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Adams hands USMNT win over Mexico

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Tyler Adams was born on Valentine’s Day, and Tuesday might be the day he made USMNT supporters fall in love.

Following a decent performance against Brazil, Adams scored a second half goal as a young USMNT beat a young Mexico 1-0 in Nashville.

The USMNT next faces Peru and Colombia on Oct. 11 and 16, respectively.

[ MORE: 3 things | Player ratings ]

El Tri weathered early U.S. possession on a wet field, with the most notable battle that of USMNT left back Eric Lichaj and all comers on his side of the pitch.

The Yanks had some trouble clearing a dangerous 14th minute free kick. A corner kick soon followed, and Zack Steffen acted quickly to slap Edson Alvarez’s header over the bar and collect the second corner. He’d corral a header five minutes later.

Gyasi Zardes drew a free kick on the edge of the Mexico 18 in the 27th minute, and Kellyn Acosta had two cracks at it but missed the second wide of the near post.

Steffen gave away a free kick on the right edge with a risky effort to collect a long ball, but Diego Lainez’s low shot was easily turned away by the wall. Lainez then set up Alvarado with a shimmy past Wil Trapp, but Alvarado was unable to get much on his in-tight shot to Steffen.

The Yanks got a rare bit of attack in the 40th minute, but Weah’s penalty shout was denied before he lashed over the bar moments later. An injury to McKennie then gave way to Julian Green.

Zardes laid off for Weah in the 42nd minute, and the PSG teen forced Hugo Gonzalez into a low save.

[ MORE: Richarlison scores beauty for Brazil ]

Weah and Green were especially energetic in the second half, and a Zardes hustle play won the Yanks a 61st minute corner.

Zardes then lunged but couldn’t reach substitute Antonee Robinson‘s inviting cross to the near post.

Matt Miazga then went chest-to-chest with the much smaller Lainez, and there was a meeting between 18-20 of the players on the field as the Nantes center back gestured his difference in height.

Moments later, Mexico took it over the edge. Angel Zaldivar went studs-up with a sliding tackle to Trapp’s ankle and earned a sending off.

Adams then put the Yanks ahead, darting into the box to get his first USMNT goal. There was a bit of redemption for Robinson, too, who earned the assist as a sub after a tough Friday against Brazil.

USMNT player ratings vs. El Tri

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The United States got interim head coach Dave Sarachan a win over Mexico, something any American soccer mind will celebrate as long as they’re on this mortal coil.

[ MORE: Recap | 3 things ]

Who shone for Sarachan, and who didn’t? Read on.

Starting XI

Zack Steffen  — 7 — Very good aside from a dicey adventure at the edge of his 18. Clearly the No. 1 at age 23, although a new coach may challenge that.

Eric Lichaj  (Off 56′) — 7 — Very physical and committed performance from the veteran Hull City defender despite playing out-of-position as a right-footed left back. His future is an intriguing one given his age (33) at the next World Cup.

Matt Miazga  — 8 — Perhaps the man of the match, along with his partner and Steffen during a first half where the back line was often left under pressure.

Cameron Carter-Vickers — 7 — Strong night for the Tottenham Hotspur youngster, who was especially busy from minutes nine to 40.

Shaq Moore (Off 85′) — 6 — Improved as the game went on, and had a few standout moments. He needs to play well when given the chance given the amount of right back prospects behind him (and No. 1 DeAndre Yedlin).

Wil Trapp — 5 — A step back from a rock solid job against Brazil. Probably wasn’t a great call to have him as the lone CDM in a 4-1-4-1, although three of the four attack-minded mids are CDMs by trade.

Tim Weah (Off, 90′) — 8 — Bring me Weah with a healthy Christian Pulisic, McKennie, and Adams in the same XI, please and thank you.

Weston McKennie (Off 40′) — 5 — Left early due to injury but joined the cluttered midfield in doing little to keep the ball from Mexico. A bright first eight minutes or so.

Tyler Adams — 8 — The night’s goal scorer — yes, from New York on 9/11 — is going to bring in a mint for the New York Red Bulls one day (November to RB Leipzig?). Good hustle.

Kellyn Acosta (Off 85′) — 6 — Not poor considering he was played out of position. That’s not new for him with the USMNT.

Gyasi Zardes (Off 80′) — 6 — Strong in hold up play, a hopeful performance as he looks to get his USMNT career back on track.

Substitutes

Julian Green (On 40′) — 8 — His introduction changed the game, as the daring and energetic Greuther Furth man shows he’s not done growing as a player.

Antonee Robinson (On 56′) — 7 — What a redemption from Friday night’s struggles, showing why the left back is well-regarded at Everton. Nice assist on Adams’ goal.

Bobby Wood (On 80′) — 6 — Feisty and fine.

