International friendly recap: USMNT 1–1 New Zealand

New Zealand proved a tougher opponent than expected, earning a well deserved 1–1 draw with the US on Tuesday night. Julian Green opened the scoring with his second goal in as many games, but New Zealand equalized in the second half, while well on top. The US upped the intensity in the final ten minutes, but neither team could capitalize on its chances to score a winner.

First half

The US lineup was as expected, in that it included one or two head-scratchers, specifically DeAndre Yedlin playing as a winger in the front three. After reestablishing himself as a fullback, it seems coach Jurgen Klinsmann couldn’t help but tinker. Less egregious was the decision to start Perry Kitchen at the 6, pushing Michael Bradley further forward. While Bradley plays best at the base of midfield, it’s hard to begrudge Kitchen a start after his performances in Scotland.

New Zealand was the better side in the early going, putting the US defense under consistent pressure with straight balls to the center forward, and preventing the US from playing balls to the feet of Sacha Kljestan or Jozy Altidore. William Yarbrough, making his first start for the US, was nervous, gifting New Zealand a chance with a bobbled catch in the first minute, then dropping a free kick in the ninth.

The game opened up a little bit over time, but it took until the 27th for the US to have a shot—it would be a good one. For the first time all game, it seemed, Altidore won a ball in the air and flicked it forward, to the in-form Green. Green took the ball down and ran straight at the Kiwi defense, before cutting inside onto his right foot at the corner of the box. He hit his shot confidently, cutting against the grain, but he still had poor goalkeeping to thank for the ball squeaking in at the near post: 1–0 to the US.

The goal seemed to empower the US, and Kljestan began to be more dangerous. In the 31st, Kljestan ripped the New Zealand defense apart with a first-time pass into Altidore. Jozy did well to find Yedlin on the run, whose deft touch got him 1v1 with the keeper. This time, the keeper did well to make himself big and block the shot. The US threatened a couple more times, but failed to add to their lead before the half.

Second half

Unfortunately, the second half began with New Zealand reinvigorated, again putting the US under pressure and the US failing to generate positive possession.

Young Lynden Gooch’s introduction on the hour mark gave the US more of a cutting edge. Gooch’s appearance was his first for the senior national team, though he will not be cap-tied before he plays in an official competition. He has represented Republic of Ireland at youth level, as well as the US.

But Gooch’s energy notwithstanding, New Zealand would grab the equalizing goal in the 73rd. A New Zealand corner came to the near post, where it was blocked, but fell dead inside the six yard box. NZ’s Monty Patterson was quickest to react and got a foot on it. His shot was relatively tame, but took a deflection off Altidore and scooted through second-half-sub goalkeeper David Bingham’s legs.

The goal did little to wake up the US, and only a goal-line clearance from Michael Orozco in the 87th minute kept the Kiwis from taking the lead. Up the other end, an 89th-minute Danny Williams rocket nearly won it for the US, but New Zealand got the save. They needed another from a Bradley volley in the 90th minute, as the US poured on the pressure in the final minutes, but they got that one, too, and the teams split the spoils.

US verdict

Julian Green: With two goals in two games, Green is finally looking like a real asset for the US. He may have scored at the World Cup, but since then he’s struggled. He seems to be coming into his own.

Sacha Kljestan: Again the key man for the US attack (when it was clicking), Kljestan continues his NT renaissance. And it’s refreshing for the US to have a real creative fulcrum, even if his second half was quieter. Bradley has never been that man, though he’s been asked to be so. Kljestan’s a key pass machine, one the US has been crying out for.

Final thoughts

This game was meh. It wasn’t a poor performance, exactly—New Zealand was quite good, after all—but the US wasted 25 minutes in the first half getting going, then failed to capitalize on their periods of dominance. New Zealand was the superior team in the second half, with the US appearing to lack real urgency and desire until the final moments. In the end, Klinsmann got good showings from Green, Kljestan, Gooch, and a few others, which is probably more important than the result, per se. Mexico and Costa Rica will require more from the US, but Klinsmann should have no trouble getting more zip from his team against El Tri.

