Christian Pulisic scores goal that sends U.S. into knockout round, before crashing into Iran’s goalie.

It would have worked as well.

Before this cycle, the perception was that the USMNT was difficult to beat. They could run a lot, they wouldn't think they were out of it, and they could treat any situation the same way they treated the Alamo. They were limited in their ability to win games because they couldn't turn them into a battle of physical strength. They would work hard.

They had to get back into the files for that old profile a bit this afternoon to escape Group B with a win over Iran. You will hear aboutgging deep, heart, and wanting it more over the next couple of days. There was some of that in the last 10 minutes when the U.S. simply had to take a break. The U.S. was so professional in the first half that they were able to close this one out. No previous U.S. team was able to do that.

The United States could not have played better in the first half. The U.S. didn't look like they had their hair on fire when they applied pressure on Iran. They were controlled, they varied their plan of attack, and they never looked like they were going to give up.

The U.S. was in their usual 4-3-3, but with Tim Weah and Christian Pulisic under specific instructions to tuck in behind the Iran midfield, which allowed for two things. They were left in a position to get the ball back when it was lost. Weston McKennie and Yunus Musah would pull wide to form triangles with the defenders and wide attackers. When you have Tyler Adams glitching his way all over the field to break things up and recycle possession, it's less of a risk.

Before the goal, the U.S.'s most dangerous opportunities were when they opened up either Dest or Robinson to lace crosses through the six-yard box. Josh Sargent ran off the last shoulder and sometimes dropped into the middle to confuse the Iranian defense. The goal was the result of that, as well as Pulisic and McKennie changing roles, as the Iran central defenders followed him, and Pulisic's late run into the box was into the space they left. McKennie played a gorgeous cross-field switch to Dest to set it up, and he was the one who ran into the box that couldn't be tracked. Drawing it up is how you do it. The U.S. deserved less.

It was hoped that the U.S. would learn from Wales. They are afraid that they would fall into a similar pattern. They didn't until the end. Even though he felt like he had to leave the game, he still plays the one spot that the U.S. has lots of options at. While he scored the most famous goal of his career, BrendanAaronson looked more vibrant and dangerous in the early part of the second half than he has for the most part. He was able to run into 45 minutes. He got into the box more often after popping up between the lines. If Pulisic misses the Round of 16 the US can ride it out.

The US's biggest bugaboo is the final ball, the final shot. Tim Weah had a chance on the counter, but he missed it. Some of them should have been buried with a better pass or shot. They could have made it simpler for themselves. It's not their way. It's not in the genes.

Even as the U.S. began to tire and couldn't quite get up the field in the same way, they restricted Iran to one shot from way outside the box and one big chance. Iran scored just 0.49 in xG. Their own limitations are part of the problem. The U.S. defended well.

They were put under a lot of pressure because of their coach. Berhalter has been a positive person. Four points were taken out of the group by his game plans against England and Iran. All three matches were won by the U.S. Without him, that wouldn't have happened. His replacements have been confusing. It is not clear what Shaq Moore does for a living, but protecting leads late in a soccer game is not something he does. He was beaten, couldn't complete a pass, and was a constant check engine light.

With 10 minutes of normal time left, Berhalter decided to park the bus and go to a 4-5-1 because he knew there would be a lot of injuries. The organization went a little crazy because of the introduction of a third centerback, but it was too early to do that. You can do that with five minutes left.

The US didn't have a threat going forward. Carrying a threat to get out on the counter can help you see a game. This is where Jesus Ferreira could have helped. Haji Wright didn't do anything, including not chasing down defenders or pressing to make their travels harder. He could have just taken the corner and ended the game, but he fluffed his chance. There is a forward who is going to run a lot. Why is he here if that isn't what he does? If we are going to see Moore ahead of Deandre, why is he here?

It's easier to ask when you win. We can't be sure what the U.S. will leave in the tank for Saturday. The youngest team in the tournament was taken by Berhalter and they can look as composed and in control as they did. That isn't much. It is a big deal. CCV was great in his debut. He was also hurt before that.

It is still going on. The Americans will face the Dutch on Saturday, and they haven't been impressive at all, and the Dutch can overrun them. The United States has been playing out of it's mind all tournament. There are some turns to go on the ride.