ST. PAUL, Minn (Sept. 12, 2023) – Sparked by goals from forwards Folarin Balogun and Ricardo Pepi as well as midfielder Brenden Aaronson and a forced own goal, the U.S. Men’s National Team cruised to a 4-0 win against Oman on Tuesday night at Allianz Field.
The USA controlled the match from the jump, keeping the ball in the opponent’s third aside from instances in which the team recycled through the back and up to attack again. The Americans created most of their danger through the right wing as midfielder Weston McKennie consistently served long balls over the top with pinpoint accuracy time and again.
The U.S. opened the scoring in the 13th minute when a brilliant team effort on a breakaway up the right flank concluded with Dest firing a powerful half volley from the top of the box which goalkeeper Ibrahim Al Mukhaini initially saved but spilled into Balogun’s path, who pounced on the rebound to score his second international goal.
The Americans threatened consistently as Miles Robinson, Tim Weah, Dest, McKennie and halftime substitute Pepi all created dangerous chances. The USA then doubled their lead in the 60th minute after Aaronson, who was fouled while dribbling into the box moments earlier, stepped up and buried a free kick from about 23 yards out.
Re-energized by a handful of substitutes that included late roster addition DeJuan Jones and debutants Benjamin Cremaschi and Kevin Paredes, the USA continued to press until Pepi found the back of the net in the 79th minute with a nice finish off a feed from Jones on the right. Just two minutes later, Paredes – who is one of five players from this summer’s U-20 FIFA World Cup to earn a senior cap -- forced an own goal from defender Khalid Al Braiki after sending in another cross from the right wing which was destined for Pepi inside the box for a point-blank finish.
The USMNT will return to action next month for USA-Germany, presented by AT&T, on Oct. 14 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium in East Hartford, Conn., before facing Ghana on Oct. 17 in Nissan Stadium in Nashville, Tenn.
GOAL SCORING RUNDOWN:
USA – Folarin Balogun, 13th minute: The USA broke away up the right wing and Weah sent a cross into the box for Pulisic, who lost his footing. McKennie recovered the ball on the opposite wing and sent a far pass to the back post for Weah, who played Dest back with a one-time pass to set him up for a powerful half volley from the top of the box. The ‘keeper made the initial save, but Balogun pounced on the rebound to score from seven yards out. USA 1, OMA 0
USA – Brenden Aaronson, 60th minute: Aaronson stepped up for a free kick after being brought down moments earlier. He fired low and split the wall, catching the goalkeeper off balance as he started to dive to the right, the shot trickled down the middle from about 23 yards out. USA 2, OMA 0
USA – Ricardo Pepi (DeJuan Jones), 79th minute: DeJuan Jones received a long ball on the right wing and sent a quality cross toward the top of the box, where Pepi fired between the incoming defender’s legs toward and inside left side netting. USA 3, OMA 0
USA – Khalid Al Braiki (Own Goal), 81st minute: Cremaschi played Paredes in with a great through-ball on the right wing. Paredes sent a low cross into the box aimed at Pepi, only to have Oman defender Al Braiki slide through and accidentally slot the ball into his own net. USA 4, OMA 0
- Folarin Balogun’s 13th minute goal was the second of his international career and came in his fourth overall cap. Balogun’s first goal came against Canada in the Concacaf Nations League Final in June.
- Substitute attacker Brenden Aaronson’s 60th minute goal via a free kick was the eighth for the USMNT and second of 2023. It was also the first set piece goal of Aaronson’s international career.
- Ricardo Pepi’s 79th minute goal was the ninth of his international career and sixth in as many matches this year. Pepi now has four goals as a substitute in 2023, setting a new record for most goals by a USMNT substitute in one calendar year.
- Aaronson and Pepi’s goals took the total number of goals scored by USMNT substitutes in 2023 to 10, just one back of the team record of 11 set in 2011.
- Substitute right back DeJuan Jones collected his third career assist. Jones has provided a helper in three of his last four matches for the USA.
- Substitutes Ben Cremaschi and Kevin Paredes both made their USMNT debuts, becoming the 858th and 859th players respectively to earn a cap for the U.S. Men’s National Team. Fifty-nine different players have earned their debuts in Gregg Berhalter’s 62 matches leading the USA, placing him just one behind Bob Bradley (60 debuts in 80 matches) for second all-time among USMNT head coaches.
- At 23 years, 242 days, tonight’s Starting XI was the youngest deployed by Gregg Berhalter since the 1-0 win against El Salvador in World Cup qualifying on Jan. 27, 2022 in Columbus (23 years, 92 days). It was also the 13th youngest lineup during his time as USMNT head coach.
- Gregg Berhalter made four changes from the XI that faced Uzbekistan on Saturday, inserting goalkeeper Ethan Horvath, defenders Kristoffer Lund and Miles Robinson and midfielder Malik Tillman.
