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USMNT beats Uzbekistan on Berhalter's return

John Dorton/ISI Photos/USSF / Getty Images Sport / Getty

A fourth minute strike from Timothy Weah and two stoppage time goals gave the United States a 3-0 win over Uzbekistan in a friendly in St.Louis on Saturday.

American coach Gregg Berhalter was back in charge of the team for the first time since the World Cup in Qatar in December and while his side labored for long stretches he will be satisfied with the win against well-organized opposition.

Weah blasted the USA ahead with a shot that took a slight deflection after Weston McKennie showed some outstanding skill to bring down a high cross from Christian Pulisic and then hold off three defenders to set up the Juventus right-winger.

But Uzbekistan frustrated the Americans with their disciplined defensive work and also went close to scoring twice before the break.

Khojiakbar Alidzhanov rattled the bar with a fierce strike after cutting in from the right and then USA keeper Matt Turner had to be alert to foil Eldor Shomurodov after a mistake from Tim Ream.

There were few bright moments after the break, but the USA made sure of the win with a stoppage time strike from substitute Ricardo Pepi, who unleashed a first-time drive from the edge of the box.

The third came minutes later when Umar Eshmurodov brought down Malik Tillman and Pulisic converted the penalty to secure a scoreline that flattered the Americans.

"It's one of those games where you just have to knock it out, make sure you win, take the positives and the negatives, go back into training and just do what we have to do," Weah told broadcasters TNT.

The game was the first the USA have played in the new CITYPARK stadium, home to Major League Soccer expansion side St.Louis City.

Former national team players from the city were honored before the game and local born defender Tim Ream, who plays in the Premier League for Fulham, was delighted with the occasion.

"It is an incredible stadium and great fans, great was fun, I think we would have liked to have put on a better performance but to come away with a win, three goals and a clean sheet and to be able to experience this isn my home town, is something that I have always dreamed of doing," he said.

The US, who will co-host the 2026 World Cup with Canada and Mexico, face Oman in another friendly on Tuesday.

Berhalter was reappointed as head coach in June after his contract was not extended at the end of 2022.

The coach had been under investigation by US Soccer after they were informed of an altercation in 1991 between Berhalter and his then girlfriend, now wife.

The federation had been informed of that incident by midfielder Gio Reyna's mother, amid a public feud between the coach and the Reyna family.

The probe subsequently found there were no grounds not to reappoint Berhalter.

Dortmund midfielder Reyna, who is recovering from injury, was not called up for this month's friendlies.

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