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USA vs. Iran score: FIFA World Cup 2022 win puts USMNT through to knockout rounds after Christian Pulisic goal

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The United States men are officially through to the round of 16 with a 1-0 win over Iran. A beautiful team goal capped off by Christian Pulisic was just enough to see them win the match. Following Sergino Dest's cross, Pulisic threw himself at the ball, scored the goal, and then collided with Iranian keeper Alireza Beiranvand and had to be withdrawn at the half for Brenden Aaronson. From there, the team was able to keep their strong defensive form even with starting Cameron Carter-Vickers in place of defensive stalwart Walker Zimmerman. The team wasn't able to nab an insurance goal allowing pressure from Iran late but the one goal was all they needed to advance.

Next up will be a clash with the Netherlands on Saturday, Dec. 3 and they may not have Pulisic or Josh Sargent for that match after both left with injuries. Sargent especially will be worrisome as Haji Wright hasn't looked like a starting national team striker but Jesus Ferrerira has yet to register a minute of game time during this World Cup. But despite the injuries -- and a poor sub performance from Shaq Moore --  the team dug deep and got the job down to make the last 16 for the third time in the last four World Cups.

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It's an emotional moment for the team after missing the 2018 World Cup but it's important to remember that the job isn't done. The attack going flat when Weston McKennie leaves the pitch cant continue versus the Netherlands when Cody Gakpo is lurking but the building blocks are there to topple them as the defense hasn't allowed a goal from open play during the World Cup so far.

Here are a few takeaways from the match

Pulisic power

The United States has been great at starting games during the World Cup and this match was no different. Antonee Robinson and Dest were getting forward with ease but Sargent and Tim Weah weren't getting on the end of the service they provided. But Pulisic was fired up enough to score the goal. Started by McKennie from deep with a lovely pass, we saw the best of Dest as he got forward and played an excellent, headed cross to Pulisic. Nothing was stopping him from putting the ball into the back of the net including Iran's keeper.

While Pulisic did leave with an abdominal injury that sent him to the hospital, wing depth is something that the USMNT has quite a bit of. Gio Reyna has been used sparingly during this World Cup, but if Pulisic can't go, he will be needed against the Netherlands as one of the few unpredictable players on the team. Aaronson was a good choice to close things out in order to provide defensive guile, and stabilize things but to start a knockout round match, Reyna would be the way to go.

USA depth is a concern

This match is one that exposed some fringe players on the team. Shaq Moore had to hold his hands up multiple times to say my bad when he was beaten down the flank but Zimmerman and Carter-Vickers have been there to clean things up. If Dest can't go 90 against the Netherlands, it's time to turn to another teenager in Joe Scally because the team knows what they have in Moore and it isn't good enough at the moment. The experience is important if Moore will be a depth option moving forward, but it's hard relying on him right now. 

The same goes for Haji Wright who hasn't offered enough leading the line. Late in the match, Wright had a chance to dribble to the corner effectively ending the game but he instead goes for a shot gifting Iran possession to drive down the pitch. On a different day, the VAR review that it caused may have led to a penalty. Jesus Ferreira hasn't played a minute during this World Cup which is surprising as he was involved during qualifying but he needs to start Saturday if Sargent can't go. Ferreira does a lot of the same things for dragging defenders around which allows the wingers space in attack and that will be needed as the Netherlands have not been disciplined defensively during this World Cup.

Credit given when due

Gregg Berhalter has made some massive calls during this World Cup. Not only with leaving Zack Steffen and Ricardo Pepi out of the squad but also starting Sargent, Ream, and Matt Turner. All three have been big parts of why the team is in the last 16 right now as well as Carter-Vickers who was a surprise inclusion in the lineup against Iran. While the job isn't done, Berhalter's plan a has been spot on during this World CUp and he'll have more calls to make if Pulisic and Sargent can't go. 

