Saudi Arabia vs. USA: How to watch & stream, preview of World Cup prep friendly
The US men’s national team’s final friendly ahead of the Qatar 2022 World Cup arrives Tuesday when meeting fellow qualifier Saudi Arabia in Murcia, Spain.
How to watch and stream
With less than two months until the unconventional November/December World Cup, international coaches have little time with their players amid ongoing club campaigns.
That makes Tuesday’s opportunity even more essential for USMNT manager Gregg Berhalter, the last chance for his squad to impress in the red, white and blue before Group B play gets underway Nov. 21 vs. Wales. The USMNT will also face England (Nov. 25) and Iran (Nov. 29) in Group B, with the top two nations reaching the Round of 16.
Currently, the Yanks are expected to announce their 26-man World Cup roster Nov. 9 before heading to the Middle East for their first World Cup since Brazil 2014, having failed to qualify for Russia 2018.
The USMNT are coming off a 2-0 defeat to Japan, their penultimate World Cup tune-up, in Düsseldorf, Germany. It’s the performance, not as much the result, that has fans and media concerned after Berhalter’s group couldn’t answer Japan’s high press, continually lost possession and registered zero shots on target – largely losing the intensity battle.
Perhaps the only true bright spot against Japan was goalkeeper Matt Turner, who made six saves and kept the scoreline flattering. And with as many as five field-player starters missing – center back Chris Richards, left back Antonee Robinson, midfielder Yunus Musah and forwards Christian Pulisic and Timothy Weah – issues surfaced across the board. From that group, only Pulisic (day-to-day) is in the September camp.
The USMNT have accomplished a fair deal under Berhalter, namely winning Gold Cup and Nations League titles over Mexico in back-to-back summers and now booking a World Cup return. But it’s paramount the program caps the FIFA international window on a high note, injecting confidence into what’s expected to be the youngest World Cup squad in Qatar.
Afterwards, players return to their club environments and will look to maintain health and sharpness before Berhalter’s final decisions are announced. For MLS-based players who aren’t in the Audi 2022 MLS Cup Playoffs and/or get eliminated early, there’s also a domestic training camp coming (no friendlies) in October.
Since Iran are one of the USMNT’s three group-stage opponents, the hope is Saudi Arabia will get Berhalter’s team further adjusted to Asian Football Confederation foes.
The Green Falcons were impressive during their own World Cup qualifying efforts, finishing first in both their second- and third-round groups with a combined 13-1-4 record, slotting one point ahead of Japan in the latter stage.
Their entire squad competes in the Saudi Professional League (domestic top flight), and they drew Ecuador, one of South America’s four World Cup qualifiers, 0-0 on Friday.
At Qatar 2022, Saudi Arabia are drawn into Group C alongside Argentina, Mexico and Poland. The USMNT hold a slight series edge, having a 3-2-1 record.
Saudi Arabia have made all but two World Cups since 1994.