The USA’s youth project began with a win against South American strugglers Paraguay in North Carolina courtesy to a first half Bobby Wood penalty.
The USA recorded a narrow 1-0 victory over South American strugglers Paraguay courtesy to a first-half penalty from Bobby Wood which also was Dave Sarachan’s first win since taking over the as interim manager’s role from Bruce Arena.
Sarachan, as expected, had named a very experimental side for this encounter, and the team showed early promise by some attacking play. Kenny Saief was the recipient of some brilliant build-up play but unfortunately could not make his chance count for a goal.
USA continued to threaten, but Paraguay were resilient enough to squash any potential attack towards their goal. The first half since, went on to be a slow affair and the crowd present in the stadium, which was vocal for most parts of the half, went almost silent.
The silence and the deadlock were broken when Bobby Wood converted from the penalty spot after Tyler Adams was brought down inside the area. Wood stepped up and calmly dispatched the spot kick for his 12th goal for The USA. That was by far the last piece of strong action till the referee blew the half-time whistle.
The second half began, and it was the visitors who threatened this time after Matt Miazga’s sloppiness on the ball almost gave away a goal for Paraguay. Will Trapp was the saviour in that situation as he popped up at the right time to block Miguel Almiron’s goal-bound shot.
Junior Alonso then sent a brilliant cross inside the box, which was met by Hernan Perez, who rose the highest to reach with it, but his effort went wide off the post. Zac Steffen could have done nothing about it had the header been on target.
Paraguay grew into the game in the second half as well as restricting The USA to little chances. Then there was one last chance for the South Americans to make their mark on the game and snatch an equaliser. The USA were saved from a dangerous situation by Zac Steffen who punched a dangerous cross away from the box as it came in.
The game ended 1-0 to The USA, and they will be sure to enjoy this victory and prepare better for the next round of international fixtures. The game also saw first glimpses of debutants Andrija Novakovic and Timothy Weah, son of legendary AC Milan striker and Liberia’s President George Weah.