Group B final standings

TEAMMPW-D-LGFGAGDPTS

England

3

2-1-0

9

2

+7

7

United States

3

1-2-0

2

1

+1

5

Iran

3

1-0-2

4

7

-3

3

Wales

3

0-1-2

1

6

-5

1

Live updates
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The United States are in the last 16

Taremi went down easily but a penalty wasn't given at the USMNT secured the victory. The USMNT were able to hold on and keep marching on despite doing their best job to invite pressure from Iran. Shaq Moore and Haji Wright left much to be desired as subs and the game almost went off the rails when Weston McKennie left the match. But none of that matters as the team marches on.

November 29, 2022, 9:11 PM
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Halfway through the stoppage

Iran can't get good chances and had to drag Musah to the ground as they are doing everything they can to stop the USMNT from running down the clock. It's a professional showing from this young team keeping their composure in this moment. Two minutes left.

November 29, 2022, 9:00 PM
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Nine minutes of stoppage to go

Iran have been excellent in closing games out and the USMNT are inviting pressure now. Slow the game down, keep it simple and avoid conceding yellow cards.

November 29, 2022, 8:55 PM
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Closing it out in a back five

Wright and Dest have exited for Zimmerman and Moore. It's a defense made in Nashville and there will also be a lot of stoppage time coming with the injuries. Just need to hold out.

November 29, 2022, 8:47 PM
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Wright will enter

Still no Jesus Ferreira sighting as Sargent will leave the match with an injury. Iran are now picking up cards for their tackles so the USMNT just needs to maintain composure.

November 29, 2022, 8:41 PM
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Seems like a sprain for Sargent

Haji Wright is warming up in case he's needed but jumping over an Iran defender he came down awkwardly.

November 29, 2022, 8:38 PM
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Fresh legs for Iran

Torabi and Jalali have entered but for the USMNT, their best defense is possession. The biggest 18 minutes of most of these players' careers is happening right now.

November 29, 2022, 8:36 PM
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Iran are creating more chances 

Carter-Vickers flew in for the tackle but missed the ball as Iran almost had a goal. Kellyn Acosta has entered for Weston McKennie to protect the lead. The attack has dipped without McKennie in prior matches but hopefully, they can keep on the pace against Iran. Just 23 minutes to go.

November 29, 2022, 8:30 PM
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Iran are buzzing in the match

Team Melli know that all they need is one goal and the tackles are flying in as they look to get that goal. They're first to every ball and Gregg Berhalter may want to think about more changes for fresh legs to hold possession.

November 29, 2022, 8:23 PM
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Musah is slippery in midfield

Iran can't get a foot on the talented American. He dribbled through midfield to play the ball to Robinson and while it didn't end in a shot on target his dribbles have been a large reason for the space that the United States has enjoyed in attack. 

November 29, 2022, 8:17 PM
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Halftime changes all around 

Christian Pulisic can't shake off his knock to continue and Brenden Aaronson will come in on the wing to lock things down in the second half. It's a very different look for the USMNT with this but Aaronson's work rate will be important to keep Iran off balance ins the second half.

Speaking of changes, Sardar Azmoun has exited for Saman Ghoddos. That will have Iran play to Taremi in the middle now as they look to hit the United States on the counter. Carter-Vickers and Ream will need to be on their game to keep things where they are.

November 29, 2022, 8:12 PM
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More of this, please

The midfield trio has been excellent in stopping Iran in transition while also creating chances. More is needed from Weah and Sargent in the attack but it's hard to complain with that half. Keep things up as Iran will try to hit back and looking at the other matches in the group, a Wales goal could still see the USMNT win Group B as things stand.

November 29, 2022, 8:07 PM
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Weah has the ball in the back of the net but it won't count

McKennie again with an excellent cross and Weah had a tidy finish in off the post but he was juuuuust off in the build up. It's 1-0 advantage USMNT at the half.

November 29, 2022, 7:54 PM
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Iran makes a sub

Milad Mohammadi can't continue so Ali Karimi will come in for him. It took a bit to get a man on but that's one sub window gone for Iran.