- Ten of the eleven starters were age 26 and younger: Miles Robinson (26); Weston McKennie (25); Christian Pulisic (24), Chris Richards and Tim Weah (23); Folarin Balogun and Sergiño Dest (22); Kristoffer Lund and Malik Tillman (21); Yunus Musah (20).
- After making his debut on Saturday vs. Uzbekistan, left back Kristoffer Lund earned his first start tonight. Lund is the second Danish-born player to represent the USMNT, following Svend Engvedal who earned three caps from 1956-1957.
- Malik Tillman also earned his first career start tonight in his sixth cap.
- Goalkeeper Ethan Horvath made one save to earn his third career shutout in his ninth international appearance.
- Chris Richards and Miles Robinson partnered in central defense for the fourth time. They last paired together in the 3-0 win against Mexico in the Concacaf Nations League semifinal on June 15 in Las Vegas.
- Christian Pulisic captained the USMNT for the 17th time tonight. The USA is 13-1-3 in matches where Pulisic wears the armband, with the team riding a 16-match unbeaten streak when Pulisic is captain. The only loss came in his first captaincy, a 1-0 defeat to Italy on Nov. 20, 2018 in Genk, Belgium.
- Gregg Berhalter moves to 39-11-12 record in 62 matches as USMNT head coach and holds both the highest winning percentage (.726) and highest unbeaten percentage (.836) of any manager that has coached eight or more matches.
- Berhalter is also 4-1-1 against opposition from the Asian Football Confederation.
- The match marked the first meeting between the USMNT and Oman. The Reds are the USMNT’s 102nd all-time international opponent and 12th different team from the Asian Football Confederation.
- Players on the USMNT donated 120 tickets for tonight’s match to The Sanneh Foundation, a local community-service non-profit organization run by 2002 World Cup defender Tony Sanneh.
- In U.S. Soccer’s continuing mission to celebrate the game in all of its forms, prior to kick off tonight the Federation recognized five of the eight members of the U.S. Power Soccer National Team that will take part in the 2023 FIPFA Powerchair Football World Cup next month in Sydney, Australia. In attendance were goalkeeper Nathan Mayer (Monticello, Minn.), wing Lexi Heer (Fishers, Ind.), center Riley Johnson (St. Cloud, Minn.) and strikers Zach Dickey (Pendleton, Ind.) and Pete Winslow (Woodbury, Minn.).
-U.S. MEN’s National team match report-
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Oman
Date: September 12, 2023
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Allianz Field; St. Paul, Minn.
Kickoff: 8:37 p.m. ET (7:37 p.m. local)
Weather: 58 degrees; clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 3 4
OMA 0 0 0
USA – Folarin Balogun 13th minute
USA – Brenden Aaronson 60
USA – Ricardo Pepi (DeJuan Jones) 79
USA – Khalid Albraiki (own goal) 81
USA: 1-Ethan Horvath; 2-Sergiño Dest (19-DeJuan Jones, 76), 12-Miles Robinson, 4-Chris Richards (3-Mark McKenzie, 71), 23-Kris Lund; 17-Malik Tillman (15-Benja Cremaschi, 71), 6-Yunus Musah, 8-Weston McKennie; 21-Tim Weah (22-Kevin Paredes, 79), 20-Folarin Balogun (9-Ricardo Pepi, 46), 10-Christian Pulisic (Capt.) (11-Brenden Aaronson, 46)
Substitutes not used: 18-Drake Callender, 5-Antonee Robinson, 7-Cade Cowell, 13-Tim Ream, 14-Luca de la Torre, 16-Tanner Tessmann
Head coach: Gregg Berhalter
OMA: 1-Ibrahim Almukhaini; 10-Jameel Alyahmadi, 16-Khalid Albraiki, 6-Ahmed Alkhamisi, 14-Ahmed Alkaabi; 2-Tamim Albalushi (19-Mahmood Almushaifri, 80), 23-Harib Alsaadi (Capt.), 8-Zaher Alaghbari (15-Musaab Almamari, 64); 12-Muhsen Alghassani, 11-Abdullah Fawaz (21-Abdulrahman Almushaifri, 64), 7-Issam Alsabhi
Substitutes not used: 18-Fayiz Alrushaidi, 22-Ahmed Alrawahi, 3-Fahmi Dorbin, 4-Ali Alhanaei, 5-Juma Alhabsi, 13-Ahmed Almatrushi, 17-Ahmed Aladawi, 24-Mohammed Alamri
Head coach: Branko Ivankovic
Stats Summary: USA / OMA
Shots: 19 / 7
Shots on Goal: 9 / 1
Saves: 1 / 6
Corner Kicks: 8 / 4
Fouls: 12 / 9
Offside: 0 / 2
OMA - Musaab Almamari (caution) 66th minute
USA – Yunus Musah (caution) 88
Referee: Mario Escobar (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Luis Ventura (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Humberto Panjoj (GUA)
4th Official: Sergio Reyna (GUA)
Bud Light Man of the Match: Folarin Balogun