Bobby Wood Penalty Kick Lifts MNT to Spirited 1-0 Win vs. Paraguay

The U.S. Men’s National Team used a 45th minute penalty kick from Bobby Wood to earn a spirited 1-0 victory against Paraguay before a sold out crowd at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Marky Delgado, Andrija Novakovich and Tim Weah each earned their first caps, while goalkeeper Zack Steffen recorded his first career clean sheet to help the MNT secure its first victory of 2018.
U.S. MNT vs. Paraguay - March 27, 2018
U.S. MNT vs. Paraguay - March 27, 2018

CARY, N.C. (March 27, 2018) – The U.S. Men’s National Team used a 45th minute penalty kick from Bobby Wood to earn a spirited 1-0 victory against Paraguay before a sold out crowd at Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park. Marky Delgado, Andrija Novakovich and Tim Weah each earned their first caps, while goalkeeper Zack Steffen recorded his first career clean sheet to help the MNT secure its first victory of 2018.

With an average age of 23 years, 360 days, the young U.S. starting XI came out with a lot of energy and dominated possession through much of the first half. The USA came close in the 16th minute after a strong buildup down the left from Jorge Villafaña led to Kenny Saief’s one-time effort being saved off the line.

After a strong first-half effort, the MNT took a 1-0 lead into the locker room thanks to the collective work of Tyler Adams, Delgado and Wood. After winning the ball in the defensive end, Delgado lofted a pass through the midfield behind the Paraguay back line to find the speedy Adams.

The 19-year-old took two touches before cutting to the left around goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez who hauled him down, forcing referee Kimbell Ward to point to the spot. On the ensuing penalty kick, Wood calmly stepped up and registered his 11th career international goal by slotting a low effort to the right of Fernandez.  

The U.S. continued to show well on the other side of the break, most notably earning a free kick just outside the area thanks to DeAndre Yedlin’s aggressive run in the 65th minute. Saief’s left-footed take curled to the right post, but was met with a save from Fernandez.

Paraguay’s best chance of the match came 10 minutes later when Junior Alonso gained space on the left and crossed for Hernan Perez at the back post. The substitute nodded his effort back across goal where it trickled just past the left post.

A bit of MNT history occurred late in the match as midfielder Tim Weah replaced Delgado in the 86th minute. With his entry into the game, the 18-year-old attacker became the first player born in the 2000s to earn an appearance for the U.S. Men’s National Team.  

Next Up: The U.S. Men’s National Team returns to action for a trio of matches in early summer. The MNT faces off with Bolivia in a Memorial Day clash on May 28 at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pa. (6:30 p.m. ET; FS1, UniMas & UDN). Days later, the MNT heads to Europe to take on Republic of Ireland on June 2 in Dublin and France on June 9 in Lyon. Broadcast information for both matches will be announced at a later date.

Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Bobby Wood (penalty kick), 45th minute: After a half that saw promising glimpses, but not a lot of clear cut changes, the MNT took the lead right before the interval. Villafaña won the ball in the USA’s defensive half and played quickly for Adams who touched back to his central midfield partner Marky Delgado. As soon as he made the pass, Adams bolted towards goal and Delgado rewarded his run, playing a picture-perfect ball through the midfield and Paraguay back line to find the 19-year-old. The midfielder took two touches to get into the box and then cut to his left where he was upended by goalkeeper Roberto Fernandez. After referee Kimbell Ward showed Fernandez a yellow card for the foul, Bobby Wood confidently stepped up and slotted a low spot kick to the right of the Paraguay ‘keeper to hand the USA a 1-0 lead. USA 1, PAR 0 [WATCH] FINAL.

Key Saves and Defensive Stops:
PAR – Bruno Valdez, 16th minute: The U.S. showed its ability to build out of the back as Wil Trapp cut through the central midfield before a sharp pass down the left helped give Villafaña space to work in. The fullback worked towards the box before juking Valdez and turning in a cross to the back post that was nodded away. DeAndre Yedlin arrived head the ball forward for Nagbe, who played a clever combination with Marky Delgado to gain space on the right. Nagbe then centered looking for Kenny Saief whose one-time effort was turned away a yard off the line by Valdez.

USA – Zack Steffen, 26th minute: After Trapp was whistled for a foul about 40 yards from goal, Paraguay midfielder Oscar Romero swung in a curling effort. Federico Santander rose at the penalty spot and nodded a redirected effort straight to Steffen.

USA – Wil Trapp, 67th minute: Steffen played a short ball out of the back for Matt Miazga, but the U.S. center back was dispossessed at the back. The ball fell for Miguel Almiron at the top of the penalty arc, where the Atlanta United FC attacker skated by Cameron Carter-Vickers, only to see his powerful shot blocked by Trapp.

