Also before the start of the game, the team announced that they would send a letter to Congress calling for tougher gun laws following a series of high-profile mass shootings across the country this spring. Sunday’s players also wore orange armbands in support of Wear Orange, a movement to raise awareness of gun violence in America.
“People may say it’s not about the guns, it’s about the people, but we need to start somewhere,” striker Christian Pulisic said of the letter.
By Sunday evening, the attention of the players was completely riveted to Uruguay. In Kansas City, Diego Alonso, Uruguay’s coach, made some changes to his squad from the team’s previous game against Mexico. For example, celebrities such as Federico Valverde and Edinson Cavani (who misfired in the last moments of the game) only played the last 30 minutes or so. But La Celeste, as the team is known, still represented a stark challenge for the US.
In their traditional sky blue jersey, Uruguay controlled the game early, slicing through the American defense with a focused pass that resulted in a string of nervous and narrow misses. But the U.S. gradually solidified after withstanding this early pressure, threatening Uruguay with a series of chances, with right winger Tim Weah in particular providing repeated bursts of danger and creativity in the first half.
“A lot of us are young and we’re still getting that experience against these high level teams,” Weah said before the game. “So I feel like playing with a team like Uruguay that has a lot of stars is amazing.”
Berhalter later praised several players, including backup quarterback Joe Scully, who he said persevered despite a couple of early mistakes; goaltender Sean Johnson, who made a crucial second-half save to keep the tie alive; and linebacker Tyler Adams, who Berhalter said “had extra gear and extra spark and was all over the place.”