It wasn’t the prettiest performance in U.S. Men’s National Team history, but there were plenty of positive moments on Tuesday night in what ended up as a USMNT win.
Bobby Wood scored a penalty kick just before the halftime whistle in what ended up as a 1-0 win for the USMNT in North Carolina. The performance was a complete one from the U.S., who controlled possession and tempo throughout against a veteran Paraguay side.
After a rocky first half, Wood put an exclamation point on what was an overall solid 45 from the USMNT. On the end of a pass from Marky Delgado, Tyler Adams’ broke loose on a long-distance run that left him one-on-one with Paraguay goalkeeper Gatito Fernandez. Adams’ attempt to round Fernandez saw the midfielder chopped down for a penalty kick, and Wood stepped up to score a confidence-boosting goal from the spot to give the USMNT the lead heading into the half.
Throughout the first half, the U.S. was the more effective of the two sides, keeping possession for long spells. The left side duo of Kenny Saief and Jorge Villafana was certainly the most active, combining a number of times to lead attacks down the wing. Saeif was particularly active, and saw a 16th minute shot blocked and cleared off the line on one of the USMNT’s better chances.
Paraguay, meanwhile, was held relatively quiet by the USMNT’s midfield trio. Adams, Wil Trapp and Marky Delgado kept Atlanta United playmaker Miguel Almiron in check, while Cameron Carter-Vickers and Matt Miazga combined to handle a number of nervy moments in the attack.
The second half was a physical affair with a total of three yellow cards handed out, two of which went to Paraguay. In terms of play, though, the U.S. retained a bulk of the possession and control of the match.
Eventually, Rubio Rubin joined the fray while Andrija Novakovich followed soon after. In the game’s waning moments, Tim Weah also earned his UMSNT debut. Weah, Novakovich and Delgado all earned their first USMNT caps in the victory.
Next up for the USMNT is a May 28 match with Bolivia before June visits to Ireland and France.