DeAndre Yedlin (On 85′) — N/A —

Cristian Roldan (On 85′) — N/A —

Marky Delgado (On 90′) — N/A —

Three things from USMNT’s win over Mexico

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The United States got interim head coach Dave Sarachan a win over Mexico, something any American soccer figure will celebrate as long as they’re on this mortal coil.

[ MORE: Recap | Player ratings ]

But there was plenty more to discuss from a feisty, sloppy 90 minutes in Nashville.

The rivalry was, indeed, renewed

Diego Lainez — more on him later — battled hard with Eric Lichaj, and the fouls amplified as the match went on.

Matt Miazga then went chest-to-chest with the much smaller Lainez, gesturing his height advantage as several Mexico players got involved and Zack Steffen held back the Nantes center back, who was on yellow. All told, 18-20 of the game’s combatants came together during the incident.

Moments later, Mexico took it over the edge. Angel Zaldivar went studs-up with a sliding tackle to Trapp’s ankle and earned a sending off.

Yeah, the young Mexicans hate the young Americans (and vice versa). And both looks quite good and deep given their collective lack of experience. Let’s go.

Zack Steffen will need to drop off in a big way to lose the No. 1 shirt

The Columbus Crew backstop is going to be a big part of the USMNT’s return to glory if in fact the Yanks are able to pick up the pieces from the World Cup qualifying disaster.

There was a goofy free kick giveaway, but other than that Steffen was nearly spotless.

It stands to reason that Steffen has a great chance to win the gig if his club coach, Gregg Berhalter gets the full-time job. But even if that doesn’t come true, Steffen has been very good in almost all of his caps.

He shows good control of his box, is decisive, and light on his feet. It’s clear he’s directing the back line effectively, and it’s his gig to lose heading into next summer’s Gold Cup. It will also be interesting to see if he stays in MLS or goes back abroad following a failed stint at Freiburg following a terrific time at the University of Maryland.

Mexico has its own teenage sensation

Lainez was Mexico’s biggest threat on Tuesday, the 18-year-old calling to mind a similar debut from a CONCACAF teenager from the United States.

Yes, Lainez of Club America might be going tit-for-tat against Christian Pulisic for some time.

Just look at what he did to Wil Trapp in cueing up 20-year-old Edson Alvarado for what easily could’ve been 1-0 to Mexico.

This is the game that will push the panic button on the coaching search

While it’s fair to question the players used in his 4-5-1 (or 4-1-4-1), It’s not really Dave Sarachan’s fault that his team is unable to function with attacking efficiency.

That’s not an excuse for Tuesday, as Mexico was also working with a young squad and interim boss, but the dedicated USMNT observer wants to see a philosophy at work when their team is on the field.

And it’s just not there. We know that Earnie Stewart wants an aggressive, industrious team but that needs time and tactics that won’t come as an interim boss tries out new players (though these matches in a World Cup qualifying are ripe for experimentation).

Playing in other clubs’ World Cup warm-ups or entertaining Brazil in a money-making friendly is one thing, but there’s something about seeing Mexico on the other side of the field which will beg for full-time direction.

Three years apart, USMNT losses to Brazil show hope

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Timely interventions from center backs and a hot goalkeeper helped the United States men’s national team keep damage down to 2-0 in its loss to Brazil on Friday in New Jersey, and the Yanks looked far less overwhelmed than the 4-1 hammering at the hands of Selecao three years ago to this morning.

[ USMNT-BRAZIL: Full recap | Player ratings ]

The player ratings that night were ugly; Brad Guzan was a veteran struggling between the sticks, and the back line was shielded poorly by Ale Bedoya, Jermaine Jones, and Michael Bradley. The lone goal came via Danny Williams, and the silver lining was the then-Reading man and young DeAndre Yedlin.

Of course part of that was down to Jurgen Klinsmann figuring it was a good time to trot out a back four of Tim Ream, Ventura Alvarado, Michael Orozco, and Geoff Cameron (lot of center backs, considering Yedlin was deployed at right mid). And give Dave Sarachan plenty of credit for doing God’s work without much hope of being named full-time boss. This is proper guardianship of a program.

Only two starters from that night in 2015 saw time on Friday: Yedlin and Gyasi Zardes. With all due respect to Zardes, Yedlin’s the one who matters to this discussion. He’s become a key part of a Premier League outfit, though at the time he was a bit player in Europe.

Had the Yanks been looking for results on Friday, they would’ve suited up Bradley and Altidore. They would’ve begged Cameron to come, asked Williams and Bedoya to do a job or two.

It can be difficult to keep the USMNT’s present in focus given the gigantic cluster that was failing to qualify for Russia and then failing to accept responsibility for said failure, but the future is genuinely bright.

