Gareth Bale shaking hands with Brenden Aaronson Nov 21, 2022; Al Rayyan, Qatar; Wales forward Gareth Bale (11) shakes hands with United States of America midfielder Brenden Aaronson (11) after a group stage match during the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The United States got out to a first half lead but in the end, a Gareth Bale penalty gave Wales a 1-1 draw against the USMNT in the FIFA World Cup.

It really was a tale of two halves. Despite the USMNT getting two quick yellow cards, they were the better team in the first 45. The defense smothered Wales and prevented them from getting a shot off. And while the U.S. didn’t really get many shots off in that half, they persevered thanks to a Timothy Weah goal in the 36th minute.

Halftime proved to be the worst thing for the USMNT as Wales got things going and took the momentum for the final 45. Matt Turner came up huge with a couple great saves but a tackle from Walker Zimmerman from behind gave Wales a lifeline. Bale drilled the penalty and the game ended 1-1.

All in all, it would be fair to say that a draw was deserved but that didn’t mean things couldn’t be improved. Many took note that the United States simply wasn’t as good in the second half. Or, at the very least Wales improved and the U.S. couldn’t match. There was some horrendous passing, especially in the final third. Many questioned why Giovanni Reyna never even entered the match. USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter explained after the match that Reyna had some “tightness” and was held out as a precaution.

While a draw was likely and arguably fair, many feel it was two dropped points instead of one point gained, which raises some uneasy feelings over the next week as the USMNT look to advance to the World Cup knockout stage.

About Phillip Bupp

Producer/editor of the Awful Announcing Podcast and Short and to the Point. News editor for The Comeback and Awful Announcing. Highlight consultant for Major League Soccer as well as a freelance writer for hire. Opinions are my own but feel free to agree with them.

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