U.S. Men’s National Team Tops World-Cup Bound Morocco 3-0 In Cincinnati
Brenden Aaronson, Tim Weah and USMNT Debutant Haji Wright Score as USMNT Extend Home Unbeaten Streak to 24 Games; USA Next Face Uruguay, Presented by Allstate, on Sunday at 5 p.m. ET (FOX, Univision, TUDN)
CINCINNATI (June 1, 2022) – The U.S. Men’s National Team opened the June international window with a convincing 3-0 win against African powerhouse Morocco on Wednesday evening at TQL Stadium. Brenden Aaronson and Tim Weah put the USA up 2-0 before the break and Haji Wright - making his USMNT debut - converted a second-half penalty kick to propel the USMNT to its first win against the World Cup-bound Atlas Lions, and extending its home unbeaten streak to 24 straight games.
The win kicked off a four-game stretch for the USMNT during the first two weeks of June. The U.S. now heads to Kansas City, Kan. to face two-time FIFA World Cup champion and 13th-ranked Uruguay, presented by Allstate, on June 5 at Children’s Mercy Park (5 p.m. ET; FOX, Univision, TUDN).
The USA was on the front foot from the opening whistle. Forward Jesús Ferriera had the first quality opportunity after two minutes when he picked up a loose ball outside the box, turned and curled a shot to the far right post that Morocco goalkeeper Yassine Bounou parried away with a dive to his left.
Seconds later, forward Christian Pulisic took a pass from midfielder Yunus Musah, cut to his left at the top of the box and hit a solid shot that took a slight deflection off a defender and went narrowly wide of the goal. Forward Tim Weah then got in on the action, taking a ball down the right side before ripping a low shot at the near post that Bounou once again got low to save.
Withstanding the early pressure, Morocco nearly opened the scoring 12 minutes in when Tarik Tissoudali found space down the left and slipped a short pass to Azzedine Ounahi, who hit a first-time shot from 12 yards out that forced U.S. goalkeeper Matt Turner to dive to his left to keep the game even. Tissoudali got on the end of the second chance opportunity, but center back Aaron Long stretched out to block the shot from close range.
The USA then took back control as Weah again came close to scoring, ripping a shot between two defenders from the top of the box that was denied by another diving save from Bounou. The break finally came in the 26th minute thanks to a brilliant play from Pulisic. The Chelsea forward brought down a 50-yard pass from defender Walker Zimmerman with a fantastic first touch and laid off a pass to the on-rushing Aaronson, who hit a first-time shot into an empty net for his sixth career international goal.
Weah then doubled the lead with another blast from 20 yards out that Bounou tried to punch away but could not keep out of the goal. It was Weah’s third career goal and first since the USA’s 1-1 World Cup qualifying draw at Jamaica on Nov. 16, 2021.
Gregg Berhalter made six changes in the second half, handing debuts to defender Joe Scally, midfielder Malik Tillman and forward Haji Wright.
Despite the changes, the attacking mentality stayed intact. Playing a central role, Aaronson set up Ferreira and Wright for clean looks at goal that were each saved by Bounou. Tillman was also denied on a near-post attempt shortly after entering.
Wright then essentially put the game to rest when he converted a penalty kick in the 62nd after Pulisic was taken down in the box. The forward became the 56th player to score in his USMNT debut when he placed his kick from the spot low to the left side of the net.
Turner was called on to make a handful of comfortable saves down the stretch, but also came up with a huge diving denial of a point-blank header from Tissoudali.
Morocco had a chance to get on the board with 15 minutes left when Scally was whistled for a dubious penalty kick when he was caught near Souflane Rahimi, but Selim Amallah clanked his effort off the crossbar.
After Sunday’s friendly against Uruguay, the USMNT will begins its defense of the inaugural Concacaf Nations League title, kicking off the 2022-2023 edition with group stage matches against Grenada on June 10 (10 p.m. ET; ESPN+, UniMas, TUDN) at Q2 Stadium in Austin, Texas and at El Salvador on June 14 (FS1, Univision, TUDN).
