With nearly 700 official matches in the books against 97 different opponents since the U.S. Men’s National Team first started playing in 1916, the MNT has accumulated a rich history of dramatic results, intriguing story lines and interesting anecdotes.
Ahead of Tuesday’s match against Chile (7:55 p.m. ET; ESPN2, UniMas and UDN), here are three tidbits of the MNT’s history against La Roja:
Wynalda Joins Rare Company With Copa ’95 Brace
While the 3-0 win against Argentina is the signature victory of the USA’s fourth-place finish at Copa América 1995 in Uruguay, the team’s success in that tournament started with the opening 2-1 win against Chile.
Newly equipped with a shaved head, lead MNT striker Eric Wynalda registered both goals – making a near post-run to re-direct now-MNT General Manager Earnie Stewart’s cross from the right in the 14th minute before swerving home one of his patented free kicks six minutes later.
Wynalda’s brace was historic for two reasons:
- He is one of two MNT players to score two goals in a match on South American soil. The other was Bert Patenaude, who registered a hat trick in a 3-0 win against Paraguay during the inaugural 1930 FIFA World Cup, also in Uruguay.
- More impressive, the two goals, plus the one he scored days later in a 3-0 win against Argentina, played a part in the striker becoming the only player to tally for the MNT on five different continents – North and South America, Europe, Asia and Africa. Quite a feat!
Balboa’s (Second) 100 Cap Milestone
The match was historic for another reason that wasn’t recognized as such at the time. Prior to the USA heading to South America for the tournament, long-time defender Marcelo Balboa became the first MNT player to earn 100 caps when he appeared in a 3-2 win against Nigeria on June 11, 1995 in Foxborough, Mass.
Or so he thought…
A few years later, U.S. Soccer was prompted by FIFA to revise the cap numbers of players who had represented the USA in games that were not deemed official senior team matches. This caused Balboa to lose three MNT caps, meaning his actual 100th game came in the 2-1 win against Chile on July 8, 1995.
Balboa, who finished his international career with 127 caps in 2000, remained the first MNT player to hit the century mark.
Three Debuts Against Chile
In more recent times, current MNT players Sean Johnson, Wil Trapp and Gyasi Zardes received their international debuts against Chile.
On Jan. 22, 2011, Johnson entered for Nick Rimando at halftime of a 1-1 draw with Chile at the recently renamed Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif. [HIGHLIGHTS]
The USA’s most recent match on South American soil saw the now-Columbus Crew duo come off the bench in the 3-2 defeat, with Trapp replacing Mix Diskerud in the 60th minute and Zardes entering for Clint Dempsey in the 68th. [HIGHLIGHTS]
“Overall, our collective defense I thought was good,” MNT head coach Gregg Berhalter said post-game.
“John Brooks was Man of the Match, he got the coach’s game ball as well. Aaron Long could have gotten it, Tyler Adams was excellent and Tim Ream was good. We didn’t give them any openings. They couldn’t find penetrating passes. They resorted to long balls and those guys gobbled everything up.
“From a team standpoint, I was happy with the defensive shape, happy with the structure and it was good that our center backs – even when we’re up the field – that they could win every duel that comes at them. It was really impressive.”
Partnering for the first time, the central defensive pair of Brooks and Long combined to win 13 of the 16 duels they faced against Ecuador.
Positive Returns for Adams at Right Back
Much of the talk leading up to Thursday’s match revolved around Tyler Adams playing the hybrid right back/central midfield role in the system Berhalter has been working to implement with the MNT.
First on display during January Camp when Nick Lima executed it against Panama and Costa Rica, Adams lined up as a right back defensively, but partnered with Wil Trapp in the center of the park as the team moved into the attack. The difference in the movements between Adams and left back Tim Ream is illustrated in the heat maps below:
Tim Ream Movement vs. Ecuador
Tyler Adams Movement vs. Ecuador
The early returns were positive and Adams said that having Long, who he knows well from his time at the New York Red Bulls, alongside him gave him more comfort as he pinched inside.
“Even when I play my natural position, there’s so much to work on,” the 20-year-old said post-game. “For me the biggest thing is embracing the role and trying to run with it. I think the guys around me helped me and gave me confidence. Playing next to Aaron Long, who I’ve had behind me in so many games before was a confidence boost for me and I think I still have the ability to go out there, roam and effect the game. In the end, I still think there are things I need to improve on, but it would be good to go back, watch the video and see some things.”
Ream Wears the Armband
Tim Ream last MNT camp appearance came in the lead up to the 1-1 draw with Portugal in November 2017. Though he didn’t play in that match, the defender was brought along to the camp to be a leader amongst a pretty young group that went on to draw the defending European champions.
After a transitional year in 2018 saw the MNT continue the theme of giving younger players their first taste of the National Team, the 31-year-old admitted he wasn’t sure whether a return was in the cards.
