January 29, 2018
1. Morris and Sapong get chances but cannot convert.
Sarachan sent the USA out in a 4-1-4-1 formation, with C.J. Sapong as the lone forward and Gyasi Zardes and Jordan Morris as wide attackers. Sapong and Morris combined for five of the nine U.S. shots and caused the most danger for the opponents, with Morris moving to a forward role for the second half when Sapong was substituted.
Sapong forced a good save from keeper Ibrahim Sehic after USA pressure had forced a turnover in the middle third and Morris steered a shot wide when set up by a long ball from Wil Trapp.
Neither chance arose from buildup play or combinations in the final third. The Americans did connect a lot of crisp passes and show a fair amount of movement through the middle third without showing any real control of the flow. For a significant period in the second half they were scrambling desperately to contain their opponents.
2. USA was second best on the flanks.
Zardes, was also substituted at halftime, switched sides a few times with Morris but rarely got in behind the Bosnia & Herzegovina back line. Paul Arriola got on the ball fairly often after coming into the match and despite attacking in tandem with right back Matt Polster, their forays up the flank seldom produced a clear chance, though one ball driven across the goalmouth was narrowly missed on the doorstep by Kelyn Rowe.
At the other hand, Polster and his teammates struggled when Bosnia & Herzegovina came down that side. Trapp dropped deep to help out but Amir Bekic, Elvis Saric, and substitute Ognjen Todovoric bent balls into the goalmouth and cut inside to find shots. Because they were often backing up to shore up that flank, central midfielders Cristian Roldan and Tyler Adams had to start attacks from deeper positions. When not pinned back in their own half, Roldan and Adams pushed the ball forward occasionally and Roldan scuffed a good chance wide after a cross had been partially cleared to him.
3. Different games for USA defenders.
Solid games for Ike Opara and left back Justin Morrow contrasted with tough nights for Polster and centerback Walker Zimmerman on the opposite side. All four defenders played the full game.
A ball that caromed off Zimmermann fell for Melano to shoot from close range and a late tackle by Zimmerman produced the penalty kick that Medjunanin banged off the goalpost. Polster dropped too deep at times and left gaps inside, he was also beaten to the corner and wasn’t able to block several dangerous crosses.
Opara came up with several vital tackles and might have saved a goal with a sliding block from close range. Morrow wasn’t tested much defensively and seldom took advantage of the space afforded him to get into the attack. He did reach the endline once but his pass didn’t connect.