The U.S. Men’s National Team opened Bruce Arena’s second tenure as head coach with a spirted 0-0 draw against Serbia at Qualcomm Stadium in San Diego. Forward Jozy Altidore earned his 100 th cap in the match, becoming the second youngest player in U.S. MNT history to hit the century mark at 27 years, 84 days.
Earning Budweiser Man of the Match honors in his first international start, Darlington Nagbe provided the best two chances of the first half for the U.S. In the 29th minute, Michael Bradley’s penetrating pass found him on the left edge of the box where he cut back inside and curled his effort just wide of the right post. Nine minutes later, a quick counter attack saw Altidore hold up the ball for Jermaine Jones, who cleverly flicked into Nagbe’s path. The midfielder entered the box and again cut back, bending his low shot just past the right post.
Altidore nearly celebrated his 100th cap with a goal early in the second half when Sacha Kljestan slipped the veteran forward into the penalty area on the right only to have Serbia goalkeeper Filip ManojloviÄ‡ quickly advance off his line to deny the effort in the 47th minute. The U.S. knocked on the door again in the 58th minute when Nagbe slid a ball to halftime substitute Sebastian Lletget on the left. The MNT debutant took some space before his cross to the far post found Sacha Kljestan whose glancing header popped just wide of goal.
A pair of handy second half saves from Nick Rimando helped preserve the clean sheet, as the veteran goalkeeper turned away a 71st minute effort from MiloÅ¡ SimonoviÄ‡ and 89th minute rocket from Lazar JovanoviÄ‡.
The U.S. had one last chance in the 90th minute when Juan Agudelo’s individual effort led to the ball falling for Chris Pontius, but the midfielder’s quick shot trickled inches wide of the left post.
Next on the Schedule: The U.S. MNT heads east to take on regional rival Jamaica in its first-ever match in Chattanooga, Tenn., on Friday, Feb. 3. Kickoff from Finley Stadium is set for 7 p.m. ET and can be seen live on FS1, UniMas and UDN.
- With the draw, the U.S. moves to 0-2-1 all-time against Serbia.
- With the start, Jozy Altidore became the 17th player in MNT history to earn 100 caps, trailing only Landon Donovan (26 years, 96 days)
- MNT captain Michael Bradley made his 127th international appearance, tying him with Marcelo Balboa for fifth on the MNT’s all-time caps list.
- Sebastian Lletget, Chris Pontius and Jorge Villafaña made their international debuts. Lletget entered for Jermaine Jones at halftime, Pontius came on for Philadelphia Union teammate Alejandro Bedoya in the 65th minute and Villafaña replaced Greg Garza in the 69 th minute.
- Nick Rimando returned between the sticks for the first time since April 15, 2015 vs. Mexico and made two saves to keep his fifth career clean sheet.
- Center back Chad Marshall made his first MNT appearance since Jan. 23, 2010 vs. Honduras.
- After undergoing hip surgery and a near year-long rehab period, left back Greg Garza earned his first cap since July 10, 2015 against Haiti.
- Arena deployed a four-man backline that featured a center back partnership of Chad Marshall and Steve Birnbaum with Graham Zusi inserted on the right and Greg Garza on the left.
- In midfield, Michael Bradley and Jermaine Jones paired as central holding midfielders, while Alejandro Bedoya and Darlington Nagbe started on the right and left wings respectively.
- Sacha Kljestan played in the attacking midfield role, supporting lone forward Jozy Altidore.
– U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report –
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Serbia
Date: Jan. 29, 2017
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Qualcomm Stadium; San Diego, Calif.
Kickoff: 1 p.m. PT
Weather: 74 degrees; sunny
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 0 0
SRB 0 0 0
USA: 1-Nick Rimando; 19-Graham Zusi, 15-Steve Birnbaum, 5-Chad Marshall, 2-Greg Garza (14-Jorge Villafaña, 69); 4-Michael Bradley (Capt.), 13-Jermaine Jones (18-Sebastian Lletget, 46); 11-Alejandro Bedoya (23-Chris Pontius, 65), 16-Sacha Kljestan (10-Benny Feilhaber, 77), 6-Darlington Nagbe (9-Juan Agudelo, 87); 17-Jozy Altidore (8-Jordan Morris, 74)
Subs not used: 3-Brad Evans, 7-DaMarcus Beasley, 12-Luis Robles, 20-Dax McCarty, 21-Walker Zimmerman, 22-David Bingham
Head coach: Bruce Arena
SRB: 1-Filip ManojloviÄ‡; 3-Nemanja MiletiÄ‡, 5-Nikola MaraÅ¡, 7-SrÄ‘an PlavÅ¡iÄ‡ (17-Lazar JovanoviÄ‡, 81), 10-Aleksandar PaloÄeviÄ‡ (9-Marko MrkiÄ‡, 64), 11-Marko GobeljiÄ‡ (2-Marko Klisura, 84), 13-Nikola Ä†irkoviÄ‡, 14-Nemanja Ä†alasan (4-MiloÅ¡ SimonoviÄ‡, 55), 15-Stefan PaniÄ‡, 16-Jovan ÄokiÄ‡ (6-Marko JevtoviÄ‡, 77), 18-SaÅ¡a JovanoviÄ‡ (8-Enver AlivodiÄ‡, 63)
Subs not used: 12-Ognjen ÄŒanÄareviÄ‡
Head coach: Slavoljub Muslin
Stats Summary: USA / SRB
Shots: 12 / 8
Shots on Goal: 1 / 2
Saves: 2 / 1
Corner Kicks: 2 / 7
Fouls: 18 / 14
Offside: 5 / 5
USA – Sacha Kljestan (caution) 57th minute
SRB – Nikola Ä†irkoviÄ‡ (caution) 80