Ricardo Pepi and Christian Pulisic both scored in second-half stoppage time to put the finishing touches on the United States men’s national team’s 3-0 victory over Uzbekistan in an international friendly in St. Louis on Saturday.
The win marked Gregg Berhalter’s return as coach.
Matt Turner made three saves to pick up the clean sheet for the Americans, who will face Oman in another friendly on Tuesday. That match will be held in St. Paul, Minn.
Timothy Weah also scored for the U.S. He wasted little time putting the U.S. on top, sending a right-footed shot past Uzbekistan goalkeeper Utkir Yusupov in the fourth minute.
Weston McKennie was on the receiving end of a cross, quickly controlling it before playing keep-away from a trio of Uzbekistani defenders. He then sent the ball back to a trailing Weah, who fired a shot into the bottom left corner of the net.
The United States nearly doubled its lead just 12 minutes later, but Luca de la Torre’s left-footed shot was saved by Yusupov.
Uzbekistan had two opportunities to level the match shortly before the break, as Eldor Shomurodov put a shot on target in the 42nd minute before sending another shot at Turner in the first minute of first-half stoppage time. Both tries were stopped, though, and Turner wouldn’t be forced to make another save until the 61st minute.
After the visitors were unable to break through for 90 minutes, Pepi’s essentially sealed the victory with a right-footed strike in the first minute of second-half stoppage time.
But the U.S. wasn’t done yet.
Three minutes later, Malik Tillman drew a foul on Uzbekistan’s Umar Eshmuradov in the penalty area. That sent Pulisic to the spot, where he sent a laser into the upper left corner of the net to forge the three-goal advantage.
Yusupov finished with three saves for Uzbekistan.
The Americans doubled up the Uzbekistanis in shots on goal (6-3), but the visitors did hold a 15-13 advantage in shots. The U.S. maintained possession for 64.6 percent of the match.
Saturday’s match will help the United States prepare for its CONCACAF Nations League quarterfinal in Austin, Texas, on Nov. 16. The Americans don’t know who they will be playing yet, but the winner of that match will qualify for the 2024 Copa America.
–Field Level Media