A United States Men’s National Team full of young, hungry players beat Paraguay 1-0 last night in Cary, North Carolina.
There was a great atmosphere in the stadium, masking the disappointment of not qualifying for the 2018 World Cup and moving forward with this team full of young potential.
The USA got off to a bright start, playing with high intensity. The Paraguayans also started intensely, putting in some strong challenges and they were lucky to escape early yellow cards, despite the game being a ‘friendly’.
Hamburg’s Bobby Wood got the nod and started up top, despite not being in form at club level. We have already seen what Bobby can offer to the team, so it would have been nice to see another player get the opportunity to start and lead the line.
I was so impressed with Tyler Adams last night, he doesn’t play with any fear whatsoever. He is going to be a huge part of the men’s National Team’s future. He shows unbelievable amounts of confidence and composure for a 19-year-old, and plays well beyond his years. You could be forgiven for thinking that he’s an experienced pro out there.
USA deservedly took the lead on the verge of half-time when Adams showed a huge burst of pace when a Marky Delgado pass was played through the Paraguay defence. Adams wanted the ball more and got there first before being grounded by the keeper.
The resulting penalty was taken and calmly put away by Bobby Wood who had been experiencing a frustrating opening half.
There was no changes during the half-time interval, despite many fans calling for highly-rated Tim Weah to be given some minutes. Prior to the penalty, I would have brought Wood off, however with the confidence gained, it could have been useful to allow him more time on the field.
The referee was questionable and he seemed to lose control of the game in the second half. Paraguay’s Rodrigo Rojas put in a very high challenge on Marky Delgado which warranted a straight red card. The official handed the Paraguayan a yellow card. I know it was a friendly but you cannot allow challenges like that to not be punished correctly.
USMNT fans were frustrated as the clock was running out and Tim Weah still wasn’t on the field.
Weah was finally brought on with four minutes to go, and didn’t really have much time to show what he can do. He almost made an instant impact and nearly provided an assist when he put fellow debutant Andrija Novakovich in behind, however the Reading man had his effort saved.
Overall, it was a good performance from the USMNT. Offensively, it wasn’t that great but it was fantastic to see the young faces of the future. Failing to qualify for the 2018 World Cup was a huge disappointment, but the future is going to be exciting with this new generation..