American Manager Dave Sarachan changed things up with the USMNT taking on Ireland in their second of three friendlies in May and June. The team nominally lined up in a 4-1-4-1 with Antonee Robinson notably missing after his standout performance against Bolivia. His absence and the new players brought into the lineup gave a reminder that this friendly is indeed a friendly with friendly players ready for friendly results.
The first half began fairly evenly. The US looked to pressure Ireland and create turnovers in the Irish half of the field. However, the Boys in Green were able to build possession and at times create chances with a set piece, a pair of corners, and a looping shot in the 11th minute that went wide but seemed to have caught keeper Bill Hamid off of his line.
As the half wore on, the US struggled to put passes together in the Ireland half. Though the US was generally well organized in defense, especially with Will Trapp shielding the backline and Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams closing down passing opportunities, when the US had the ball they lacked a creative outlet to unlock the Irish defense. The Stars and Stripes seemed to find more dangerous chances as Adams fired in a shot on a corner that was cycled to the top of the box and Bobby Wood missed a chance over the ball a few minutes before the 30 minute mark.
The first 45 minutes were not a very good half of soccer. Cameron Carter-Vickers struggled to settle into the game and earned a yellow card in the 30th minute. Perhaps feeling the effects of a long Premier League season, DeAndre Yedlin committed a foul in the 41st minute giving Ireland a free kick just outside of the penalty area. Later, had it not been for a poor shot by Seamus Coleman in the 45th minute, the home side should have had an opportunity just feet in front of goal to take a 1-0 lead.
Despite this the US would show their historical aptitude on set pieces and display their legendary height when Bobby Wood got is toe on the end of a header from Matt Miazga on a set piece in the 45+1 minute to go ahead by a goal.
The US would go into the half with the lead, but clearly had work to do to ensure the result. As the second 45 began, it seemed like a sense of urgency had not exactly taken hold of the team. Aside from a Tyler Adams yellow 49th minute, the second half offered little of note until the 56th minute. Ireland took a corner that Hamid came off his line to clear, unfortunately he got caught in a mass of players congregating near the mouth of goal, missed his clearance and ended up falling down with the goal wide open. The ball fell to Irish forward Graham Burke who made no mistake and buried the shot to make the game 1-1.
WATCH:@ShamrockRovers man Graham Burke bags his first International goal to make it 1-1 at the Aviva!— eir Sport (@eirSport) June 2, 2018
It's probably the easiest goal he's scored this season, but what a moment for the 24 year old!#IRLUSA #COYBIG #LOI pic.twitter.com/zi2sYRFjOd
The US would come alive and seem poised to score a second goal a few minutes past the hour mark. Some impressive interplay by Adams and Weston McKennie into the Ireland 18 yard box created a chance for Bobby Wood who sent a shot in goal that was easily saved by keeper Colin Doyle. Minutes later, Tim Weah would receive the ball un-marked in the goal area but send his shot over the bar. Ireland got back on the front foot in the 68th minute when Hamid would be saved by an offside call after an Ireland player was judged to be past the US defense when the ball he heading into goal was played to him.
The remaining match saw Dave Sarachan turn to his bench. Following the 61st minute sub of Tim Parker for CCV, Shaq Moore and Josh Sargent would come on for DeAndre Yedlin and Bobby Wood respectively in the 70th minute. Luca de la Torre would replace Rubio Rubin in the 77th and Joe Corona would check in for McKennie with about 10 minutes before the match ended.
They were not exactly impact subs and the US struggled to find a game winner and would even allow a second goal for Ireland. As the game edged closer and closer to its merciful end, the hosts would score the winning goal when Alan Judge took the ball off of his teammate James McClean’s foot and fired it past Hamid to put the score at 2-1.
Alan Judge gives #Ireland the late 2-1 lead vs #USMNT, set up by great work from James McClean. Fully deserved lead for the home side, poor defending by USMNT. #IRLvUSA #IRLUSA pic.twitter.com/swi4m6rYjI— Jason Foster (@JogaBonito_USA) June 2, 2018
That is where things would stand when the referee blew the final whistle. The result gave American Manager Dave Sarachan his first loss as head coach and should leave the team with a lot to think about before their match against France next weekend.