The USMNT Led For 80 Minutes But Could Only Manage A Draw With Wales In Their World Cup Opener

After more than eight long years, the USMNT was back on the World Cup stage for its first game of group play against Wales, a team that figured to be a fair measuring stick for the young American squad.

Early on, it was all United States, as their pace proved to be a problem for Wales, producing a pair of near-goals — one off the head of a Welsh defender and another off the head of American striker Josh Sargent — that set the early tone.

Eventually, the U.S. would cash in with a goal in the 35th minute, as Christian Pulisic would slot a pass in to Tim Weah who calmly put it in the back of the net past a charging goalie and a sliding effort from the defender behind.

It was a sensational run and while the Americans surely would’ve preferred a 2-0 lead considering some of their chances, it felt like they were in full control of the match as it arrived at halftime. The script would be flipped in the second half, as Wales was on the front foot for most of the second 45 minutes, forcing Matt Turner into a big save in the 64th minute on a header.

Wales would have a few chances to equalize, but eventually were gifted a penalty after a dreadful sliding challenge on Gareth Bale in the middle of the box.

Bale would step up and hammer the penalty past Matt Turner, despite the American goalie guessing correctly, tying the game at 1-1.

From there, Wales seemed content to try and hold on for the draw, succeeding in that goal despite what became 10 minutes of stoppage time. Given how the game started, it was a tough result for the Americans who would’ve been all-but assured of getting out of the group with a win, but now will need a win over Iran next week and, likely, a result against England on Friday if they’re to reach the Round of 16.