The United States men's national team returned to action with the A team on the pitch, but the performance did not reach A-grade levels.
Timothy Weah struck in the fourth minute in what appeared to be a positive start, but the U.S. never quite got going afterwards despite beating Uzbekistan 3-0 in their international friendly matchup at CITYPARK in St. Louis on Saturday.
In Gregg Berhalter's first game in charge since his re-hiring, he went with his usual 4-3-3 lineup that featured familiar faces from the 2022 World Cup and beyond. But the chemistry and form did not resemble the same U.S. team seen in the Concacaf Nations League under then-interim manager B.J. Callaghan.
Stay in the game with the latest updates on your beloved Chicago sports teams! Sign up here for our All Access Daily newsletter.
Weah's goal came off some stellar close dribbling control from Weston McKennie before he laid it off to the winger for a clean strike from the right flank.
But despite controlling possession 65% of the time, the U.S. didn't have any memorable chances until late in the second half.
They did well to move the ball into the final third, but the end product was often sloppy or lacked convincing. Defensively, Matt Turner was challenged more than he would've liked, as well. Uzbekistan totaled 15 shots, though only three hit the target. For comparison's sake, the U.S. generated 13 shots with six on target.
The result could've gone a completely different way had Uzbekistan been more clinical, but the U.S. will have momentum for its next game thanks to an improved ending.
Ricardo Pepi, who came on at halftime for Folarin Balogun, laced a shot in the 91st minute. It was so powerful that the sound of goalie Utkir Yusupov's glove smacking the ball resonated across the stadium. But there was nothing Yusupov could do to keep it out.
Then, just two minutes later and one minute before the end of the four minutes added on, substitute midfielder Malik Tillman drew a penalty that Christian Pulisic converted with the last kick of the game.
Berhalter and the U.S. will take the win, but they'll need an improved performance vs. Oman on Tuesday. Playing in this fashion against the No. 74 team in the world in FIFA's ranking doesn't bode well for long-term confidence. Oman is ranked No. 73, so let's see what changes, if any, are made.