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FIFA World Cup 2022: Winners, losers and grades from the USMNT's World Cup opener against Wales

Al Rayyan, Qatar; United States of America forward Christian Pulisic (10) reacts after a play Wales during the first half during a group stage match during the 2022 FIFA World Cup at Ahmed Bin Ali Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Yukihito Taguchi-USA TODAY Sports

The dust has settled on the USMNT's World Cup Group B opener, a hard-fought 1-1 draw against Wales.

The USA controlled the first 45 minutes, but Wales fought back in the second half and eventually equalized after a Walker Zimmerman foul gave Gareth Bale an opportunity to score from the penalty spot.

We’ve dug into the data collected during the game to highlight two winners and two losers from that opening encounter.

WINNERS

Christian Pulisic

While he wasn’t perfect — his crossing left a lot to be desired — Pulisic started with a big performance in the USA's opening game. He completed five of the seven dribbles he attempted, the most of any player in a single game in the tournament so far, and he also won seven fouls.

He was responsible for two key passes in the game, one of which set up Timothy Weah for the opening goal. If there is a criticism of Pulisic in this game, it’s that he wasn’t quite as good in the second half, but it was still an impressive showing.

Tyler Adams

The USMNT captain made his presence felt in the middle of the field with a commanding performance against Wales. He won 10 of the 15 challenges he was involved in, tied for the second-most in a single game so far in the tournament. He was also impressive as a passer, completing all seven line-breaking passes he attempted.

Adams is the youngest captain at the World Cup, but the occasion didn’t look too big for him in any capacity.

Losers

Walker Zimmerman

Zimmerman graded very well for us this MLS season, and his ability to win in the air was once again on display in this game. He produced a PFF aerial duel grade of 81.3, winning six of the nine aerial duels he was involved in.

However, his work on other challenge types was the issue. The Nashville SC defender won just one of the six tackles he attempted, and he gave away what became the game-tying penalty to Gareth Bale with a clumsy challenge from behind.

Weston McKennie

For as good as Tyler Adams was, McKennie struggled in midfield on Monday. He produced a 60.5 PFF challenge grade, winning just three of the 10 challenges he was involved in. That included winning just one of his four aerial duels and one of his five tackle attempts.

He wasn’t great as a passer, either, producing a 68.1 passing grade. He completed just 74.3% of his pass attempts, including going just 2-for-5 on attempted line-breaking passes.

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