The USA will play their final match before the World Cup tomorrow against Saudi Arabia. The game will take place at Enrique Roca Stadium, in Murcia, Spain, and will kick off at 2 PM ET. The game will be a friendly match but will have plenty of implications for the US team in terms of its World Cup roster.
The US looked underwhelming, to say the least in their 2-0 friendly loss to Japan on Friday. The team had 58% of possession but had 0 shots on goal, in contrast with Japan’s 8.
The US gave up way too many turnovers in its defensive third, including one that led to Japan’s first goal. The offensive attack was minimal. Striker Jesus Ferreira didn’t do well with the team’s best chance of the afternoon, sailing a header over the crossbar. It was only one chance but it was especially disappointing to see given Ferreira’s inconsistencies with scoring with the national team.
The way the US played on Friday won’t win them any games at the World Cup. Tuesday’s match against Saudi Arabia will be a chance for the US team to ‘get right.’
What’s On the Line on Tuesday?
Coach Gregg Berhalter is likely to make a number of lineup changes for Tuesday’s match against Saudi Arabia. Ricardo Pepi will start as the striker in place of Ferriera. Pepi had some success in World Cup qualifying but has fallen off with his club team. His performance on Tuesday could be the difference between him making the World Cup roster or not.
Christian Pulisic will be making his return to the lineup on Tuesday. The US star did not play against Japan because of a ‘knock’ he suffered in training earlier in the week. How he plays alongside Gio Reyna and Brendan Aaronson will be something to watch on Tuesday’s friendly.
Goalkeeper Matt Turner made 6 saves on Friday against Japan. The score line could have been a lot worse if it wasn’t for his exceptional play. Turner’s play made him a lock to be the starting keeper in Qatar, so we’re likely to see a different goalie in net on Tuesday. Berhalter could have Ethan Horvath and Sean Johnson split time, as they battle it out for the final goalkeeping spot on the World Cup roster after Zack Steffan and Matt Turner.
Best Bets for USA vs Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia hasn’t scored a goal in its last three matches. It’s been 10 matches since they scored more than one goal, with that coming on October 12, 2021, against China. Don’t expect a high-scoring game in this one. BetRivers has placed the over under at 2.5, where you can take the under for -165.
Saudi Arabia will not be a formidable opponent for the US, but they did qualify for the World Cup. Caesars Sportsbook has Saudi Arabia in a tie for the worst odds to win the tournament, at +50000.
In terms of player props, Ricardo Pepi holds the best odds to score the first goal, at +490. Jesus Ferriera holds the second-best odds at +500, which comes as a surprise considering he may not even start. You can take Christian Pulisic to be the first goalscorer in this one for +700 odds. The top 7 players for this bet are all American with the first Saudi Arabian being Firas Al-Buraikan, a 22-year old that plays for Al Fateh SC, a club in Saudi Arabia.
US soccer fans were disappointed in their team’s performance on Friday. Tuesday’s match against Saudi Arabia will be a great opportunity for the team to get familiar with each other. It will also be a critical game in terms of players building trust with Berhaltzer to get a spot on the World Cup roster. A positive result would get the team back on track as they get ready for the World Cup in Qatar.
For more information on how to bet on the 2022 FIFA World Cup or other soccer matches head over to our World Cup 2022 page.