Tim Ream

Uruguay defeated the USA 1-0 tonight at Arrowhead Stadium, ending the USMNT’s Copa America 2024 campaign when it had barely just begun.

Heading into the Group C finale at Copa America 2024, the USMNT faced their toughest challenge yet against the unbeaten Uruguay. The Stars and Stripes are without Tim Weah, who was sent off against Panama and suspended for the USA’s next two matches. In his absence, Gregg Berhalter gave Yunus Musah his first start of the tournament, and moved Gio Reyna up on the right wing.

How the game unfolded

The USA came out with high intensity as they took the game right to Uruguay, looking like a team determined to get on the scoresheet early. The crowd at Arrowhead Stadium urged the home side on as the Stars and Stripes dominated possession in the opening 20 minutes, something no other side has been able to do this tournament against La Celeste.

The first half took a scary turn when Tim Ream collided with Maximiliano Araujo, resulting in a harsh fall for the Uruguayan as his head collided with the ground. Araujo was stretched off the pitch in the 27th minute, and just 15 minutes later, Folarin Balogun was forced to come off due to injury. The rest of the first half was disjointed as referee Kevin Ortega struggled to get a handle on match’s physicality. Both teams retreated to their respective locker rooms with just one shot on target between the two of them.

Uruguay came out of halftime determined to slow the game down and maintain possession, taking away the USA’s rhythm. La Celeste’s half-chances turned into dangerous attempts that eventually resulted in the match’s opening goal from Mathias Olivera in the 66th minute. Olivera looked to be offsides when Ronald Araujo initially headed the ball, but VAR allowed the goal to stand.

The controversy marred the rest of the game, but despite the call, the USA failed to score a goal they would have needed even if they kept a clean sheet. The USMNT only managed three shots on target, and even with fresh legs in the second half, there were no threatening goalscoring opportunities that forced Rochet to make anything but comfortable saves. Haji Wright had the best chance in the dying minutes of the match, but the substitute forced a weak shot intro traffic from 12 yards out when Ricardo Pepi was wide open to his right.

Tim ReamTim Ream

United States v Uruguay – CONMEBOL Copa America USA 2024 / Shaun Clark/GettyImages

GK: Matt Turner – 5/10 – Turner got the start tonight despite the leg injury he suffered against Panama, but the keeper still looked out of sorts, taking errant goal kicks and releasing the ball too early when under pressure. Turner also gave up a poor rebound that led to Uruguay’s winner.

RB: Joe Scally – 5/10 – Scally had a tough first half. The right-back was poor with the ball at his feet and relied on the referee’s whistle to get him out of bad situations. Scally was injured just before halftime, but played through the pain despite needing treatment in both halves.

CB: Chris Richards – 5/10 – For the third straight Copa America match, Richards started off shaky at the back with an under-hit pass to Turner that Uruguay almost took advantage of. The center-back was booked in the 33rd minute for a poor tackle on de la Cruz as a last ditch effort to stop Uruguay on the counter attack.

CB: Tim Ream – 6/10 – Ream saved Turner and the USA from conceding in the first half after he cleared a shot in front of a virtually empty net following the referee’s perplexing decision to allow Uruguay to take a quick free kick while he was still booking Chris Richards.

LB: Antonee Robinson – 6/10 – Robinson was not as active in the USA’s attack tonight as he had been in the first two matches of the tournament, but the left-back was instrumental on defense, always making the correct tackle on Uruguay’s counter attacks to stop their prolific forwards.

CM: Weston McKennie – 5/10 – McKennie put in a lot of work defensively tonight to help press Uruguay’s backline, but the midfielder was not effective enough in the attack in a game where his side had to win.

CM: Tyler Adams – 6/10 – Adams got beat by Darwin Nunez’s speed early on, but the midfielder bounced back and was a huge reason why Uruguay did not have sustained spells of possession in the first half. Adams looked like his former self as the game went on, popping up everywhere his team needed him to be to stifle Uruguay’s chances.

CM: Yunus Musah – 6/10 – Musah’s first start at Copa America 2024 was full of clean first touches that helped the USA play out of pressure. The midfielder also used his speed to join in on the attack when the opportunities arose.

RW: Gio Reyna – 6/10 – Reyna was the best player for the USA in the first half despite playing his first game of the tournament on the right wing. He did a great job evading pressure and he facilitated almost all of the USA’s best chances, but to no avail.

ST: Folarin Balogun – 5/10 – Balogun was forced to come off in the 41st minute after sustaining a hip pointer injury.

LW: Christian Pulisic – 6/10 – Pulisic once again had great set piece deliveries tonight and several electric runs, carving out his own space on the left wing. Without Weah and Balogun, though, the captain could not be as lethal in the final third.

Ricardo Pepi – 6/10 – Pepi came on in the 41st minute for the injured Balogun, and although the striker was not nearly as effective as Balogun in the final third, Pepi put himself in good positions that could have led to dangerous chances had his teammates found him.

Josh Sargent – 5/10 – Sargent came on the 72nd minute as the USA desperately needed the goal. The substitute won the USA a corner in the 83rd minute, but otherwise, he failed to make an impact.

Haji Wright – 4/10 – Like Sargent, Wright came on in the dying minutes of the game as an extra attacking presence for the USA. Wright bottled a brilliant pass from Robinson in the 84th minute with a heavy touch inside the box, and then opted to shoot into traffic when Pepi was unmarked on his right just minutes later.

Malik Tillman – N/A – Tillman came on in the 90th minute.

Gregg Berhalter – 5/10 – Berhalter will have to answer for the USA’s poor performance at this summer’s Copa America. Exiting the tournament in the group stage and allowing Panama to advance in place of the USMNT is an unacceptable result, especially when the Stars and Stripes are playing on home soil.

When it mattered most, the USA did not show up tonight in what was a must-win game, and Berhalter just might have to pay for his team’s disappointing campaign with his job.

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