It's a game of inches.
And in the US men's national team's scoreless draw against Uruguay at Sporting Kansas City's Children's Mercy Park on Sunday afternoon, Jesus Ferreira was inches off from scoring and perhaps locking up the No. 9 position for the USMNT as the World Cup is just six months away.
The FC Dallas striker was unable to place home the two-best chances for the Yanks on the night: A through ball from Christian Pulisic that he hit right at the goalkeeper and a hard-driven cross from Inter Miami's DeAndre Yedlin that he headed over the crossbar.
Neither was a golden opportunity, but they were chances USMNT legend DaMarcus Beasley has come to expect the early MLS Golden Boot presented by Audi leader to put away.
"If you look at the ball that Christian gave him on the shot that he took, that first touch got kind of in-between his foot and he had to take another touch to get the shot off," Beasley said on MLSsoccer.com's Extratime Watchalong show.
"If he would've took that with his right foot like he usually does in MLS, the angle would've been better and it wouldn't have been so caught up in his foot, and he would've slotted that ball in the far post."
Beasley on Ferreira
Ferreira is one of the three main players in the race to claim the No. 9 spot, alongside former FC Dallas teammate Ricardo Pepi, who wasn't called into the June window, and Haji Wright, who subbed on in the 61st minute to earn his second international cap.
Ferreira deservedly is in the running as the top choice to lead head coach Greg Berhalter's 4-3-3 system, the same system he plays in MLS under former USMNT assistant and now-FC Dallas head coach Nico Estevez. He has contributed to seven goals (3 goals, 4 assists) during his 11 USMNT appearances (7 starts) and has already slotted home an MLS joint-leading nine goals so far during the 2022 season.
However, he's found the finishing touch elusive in the final third against the latest two World Cup-bound opponents, unable to separate himself in a wide-open battle for the position.
That doubt and pressure could be creeping into the back of the 21-year-old's mind as competition heats up.
"It's in his head," Beasley said. "He's putting that pressure on himself. There's always pressure from the media from, you know, sure from Berhalter a bit, from the fans, but he's putting that pressure on himself.
"If he just relaxes and plays the way he knows how to play that ball that Christian played him, that chance he got, that should have been a goal."
Ferreira is not out of opportunities to regain his confidence while playing in a US kit, as the Yanks will begin Concacaf Nations League play vs. Grenada on June 10 at Austin FC's Q2 Stadium (10 pm ET |ESPN+, Univision, TUDN) before closing out the international window on June 14 in El Salvador.