After eight years away, the USMNT was back in action at the 2022 World Cup — ended their first match in a tie.
After not making the 2018 edition, the U.S. made their debut in this year's tournament against Wales on Monday. The match kicked off at 2 p.m. EST at the Ahmad bin Ali Stadium in Al Rayyan, Qatar, the controversial host country for the 2022 World Cup.
The U.S. started with a strong first half and a big goal from winger Tim Weah in minute 36 to go up 1-0, but gave up a late goal to Wales in minute 82. That ended up being the last one of the match, which ended in a 1-1 tie.
With the tie, both teams earn just 1 point in their group, which also includes England and Iran. They now sit behind England, who earned 3 points for their win over Iran, who has 0 points.
— U.S. Men's National Soccer Team (@USMNT) November 21, 2022
The teams will all play two more times, with the two teams with the most points advancing out of the group rounds and into the knockout stage.
Monday's game marked the first time the U.S. has played in the World Cup since 2014. In 2017, the U.S. Men's National Soccer Team lost to Trinidad and Tobago in their final chance to qualify for the 2018 World Cup, leaving them out of the tournament.
This time around, the USMNT was about to secure their spot in the 2022 World Cup in March.
"It's a proud moment for the team, proud moment for U.S. soccer," said U.S. coach Gregg Berhalter said at the time, NPR reported. "The team's ecstatic."
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"I cried last time we couldn't qualify. I'm crying now," LAFC midfielder Kellyn Acosta said after the game, per MLSSoccer.com. "I'm just so happy and proud of the group that we're finally back where we belong."
"We talked about it before the game — you don't really get many second chances in life … especially in professional sports," said FC Dallas wing Paul Arriola, according to the outlet. "So for us, it's a blessing. It was an opportunity for us."
While the team was excited to make the World Cup, the tournament has been marred in controversy over host country Qatar's history of systemic discrimination against women and the LGBTQ+ community, as well as the reported deaths of 37 migrant workers who were helping to construct the World Cup stadiums. Artists have used their platforms to speak against FIFA, including Rod Stewart who said he "turned down" $1 million to perform at the event, and Dua Lipa, who denied rumors that she would perform.
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The U.S. will next take on England on Friday at 2 p.m. EST.