U.S. Men's National Team

USMNT settles for scoreless draw with Serbia in Bruce Arena's return

Photo by Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports

Photo by Jake Roth/USA TODAY Sports

Bruce Arena’s second tenure as the U.S. Men’s National Team’s head coach ended in a 0-0 draw against Serbia in a friendly at Qualcomm Stadium on Sunday.

Despite the scoreline, several U.S. players made some personal history on Sunday. Jozy Altidore earned his 100th cap, becoming the 17th player in national team history to accomplish the feat. Sebastian Lletget, Jorge Villafana and Chris Pontius also earned their first caps as they entered the match as second-half substitutes. Benny Feilhaber also marked his return from USMNT exile with a late appearance in the match.

Despite the scoreless draw, the U.S. had several opportunities to grab a winner. Darlington Nagbe, who earned his first cap since the Copa America, narrowly missed the far post on two occasions from distance in the first half.

The Timbers midfielder was a constant threat on the left wing as he cut inside and unlocked the Serbian defense on several occasions. Nagbe lasted 87 minutes before he was replaced by Juan Agudelo.

Agudelo had a tremendous chance to nick a late winner right before second-half stoppage time, but he scuffed his shot wide of the far post. Pontius also came close as he missed what was a practically open goal with a shot that trickled just wide.

Serbia had a few chances of its own, but Chad Marshall was quick to snuff out the danger in his return to the U.S. lineup for the first time since 2010. Michael Bradley also intercepted a few dangerous Serbian attacks in the heart of midfield.

The USMNT will play its second and final friendly of the winter camp against Jamaica on Friday in Chattanooga.

  • Gary Page

    Whether you called it a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-3-1, it wasn’t effective because you only had one striker. It was only with Morris and then Agudelo that you had two strikers and any real attack. To generate offense the team really needed two strikers, at a minimum, on the field together. It was only the last few minutes that we really took many shots. A pretty boring performance.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Amru

      Agreed. We needed more players trying to get into the box. I would like to see zardes or Morris start on the right in the next game, Bedoya was very underwhelming


    • Davis, Lennon, Observer & Associates

      What we really need is to transition from this constant 4231(disguised as a 433 on paper) to a 4132. Problem is with MB always dropping between the CBs it becomes a disjointed 532. We need Bradley, or whomever the cdm is, to play IN FRONT of CBs rather than between them. I think Geoff Cameron would be a better fit there.

      Jozy wood/Morris
      Nagbe. feilhaber pulisic
      Fj brooks birnbaum yedlin

      Jones is a sub. Sorry folks. Father Time never loses.

      The main problem is benchin the captain(mb) is highly unlikely so feilhsber would make way or Cameron more likely would move back to defense.

      Tough decisions in the coming months


      • I scored three goals in one game

        If Bradley is gonna sit that deep all game long why not just put 3 at the back a call it or a 3-5-2 or 3-1-4-2. The central midfield is a huge problem, so much space all the time.


      • Socceroo

        If the Captain’s armband is really what’s keeping Bradley on the field, it’s time to think about who else can wear it. Ideally it would be someone whom we expect to be a guaranteed starter (if healthy) in Russia.

        Unfortunately Pulisic is too young to be captain, and most of our other good players are too old to be counted on for Russia.

        Maybe Arena could give it to John Brooks or Fabian Johnson? (Of course he’d have to check with Howard first to see if those guys are on his list of lazy dual nationals.)

        Liked by 1 person

  • swy19

    At what point will Bradley’s automatic inclusion start demanding some questions? Can’t remember the last time he was one of the better players on the field, and it used to be like that nearly every game.

    I was one of those fans that was excited when Klinsy dropped him for a couple games, but I quickly realized he was invaluable. I’m not sure that is still the case. It’s concerning that nobody seems to question his place.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Teuhtliltzin

      Agreed. Bradley is so predictable now, always a long ball in over the top. We can blame Klinsmann all we want, but at least the guy was trying to push Bradley out of his comfort zone. Haha an now his comfort zone, playing deep, is just as bad. Get someone else in there please.


  • Chris

    Not a great performance, but not terrible either. Thought Rimando looked sharp, as well as our centerbacks, garza was lucky not to give away a pen and zusi actually looked pretty comfortable on the right. Bradley was meh, same with jones and kljestan. Nagbe got in good positions but didnt really do anything with them. My 11 for friday


  • Fuegofan

    “Bruce Arena’s second tenure as the U.S. Men’s National Team’s head coach ended . . . .”
    Bruce Arena has already been fired? 😉


  • Socceroo

    Why is Arena constantly playing players out of position? Some reporter should ask Zusi what his true preferred position is, and then tweet his answer.

    Liked by 1 person

    • mouf

      i know you are saying this in jest, but Arena and Vermes both discussed this to the media and it was published
      (i am an SKC supporter, I think its his best position)


  • Bac

    Whether we play with 1 up top or 2, we are not going to see anything different than what we’ve been seeing for a while, and that’s an entire midfield with little vision, bad spacing, mediocre speed, weak passing skills, even weaker ball skills, possession without a purpose, and zero ideas how to penetrate and break down a team… We just drew with a team that has a combined 5 Caps.. Our midfield needs an overhaul. Period.


  • footydoc

    I want Acosta to turn into the American Matic or Kante. If you can have 1 really solid #6 it changes everything for a team. Just ask Leicester.


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