In their first game since their CONCACAF Gold Cup semi-final exit on July 12, the United States will host Uzbekistan in an international friendly at City Park in St. Louis, Missouri on Saturday at 5:30 ET (TNT, Telemundo, Universo Peacock). (Free Democratic Party).
This will also be Greg Berhalter’s first match as head coach of the USMNT since the Round of 16 match against the Netherlands at the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar on December 3.
The Americans will use Saturday’s meeting to build up to the important CONCACAF Nations League quarter-final against an unspecified opponent in Austin, Texas, on November 16. The winner of that match will qualify for the 2024 Copa America, which will be hosted by the United States.
The USNA is 11th in the latest FIFA rankings, while Uzbekistan is 74th.
The United States will play St. Louis City for the second time in just over two months. The Americans cruised to a 6-0 victory over St. Kitts and Nevis in the Gold Cup on June 28, with Jesus Ferreira scoring a hat-trick. The Americans first played in St. Louis in 1957 and compiled a 7-1-3 record in the city.
After Saturday’s encounter, the United States will face Oman in another friendly match in St. Paul, Minnesota, on Tuesday, September 12, while Uzbekistan will meet Mexico in Atlanta that same night.
Uzbekistan have never qualified for the FIFA World Cup, but they have become one of the strongest teams in Central Asia. The White Wolves finished second behind Iran in the inaugural Asian Nations Cup last summer.
Since joining the Asian Football Confederation in 1994, the team has qualified for all AFC Asian Cup finals. The team has reached the knockout stage in the last five tournaments, including a semi-final appearance in 2011.
Her debut at the Confederation Championships was a memorable one. As an underdog at the 1994 Asian Games (a competition mostly for amateur players), Uzbekistan shocked its opponents with an impressive performance. The national team surprised Saudi Arabia 4-1, before recording a 5-0 victory over Malaysia, and Hong Kong 1-0, before defeating Thailand 5-4. After beating Turkmenistan 3-0 in the quarter-finals, the national team overcame another Asian powerhouse, South Korea, in the semi-finals 1-0, before beating China 4-2 in the final.
With 8.5 places (one team will qualify for the continental qualifiers) awarded to the Asian Football Confederation for the 2026 World Cup, Uzbekistan will have the best chance of qualifying for the new 48-team tournament to be hosted by Mexico. Canada and the United States of America.
History USMNT Vs. Uzbekistan
This is the first meeting between the two teams.
This month’s international transfer window presents a rare opportunity for the United States to take on rivals from the Asian Football Confederation. The Americans are 2-1-1 against the Asian opposition under Berhalter. The victory came over Qatar 1-0 in the 2021 Gold Cup and over Iran 1-0 in the 2022 World Cup.
The White Wolves have done well this year at 4-1-1. They started with a 1-0 friendly win over Bolivia in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on 24 March, with Eldor Shomorodov scoring the only goal in the 48th minute. Three days later, at the same stadium, Uzbekistan drew Venezuela 1-1, with Jasurbek Yakhchiboev equalizing in the 79th minute. .
The next four matches were in the 2023 CAF Nations Cup in Tashkent, Uzbekistan.
The team got off to a strong start, beating Oman 3-0 on June 11. Jalaluddin Masharipov equalized in the 7th and 24th minutes before Khojiakbar Alijunov added the third goal in the 89th minute. Uzbekistan conceded another clean sheet in a 2-0 win over Turkmenistan on 14 June. Shomurodov scored the goal with a penalty kick in the 52nd minute and a goal in the 86th minute.
Three days later, the team beat Tajikistan 5-1, with five scorers sharing the fortune. After falling in the 13th minute, Yakhchibuev scored a goal in the 53rd minute. Shomorodov’s penalty kick in the 56th minute gave the hosts a 2-1 lead and they never backed down. Aposbek Fayzulayev (73rd minute), Khojimat Irkinove (83rd minute) and Uston Oronov (six minutes of stoppage time) closed the goal.
