Also before the start of the game, the team announced it would be sending a letter to Congress calling for stronger gun laws in the wake of a spate of high-profile mass shootings in the country this spring. The players on Sunday also wore orange arm bands in support of Wear Orange, a movement to raise awareness about gun violence in America.
“People can say it’s not the guns, it’s the people, but we have to start somewhere,” forward Christian Pulisic said about the letter.
By Sunday evening, the players’ attention was fully on Uruguay. In Kansas City, Diego Alonso, the Uruguay coach, rotated his lineup somewhat from the team’s previous game against Mexico. Big names like Federico Valverde and Edinson Cavani (who misfired on an open net in the waning moments of the game), for instance, played only the final 30 minutes or so. But La Celeste, as the team is known, still presented a stern, star-studded task for the U.S.
In its traditional sky blue shirt, Uruguay controlled play early, dissecting the American defense with purposeful passing, resulting in a number of nervy, narrow misses. But the U.S. gradually gained a foothold after withstanding that early pressure, threatening Uruguay with a sequence of chances, with right winger Tim Weah in particular providing repeated spurts 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 a team like Uruguay that has a lot of stars is amazing.”
Berhalter afterward singled out a number of players for praise, including the reserve defender Joe Scally, who he said persisted gamely despite a couple of early mistakes; goalkeeper Sean Johnson, who made a crucial second-half save to preserve the draw; and midfielder Tyler Adams, who Berhalter said “had an extra gear, and extra spark, and was all over the place.”
The 15th-ranked United States began its training camp this month with a game against Morocco, ranked 24th. And the team’s next two games this month represent a bit of a drop-off in overall quality: Grenada (170th) on Friday in Austin, Texas, and El Salvador (74th) on the road on June 14.