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USMNT vs Uruguay: Yanks hold on for draw as World Cup prep continues

Joe Prince-Wright, Nick Mendola and Andy Edwards look into their crystal ball for the upcoming Premier League season one day after Championship Sunday.

USMNT vs Uruguay final score: The United States men’s national team continued its prep work for the 2022 World Cup in a 0-0 draw with Uruguay in Kansas City, Kan., on Sunday.

[ MORE: USA vs Morocco: Three-star Yanks get another show from Turner ]

Each side enjoyed and endured periods of pressure in the first half, but Uruguay grew in stature and strength as some of their biggest stars were introduced as second-half substitutes. By the end, the USMNT was impossibly lucky to have not conceded and been defeated.

Without knowing who they’ll face in the final international window in September (two friendlies), Sunday may well have been the USA’s toughest pre-World Cup test. For 45 minutes, they passed. Over 90 minutes, they’ll need to improve.

[ MORE: USMNT hub - Upcoming schedule & results ]

USMNT vs Uruguay final score, stats

Final score: USA 0, Uruguay 0

Goal scorers: USA (None), Uruguay (None)

Shots: USA 9, Uruguay 12

Shots on goal: USA 3, Uruguay 4

Possession: USA 54%, Uruguay 46%

Three things we learned from USMNT vs Uruguay

1. USMNT adjusts, finds footing after poor start: The opening 10 minutes saw the USMNT torn to shreds down the left side of their defense, as Uruguay sent Guillermo Varela into wide open space behind Joe Scally time and again. Again, it was the USMNT’s desire to play the ball (all the way) out of the back that enticed the opponent to press high and win the ball back with Scally pulled well out of his left back position to receive the ball. It worked against Morocco, as the USMNT strung together long passing sequences from goal kick to scoring chance at the other end, but the step up in competition was abundantly clear in this regard. Sometimes, you have no other choice than to mix in a few long balls to keep the midfield honest, not to mention the second balls won in midfield, where the USMNT’s greatest strength lies in Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah. The USMNT will face plenty of periods like this if they are to make a run at the World Cup, so on one hand it’s reassuring to know they’ll be plenty tested before they step on the big stage, but on the other hand — and just hear me out here — what if they didn’t always have to?

2. Still looking for a starting striker: Sunday was yet another opportunity for Jesus Ferriera, who found his way into dangerous areas before failing to finish his chances (he is a USMNT striker, after all). Ferreira’s off-ball movement, understanding of space and ability to combine when on the ball himself are all strengths unique to him in the USMNT player pool. Unfortunately, his ongoing inability to finish is not. It’s worth noting that Ferreira is finishing chances just fine in MLS (9 goals, tied-most this season), so it’s truly just a matter of putting it all together at the international level. At this point, Ferreira might be the slight leader in the clubhouse, though Ricardo Pepi could have his say with a strong first half of the new European season.

3. Center back rotation coming into focus: With Miles Robinson set to miss the World Cup after rupturing his achilles, it appears that Aaron Long and Chris Richards are in a head-to-head battle for the second starting spot and will, very likely, split time lining up to Walker Zimmerman’s left. The fact that Long and Zimmerman remained the partnership for a second straight game, due to Richards being unavailable for this USMNT camp due to injury, is a pretty strong indicator that those three are line to play the lion’s share of minutes at the World Cup. Long is the better defender, while Richards is better on the ball — both players’ skill set will be required at different times.

Follow @AndyEdMLS