November 29, 2022, 7:53 PM
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Sargent and Weah got too cute

Instead of someone shooting it they tried to play thinking into an open net missing a chance for an important insurance goal. Hopefully, the USMNT doesn't come to regret that one.

November 29, 2022, 7:47 PM
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Pulisic will try to continue

He's clearly shaken up but with it close to the half, it's worth seeing if Pulisic can make it to get full treatment in the locker room. 

November 29, 2022, 7:44 PM
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THERE IT IS!!! PULIGOAL

A lovely pass from McKennie to Dest and he finds Pulisic for the goal. it's been coming but expect Iran to get out of their shell now.

November 29, 2022, 7:40 PM
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25 minute temperature check

Weah is everywhere and had a header on target but it's a tame chance for Beiranvand in net. Iran haven't registered a shot yet compared to four for the USMNT but all that matters is the score. If this stays level Iran ar through which is why the United States are throwing everything they can forward. 

November 29, 2022, 7:31 PM
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Good recovery from CCV

Taremi had a chance to go for goal but Carter-Vickers stayed with him the best that he could until the rest of the defense caught up. Taremi likely could've taken the shot on himself but the USMNT will take the let off.

November 29, 2022, 7:24 PM
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These chances just need someone to get a foot to them

Robinson had a cross through the box before Dest followed up making Iran's keeper come into action. High energy start to the match but the United States will want a goal for their efforts sooner than later.

November 29, 2022, 7:18 PM
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Great chance created by Musah

He has been everywhere and played a good ball to Pulisic's head for just the fourth shot on target in the tournament so far for the United States. 

November 29, 2022, 7:13 PM
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High energy start

Back and forth from both teams as Iran are still being sure to attack while defending. The United States can push everyone forward but they haven't found a cutting pass yet. The space is there.

November 29, 2022, 7:09 PM
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And we're off

An early set play for Iran but Tyler Adams repels it well. The United States had a great attacking change but Pulisic held on for just a bit too long. A promising start to the match two mintues in.

November 29, 2022, 7:03 PM
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Almost time for kickoff 

Strap in for a wild ride y'all

November 29, 2022, 6:51 PM
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But the USMNT will also need to play for 90 and then some

Iran have been the cardiac kids of the tournament with three goals scored in stoppage time so far. If the United States get ahead early pressing to keep the intensity will be important as you can expect Iran to push for as much time is needed. The USMNT already allowed a later goal to Wales and Matt Turner had to make big saves to keep England at bay too. That can't happen again. 

November 29, 2022, 6:40 PM
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The danger man for Iran is clear...

Mejdi Taremi was already marked as a danger man for Iran coming into the World Cup and he has lived up to the reputation with two goals and an assist so far. With five shots across two matches and nine chances created, stopping Taremi will be Tyler Adams' first priority in the match. If the USMNT are able to contain Taremi, there's a good chance that they'll come away with the victory, but similar to allowing Gareth Bale to draw a penalty versus Wales, one mistake could be enough to make them pay.

November 29, 2022, 6:30 PM
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Iran's lineup is as expected

Starters: Berianvand, Rezaeian, Hosseini, Pourliganji, Mohammadi, Nourollahi, Afagh, Hajsafi, Gholizadeh, Azmoun, Taremi

November 29, 2022, 6:19 PM
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What a time to change the defense

it's unknown if Walker Zimmerman is fully healthy but he won't be starting after appearing in ten World Cup qualifying matches and starting the first two goals as the USMNT has yet to concede a goal from open play. Celtic captain Cameron Carter-Vickers will deputize in his stead. Carter-Vickers is calm on the ball which will make things interesting as the entire defense is capable of pushing forward if Iran sits back.

November 29, 2022, 6:16 PM
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We've got a starting XI for the USMNT and wow

Only two changes but they're big ones with Cameron Carter-Vickers and Josh Sargent coming in

Starting XI: Turner, Dest, Carter-Vickers, Ream, Robinson, Adams, Musah, McKennie, Weah, Sargent, Pulisic

November 29, 2022, 5:51 PM
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