Ethan Horvath gave up a howler for the equalizer. (Tim Heitman/USA TODAY Sports)
LEIRIA, Portugal – In its first game of the post-World Cup elimination era Tuesday night, a young United States national team played third-ranked Portugal to a 1-1 draw in an international friendly Tuesday night.
Weston McKennie tallied for the U.S. while goalkeeper Ethan Horvath gave up a howler of a goal for the equalizer against the third-ranked team in the world at Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa.
In their first game since their 2-1 loss to Trinidad & Tobago Oct. 10, the Americans played a spirited match. The average age of their Starting XI was 24 years, 67 days.
Red Bulls defender-midfielder Tyler Adams made his international debut, starting at right midfield. In fact, he came close to making an impact, not once, but twice.
In the 20th minute as goalkeeper Beto denied Adams’ left-footed shot from close range. The keeper thwarted him again by making a spectacular save a six-yard header in the 52nd mnute.
The U.S. struck first in the 22nd minute behind McKennie. C.J. Sapong sent a short pass from the left side to the Schalke 04 player, who drilled a shot past goalkeeper Beto from 12 yards. He became the 49th player in U.S. men’s history to score in his international debut.
In the 31st minute, Horvath gifted Portugal a goal, allowing Vitorino Antunes’ 14-yard shot to slip between his hands and into the net for a 1-1 deadlock, converting Bruno Fernandes’ feed. Horvath’s teammates came over to console him after that gaffe, but it did not change the fact the hosts were on the scoreboard.
Horvath did not allow the error to bother him as he made three saves the rest of the half, including hard shots by Manuel Fernandes (35th minute) and Danilo Pereira (39th minute).
In a pre-determined move, Horvath was replaced by Bill Hamid at halftime. Antunes tested Hamid with a hard shot from outside the box in the 77th minute as the former D.C. United keeper punched the ball up into the air before he caught it.
Both teams hit the woodwork. McKennie powered a shot off the crossbar in the 55th minute. Thirteen minutes later, Portugal’s Gonçalo Paciência duplicated his feat, firing a shot from the right side.
The Americans will not be in action until they host Bosnia and Herzegovina at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Jan. 28.
USA – Weston McKennie (CJ Sapong) 21st minute
POR – Vitorino Antunes (Bruno Fernandes) 31
USA: 1-Ethan Horvath (12-Bill Hamid, 46); 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Matt Miazga, 6-John Brooks (16-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 46), 15-Eric Lichaj (21-Jorge Villafaña, 59); 19-Danny Williams; 4-Tyler Adams, 8-Weston McKennie (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 84), 23-Kellyn Acosta, 17-Juan Agudelo (20-Lynden Gooch, 59); 18-CJ Sapong (14-Dom Dwyer, 77)
Subs not used: 22-Jesse Gonzalez, 5-Tim Ream, 7-Kelyn Rowe
Head coach: Dave Sarachan
POR: 22-António Pimparel; 2-Nelson Semedo, 3-Pepe (4-Luis Neto, 10), 24-Ricardo Ferreira, 5-Vitorino Antunes; 8-Bruno Fernandes (10-João Eduardo, 46), 13-Danilo Pereira (6-Ruben Neves, 62); 14-Manuel Fernandes, 17-Bruma (11-Bernardo Silva, 62), 18-Gelson Martins (19-Gonçalo Paciência, 46); 7-Gonçalo Guedes (16-Marcos Lopes, 81)
Subs not used: 1-José Sá, 9-André Silva, 12-Anthony Lopes, 15-Idgar Ié, 20-Kevin Rodrigues, 21-Ricardo Pereira, 23-João Cancelo
Head coach: Fernando Santos
Stats Summary: USA / POR
Shots: 9 / 13
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6
Saves: 5 / 4
Corner Kicks: 4 / 8
Fouls: 20 / 18
Offside: 0 / 1
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Stuart Burt (ENG)
4th Official: Andre Marriner (ENG)
Man of the Match: Weston McKennie