There’s no guarantee that players will continue to develop, and the global reach of technology has meant that many countries have sent more prospects to bigger clubs, there is absolutely no denying that the potential of the USMNT right now is as high as its been since the 2001 U-20 World Cup roster of Donovan, Onyewu, and Beasley.

But look at the roster, even beyond Pulisic: Weston McKennie is a regular starter for Schalke at age 19. Teenage mid Tyler Adams is shining for RBNY and looks set to move abroad to the Bundesliga.

Timothy Weah is a factor in the Paris Saint-Germain first team set-up. Matt Miazga‘s early days on loan from Chelsea at Nantes are impressive. The elders at just 25, Yedlin and Brooks are week-in, week-out starters at Newcastle and Wolfsburg.

Also, Josh Sargent didn’t play, but he did play Saturday for Werder Bremen. He scored. Again (And imagine if the powers-that-were didn’t sleep on Jonathan Gonzalez, who the Yanks will see in an El Tri shirt on Tuesday).

This is all without a full-time strategy in the national team program, and at least three principal voices in 18 months. That’s about to be four in 24.

Whether it’s Tata Martino or Gregg Berhalter, Tab Ramos or David Moyes, someone is going to inherit the most promising collection of young American talent, skill, and experience in ages.

If not ever.

Now that’s cool.

USMNT 0-2 Brazil: Young hosts no match for Neymar, Firmino

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Brazil coach Tite named a very strong starting lineup, with the likes of Neymar, Philippe Coutinho, Roberto Firmino, and Casemiro. That was always going to be a struggle, and it was, but the United States was far from run off the field in East Rutherford on Friday night as they fell 2-0 to the World Cup quarterfinalists in an international friendly meeting.

The United States came out of the opening whistle with a very high press, and it seemed to trouble the Brazilians from the start, but the visitors began to figure things out and struck in the 11th minute. Douglas Costa straight burned Antonee Robinson who over-committed on the flank, and his cross found Roberto Firmino at the back post who had drifted back from an oblivious Matt Miazga. Brazil nearly grabbed a second as Costa again torched Robinson, this time cutting inside, but his ball into the box was fumbled at the penalty spot for Neymar.

[ COVERAGE: 5 Things Learned | Player Ratings ]

The US had its best chance down the other end on the half-hour mark as Yedlin crossed to Weston McKennie, but his promising shot was blocked. The ensuing corner resulted in a header by Miazga on a delicious cross from Julian Green, and again it went out for a corner. Again McKennie had a massive chance, but Alisson came off his line to smother the shot from the far post. A fourth corner again came sizzling in, but Wood couldn’t get his head to it and instead found himself shaken up on the turf.

Again Brazil almost had a second, but a Coutinho shot from the top of the box was blocked bravely by Robinson and Zack Steffen saved the follow-up from Fabinho. They would double the lead before the break when Fabinho went down softly in the penalty area trying to squeeze between John Brooks and Wil Trapp, and the referee pointed to the spot. Neymar sent Steffen the wrong way for his 53rd international goal. At the break, Brazil had most of the possession while the United States was left with little to savor.

With no substitutions for either side at halftime, Brazil came out of the break with the intent. Douglas Costa toasted Paul Arriola down the right, and nearly found Firmino but his poor first touch killed off the chance. Yet again, Costa beat Robinson on 52 minutes – this time through the middle – and fed a delicious pass to Neymar, but his shot was slowed by Steffen and eventually cleared off the line by Matt Miazga right on the doorstep.

[ MORE: U.S. to hire new head coach by end of 2018 ]

Sarachan brought on Timothy Weah and Kellyn Acosta for Paul Arriola and Julian Green as the game neared the hour mark, a positive substitution. Tite countered with the addition of Arthur for Manchester United midfielder Fred, while Douglas Costa was removed for Chelsea winger Willian. McKennie had a chance to put the U.S. on the board soon after, but he put his effort just wide on the end of a curling free-kick.

Another change for either side saw Gyasi Zardes replace Bobby Wood, while Paqueta made his international debut for Brazil replacing Coutinho. The U.S. nearly found an opening as Wil Trapp forced a shaky save from Alisson with a long-distance shot low and to the left. Down the other end, Robinson picked Firmino’s pocket to save a breakaway opportunity. The U.S. again had a chance on a set-piece with 15 minutes to go, but Alisson stopped a weak effort as two U.S. players came together for the shot.

With three minutes remaining, the U.S. had one last chance as Tyler Adams sent a cross in that went just over the head of Gyasi Zardes, while substitute Christian Roldan had his follow-up cutback cleared away. The loss is just the second for the United States in seven matches since the failure in Trinidad & Tobago, and will provide Dave Sarachan and the rest of the coaching staff plenty of tape to teach the players how to match up against the best in the world.