The United States Men’s National Team defeated Paraguay 1-0 Tuesday night in North Carolina in front of a sellout crowd of 9,825!
A game between two nations that failed to qualify for the World Cup in Russia this summer can’t help but inspire an existential moment or two. With that in mind, our word for today is “meaningless.” As in the phrase “meaningless friendly.” Or the question: “Can any game really be called meaningless?”
The players certainly seemed to find some meaning in the match with Paraguay piling up five yellow cards to two for the U.S.A., and this in a match where the referee exhibited a strong desire to, eh, “let them play.”
When not taking lumps out of each other the players clearly wanted to impress, although, with both sides coached by caretaker managers, the players would have been unsure of exactly which eyes it was that they were hoping to catch.
In the case of the U.S. players, there is also an as yet to be hired General Manager to convince. But with that in mind, there were some players who showed well on the night and here are a few thoughts on that.
Matt Miazga has polished off the rough edges from his game and has added physical strength to become a commanding presence at the heart of the U.S. defense.
He paired very well with Cameron Carter-Vickers, his old partner from the U.S. national youth teams, making it is easy to pencil in the two as the future of the position for the senior squad. Particularly with John Brooks’ constant injury issues.
But, and there’s always a but, both Miazga and CCV are at crucial points in their respective careers. Carter-Vickers is playing at Ipswich after a stint at fellow English Championship side Sheffield United. Miazga is in his second season at Vitesse in the Netherlands top flight. Both have benefitted from the experience gained on these loan moves from parent clubs Tottenham, for Cameron-Vickers, and Chelsea, for Miazga.
What happens next season is paramount for the duo. It may not be at Chelsea or Tottenham but both need to step up a league if they want to lock down a couple of spots that are there for the taking.
“Wil Trapp, Wil Trapp, Wil Trapp.”
After Columbus beat the New York Red Bulls in a game at Red Bull Arena back in 2014 RBNY star Thierry Henry described the reason for the Crew’s effectiveness by singing the praises of the Columbus midfielder.
Henry seemed to indicate that he saw Trapp as a future member of the USMNT, when he said, “He has, hopefully for him, a good future. He’s American, you guys should be happy, but today I thought he was the difference.”
Since then Trapp’s senior international career has been limited to scraps. Last night Trapp was excellent. If this match turns out to be the start of something for the 25-year old that would give this match some meaning.
Run, Tyler, Run!
19-year-old midfielder Tyler Adams was everywhere against Paraguay, gliding over every inch of the pitch, including a lengthy gallop that earned a penalty kick for the lone goal of the match.
At one point Adams outraced an opponent to win a loose ball in the midfield despite having spotted his rival about six yards in a 10-yard race.
Adams broke through with the Red Bulls and the USMNT U20’s last season, he is breaking out with Red Bulls and the full national team this season and while Adams can still refine some of his offensive skills, new challenges beckon; sooner rather than later.
So, meaningful then? We will see.
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 1 0 1
PAR 0 0 0
USA – Bobby Wood 45th minute
USA: 12-Zack Steffen; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Matt Miazga, 5-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 19-Jorge Villafaña; 20-Wil Trapp; 6-Darlington Nagbe (9-Cristian Roldan, 90+2), 8-Marky Delgado (11-Tim Weah, 86), 4-Tyler Adams, 10-Kenny Saief (23-Rubio Rubin, 67); 7-Bobby Wood (18-Andrija Novakovich, 77)
Substitutes not used: 1-Bill Hamid, 13-Erik Palmer-Brown, 14-Antonee Robinson, 15-Eric Lichaj, 17-Shaq Moore
Head coach: Dave Sarachan
PAR: 1-Roberto Fernandez; 5-Bruno Valdez, 4-Fabian Balbuena, 3-Gustavo Gomez, 13-Junior Alonso; 16-Cristian Riveros (6-Richard Ortiz, 65), 8-Rodrigo Rojas (10-Derlis Gonzalez, 83), 21-Oscar Romero (19-Cecilio Dominguez, 80), 7-Nestor Camacho (17-Hernan Perez, 54), 23-Miguel Almiron; 9-Federico Santander
Substitutes not used: 12-Alfredo Aguilar, 2-Juan Patiño, 11-Angel Romero, 14-Luis de la Cruz, 15-Richard Sanchez, 18-Roberto Ovelar
Head coach: Gustavo E. Morinigo
Stats Summary: USA / PAR
Shots: 6 / 11
Shots on Goal: 3 / 3
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 15 / 19
Offside: 5 / 1
PAR – Roberto Fernandez (caution) 44th minute
PAR – Junior Alonso (caution) 53
PAR – Rodrigo Rojas (caution) 56
USA – DeAndre Yedlin (caution) 62
USA – Cameron Carter-Vickers (caution) 81
PAR – Federico Santander (caution) 90
PAR – Richard Ortiz (caution) 90+1