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USA vs. New Zealand, 2016 Friendly: Final Score 1-1, Julian Green’s goal canceled out by strong New Zealand performance

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U.S. stuggle to impose their will on New Zealand

New Zealand v United States Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

The U.S. was outplayed in large stretches tonight in a 1-1 draw with New Zealand at Washington’s RFK Stadium. Julian Green’s 27th minute goal was canceled out by Monty Patterson’s 72nd minute equalizer.

It was a slow start for the U.S. as New Zealand immediately put them under pressure. A direct ball was poorly dealt with by Omar Gonzalez. Chris Wood received it and was able to turn and shoot. Goalkeeper William Yarbrough was unable to hold the powerful left footed shot, but he was bailed out by an offside call on the rebound.

New Zealand’s pressure made it difficult for the U.S. to generate consistent offense. Wood proved to be a handful for the American defense, as New Zealand kept looking to skip their midfield to play to him directly. In addition to the back line struggling, Yarbrough looked unsettled multiple times in the first half. Michael Boxall collided with him on a free kick and could have had a chance on goal, if not for a handball call.

In the 14th minute, the U.S. finally generated a scoring chance. Kellyn Acosta’s cross was cleared away six yards from goal. A few minutes later, Jozy Altidore found space at the top of penalty area, but his shot was blocked.

The outside backs for both teams were key in creating creating chances. New Zealand’s wing backs were often running free for flicks from Chris Wood off of their direct play. Acosta and Michael Orozco began making more runs forward as the half went on, and that effort helped create the opening goal for Julian Green in the 27th minute.

Jozy Altidore flicked on a Yarbrough long ball. Green dribbled at the New Zealand defense, but it was Acosta’s overlapping run that forced the defender to give Green space. He cut inside to his right foot and beat Stefan Marinovic to the near post.

The U.S. started playing through Sacha Kljestan as the half progressed, which forced New Zealand to drop deeper to cut off his passes. This allowed the U.S. more possession overall and a greater level of comfort.

New Zealand ratcheted up the pressure to start the second half. The U.S. defense intitiall did a better job denying Wood time and space to either receive balls or flick them on to teammates. He did earn a free kick in the 58th minute, but he put it high over the crossbar.

Lynden Gooch’s entry in the 59th minute for Acosta reshuffled the U.S. lineup. Orozco moved over to left back and Yedlin switched to right back. The adjustment led to a New Zealand chance in the 61st minute. Monty Patterson found space in front of the back line and should have forced a save on his shot, but it did not trouble substitute goalkeeper David Bingham.

A few minutes later, Gooch sent in a dangerous cross from the right side. It was narrowly over Altidore’s head, but Julian Green’s follow-up chance was too high. Gooch consistently looked dangerous in the second half.

Moses Dyer turned and forced Bingham into a save in the 68th minute as both teams struggled to find a rhythm after substitutions. Matt Besler carried the ball 40 yards and created an opportunity for Altidore one minute later, but he could not get a clean shot off as he was falling to his right. Gooch had a shot at the top of the box blocked as the game became more frantic.

Going the other way, New Zealand countered and Patterson pulled back a cross to Wood. His volley was narrowly over the bar in the 71st minute. They kept the attack up and earned a corner after Besler cleared out a long throw from Boxall. Altidore and Besler stuggled to clear a short corner and Patterson knocked home the equalizer in a crowd.

The U.S. struggled to deal with second balls and additional attacking runners throughout the match. Wood exploited that in the 82nd minute as he found space 25 yards from goal. His shot was blocked away for a corner. This time, the corner was played to the back post but it still was not cleared effectively. Another corner was earned after a blocked cross. Bingham was able to easily grab the corner on the second attempt.

New Zealand earned another corner in short succession in the 85th minute. The U.S. was unable to clear effectively and the attacks kept coming in waves. Altidore’s frustration bubbled over as he picked up a yellow card in the 86th minute on a foul near midfield.

Orozco was forced to clear a ball off the line after another New Zealand break in the 87th minute.

Danny Williams carried a ball forward from defensive midfield in the 89th minute, his shot forced a diving save and his follow-up attempt was blocked out for a corner. Omar Gonzalez could not get the resulting header on frame. A stoppage time effort from Michael Bradley was parried away by Marinovic.