After getting a dose of reality against a tough Colombia side last week, this young United States Men’s National Team suited up for another challenge against Peru on Tuesday night. Kellyn Acosta & Tim Weah were the only two starters to return this match as Dave Sarachan made nine changes to the lineup. The Americans led for the majority of the second half, but conceded a late goal and settle for the 1-1 draw.
Josh Sargent looked nervous in the opening stages as he made his second career start for the Red, White, & Blue. But he would eventually settle in and spark the best chance of the first half in the 15th minute. All it took was a quick flick from Sargent, a clever touch from Jonathan Amon, and they were off to the races. As Amon approached the box, the defense was closing him down. Acosta charged into the danger area and was ready for an easy tap-in, but the pass was just out of reach.
They're young. They'll improve.— The American Outlaws (@AmericanOutlaws) October 17, 2018
This sort of stuff is why we're #HereForTheFuture pic.twitter.com/QQgUD7ezlq
However much of the play before the break was on the other end of the field. The USMNT were making things difficult for themselves. Peru found success down the right flank as they took advantage of a few lazy passes and poor decisions. While they had a few shots and were in control of possession - 70% in the first half - there weren’t really many chances on goal. The center-back duo of Cameron Carter-Vickers & Aaron Long were keeping things organized in defense.
The US were showing more life immediately to start the second half and it didn’t take long for the breakthrough. Jonathan Amon, among three players making their international debuts on the night, earned a free kick in the right corner in the 49th minute. It was designed to free up the striker, and that is exactly what it did. Kellyn Acosta played a low cross to a wide open Joshua Sargent for a one-touch finish. Deflection aside, this was pretty nifty.
The opener for the #USMNT from Josh Sargent! pic.twitter.com/dGqml9kjDT— Major League Soccer (@MLS) October 17, 2018
The USMNT were really starting to put it all together and were showing us some encouraging signs for the future. They were in control of the match for the 20 minutes following the goal.
USMNT-elona?— The American Outlaws (@AmericanOutlaws) October 17, 2018
We're working-shopping it. #HereForTheFuture pic.twitter.com/Uoc2NCcqdg
But the Peruvians turned up the heat in the 75th minute. Andy Polo, finally found some space and he wasn’t going to waste it. From about 30 yards out, the Portland Timbers man fired an absolute rocket. It had Brad Guzan beat but the crossbar saved the day.
Sarachan then made his fourth substitution to solidify the defense by bringing on DeAndre Yedlin for the inexperienced Reggie Cannon. But it was just two minutes later that Yedlin lost his man at the back post and conceded the equalizer. Edison Flores smashed home a cross that slipped passed the entire back-line to level the match at 1-1.
Peru continued to press for the winner the final whistle made the draw final. The late equalizer spoiled what was a really positive match for the Americans. The entire squad did well to lock down Peru for the majority of the match, but they clicked off for one moment and paid the price.
Still, there was plenty to like from this young side as they took on a dangerous Peruvian team. The players will return to the clubs for the upcoming matches this weekend, hungry to build upon their newfound international experience so they can get the call in November.