USMNT Draw Serbia 0-0 In First Match of 2017
The USMNT played a friendly against Serbia in America’s Finest City — kicking off 2017 our men’s side. The first match ended in a long, drawn out tie with no goals scored, leaving fans with a lackluster experience. Next Up: the USMNT will face off against Jamaica next week in its first ever visit to Chattanooga, Tennessee.
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Soccer News: U.S. Men’s National Team‘s Bruce Arena came to San Diego — kicking off his new reign as the Head Coach — hoping for a victory. After all, who wants to take over a team and not even score a goal in their first match? Although U.S. MNT’s first match under Arena in 2017 was not a resounding success, this is the beginning of the new Arena era as our country prepares for the important World Cup qualifiers against Honduras and Panama — only weeks away in March.
Arena has only just begun to work towards qualifying for the 2018 World Cup in Russia. After naming his final 23-player roster for the friendly match against Serbia on January 29th at Qualcomm Stadium, Arena counted on his mix of veterans and newcomers to make America proud.
Although San Diego’s soccer fans packed the stadium’s lower levels looking to cheer when a goal was scored, the match ended in a scoreless draw. With the results of this match, the U.S. now moves to 0-2-1 all-time against Serbia.
While there were chances on both sides to score, the ball never found the back of either goal — in part due to the remarkable efforts of USA’s goalkeeper Nick Rimando.
Qualcomm stadium was filled with soccer loving fans for the USA vs Serbia friendly. With dreams of playing professional soccer for one’s country, the stands were filled with thousands of youth soccer players from San Diego’s youth soccer clubs.
Highlights from U.S. Soccer Press Release on the match included:
- Forward Jozy Altidore earned his 100 th cap in the match, becoming the second youngest player in U.S. MNT history to hit the century mark at 27 years, 84 days.
- Earning Budweiser Man of the Match honors in his first international start, Darlington Nagbe provided the best two chances of the first half for the U.S.
- The U.S. had one last chance in the 90th minute when Juan Agudelo’s individual effort led to the ball falling for Chris Pontius, but the midfielder’s quick shot trickled inches wide of the left post.
Key Saves and Defensive Stops
USA – Chad Marshall, 24th minute: After a quick combination out right, Serbia midfielder Aleksandar Paločević slipped into the box and moved past Michael Bradley before Marshall stepped through just outside the six-yard box to clear the danger.
SRB – Filip Manojlovic, 47th minute: Moments after entering the match, Sebastian Lletget did well to win the ball at midfield before springing Alejandro Bedoya down the right. Bedoya cut a pass inside for Sacha Kljestan who slipped Jozy Altidore into the box on the right, before Manojlović came off his line to deny the effort and push out for a corner kick
USA – Nick Rimando, 71st minute: Enver Alivodić’s swung a free kick into the box from the before the ball fell at the feet of Miloš Simonović whose quick shot was well held by Rimando.
USA – Nick Rimando, 89th minute: In the dying moments of the, Serbia forward Lazar Jovanović broke free into the area up the left before powering a shot that Rimando strongly extended to preserve his clean sheet.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT heads east to take on regional rival Jamaica in its first-ever match in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Friday, Feb. 3. Kickoff from Finley Stadium is set for 7 p.m. ET and can be seen live on FS1, UniMas and UDN.
- With the start, Jozy Altidore became the 17th player in MNT history to earn 100 caps. At 27 years, 84 days, Altidore is the second youngest player to reach the century mark , trailing only Landon Donovan (26 years, 96 days)
- MNT captain Michael Bradley made his 127th international appearance, tying him with Marcelo Balboa for fifth on the MNT’s all-time caps list.
- Sebastian Lletget, Chris Pontius and Jorge Villafaña made their international debuts. Lletget entered for Jermaine Jones at halftime, Pontius came on for Philadelphia Union teammate Alejandro Bedoya in the 65th minute and Villafaña replaced Greg Garza in the 69 th minute.
- Nick Rimando returned between the sticks for the first time since April 15, 2015 vs. Mexico and made two saves to keep his fifth career clean sheet.
- After undergoing hip surgery and a near year-long rehabilitation period , left back Greg Garza earned his first cap since July 10, 2015 against Haiti.
- Arena deployed a four-man backline that featured a center back partnership of Chad Marshall and Steve Birnbaum with Graham Zusi inserted on the right and Greg Garza on the left.
- In midfield, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones paired as central holding midfielders, while Alejandro Bedoya and Darlington Nagbe started on the right and left wings respectively.
- Sacha Kljestan played in the attacking midfield role, supporting lone forward Jozy Altidore.