McKennie Scores in Debut as USA Draws Portugal 1-1 in Leiria

On a night that kicked off a new era, the U.S. Men’s National Team drew 1-1 with third-ranked Portugal in the USA’s final match of 2017. The MNT’s young prospects put encouraging performances with 19-year-old midfielder Weston McKennie’s goal highlighting the talent in the team as the United States finished 2017 with a 10-2-7 record.
U.S. MNT - Weston McKennie
U.S. MNT - Weston McKennie

LEIRIA, Portugal (Nov. 14) – On a night that kicked off a new era, the U.S. Men’s National Team drew 1-1 with third-ranked Portugal in the USA’s final match of 2017. The MNT’s young prospects put encouraging performances with 19-year-old midfielder Weston McKennie’s goal highlighting the talent in the team as the United States finished 2017 with a 10-2-7 record.

Starting in his first MNT appearance, McKennie gave the U.S. the lead in the 21st minute with a well-placed shot inside the near post, becoming the third-youngest U.S. player in the modern era to score in his first cap. Midfielder Tyler Adams and center back Cameron Carter-Vickers join McKennie in making their debuts for the senior National Team.

In a back-and-forth opening 15 minutes, both sides held possession but couldn’t create any real threats. That changed soon after, as the USA strung together a series of dangerous runs before McKennie’s strike (aided by a CJ Sapong pass) gave the U.S. a 1-0 lead. Portugal equalized in the 31st minute on a fortunate shot that slipped under U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath. The teams traded opportunities for the remaining hour to leave the contest a 1-1 draw. The USA’s all-time record against Portugal remains dead even at 2-2-3.

The MNT will return to action in 2018 when the team hosts Boznia and Herzegovina for a friendly match on Jan. 28 at StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Kickoff is set for 6:30 p.m. PT, and the match with be broadcast on FS1, UniMas and UDN.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Weston McKennie (C.J. Sapong), 21st minute: Making a run down the left sideline, CJ Sapong played the ball past two defenders inside to McKennie, streaking towards the net. He maneuvered past one more Portuguese defender, took a few steps to settle the ball and cleverly wrong-footed the ‘keeper to slot home at the near post. USA 1, POR 0 [WATCH]

POR – Antunes (Bruno Fernandes), 31st minute: Building up beginning with the ‘keeper, Portugal was methodical in the final third, patiently making moves before sending a long cross from the right to the left side. Upon receiving the booming pass, Antunes volleyed a shot towards the goal from outside the box, where it slipped through the hands of U.S. goalkeeper Ethan Horvath. USA 1, POR 1 FINAL

Key Saves:
USA – Ethan Horvath, 39th minute: After a save, Horvath played a ball to the field, where Danilo Pereira beat Kellyn Acosta to the ball. Running full speed, he blasted a shot at Horvath, who stayed in front and took it in to his chest.

USA – Ethan Horvath, 45th minute: As Bruma made a dangerous run to the net, Horvath came out to play the ball, diving in front of the attacker’s feet to push the ball away and stop a dangerous opportunity for the Portuguese.

POR – Beto, 52nd minute: Receiving a pass from Eric Lichaj at the 18, Cameron Carter Vickers sprinted towards the end line and sent an on-target cross to Tyler Adams at the far post. Beto dove and got one hand on the ball, just enough to pat it out-of-bounds and maintain the deadlock.

POR – Beto, 71st minute: Lynden Gooch played the ball into the box after a USA free kick, finding Carter-Vickers positioned at the far post. Standing a step away from the goal line, he attempted to trap the ball with his chest, but Beto got a foot in to boot away the goalscoring opportunity.

USA – Bill Hamid, 77th minute: Antunes launched another booming shot from outside the top right corner of the penalty area and Hamid made an athletic play to leap up and deflect the shot upwards. He finished the play and snagged the ball on its way down to preserve the draw.


