The Stars and Stripes are again on the pitch, and the longer term appears thrilling.
FC Cincinnati’s 24-year-old striker Brandon Vazquez scored the team’s first goal of 2023 on a clear header, however that was the one time the USMNT would discover the online. Serbia equalized on a free kick proper earlier than halftime, then made it 2-1 a minute into the second half.
The USMNT attacked relentlessly as Serbia absorbed the blows, however finally the visitng staff got here out unscathed. Let’s have a look 5 takeaways from the primary of two January friendlies for the USA:
Cade Cowell is placing himself on the map
Bear in mind the title. Cade Cowell, 19, got here into the friendlies as a player to watch and completely unleashed chaos on the Serbian protection. The San Jose Earthquakes product confirmed off his tempo and directness each time he acquired the ball and deserved to pen his title onto the scoresheet with a purpose or help.
He had a second within the second half the place he hit the publish twice in a single minute and by no means appeared depleted of power. His passing within the ultimate third will want sharpening, however he can present critical competitors to Christian Pulisic on the left wing as he continues to develop. Additionally, contemplating he didn’t get a lot assist from Jonathan Gomez or Paxton Pomykal on the left-hand facet, think about what he might with extra service.
Jalen Neal’s USMNT debut begins brilliantly
Three clearances, one blocked shot, one interception, 9-for-9 correct lengthy balls, 101 touches and 86-for-92 accomplished passes (93%), 19-year-old Jalen Neal has additionally established himself as one to observe at each the membership and worldwide stage.
The LA Galaxy product has but to make an look in MLS, however that’s possible not going to be the case for too lengthy. His composure is completely very important for a younger heart again and is often the make or break of a high-quality one. He hardly ever made errors in possession and moved adeptly with out the ball.
His half in Serbia’s second purpose was the only real down level in what was in any other case an especially strong debut for somebody who demonstrated the poise of a 10-year veteran. You wouldn’t assume Walker Zimmerman and Aaron Lengthy have been the vets on the pitch with the best way Neal performed.
Brandon Vazquez might resolve USMNT’s No. 9 woes
It is likely to be clever to put money into Brandon Vazquez shares early. The 24-year-old FC Cincinnati striker registered 19 targets and eight assists in 35 video games final season, and he got on the board with a header in his Stars and Stripes debut.
The shortage of a real goalscoring No. 9 was evident all all through the staff’s run within the 2022 FIFA World Cup, but it surely wasn’t precisely stunning given the dearth of choices heading into the match. Vazquez hadn’t but made his debut on the time, however his ending capacity could possibly be what units him aside shifting ahead.
His maintain up play might want to enhance, although, as he usually disappeared for lengthy stretches when not receiving service. That talent is why Josh Sargent and Haji Wright performed important minutes in Qatar, however their ending in opposition to sturdy defenses couldn’t be relied upon. If Vazquez combines each, he can seize maintain of an open competitors at striker.
Gabriel “Gaga” Slonina confirmed why Chelsea invested in him
English Premier League facet Chelsea dropped $15 million last summer to signal Gabriel Slonina from Chicago Fireplace, then allowed him to remain on mortgage in MLS for the season. They could have invested within the 18-year-old on the proper time.
Goalkeepers are likely to hit their primes of their late 20s or all through their 30s. See compatriot Matt Turner for instance, who has hit a brand new stage with Arsenal at age 28 and have become a pivotal participant for the Stars and Stripes in Qatar. Slonina, nevertheless, is 10 years youthful and is enjoying like a veteran, although he’s positively uncooked.
He saved 4 photographs on the evening and linked on 3 of seven lengthy balls to show some intriguing distributing high quality. There’s a protracted, lengthy approach to go in his profession, however $15 million might grow to be a cut price signing for the Blues. Anticipate Slonina to compete alongside Turner and Co. for extra caps sooner relatively than later.
Anthony Hudson doesn’t stray too distant from Gregg Berhalter’s ways
Not that it’s precisely stunning contemplating it was his first sport as interim supervisor, however Hudson’s ways stayed throughout the realm of Berhalter’s implementations throughout the earlier World Cup cycle.
The beginning lineup featured a 4-3-3 and not using a true left-footed heart again, one single pivot holding midfielder who made superior runs, a right-footed proper winger and two superior heart midfielders. When the U.S. managed to pin Serbia’s five-man low block, at instances the fullbacks would push all the best way as much as create a 6-to-5 overload within the again line.
That didn’t all the time occur, although, as a result of this particular Aidan Morris-Alan Sonora-Paxton Pomykal trio aren’t but able to dominating possession, successful second balls and pinning groups deep, but it surely transpired occasionally.
Then within the second half, among the substitutes helped deliver out extra in particular gamers. Swapping proper again Julian Gressel for Dejuan Jones unlocked Alejandro Zendajas in superior roles, and going with a double pivot of Kellyn Acosta and Eryk Williamson helped them retain possession higher when Serbia appeared to hit the counter. That made Cowell much more harmful in isolation conditions.
With sport one out the best way, it’ll be fascinating to see how his method alters — or stays — in opposition to Colombia on Saturday.