USA’s European elite sparkle then fizzle on World Cup return against Wales

Gregg Berhalter displayed a preference for players who ply their trade overseas. For large parts of Monday’s game it was clear whyFor the better part of 80 minutes on a cool Monday night in the Arabian desert west of Doha, it looked like the United States’ much talked-about golden generation was finally taking flight, perhaps ahead of schedule. More than five years after failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup and nearly eight-and-a-half years since their most recent appearance at the tournament, the second-youngest team in Qatar were making a swaggering return to the sport’s biggest stage.Christian Pulisic was dribbling out of pressure, running at defenders and creating attacking chances from nothing. Sergiño Dest and Antonee Robinson were making swashbuckling overlapping runs and firing away from distance with confidence and verve. The gifted midfield trio of Weston McKennie, Tyler Adams and Yunus Musah were doing the lung-bursting box-to-box handiwork that have become their hallmark. One of the youngest teams the United States has ever fielded at a World Cup, operating with a collective poise and composure beyond their experience level and an edge of aggression promised by their manager, kept rapping at the door until bursting through with a goal nine minutes before half-time.

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