East Hartford, Connecticut (October 16, 2018) — Josh Sargent continues to solidify his status as one of the USMNT’s most promising young players not named Christian Pulisic.
The 18-year-old netted his second senior-level goal in Tuesday’s 1-1 draw against Peru. His early second-half nearly earned the Stars and Stripes the full three points before an Edison Flores goal in the 86th minute ensured a sharing of the spoils.
Josh Sargent Scores Second Senior Team Goal in USMNT’s 1-1 Draw Against Peru
Dave Sarachan went with a completely different starting XI in comparison the US’ 4-2 loss to Colombia last Thursday. His decision to start Brad Guzan came out of necessity with Zack Steffen departing the camp due to a hamstring injury. Wil Trapp captained the side and served as the lone holding midfielder in a 4-1-4-1 shape.
Guzan was the lone veteran amongst the starters with the field players having an average age of 21.9 years. Three players, defenders Aaron Long and Reggie Cannon along with midfielder Jonathan Amon, earned their first-ever cap for the Stars and Stripes. Left-back Ben Sweat, who made his maiden USMNT appearance as a sub against Colombia, got the start this time around.
The home-standing Yanks spent a consistent portion of the opening stanza playing on the back foot. What proved particularly difficult for the US is dealing with Peru’s high press. Almost immediately after the US wrested possession away, a Peruvian player was hot on their tail trying to win it back. As a result, the possession numbers skewed heavily to the Blanquirroja in a first half that ended scoreless.
This certainly looked like a lineup dealing with not only a dearth of experience, but lack of on-field time with each other. The lack of cohesiveness was evident in the myriad issues the US had stringing passes together. But the fact the team didn’t let in a goal despite the pressure they faced was promising. In particular, the central defensive pairing of Aaron Long and Cameron Carter-Vickers did well limiting the Peruvian attack.
Things started off promising in the second half. Two minutes in, Sargent and Tim Weah connected in the box with Weah’s shot just zooming past the right post. Almost immediately thereafter, Amon got taken down just outside the box. Kellyn Acosta took the resulting free kick. And in a move straight off the training ground, he hit a low ball into the box towards Sargent. The 18-year-old Werder Bremen striker redirected it at goal and past goalkeeper Jose Carvallo.
Moving up the ranks! 🇺🇸
— U.S. Soccer MNT (@ussoccer_mnt) October 17, 2018
It was Sargent’s second goal at senior international level. His first came on May 28 of this year against Bolivia. It was notable in that it meant that Sargent scored at three different age levels in a single calendar year.
The visitors, buoyed by rather fervent Peruvian support in the stands, nearly equalized in the 75th minute. Midfielder Andy Polo, who plays his club soccer in MLS with the Portland Timbers, collected the ball and blasted it at goal from about 25 yards out. His shot blasted off the crossbar and, as a result, the US maintained their lead.
But the advantage evaporated four minutes from the end of regulation. Once again, Polo involved himself in the attack. His long cross from the right hand side connected with Edison Flores who made a well-timed run at the far post. He was also shockingly unmarked and made no mistake slotting it past Guzan for a fairly easy goal.
La Blanquirroja smelled blood in the water afterward. The remainder of the game saw the US feverishly defending in the hopes of preserving a draw. And despite a few legitimate opportunities for Peru, none materialized into a game-winner. In the end, it was a sharing of the spoils between the Yanks and one of the better teams who didn’t qualify for the knockout round of this summer’s World Cup.
The next FIFA date will see the US cross the pond for two matches against tough European opposition. First up is a clash with World Cup semi-finalists England at Wembley Stadium on November 15. Five days later, the Yanks take on Italy in Genk, Belgium. That matchup is notable in that it pits two teams who were surprise non-qualifiers for Russia 2018.