USA's exciting 1-1 draw against Wales in Qatar 2022 debut showed signs of promise, but still sets up challenging path out of group stage

USA's exciting 1-1 draw against Wales in Qatar 2022 debut showed signs of promise, but still sets up challenging path out of group stage
Weston McKennie pleads with a side judge during a match against Wales at Qatar 2022.AP Photo/Ashley Landis
  • The USMNT played to a 1-1 draw against Wales in their 2022 World Cup debut.
  • Tim Weah scored the goal for the Americans, with a bit of help from Christian Pulisic.

After eight years of waiting, the United States Men's National Team made their return to World Cup play on Monday with a 1-1 draw in their Group B opener against Wales.

The Americans were the early attackers in the match, dominating possession through the first half hour of play and teasing a few pushes close to the Welsh goal.

After knocking on the door for some time, the breakthrough came in the 36th minute, when US midfielder Christian Pulisic settled a ball into the center of the field and ran with space. Pulisic found Tim Weah free beneath the defense, and he put the ball in the back of the net with an impressive bit of finesse off the outside of his boot.

The USMNT would take the lead into halftime and attempt to hold on for the rest of the game.

In the second half, Wales found its form, pressing the United States defense with attacks they hadn't produced through the first 45 minutes of play.


American goalkeeper Matt Turner came up big on several occasions to keep his sheet clean.

But eventually the levee broke.

In the 79th minute, America defender Walker Zimmerman stuck his foot under Gareth Bale while defending inside the box, resulting in a foul call and a penalty kick for Wales.

Bale stepped up to the spot, and tied the game with authority.

While the teams traded tense moments through the final minutes of action, neither could find a game-winner, sending both sides home with a 1-1 draw, and 1 point apiece to open their play in Group B of the World Cup.


After England's 6-2 win over Iran earlier in the day, the Group B standings have taken clear shape quite early.

With a +4 goal differential to open the tournament, England will make it through to the knockout stage barring an extremely surprising set of results.

That leaves just one spot left for one of USA, Wales, or Iran. While Monday's draw is not the end of the world for the United States, it leaves them with a more challenging pathway out than if had they been able to hold onto their 1-0 lead.

The US takes on England on Friday, and a draw or win in that game would certainly increase their chances of exiting the group stage. But more likely than not, the fate of the Americans will likely rest on their group stage finale against Iran on November 29.