22-William Yarbrough (12-David Bingham, 46); 21-Michael Orozco, 3-Omar Gonzalez, 5-Matt Besler, 6-Kellyn Acosta (13-Lynden Gooch, 59); 20-Perry Kitchen (14-Danny Williams, 64), 16- Sacha Kljestan, 4-Michael Bradley (capt.); 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 17-Jozy Altidore (18-Terrence Boyd, 88), 19-Julian Green (11-Juan Agudelo, 78)
Subs not used: 1-Bill Hamid, 9-Paul Arriola, 15-Steve Birnbaum, 23-Tim Parker
Head Coach: Jurgen Klinsmann

New Zealand
1-Stefan Marinovic; 22-Andrew Durante (17-Sam Brotherton, 58), 2-Winston Reid (capt.) (4-Themi Tzimopoulos, 74), 5-Michael Boxall; 21-Liam Graham (14-Louis Fenton, 46), 15-Clayton Lewis (19-Moses Dyer, 67), 8-Michael McGlinchey, 6-Marco Rojas (20-Henry Cameron, 46) (7-Kosta Barbarouses, 75), 18-Kip Colvey, 13-Monty Patterson, 9-Chris Wood
Subs not used: 23-Tamati Williams, 3-Deklan Wynne, 10-Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi, 11-Rory Fallon, 16-Matt Ridenton

Scoring Summary
USA – Julian Green (Jozy Altidore) 27th minute
NZL – Monty Patterson 73

Misconduct Summary
NZL – Monty Patterson (caution) 84th minute
USA – Jozy Altidore (caution) 86

Stats Summary (USA / NZL)
Shots: 16 / 12
Shots on Goal: 9 / 5
Saves: 3 / 8
Corner Kicks: 5 / 5
Fouls: 19 / 19
Offside: 3 / 2

Referee: Juan Carlos Guerra (GUA)
Assistant Referee 1: Hermenerito Leal (GUA)
Assistant Referee 2: Juan Lemus (GUA)
4th Official: Jonathan Polanco (GUA)

Attendance: 9,012


  1. el Pachyderm says:

    Unsure which is the lamest:
    NZ equalizing against US. 9,000 people for NT game in DC or ARG without Messi.
    Too close to call?

  2. Got to say looked pretty rough out there. What was Yedlin doing as a RW? Totally out of place and not good for the team. Personally going forward I think this team needs to be:
    Guzan/ Howard
    LB Fabian Johnson, LCB John Brooks, RCB Geoff Cameron, RB??? (I guess Acosta since I think he looks pretty good on the left but that is a lock for Johnson)
    CDM Bradley CDM ??? (Prob Danny Williams at this point/ or Emerson Hyndman, but I haven’t seen enough to know what he can do)
    CAM Kljestan (I hate to say it, but his connection to the front is the best we have right now)
    LW Pulisic ST Wood RW Lynden Gooch (I like what I saw from him)

    Bench Howard/Guzan, Yedlin, Green, Bedoya, Besler, Altidore, Kiesewetter
    This to me is what the team should be going forward Altidore didn’t do enough to warrant starts if you ask me. Kitchen looked lost. Omar Gonzalez needs to learn how to put the ball on net and not get shoved around like he did during this game.

    • I’m sorry but What??!??? Altidore had been on the run of his life with scoring, is already 3rd (!) all time in scoring for the US, assists on the only goal in the game, and he should be left off the team. I can only compare to those expectations to those that Portugal must have for Ronaldo. Seriously. I’m sorry I don’t mean to disrespect you but you gotta see how he consistently produces (when he’s healthy) against international opponents. Also, please slow on the Gooch hype train. He makes a 30 min sub appearance in a friendly and he should be starting?? I’m pretty sure Ethan Finlay has proven more at the international level but I don’t think he should be starting. We’re just too quick to turn to the “next thing” and trust me I get that but please let’s not get outta control.

