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Berhalter blames player 'anxiety' for listless USMNT draw against Saudi Arabia

5:09 PM EDT 9/27/22
Gregg Berhalter USMNT 2022
Gregg Berhalther admitted the USMNT played poorly during Tuesday's scoreless draw against Saudi Arabia in their final pre-World Cup friendly.
  • USMNT went scoreless in two straight games
  • Several bubble players failed to impress
  • Ended final pre-World Cup window with a dud

WHAT HAPPENED? Expectations are as low as they can be for the USMNT heading into the World Cup in November after closing out their pre-World Cup friendly slate with a scoreless 0-0 draw against Saudi Arabia. Head coach Gregg Berhalter did little to ease any concerns by blaming Tuesday's listless performance on player "anxiety."

WHAT THEY SAID: "[They have] anxiety and I told them I feel for them. It's a difficult situation to be in," the USMNT boss said during a post-match press conference.

"Everyone's fighting for roster spots and instead of coming out and really performing like the team we know we are, we lacked a little confidence in that. I think that hurt the performance. There were certainly spaces to take advantage of today and we didn't do that enough."

THE BIGGER PICTURE: With no friendlies scheduled for the USMNT before the World Cup, Berhalter has to improve on a September window that saw his team go scoreless and register just two shots on goal over 180 minutes. Failure to do so will result in a very short stay in Qatar.

IN THREE PHOTOS:

WHAT'S NEXT FOR BERHALTER: The USMNT coach will oversee one final training camp - in October for MLS-based players - before announcing his final World Cup roster on or around November 9.