Two sides coming off disappointing results this past weekend face off in a friendly at Estadio Nueva Condomina in Spain as Saudi Arabia battle the USA on Tuesday for the first time since 1999.
The Green were held 0-0 by Ecuador on Friday, while the US lost for the first time in five matches, dropping a 2-0 decision to Japan.
As they prepare to make a third successive trip to the finals, Herve Renard has seen a trio of poor performances from his players.
On Friday, the Ecuadorians held his team in check, as the Green fired only two efforts on target and are now without a victory since defeating Australia 1-0 in their final qualification affair in March.
During their 2022 qualification campaign, Saudi Arabia had 34 goals, the fewest among the six Asian nations that booked their place in Qatar, excluding the World Cup hosts, who did not compete in the third round of qualifying.
That lack of quality in the attacking third has continued to plague the Saudis, who are goalless in three straight matches, all against South American opponents (Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador).
They may be struggling to score, but Saudi Arabia have held their own defensively, conceding a goal or fewer in 11 of their previous 12 contests in all competitions.
Tuesday will be the fourth successive match for the Green at the home of third-tier Spanish side Real Murcia, a surface which they have struggled on, losing twice in their last three games played on that field.
Their form at the moment may be concerning, but these players will have many more opportunities to convince Renard that they are worthy of being selected to the 26-man roster bound for Qatar, as Tuesday is the first of six international matches to come for the Saudis before they face Argentina in their opening fixture at the World Cup on November 22.
A long layoff of over three months from international football seemed to affect the Americans on Friday as the Samurai Blue came away with a relatively comfortable victory.
The US failed to register a shot on target in Dusseldorf, while conceding eight themselves as they looked to be tactically and technically outclassed by the Japanese.
While they had 58% of the possession at the end of the game, the Americans were careless with the ball in their half of the field through the opening 45 minutes, giving it away countless times, and allowing Japan plenty of scoring opportunities.
Gregg Berhalter has just a few days to fix the problems that plagued them against Japan, as his team rarely threatened and never got into any rhythm in that encounter, partly because they were fouled 16 times on Friday and rarely given a chance to utilize their speed in transition.
Their match against Saudi Arabia will be the final opportunity for Berhalter to evaluate his team in a competitive international encounter before opening their World Cup campaign on November 21 against Wales.
For a side with tons of individual quality, it has to be a concern to see how much this team have struggled with their creativity and quality in front of goal.
The USA have only been able to tally one goal or fewer in three of their last four games as many continue to question who will be their number nine when their World Cup campaign begins.
Friday was the first defeat for the Yanks against an Asian opponent since 2001, when they lost a friendly to South Korea by a score of 1-0.
Mohammed Al-Owais stopped six Ecuadorian efforts on Friday for his first clean sheet since Saudi Arabia blanked the Socceroos in March.
Riyadh Sharahili made his second appearance for the senior side, while Nasser Al-Dawsari needs two more caps to reach double digits with the national team.
Awad Al-Nashri and Ahmed Bamsaud were the only outfield players selected for this international window without an appearance for the Green, as they both sat out of their match versus Ecuador, while reserve keeper Nawaf Al-Aqidi has yet to play for the senior squad and Nawaf Al-Abed collected his 50th cap in their previous encounter.
Salem Al-Dawsari, who led this team with seven goals in Asian qualifying along with Saleh Al-Shehri, scored the last one for the Green back in March.
Saud Abdulhamid leads the reigning domestic champions Al-Hilal with two assists so far this season, while Ali Al-Hassan can collect his 10th international cap on Tuesday.
Haroune Camara continues to search for his first goal for the national team after replacing Sami Al-Najei for the final 22 minutes on Friday.
Christian Pulisic was notably absent for the US against Japan after the Chelsea midfielder, who has been in the news for criticizing his outgoing club boss Thomas Tuchel in a new book, took a knock in training before their match on Friday.
Norwich City striker Josh Sargent made his first appearance with the national team in over a year, replacing Jesus Ferreira at the start of the second half against Japan.
Sam Vines collected his first cap since the 2021 Gold Cup Final, and Sergino Dest featured for the first time since a 2-0 defeat to Canada in qualifying at the end of January.
Walker Zimmerman captained the Yanks for the sixth time in his international career, while Berhalter had Tyler Adams, Luca de la Torre and Weston McKennie begin in the midfield, with Giovanni Reyna, Ferreira and Brenden Aaronson starting as strikers, the first time all three of them had played together in the midfield and the attack for the US national team.
Johnny Cardoso made his first appearance of the year for the Yanks on Friday, coming on as a second-half substitute, and German-born Malik Tillman replaced McKennie for his third international cap.
Jordan Morris came off the bench for a second successive encounter after scoring the only goal in a 1-1 draw versus El Salvador at the CONCACAF Nations League.
Saudi Arabia possible starting lineup:
Al-Owais; Abdulhamid, Al-Amri, Al-Bulaihi, Al-Ghanam; Al-Hassan, Al-Faraj, Al-Abed; Asiri, Al-Buraikan, S. Al-Dawsari
USA possible starting lineup:
Johnson; Vines, McKenzie, Zimmerman, Dest; McKennie, Adams, De la Torre; Aaronson, Sargent, Reyna
The US have not lost consecutive fixtures since 2019, and we do not expect them to be troubled by a Saudi Arabian side whose talent on paper does not appear to match up well against the Americans.
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