The United States won its first match in Gregg Berhalter’s second term as coach, beating Uzbekistan 3-0 in an exhibition behind goals by Tim Weah, Ricardo Pepi and Christian Pulisic
ByThe Associated Press
September 9, 2023, 7:38 PM
ST. LOUIS — The United States won its first match in Gregg Berhalter’s second term as coach, beating Uzbekistan 3-0 in an exhibition Saturday behind goals by Tim Weah, Ricardo Pepi and Christian Pulisic.
Weah put the U.S. ahead in the fourth minute, Pepi doubled the lead in second-half stoppage time and Pulisic converted a penalty kick in the fifth minute of stoppage time.
Berhalter first was hired after the failure to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and led the Americans to the second round of last year’s tournament, where they lost to the Netherlands 3-1. He was replaced by interim coaches while the U.S. Soccer Federation investigated a domestic violence accusation brought to its attention by the Reyna family, then was rehired.
Weah put the U.S. ahead with his fifth goal in 32 international appearances. Weston McKennie stuck out a leg to acrobatically control a cross from Antonee Robinson, twisted while dribbling to avoid four defenders and dished wide to Weah. A son of former FIFA Player of the Year and current Liberia President George Weah, Tim Weah beat goalkeeper Utkir Yusupov inside the far post with an angled right-foot shot from about 15 yards.
Weah has scored against a nation from each continent, also getting goals against Wales, Bolivia, Morocco and Jamaica. Weah joined McKennie at Juventus this season and they became the first club teammates to combine on a U.S. goal since Carlos Bocanegra fed Cint Dempsey against Barbados in 2008.
American goalkeeper Matt Turner blocked Eldor Shomurodov’s point-blank shot from 8 yards in the first minute of first-half stoppage time after the Uzbek captain stripped the ball from Tim Ream, who captained the Americans in his hometown.
Pepi entered at the start of the second half and scored just into stoppage time with a right-foot shot off a pass from Brenden Aaronson. Pepi has eight goals in 17 appearances.
Pulsiic, making his 50th start, got his 26th goal in 17 appearances after Malik Tillman was fouled by Umarbek Eshmurodov.
Kristoffer Lund, a 21-year-old left back who was born in Denmark, made his U.S. debut when he entered in the 81st.
The 11th-ranked U.S. plays No. 73 Oman on Tuesday at St. Paul, Minnesota. As co-hosts of the 2026 World Cup, the Americans have an automatic berth in the expanded 48-nation field.
No. 74 Uzbekistan is preparing for a November start to a World Cup qualifying group that will include Iran, Turkmenistan and either Bhutan or Hong King.
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