Josh Sargent celebrates his goal with Tim Weah. (David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports)
EAST HARTFORD, Conn. – Bouyed by 18-year-old Josh Sargent’s 49th-minute goal, the U.S. nen’s national team played to a 1-1 draw with Peru in front of 24,959 at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field. The result saw the USMNT move to 3-3-3 this year.
While the match marked the return of veteran Brad Guzan in goal, the nine players that started in front of him held eight or fewer caps entering the match, including debutantes Jonathan Amon, Reggie Cannon and Aaron Long (Red Bulls).
Despite some lack of familiarity, the U.S. team strung together a few attacking chances early on. Following a ninth minute throw-in on the left, midfielder Marky Delgado switched the field to send former B.W. Gottschee player Tim Weah into space down the right. The 18-year-old ran at Nilson Loyola and centered for Kellyn Acosta, whose left-footed hit breezed wide of the right post.
On the quarter-hour mark, a quick counter attack almost produced a goal. Acosta played forward for Sargent on the left, with the striker playing a backheel into the path of Amon. The speedy winger cut inside but over-hit the final pass as Weah sped down the right flank.
Carrying large swaths of possession through the rest of the half, Peru connected passes in and around the area, but a stingy effort from the U.S. midfield and back line ensured none of La Blanquirroja’s four first-half shots were on target.
In fact, the visitors’ most threatening attack wasn’t a shot at all. In the 38th minute, Andy Polo fed Paolo Hurtado down the right. The winger swung in a dangerous cross to the near post, but Guzan read it, cutting out the danger at the six as Raul Ruidiaz lurked in behind.
The U.S. sprung the attack on the other side of halftime. Just two minutes in, Amon pumped a ball over the back line to put Sargent into space. The striker gained entry into the box, and cut back to fake a defender before centering for Weah, but his one-time effort curved wide of the right post.
Sargent put his name on the scoresheet two minutes later. Following a foul committed against Amon on the right, Acosta delivered a pinpoint low ball for Sargent at the top of the area, with the teenager hitting a one-time effort that came off of both Christian Ramos and Renato Tapia before hitting the back of the net.
A number of substitutions were made to aid Peru’s attack, but its first shot on goal didn’t come until the 70th minute, when Johan Madrid centered the ball for Yoshimar Yotun, but the Orlando City SC midfielder’s long-distance hit was easily held by Guzan.
Peru had another great look five minutes later when Yotún played a pass for Polo. The Portland Timbers’ attacker hit a 25-yard effort that beat Guzan, but rang off the cross bar before the follow-up header from Ruidiaz was nodded over the bar.
Continuing to knock on the door, Peru finally broke through in the 86th minute when Polo’s low cross from the right found an unmarked Edison Flores for the late equalizer at the back left post.
The USMNT heads to Europe to close out year and the Kickoff Series next month. The window opens in London as the teams makes its second visit to new Wembley Stadium to meet World Cup semifinalists England Thursday, Nov. 15 (3 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMás & UDN). The curtain comes down on 2018 five days later, when the squad travels to Genk, Belgium to face four-time World Cup winners Italy at the Luminus Arena (2:45 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMas & UDN).