However, Uzbekistan’s seven-match unbeaten run (5-0-2) came to a halt after they were defeated 1-0 by Iran in the final on 20 June, with Sardar Azmoun scoring the only goal in the 48th minute.
Director of Uzbekistan
Former member of the national teams of Yugoslavia and Slovenia, Sreko Katanec took over as head coach on August 27, 2021, replacing Vadim Abramov. He led the White Wolves to a 13-5-2 record.
Katanek, 60, has the privilege of leading Slovenia to the FIFA World Cup finals for the first time in 2002. He has also managed the Macedonia, United Arab Emirates, Iraq, Gorica (Slovenia) and Olympiacos (Greece) national teams at club level.
As a defensive midfielder and centre-back, Katanic played for five teams during his 14-year career – Olimpia, Dinamo Zagreb, Partizan, VfB Stuttgart, and Sampdoria.
He was a member of the Yugoslav national team that won the bronze medal at the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles and appeared in three matches at the 1990 World Cup. Katanec made 31 appearances for Yugoslavia, scoring five goals, wearing the Slovenian jersey on five occasions, scoring once.
Srecko Katanec called up 23 players for her North American tour. Sixteen players play locally, with most of the squad coming from three Uzbekistani clubs.
Five players represent Pakhtakor Tashkent (13-3-2, 41 pts), who enjoy a seven-point lead over second-placed Navbahor Namangan (10-4-4, 34) in the Uzbek Premier League. The Navbahor Namangan team includes four players, as well as Nasaf.
The team also includes players from Russia, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Italy and Kazakhstan.
Team captain and striker Eldor Shomurodov, 28 years old, who plays for Cagliari (Serie A), is the national team’s all-time top scorer with 37 goals. His 66 appearances are the largest number of matches in which any player has participated in the current team.
Midfielder Jalal ad-Din Masharipov is the only other player with double digits in goals (10). The rest of the team combined for 12 goals.
If he so chooses, Katanic could start his entire backline for the same club, with Khojiakbir Alijonov, Shahzade Azmeddinov, Faruk Sayfiev and Dilshud Saitov also playing for Pakhtakor Tashkent.
Uzbekistan has four players over the age of 30 – goalkeeper Otkir Yusupov (32), defenders Umar Eshmurodov (32) and Safiyev (30) and midfielder Jalaluddin Masharipov (30). Midfielder Auston Oronov is the youngest player (22).
Azmeddinov is yet to play his first international match.
Goalkeepers (3): Butyrali Ergachev (AGMK; 2/0), Omidjon Ergachev (NASAF, 0/0), Otker Yusupov (Navbahor Namangan, 15/0)
Defenders (9): Abdulla Abdullahi (AGMK; 12/0), Khojiakbar Aligunov (Pakhtakor Tashkent; 27/1), Hasanuddin Aligulov (Jaykor Rizispor/Tour; 12/0), Rustam Ashurmatov (Rubin Kazan/Russia; 23/ 0), Shehzad Azmeddinov (Pakhtakor Tashkent; 0/0), Umar Ashmurodov (NASF; 16/0), Sherzod Nasrallaev (NASF; 12/0), Faruk Sayfiev (Pakhtakor Tashkent; 42/1), Dilshud Saitov (Pakhtakor Tashkent, 7/0).
Midfielders (9): Azizjon Ganiev (Shabab Al-Ahly/Emirates; 11/0), Odejon Hamrubekov (Pakhtakor Tashkent, 39/0), Jamshid Iskandarov (Navbahor Namangan, 28/3), Abror Ismoilov (Navbahor Namangan, 7/0), Jalaluddin Masharipov. (Al-Nasr/Saudi Arabia; 10/49), Otabek Shukurov (Fatih Karagumruk/Tor; 3/55), Azizbek Turgunboyev (Pakhtakor Tashkent; 1/20), Usun Orunov (Navbahor Namangan, 3/15).
Strikers (2): Bubor Abdikhaulikov (Ordabasi/KAZ; 7/0), Eldor Shomurodov (Cagliari/Ita; 66/37)
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