AL RAYYAN, Qatar — East USA The men’s national team has been on a mission to change the way the world views American football.
And what better way to change your mind than to beat Englanda favorite to win it all, in the World Cup?
The USMNT have the opportunity to do this on Friday when they take on England at Al Rayyan Stadium in their second group game (2 pm EST). on FOX and the FOX Sports app).
Gregg Berhalter’s group is fearless and ambitious. He has undeniable arrogance and confidence. Much has been said and written about them being the second youngest team in this tournament (Ghana is a bit younger) and how only one player, the defender DeAndre Yedlin — has previous World Cup experience. Now that they have one game under their belt, a 1-1 draw against Wales earlier this week, the Americans have a big game coming up for Game 2, against big bad England.
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On Thursday, the US captain tyler adams He recognized that his team has an opportunity to make a statement here.
«I think it’s obviously a great opportunity to accelerate the impact that we can have,» Adams said. «These are the high pressure ones, [high] Privileged moments to step on the field against some of these guys. We respect them, it’s probably mutual respect between both teams. When you get a result in a game like this, people start to respect the Americans a little bit more.»
added star end Christian Pulisic, «We have to prove ourselves. Maybe we haven’t been at the level of some of these world powers in the last few decades, but we’ve had good teams with a lot of heart in us. But I think if we can take it to that next step with a Cup of the World, that could change a lot of things.
In Monday’s tournament opener against Wales, Berhalter’s starting line-up included 10 players who play in Europe. central defender only Walker Zimmerman, from Nashville SC, plays in MLS. Although he has not ruled out playing abroad one day.
The English Premier League, where Adams plays united leeds, has been incredibly popular in the United States for the last 15-20 years. The club has fascinated and influenced young players, especially this generation, who are comfortable leaving their homes in the United States as teenagers with big plans to play for the best European teams. Many have done just that, with Pulisic being the only player to actually play in and win a Champions League final.
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Adams grew up in New York and played for the red bulls academy before joining Bundesliga side RB Leipzig, where he became the first USMNT player to score in the UEFA Champions League quarter-finals. After three and a half years in Germany, he joined Leeds United in July 2022, where he plays alongside American teammate Brenden Aaronson.
Adams said Thursday that he grew up watching and admiring Theyry Henry play for the Red Bulls and Arsenal. It was easy for him to tune in to Premier League games on Saturday mornings and dream of doing it one day.
«I remember telling my mum when I was young that I wanted to play in England,» Adams said. «There will always be something special in the Premier League. There always has been and I think there always will be.»
Added Berhalter, who played for crystal Palace in the early 2000s, «everyone in America now seems to have a [Premier League] team they support. It is an incredible jump. We’re very proud that our players play in that league, and to me it’s similar to the NFL in how dominant it is and how commercial it is.»
Having so many Americans abroad helps with the familiarity of World Cup opponents and gives each team little advantages here and there. Japan, one of the Cinderellas of this tournament, defeated Germany 2-1 with eight men playing in the Bundesliga. The United States has six players in the EPL. Will that make a difference against England?
«I don’t think it makes it predictable in any way,» Adams said. «You’re going to play against a lot of quality players no matter how many times you’ve played against them before. They’ll be able to adapt to the game and what you’re doing and find solutions.»
«But having said that, it’s nice to have that experience and play some of those great games against some of the best teams against some of the best players in England. And to have the opportunity to learn, grow, develop and understand the game differently.» . I would say that international soccer is completely different from the club game, but having the opportunity to play against some of those players [in club games] it will be useful».
Adams rejects the idea that the USMNT would be intimidated by a team like England; in fact, he said that he isn’t intimidated by anything «other than spiders.» He just hopes this particular matchup shows that the Americans are capable contenders and that «American soccer is growing and developing in the right way.»
Now, if the USA can beat England, a team full of players like harry kaneBukayo Saka and Jack Grealish, who are cheered on by Premier League-loving Americans on weekends, what kind of message will that send home and to the rest of the world?
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«It would mean a lot,» Adams said. «We’ve been trying to make progress on this for the last couple of years and we’ve been moving in the right direction. So I think ultimately capitalizing would mean we’re continuing to move in the right direction.»