. This was a case where the US had a golden opportunity for victory in their grasp, but they let it slip quite tamely. That will disappoint Berhalter, but there were plenty of positives to take from their performance in the first half.

Stars of the show

Tim Ream: Dominant defensively and so calm on the ball in the first half to keep the pressure on Wales. What a comeback story for the 35-year-old.

Kiefer Moore: What an impact he had when he came in at half time. Gave Wales a focal point and turned the game around.

Graphic via

How to watch USA vs Wales live! — By Joe Prince-Wright

kick off: 2 p.m. ET, Monday (Nov. 21)
Stadium: Ahmed bin Ali Stadium, Al Rayyan
TV channels en Español: Telemundo
Stream and Spanish: Peacock (all 64 games)

There was a lot of talk about why Gio Reyna didn’t come on (he told reporters he’s 100 per cent fit) and it seems Gregg Berhalter preferred Jordan Morris to the talented young playmaker.

FULL TIME: USA 1-1 Wales – Disappointing end for the USMNT, who were excellent in the first half but fair play against Wales, they fought back valiantly and deserved that point. That makes for a very tense Group B.

GOALLL! No, is the answer. Walker Zimmerman goes through the back of Gareth Bale and concedes a penalty kick. Bale then picks himself up and hits home. 1-1.

Tick ​​tock. Just over 10 minutes to go. Can the US hold on!?

Brenden Aaronson for McKennie. The Leeds midfielder should help them get on the ball and prevent Wales from shooting forward.

CLOSE TO! Somehow Kieffer heads Moore over from close range. What an opportunity for Wales.

Wales started the second half well and the USMNT have a lot to defend.

GOALLL! Tim Weah with a great finish after a great run and pass from Christian Pulisic. The USMNT get the target their dominant display deserves.

Sergino Dest and Weston McKennie both booked within minutes. Not ideal. Both have battled for fitness and have only just made this game. Rest changes?

Save! Wayne Hennessey saves as Rodon heads for his own goal after some good work from Tim Weah. Sargent then heads wide from close range. The US has to make the best of it to be on top here.

A good start from the US. Wales haven’t been able to keep the ball and the Americans are messing around with it.

Here we go! The teams are out, the national anthems are sung and the fireworks are flying. It’s time for the USA at the World Cup.

USMNT, Wales from XI

Main story lines, players to keep an eye on

For the USMNT, their midfield will be their strength, but there are still plenty of question marks around the defense. Veteran Tim Ream could start at center back to gain experience, while the midfield trio of Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah are the main midfield men. For them, Christian Pulisic, Gio Reyna, Brenden Aaronson and Tim Weah are all battling for a starting spot in the attacking midfield, but there’s no clear winner to start as number 9, so maybe the USMNT will start with a false nine?

In terms of injuries, Sergino Dest, Matt Turner and Weston McKennie have all trained after brushing off recent injuries. However, Gregg Berhalter said both Dest and McKennie are unlikely to play the full 90 minutes and they are not fully fit for the opener against Wales. It has also been announced that Tyler Adams has been named captain of the USMNT for the tournament.

Wales likes to sit deep and take pressure and their back three and fluid system will be hard for the USMNT to break down. Going forward, the quality of Ramsey and Bale speaks for itself and Wales will rely heavily on play situations and crosses for Kieffer Moore to attack. Also watch out for Harry Wilson and Daniel James in the attack areas. Wales are a robust, experienced team and they are very good at sitting back and then counter-attacking. Their nation expects them to drop out of this group and this game against the USMNT is about to be decided. Wales are looking pretty good injury-wise with Joe Allen training alone as he recovers from a recent hamstring problem and will be unavailable for this match.

US fast facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 16
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 9
How they qualified: Automatically qualified from CONCACAF (3rd place)
Trainer: Gregg Berhalter
Key Players: Christian Pulisic, Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams

Wales fast facts

Current FIFA world ranking: 19
World Cup titles: 0
World Cup appearances: 1
How they qualified: Qualified by UEFA through play-offs, path B
Trainer: Robert Page
Main players: Gareth Bale, Aaron Ramsey, Ben Davies

The Valley Voice
The Valley Voice
Christopher Brito is a social media producer and trending writer for The Valley Voice, with a focus on sports and stories related to race and culture.


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