CARY, N.C. (March 27, 2017) – The USMNT defeated Paraguay 1-0 in their March Friendly, thanks to Bobby Wood’s successful penalty kick just before halftime.
With the recent World Cup Qualifying failure of the USMNT, they have roughly a year of non competitive soccer to take inventory of what they have in their player pool. Matches like tonight’s against Paraguay are perfect for that.
Bobby Wood Penalty Lifts USMNT Over Paraguay
The USMNT opened the scoring in the 45th minute when Marky Delgado threaded a pass through the space between the centerbacks, and into the run in behind for Tyler Adams. Adams to a touch past the keeper, and in the keeper’s attempt to get the ball he grabbed Adams’ foot, resulting in a penalty kick.
If it had been a competitive game, Gatito Fernandez would’ve likely been sent off. But instead he got a yellow. Bobby Wood stepped up and sent Fernandez the wrong way, and put the ball into the net.
The second half had a lot of close calls for the USMNT and some good play, but Paraguay kept the USMNT from creating too many dangerous attacks. Their ability to hold serve was what kept them in the game.
- The Midfield Three were fantastic. They hardly put a pass wrong, and did a great job of distributing the ball wide and springing the movement forward. Delgado’s pass to Tyler Adams that led to the penalty kick was picture perfect. Delgado, Adams, and Trapp should be in the running for future national team matches as well. They worked well against a good Paraguay side.
- The US Backline and Zack Steffen were very good. Anytime you can keep a clean sheet, especially against a good Paraguay team. Steffen made three saves, and the backline made a ton of good blocks as well. The Cameron Carter-Vickers/Matt Miazga combo was good in the center, and Villafaña and Yedlin did well to recover on the wing. An impressive showing from the back line overall and that bodes well for the future of the USMNT.
- Bobby Wood isn’t the answer up top. He shouldn’t be left alone up top, yet he was. He doesn’t do well in hold-up and combo play at all. He’s meant to play off the shoulder of the backline, and with no number 10, he is required to be the central creative figure. That lack of help there showed throughout the game. Bobby Wood is fine in a two striker system. But playing him out of his comfort zone, with his current form, probably wasn’t the best. But he did convert the penalty nicely