The USA dropped its first game amid the upheaval in US Soccer following the shocking “blackmail” controversy and since it was eliminated from the World Cup in Qatar in the last-16.
Following Gregg Berhalter’s contract expiration and the shocking admission by Gio Reyna’s parents that the former head coach kicked his wife in 1991 while an inquiry was still going on, interim coach Anthony Hudson took charge of his first game.
For the friendly match against Serbia, Hudson started seven rookies, and Brandon Vazquez scored the game’s first goal with a header in the 29th minute. USA lost because of two early goals by the opponents either side of halftime.
The Star and Stripes’ starting XI also had nine of the 11 starters age 24 or younger, one of the youngest sides put together in the US Soccer Federation’s history.
Given that the international friendly occurred outside of a FIFA international window, the majority of the starters were MLS players. Only five players from the World Cup roster and 11 players receiving their first callups make up the current squad.
With only 15 total international appearances between them, the starting lineup for Serbia featured eight players making their debuts.
Dejan Joveljic of the LA Galaxy led a group that did not include any members of the starting lineup from the team’s most recent World Cup encounter against Switzerland.
Tony Meola, who made his USMNT debut on June 7, 1988, against Ecuador, at the age of 19 years, 106 days, was surpassed by Gaga Slonina, who made her debut at 18 years, 255 days old. Slonina kept his team in the game with four saves.
Defenders Julian Gressel and Jalen Neal, midfielders Aidan Morris and Alan Sonora, striker Alex Zendejas, as well as second-half substitute DeJuan Jones, all made their debuts. After representing Mexico internationally for the previous six years, Zendejas made his senior squad debut for the US.
The attacker from Club America, who was Christian Pulisic’s teammate on the 2015 Under 17 squad, returned to the US programme but hasn’t made up his mind about where he’ll play in the long run.
US captain Walker Zimmerman made his 38th international appearance, while the other 21 players on the field combined to start the game had only 28 combined games of international experience. Paul Arriola came on late as a substitute after being dropped late from the US World Cup roster.
Vazquez became the 59th player to score on his US debut with his header in the first half. Vazquez, 24, tied for the league lead in Major League Soccer last season with 18 regular-season goals for FC Cincinnati, including six headers.
In the 43rd minute, Veljko Ilic equalised with a 22-yard free kick, and in the 46th, Veljko Simic made it 2-1 with a long-range goal after seizing possession of a lost ball.
In the 56th minute, Cade Cowell attempted to tie the game, but his first effort struck the right post before striking the left. The San Jose Earthquakes forward also had a third powerful shot, but it missed the target.
When compared to Serbia’s 11 attempts (six of which were on target), the US outshot their adversaries 20 to 5.
On Saturday in Carson, California, the US will play Colombia.
Only one of the team’s last eight games had resulted in a victory, with four draws and three losses