Very rarely does a goalkeeper stop one penalty kick during a match, let alone two during that very same match.
That was exactly what Nicaragua keeper Justo Lorente managed to do on Saturday night though during the team’s 3-0 defeat against the U.S. Men’s National Team.
Despite the overwhelming result in favor of the USMNT, manager Bruce Arena recognized how “difficult” his side made it on themselves against their Central American foe.
“I would think that you could say we wasted some opportunities, and made it pretty difficult on ourselves,” Arena said. “However, in the end I’m pretty proud of our team that they kept battling, and they knew that they needed three goals in the game today and they managed to do it in the end.
“Give the goalkeeper for Nicaragua credit, two penalty kick saves isn’t bad in a game. Give them credit there, we didn’t do well with our [spot] kicks. At the end of the day we still came out on top, and I’m pleased with that.”
Dom Dwyer and Joe Corona each had their spot-kick attempts saved by Lorente in the second stanza, however, the latter had opened the scoring for the USMNT in the 36th minute.
From there, Kelyn Rowe and Matt Miazga each tallied their first international goals for the Stars and Stripes after halftime, giving the U.S. a more comfortable lead.
Arena cited a better second-half performance from his side that proved to be the difference in closing out the win.
“I don’t really think we played particularly well in the first half,” Arena said. “Certainly we could have had a couple of goals. We didn’t look sharp. The field played a little slow, it was dry, but that’s not an excuse.
“I thought they played well. But we didn’t do a good job passing the ball. We didn’t do a good job with our width. I think that improved in the second half.”Follow @MattReedFutbol