There wasn’t a ton to takeaway from a friendly nil-nil between the United States men’s national team and Bosnia & Herzegovina on Sunday in Carson, Calif., but we could find three things.
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That’s because “That’s Entertainment” is a song by The Jam, not a way to describe this match.
Playmakers needed in the Starting XI
In what would’ve qualified as infuriating had this game meant anything besides minor evaluation, Dave Sarachan kept Paul Arriola, Kelyn Rowe, and Juan Agudelo on the bench in favor of — in no particular order — Gyasi Zardes and Cristian Roldan.
There weren’t many chances in the opening 45, with CJ Sapong providing the best chances for the U.S. (Young Tyler Adams had a moment or two as well).
It was no surprise that Jordan Morris (above) and the rest of the U.S. squad found chances almost immediately once Rowe and Arriola were subbed into the match at halftime. In fact, a slightly tamer touch from Morris in the second half probably produces a goal that may have just busted open the match.
Opara meets his chance head-on; Zimmerman? Well…
Sporting KC center back Ike Opara is 28 years old and a much more finished product than the kid who represented his country at youth levels. He had some fantastic interventions in the first half, was aggressive when meeting Bosnian attackers out wide, and nearly mistake-free aside from giving away a free kick.
LAFC’s Walker Zimmerman, so good for some time in MLS, was not as solid as his partner, and gave away a bad but unconverted penalty kick early in the second half. A foul should’ve been called a moment earlier against the player he dropped in the boss, but it was a silly foul.
“Just had fun,” Opara said on FS1 after the match. “Sort out the aftermath later. It was a good time. … (I’ll remember) just the hard work that I put in over the years and the people who helped me get here. I know it’s my reward but a lot of people helped me get here.”
Absence makes the heart grow fonder?
This match was so non-descript and so much of a slog at times that it bears repeating the USMNT produced what was essentially a C-Team.
Don’t believe us? Assume 23 players in any given call-up, and here are nearly 40 players who weren’t there: Pulisic, Brooks, McKennie, Dempsey, Yedlin, Cameron, Chandler, Acosta, Bedoya, Gooch, Williams, Bradley, Howard, Guzan, Nagbe, McCarty, F. Johnson, Kljestan, Jones, Lletget, Altidore, Wood, Miazga, Lichaj, Miazga, Ream, Sargent, Saief, Spector, Hedges, Zusi, Besler, Beasley, Horvath, Carter-Vickers, Palmer-Brown, Feilhaber, Evans…
So while we didn’t really learn anything from point No. 3, we are reminded that it shouldn’t be surprising when two less than ideal groups culled from sides that missed the World Cup fail to entertain the masses.