PAR – Roberto Fernandez 90+ minute: Andrija Novakovich broke free down the left flank and had a clear look at goal, but Fernandez came well off his line to turn away the danger.


  • The U.S. moves to 4-2-2 all-time vs. Paraguay and 4-1-2 all-time in the state of North Carolina.
  • Bobby Wood’s 45th minute penalty marked his 11th international goal and first from the penalty spot.
  • The MNT Starting XI had an average age of 23 years 360 days, while nine starters were 25 or under: Trapp, Wood (25); Saief, Yedlin (24); Delgado, Miazga, Steffen (22); Carter-Vickers (20); Adams (19).
  • The most senior player on the roster, DeAndre Yedlin made his 50th appearance, becoming the 53rd player in MNT history to reach the half-century mark.
  • Midfielder Marky Delgado started in his MNT debut, while substitutes forward Andrija Novakovich and midfielder Tim Weah were also handed their first senior-team caps.
  • With his 86th minute substitution, Weah became the first player both in the 2000s to appear for the U.S. MNT. He earned his senior team debut at 18 years, 34 days.
  • Goalkeeper Zack Steffen made three saves to keep his first career clean sheet.
  • Four players earned their first start for the MNT: Carter-Vickers, Delgado, Saief and Steffen.
  • Ten players that appeared represented the U.S. at a youth World Cup: Steffen (2013 U-17; 2015 U-20), Yedlin (2013 U-20), Miazga (2015 U-20), Carter-Vickers (2015 and 2017 U-20), Villafaña (2009 U-20), Trapp (2013 U-20), Adams (2015 U-17; 2017 U-20), Delgado (2015 U-20), Weah (2017 U-17 WC), Rubin (2015 U-20 WC).
  • With both teams dressing 20 players, the healthy scratches from the USA’s game-day roster are goalkeeper Alex Bono and midfielder Kekuta Manneh. Midfielder Weston McKennie is nursing a groin injury and also did not dress for the match.

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

Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Paraguay
Date: March 27, 2018
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Sahlen’s Stadium at WakeMed Soccer Park; Cary, N.C.
Attendance: 9,825 sellout
Kickoff: 7:45 p.m. ET
Weather: 48 degrees; Cloudy

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

USA – Bobby Wood                        45th minute

USA: 12-Zack Steffen; 2-DeAndre Yedlin, 3-Matt Miazga, 5-Cameron Carter-Vickers, 19-Jorge Villafaña; 20-Wil Trapp; 6-Darlington Nagbe (9-Cristian Roldan, 90+2), 8-Marky Delgado (11-Tim Weah, 86), 4-Tyler Adams, 10-Kenny Saief (23-Rubio Rubin, 67); 7-Bobby Wood (18-Andrija Novakovich, 77)
Substitutes not used: 1-Bill Hamid, 13-Erik Palmer-Brown, 14-Antonee Robinson, 15-Eric Lichaj, 17-Shaq Moore
Head coach: Dave Sarachan

PAR: 1-Roberto Fernandez; 5-Bruno Valdez, 4-Fabian Balbuena, 3-Gustavo Gomez, 13-Junior Alonso; 16-Cristian Riveros (6-Richard Ortiz, 65), 8-Rodrigo Rojas (10-Derlis Gonzalez, 83), 21-Oscar Romero (19-Cecilio Dominguez, 80), 7-Nestor Camacho (17-Hernan Perez, 54), 23-Miguel Almiron; 9-Federico Santander
Substitutes not used: 12-Alfredo Aguilar, 2-Juan Patiño, 11-Angel Romero, 14-Luis de la Cruz, 15-Richard Sanchez, 18-Roberto Ovelar
Head coach: Gustavo E. Morinigo

Stats Summary: USA / PAR
Shots: 6 / 11
Shots on Goal: 3 / 3
Saves: 3 / 2
Corner Kicks: 5 / 1
Fouls: 15 / 19
Offside: 5 / 1

Misconduct Summary:
PAR – Roberto Fernandez (caution)                         44th minute
PAR – Junior Alonso (caution)                                    53
PAR – Rodrigo Rojas (caution)                                   56
USA – DeAndre Yedlin (caution)                               62
USA – Cameron Carter-Vickers (caution)                81
PAR – Federico Santander (caution)                         90
PAR – Richard Ortiz (caution)                                     90+1

Referee: Kimbell Ward (SKN)
Assistant Referee 1: Graeme Browne (SKN)
Assistant Referee 2: Ainsley Rochard (TRI)
4th Official: Daneon Parchment (JAM)

Budweiser Man of the Match: Wil Trapp