The young U.S. men’s national team put in a lacklustre performance for a 1-1 draw against a mediocre Peruvian side on a chilly Tuesday night in East Hartford, Connecticut. Toronto FC were well-represented, though, with Marky Delgado getting the start in midfield and Michael Bradley coming on in the 78th minute.
Neither TFC player had much of an impact, but another cap is good for Delgado’s confidence, and it’s nice to see Bradley getting another go at the international level.
USMNT head coach Dave Sarachan, who is approaching one year in his “interim” position, fielded a starting 11 with an average age of just over 23 years old and average caps of 10, and boy did it show. The young Americans (Ed.: Ha. -COC) had just 30% possession and one shot through the first 45 minutes of action and didn't have much to write home about.
It should be noted that the USMNT is going through a rebuilding period after their horror show in Trinidad last October saw them miss out on World Cup qualification for the first time since 1986. The entire squad was turned over aside from the odd veteran (see Michael Bradley, 142 caps).
The second half of Tuesday’s encounter proved to have a little more action as a well-rehearsed free kick routine led to a goal in the 49th minute by the little leprechaun that is Josh Sargent. Sargent, who just 18 years old and plying his club trade at Werder Bremen in Germany, led the American attack throughout the night time and time again with his lone score the main talking point for the U.S. attack.
After the opening goal, Peru looked the more dangerous side and threatened for the rest of the game. A warning from Peru’s Andy Polo rang against Brad Guzan’s crossbar from 30 yards out around the 75th minute and the rebound header was goalbound until Guzan’s intervention. Shortly after that in the 86th minute a good attack from Peru led to a tap in at the far post for Peru’s Edison Flores. Some nervy final minutes were in store for the US, who were now on the back foot. They laboured to the final whistle that saw them limp out with just the one goal conceded.
Andy Polo was Man of the Match in #USAvPER:— #ThankYouDeuce (@JogaBonito_USA) October 17, 2018
1 crossbar hit
33/38 (86.8%) passes
The #PTFC midfielder was very active, great pace and work rate, nearly scored a golazo, assisted equalizer.#RCTID #MLS #Peru pic.twitter.com/7shXKvQo9N
After the dust settled both teams walked out without tasting defeat with the draw. The U.S. might feel hard done by as they were roughly five minutes plus stoppage time away from a nice clean sheet and home win which would've boosted confidence in the USMNT project. Truth be told, there wasn't that much to take away for the U.S. side that wasn't already known, particularly for Bradley and Delgado. Bradley provides the veteran influence and isn’t slated to be playing as much in the future. He will be nearing his twilight years by the next World Cup (He’ll be almost 35 by Qatar 2022). Delgado has more to offer due to his youth but finds some stiff competition in the center of the US midfield with the likes of Wil Trapp, Kellyn Acosta and Christian Roldan for competition. The result on the night almost provides more questions than answers for me. Will the USMNT continue to grow and remain the perennial threat in Concacaf? Or has this already year-long team reboot already hit the peak of its powers?