The calendar year has not ended for the United States men’s national team, even if its playing slate concluded Tuesday with a 1-0 stoppage time loss to Italy in Belgium.
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The USMNT’s schedule this season was daunting, a visit from Bolivia the closest thing to a walkover and away matches to France, England, and Italy.
Interim coach Dave Sarachan finished his run with three wins, five losses, and four draws — all but one coming in 2018 — the most notable results being a draw with France prior to Les Bleus winning the World Cup and a win over Mexico in Tennessee courtesy of Tyler Adams.
Its leading goal scorer was Bobby Wood, and Josh Sargent was the only other player to score more than once. The other goal scorers were Tim Weah, Julian Green, Tyler Adams, and Kellyn Acosta.
Jan. 28 — USMNT 0-0 Bosnia and Herzegovina — Ike Opara was our Man of the Match in a drab affair to start the year.
March 27 — USMNT 1-0 Paraguay — A Wood penalty before half time was earned by Adams and set up by Marky Delgado. Adams had his strongest performance in a U.S. shirt, and the Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga pairing was promising at the heart of the defense. Wil Trapp was also quite good.
May 28 — USMNT 3-0 Bolivia — Zimmerman, Sargent, and Weah were part of an extremely encouraging rollover of an inferior opponent.
June 2 — Republic of Ireland 2-1 USMNT — Wood scored in first half stoppage to give the Yanks a surprising lead, but disappointing errors from Bill Hamid and Miazga allowed the hosts to snare a 90th minute win.
June 9 — France 1-1 USMNT — Green’s 44th minute goal was nice, but this was Zack Steffen’s coming-out party. That said, was it even the Yanks’ best goalkeeper performance of the year. Ask Tuesday.
Sept. 7 — USMNT 0-2 Brazil — Roberto Firmino and Neymar scored first half goals, but this moment was not too big for the young Yanks (even if it was a case of not being experienced enough to know “their place”).
Sept. 11 — USMNT 1-0 Mexico — Tyler Adams’ 71st minute goal from an Antonee Robinson feed was a nice moment for the Yanks. Miazga’s taunting of Diego Lainez may have not been classy, but it was a moment for the future of the USMNT-El Tri rivalry.
Oct. 11 — USMNT 2-4 Colombia — Acosta and Wood scored after halftime to give the Americans a stunning 2-1 lead, but Los Cafeteros very much restored order. It was one to forget on the whole, but Acosta and Weah showed glimpses of what could be.
Oct. 16 — USMNT 1-1 Peru — Sargent looked set for his first match-winning goal in an American shirt, but DeAndre Yedlin lost track of Edison Flores in the 86th to nullify what should’ve been a fine day for Sarachan through youngsters Weah and Sargent.
Nov. 15 — England 3-0 USMNT — Let’s just pretend this didn’t happen. One of the worst halves of Christian Pulisic’s U.S. tenure led into an improved-for-him-but-pretty-much-no-one-else second.
Nov. 20 — Italy 1-0 USMNT (in Belgium) — The Yanks close off their season by wasting a prime performance from Ethan Horvath, with Sebastian Lletget losing track of Inter Milan youngster Matteo Politano on a stoppage time goal.
So what did we learn, huh?
— Well, there are still major questions as to who is going to line up next to John Brooks, whether in a back three or four, for the next run of World Cup qualifying.
— And what about in goal? Ethan Horvath has made a claim to the job presumably heading to Zack Steffen, and either goalkeeper could literally spend the better part of a decade in the job.
— DeAndre Yedlin was once presumed the right back for the next decade, but his performances in a USMNT shirt have been haphazard at best. Can a new coach get him in line with his performances for Rafa Benitez at Newcastle, or might Reggie Cannon or Shaq Moore be in play.
— The U.S. still doesn’t have an experienced left back, and perhaps this will all be about Antonee Robinson learning on the job (though Moore was perfectly fine playing out-of-position against Italy).
— Is it two center mids or three, and is Michael Bradley coming back into the fold?Because Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams are penciled in for a while, and Kellyn Acosta has had fits and starts. Wil Trapp clearly also has a fan club in the USMNT hierarchy, and his club head coach is probably getting the job. So…. 4-1-4-1?
— Here’s something we already knew: This team goes as far as Christian Pulisic takes them.
— If Josh Sargent doesn’t start getting more meaningful playing time and Bobby Wood keeps living on his plateau, then you’re gonna be real mad when Jozy Altidore is striker No. 1 next summer.