The U.S. men's national team closed out the home phase of its 2018 fall series with a 1-1 tie against Peru before 24,959 fans in East Hartford, Connecticut.
In what should be the last
game before a new national team coach is appointed -- there is still a good chance Dave Sarachan will coach the team against England and Italy in Europe next month -- the USA fielded one of its
youngest and most inexperienced teams ever.
Making nine changes to the starting lineup from the team that lost to Colombia, 4-2, on Thursday in Tampa, the USA started a backline with a
combined six caps -- Cameron Carter-Vickers was the veteran with five caps, Ben Sweat had one (all of 16 minutes against Colombia) and Reggie Cannon and Aaron Long were
making their international debuts -- and the frontline consisted of three teenagers -- 18-year-olds Josh Sargent and Timothy Weah, plus 19-year-old Jonathan Amon, the night's
Here's how the game went ...
1. USA gets another result against World Cup 2018 opponent.
The USA showed its youth and inexperience, getting off to a very nervy start. Fortunately, Peru had nothing to show for its dominance in the first half -- and didn't get off a shot on target
until the 70th minute.
Six of the 10 opponents since the USA was knocked out of the 2018 World Cup took teams to Russia, and it has led five of them. It was shut out by Brazil, 2-0, but
otherwise led Portugal, France, Mexico and Colombia and went ahead against Peru on Sargent's goal in the 49th minute. The lead held up until the 86th minute when Edison Flores caught the U.S.
defense -- sub DeAndre Yedlin and Marky Delgado -- napping and scored the equalizer.
The result left the USA with one win, two losses and three ties in the six games it led
World Cup opposition, a record it would take considering its inexperience and, frankly, how badly dominated it was most of the time.
2. Sargent had makings of special center forward.
Both the USA and Werder Bremen
have been patient with Sargent. Sarachan did not call the St. Louis product in for the games against Brazil and Mexico in September, and Bremen has yet to dress him for a Bundesliga game. But he has
the makings of a very special player, a center forward the likes of which the USA has never seen before.
It wasn't just his goal off a free kick designed in practice on Monday that stood
out. Sargent's hold-up play and ability to combine with his teammates were impressive. He played a back-heel flick to spring Amon in the first half and fed Weah for a good chance in the 47th minute
after a cut that sent Peru's NYCFC defender, Alex Callens, to the ground.
In 2017 when he played at both the U-17 and U-20 World Cups, Sargent did not just score goals -- four in
each of the two tournaments -- he also demonstrated a rare ability to play in a 360-degree radius, capable of moving the play in any direction.
3. Sarachan nudges kiddy corps along.
There is still a heck of a lot to be
concerned about the state of the national team -- and American soccer in general -- but if Sarachan has coached his last game -- it might depend on likely successor Gregg Berhalter's
availability in early November -- he should be credited with bringing along a promising corps of youth talent like the USA has never seen before.
Amon became the sixth teenager to appear
for the USA in 2018, the most of any calendar year during the modern era. Sargent and Weah are still 18, Tyler Adams and Amon are 19, and Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic
both recently turned 20. All play for or should soon play for European teams -- Adams is expected to be transferred to RB Leipzig in January -- and all play positions in the front six.
you want to talk about rebuilding, they have the potential of giving the USA a solid nucleus around which to build for the next two World Cup cycles leading up to 2026.