      • I tend to agree and I am not at all a Jozy Alitidore fan… and a whimsical retort RE: Portugal and Ronaldo.
        I think they won the final game of EURO in part because he did not play. They hunkered down and suffocated France instead of thinking they could beat them straight up which I do not think there was a chance of.

      • Ok maybe I can see starting Altidore my issue is with him staying healthy as you say. Also do we really need someone who is slow to react and ultimately only holds the ball up. On the USNT Altidore is my Sapong on the Union he just doesn’t do enough for me. Compared to what someone like Wood on NZ and Patterson brought to the table Altidore just didn’t impose himself on the game. Sure you say he had the assist well what else did he do? Has he in some games imposed himself yes, but inconsistent and his health is an issue thats why he is on my bench going forward and I say work towards improving a younger squad for 2018. I’m not convince Jozy will make it to the next world cup healthy. Starting Gooch is again because I say move to a younger team he looks to deliver the ball early and often to me that is a good thing from a winger he had energy and put pressure on the other team when the US had nothing going for them. If not Gooch then who? Yedlin? please Yedlin was atrocious as a RW. I’m looking at the team I stated as building a consistent squad for 2018 World cup. At that point most of these guys will be between 23-30 and should be in their prime and if they play together for the next couple of years I see more chemistry developing then the constant turnover this team typically has.

  3. 1. Yedlin needs to play RB not winger. More time at RB will lead to better development on the defensive end and his speed is best used going forward on the overlap, where there is plenty of space created by a winger cutting inside.
    2. Green looks, as said in the broadcast, more mature. He is picking and choosing when he goes 1v1 and put in more defensive work then he has in the past.
    3. Gooch looks like a good bench option right now. He was the liveliest player on the field, in my opinion, and can cover a bunch of different midfield conditions. Still young, but the moment did not look to big for him.
    4. Yarbrough and Bingham didn’t stake a claim for the near future. Both looked shaky at points and are not likely to be in the team for meaningful matches (unless injury). I think Horvath is the most likely to push for a spot against the Howard/Guzan/Rimando trio at least for the next year or two.
    5. Not that he did anything really wrong, but Kitchen did nothing to really impress either. Part of it was the spacing issues in the midfield as a whole. Maybe he replaces Beckerman but is only a bench option with Bradley at the #6.
    6. Kljestan was not as effective but still played a few creative passes that most others in the red white and blue would not see. With Dempsey not an option right now, I think he is the best option for the #10 (Nagbe opting out of these friendlies before Mexico is not going to sit well).
    7. Backline was major meh. No major individual mistakes but certainly not as solid. Very likely to see Johnson-Brooks-Cameron-Yedlin in the Mexico game.
    8. Would have liked to see Williams get more time then he did. If Bradley is the #6 going forward he could be a good #8 because his still set is much like Jones – range and defensive bite, dangerous shot from distance.
    9. Altidore v Wood is a good battle for the starting spot but both are wither inconsistent or streaky, depending on how you want to word it. Hopefully if one off the other is hot.
    10. My guess for Mexico right now is either Guzan, Johnson, Brooks, Cameron, Yedlin, Bradley, Bedoya, Kljestan, Pulisic, Green, Altidore in a 4-2-3-1/4-3-3 or Guzan, Johnson, Brooks, Cameron, Yedlin, Bradley, Bedoya, Kljestan, Pulisic, Wood, Altidore in a 4-4-2.

  4. Jk is nothing , if not baffaling. Most managers use their time up to meaningful competitions to evaluate players, with the objective to put the best XI on the pitch in the final tuneup. Not so with ours. We just saw the final tuneup without a clue as to what the best XI is. We can’t even choose the best 11 players, let alone the best lineup. We can only hope, he knows.

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