  • Weston McKennie scored his first goal in his first cap. At 19-years-old, he becomes the third-youngest U.S. player to achieve that feat in the modern era, behind Juan Agudelo and Landon Donovan.
  • CJ Sapong picked up his first assist in his third international appearance.
  • A total of three U.S. players earned their first cap. Midfielders Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie both got the start, while Cameron Carter-Vickers made his debut from the bench when he entered at halftime.
  • Adams (18 years, 273 days) becomes the first player born in 1999 to appear for the MNT and is the second youngest to earn a cap in 2017 after Christian Pulisic (18 years, 187 days on March 24, 2017 vs. Honduras).
  • The MNT started two teenagers (Adams, Mckennie) for the first time since 1988, a span of 29 years.
  • Ten players who took the field for the U.S. tonight were age 24 or younger: (24) Juan Agudelo, John Brooks, DeAndre Yedlin; (22) Kellyn Acosta, Ethan Horvath, Matt Miazga; (21) Lynden Gooch; (19) Cameron Carter-Vickers, Weston McKennie; (18) Tyler Adams.
  • Seven of the USA’s starting XI are products of the U.S. Soccer Development Academy: Adams, Agudelo and Miazga (New York Red Bulls), Acosta and McKennie (FC Dallas), Horvath (Real Colorado), Yedlin (Seattle Sounders FC).
  • Veteran Danny Williams captained the side for the first time tonight and earned his first MNT appearance since a 1-1 draw with New Zealand on Oct. 11, 2016.
  • Starting at right back, DeAndre Yedlin will finish 2017 one cap shy of the half-century mark.
  • Partnering with fellow FC Dallas product McKennie in central midfield, Kellyn Acosta led all players in the starting XI by making his 13th appearance of 2017.
  • The centerback partnership of Miazga and Carter-Vickers in the second half was a reprisal of the duo’s role at the 2015 FIFA U-20 World Cup.
  • Following a series of injuries, John Brooks returned to the U.S. lineup for the first time since June 8, 2017.
  • Acosta, Miazga, Sapong, Horvath, Adams and McKennie all made their first MNT appearances on European soil.
  • Since first meeting in 1978, the USA and Portugal are an even 2-2-3 all-time.
  • The MNT is 0-2-2 all-time against A Seleçao on Portuguese soil.
  • The U.S. finished 2017 with a record of 10-2-7.

- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Portugal 
Date: Nov. 14, 2017 
Competition: International Friendly 
Venue: Estádio Dr. Magalhães Pessoa; Leiria, Portugal
Kickoff: 3:30 p.m. ET (8:30 p.m. local) 
Attendance: 19,017 
Weather: 45 degrees; partly cloudy

Scoring Summary: 1 2 F 
USA                          1 0 1
POR                         1 0 1

USA – Weston McKennie (CJ Sapong)                        21st minute
POR – Vitorino Antunes (Bruno Fernandes)                31

USA: 1-Ethan Horvath (12-Bill Hamid, 46); 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Matt Miazga, 6-John Brooks (16-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 46), 15-Eric Lichaj (21-Jorge Villafaña, 59); 19-Danny Williams (capt.); 4-Tyler Adams, 8-Weston McKennie (11-Alejandro Bedoya, 84), 23-Kellyn Acosta, 17-Juan Agudelo (20-Lynden Gooch, 59); 18-CJ Sapong (14-Dom Dwyer, 77)
Subs not used: 22-Jesse Gonzalez, 5-Tim Ream, 7-Kelyn Rowe
Head coach: Dave Sarachan

POR: 22-António Pimparel; 2-Nelson Semedo, 3-Pepe (4-Luis Neto, 10), 24-Ricardo Ferreira, 5-Vitorino Antunes; 8-Bruno Fernandes (10-João Eduardo, 46), 13-Danilo Pereira (6-Ruben Neves, 62); 14-Manuel Fernandes, 17-Bruma (11-Bernardo Silva, 62), 18-Gelson Martins (19-Gonçalo Paciência, 46); 7-Gonçalo Guedes (16-Marcos Lopes, 81)
Subs not used: 1-José Sá, 9-André Silva, 12-Anthony Lopes, 15-Idgar Ié, 20-Kevin Rodrigues, 21-Ricardo Pereira, 23-João Cancelo
Head coach: Fernando Santos

Stats Summary: USA / POR 
Shots: 9 / 13 
Shots on Goal: 5 / 6 
Saves: 5 / 4 
Corner Kicks: 4 / 8 
Fouls: 20 / 18 
Offside: 0 / 1

Misconduct Summary: 

Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Stuart Burt (ENG)
4th Official: Andre Marriner (ENG) Man of the Match: Weston McKennie