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN
USA - Brenden Aaronson (Christian Pulisic), 26th minute: Pulisic put his world-class skills on display to set up the opening goal. Center back Walker Zimmerman saw an opportunity to send a deep ball over the top, and the captain beautifully brought down the 50-yard pass with a subtle first touch that allowed him to create space to his right just inside the box. Pulisic then cut to his left, leaving his mark behind, and calmly waited for Aaronson to continue his run. Pulisic squared the ball towards the center of the area, where Aaronson met it with a first-time shot into an empty net for his sixth international goal. USA 1, MAR 0
USA - Tim Weah (Reggie Cannon), 32nd minute: After a long spell of possession, the USA rotated the ball from left to right through the midfield, with Weah dropping it off to right back Reggie Cannon, who played it back to the winger. Weah then turned and ripped a powerful shot from 20 yards out that goalkeeper Yassine Bounou got a hand on but not enough to keep it out of the net. USA 2, MAR 0
USA - Haji Wright (penalty kick), 64th minute: Wright was a key part of the play that set up his debut goal. Taking a well-placed ball behind the defense, Wright held it up and laid it off to Aaronson, who set up a left-footed shot that Bounou again did well to save. However, the ball fell to Pulisic on the left side, and the forward was tripped by Achraf Hakimi six yards from goal. Pulisic then gave way to his 2015 FIFA U-17 World Cup teammate to step up to the penalty spot, and he placed a low shot to the left side for his first international goal. USA 3, MAR 0
The win extended the USMNT’s undefeated streak on U.S. soil to 24 straight games. The team’s last loss in the U.S. was a 3-0 defeat to Mexico on Sept. 6, 2019, at Metlife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey.
The USMNT earned its first win against Morocco, taking its record against the Atlas Lions to 1-3-0.
The USMNT is 11-6-2 all-time against national teams from CAF and has won its last five matches against African sides, a streak that dates back to a 1-0 friendly win at South Africa on Nov. 17, 2010.
With his assist on forward Brenden Aaronson’s opening goal, forward Christian Pulisic (49 caps) became the fastest USMNT player to reach double-digit goals and assists, besting Landon Donovan who reached the mark in 50 international appearances.
Pulisic’s assist was a long time coming, having last set up a goal in the 2019 Gold Cup quarterfinal win against Curaçao on June 30, 2019 in Philadelphia.
Aaronson’s 26th-minute goal was the sixth of his international career and first since the 4-1 World Cup qualifying win at Honduras on Sept. 8, 2021.
Forward Tim Weah’s 32nd-minute strike was his third in a U.S. shirt. Defender Reggie Cannon also collected his third career assist on Weah’s goal.
Earning his USMNT debut as a substitute at the start of the second half, forward Haji Wright put home a 65th-minute penalty kick to make things 3-0. Wright became the 56th player to score in his USMNT debut.
Defender Joe Scally and midfielder Malik Tillman also made their debuts during the second half. With three more debuts tonight, a total of 56 players have earned their firs caps in Gregg Berhalter’s 51 matches as USMNT manager.
Earning his 17th appearance tonight, goalkeeper Matt Turner made eight saves to keep his 12th career clean sheet. He now sits in sole possession of sixth on the USMNT’s all-time shutout list, eight back of Brad Guzan (20 shutouts in 64 caps).
Defender Aaron Long earned his first start since the 2-1 win at Northern Ireland on March 28, 2021. After recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered in May 2021, Long returned to the team during the March international window, making two substitute appearances in the 0-0 draw at Mexico and 5-1 win against Panama.
Defender Cameron Carter-Vickers earned his first cap since June 1, 2019 vs. Jamaica, when he also replaced defender Walker Zimmerman to start the second half.
After missing out on the March window due to injury, midfielder Weston McKennie returned off the bench for the USMNT, replacing Aaronson in the 72nd minute.
Defender Antonee Robinson is the only player to start all seven USMNT matches in 2022. Robinson has started each of the last 10 matches in which he’s been called to camp, only missing out on the 1-0 win against Bosnia and Herzegovina during the team’s domestic training camp last December.
Pulisic captained the USMNT for the ninth time tonight. The USMNT is 7-1-1 when he wears the armband.
Long and Walker Zimmerman paired in central defense for the first time since the 1-0 win against Costa Rica on Feb. 1, 2020. The USMNT is 7-1-0 when they partner together.
Tonight’s Starting XI had an average age of 25 years, 35 days.
The USMNT lineup averaged 23 caps.
Midfielder Kellyn Acosta, goalkeeper Ethan Horvath and forward Jordan Morris did not dress for tonight’s match. Teams were allowed six substitutions.
-U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report-
Match: United States Men’s National Team vs. Morocco
Date: June 1, 2022
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: TQL Stadium; Cincinnati, Ohio
Kickoff: 7:30 p.m. ET
Weather: 83 degrees; mostly cloudy
USA - Brenden Aaronson (Christian Pulisic) 26th minute