“You’re never not following the program,” Ream said. “You obviously follow along, see who is coming up and is in the squad and what the scores are, but regarding my future, I didn’t know. You never know. It’s a matter of doing well at club level, and obviously I’m not as young as the rest of these guys any more. If I got the call, then great. If I didn’t, I would understand that. There’s definitely been a transition in the past year and if I wasn’t going to be involved, then so be it. Thankfully Gregg has come in and seen fit to have me part of the team.
In Ream, Berhalter saw a veteran still playing at a high level with English Premier League side Fulham, and one that could continue to provide leadership as an emerging group continues to grow. That manifested itself on Thursday night when the St. Louis-born defender captained the MNT for the first time.
“It was a huge honor to be honest with you,” he continued. “Whenever you can captain any team, that’s special, but to have it be your National Team is not something you can really describe. I tried to approach it just as any other match, just keeping myself focused and making sure I do the little things. Be in the right spots and make the right decisions. I made a few wrong decisions, but it was special. There’s no two ways about it and something I’ll be able to tell my kids forever.”
Along with the armband, Ream was credited with the assist on Zardes’ game-winning goal, the second of his international career.
With the win, Berhalter followed Bob Bradley as the second MNT head coach to begin his tenure with three-straight victories. A win on Tuesday against Chile would see Berhalter set the record for most victories at the start of an MNT coaching tenure.
Additionally, the USA has yet to give up a goal in the three games under its new head coach, raising another potential milestone.
A clean sheet against La Roja on Tuesday would tie the record for must shutouts at the start of an MNT coaching tenure, with the previous mark of four straight clean sheets set under Alkis Panagoulias when he began leading the team in 1983-84.Read more
CHICAGO (March 22, 2019) – The U.S. Men’s National Team roster was reduced to 23 players following the USA’s 1-0 victory against Ecuador as defender Tyler Adams departed camp Friday morning. No replacements will be made ahead of Tuesday’s match against Chile in Houston.
Adams played the full 90 minutes in the shutout on Thursday, working on a back line that limited La Tricolor to just one shot on goal. The 20-year-old will return to Germany to continue training with Bundesliga side RB Leipzig.
Additionally, goalkeeper Jesse Gonzalez has returned to FC Dallas and will be available for selection for Saturday’s match against the Colorado Rapids, beforing returning to MNT camp in Houston following the game.
Having exited Thursday’s 1-0 win against Ecuador in the 68th minute with an ankle injury, midfielder Weston McKennie will travel with the team to Houston for further evaluation.
The USA faces two-time defending Copa America champions Chile on Tuesday, March 26 in Houston. Kickoff from BBVA Compass Stadium is set for 7:55 p.m. ET and the match will be broadcast live on ESPN2, UniMas and UDN.
USA DETAILED ROSTER BY POSITION (Club; Caps/Goals):
GOALKEEPERS (3): Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas; 0/0), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge/BEL; 3/0), Sean Johnson (New York City FC; 7/0)
DEFENDERS (8): John Brooks (Wolfsburg/GER; 37/3), Omar Gonzalez (Atlas/MEX; 48/3), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes; 2/0), Aaron Long (New York Red Bulls; 5/0), Daniel Lovitz (Montreal Impact/CAN; 2/0), Matt Miazga (Reading/ENG; 11/1), Tim Ream (Fulham/ENG; 27/1), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United/ENG; 58/0)
MIDFIELDERS (6): Michael Bradley (Toronto FC/CAN; 144/17), Sebastian Lletget (LA Galaxy; 8/2), Weston McKennie (Schalke/GER; 8/1), Christian Pulisic (Borussia Dortmund/GER; 24/9), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC; 8/0), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC; 14/0)
FORWARDS (6): Paul Arriola (D.C. United; 20/3), Corey Baird (Real Salt Lake; 2/0), Jonathan Lewis (New York City FC; 3/0), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC; 26/5), Christian Ramirez (LAFC; 2/1), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC; 43/7)Read more
ORLANDO (March 21, 2019) — The U.S. Men’s National Team used an 81st minute strike from Gyasi Zardes to earn a 1-0 victory against Ecuador in front of 17,442 fans at Orlando City Stadium. With the win, Gregg Berhalter became the second MNT head coach to begin his tenure with three straight victories.
After controlling the flow of much of the match, the USA found the game-winner through Zardes, who collected a pass from Tim Ream about 25 yards from goal. Zardes unleashed an effort that took a wicked deflection off Ecuador defender Robert Arboleda and looped over ‘keeper Alexander Domínguez. The goal was the seventh of Zardes’ international career and first since scoring the game-winner in a 2-1 victory against Ecuador in the Copa America Centernario quarterfinals on June 16, 2016 in Seattle.
Controlling much of the first half possession, the USA came close to scoring in the 25th minute. Receiving a ball in the penalty area, Christian Pulisic laid off a pass for Paul Arriola on the left, but the winger’s first-time effort was turned away well by Ecuador ‘keeper Alexander Domínguez.
The USA looked to have gone ahead five minutes later when Weston McKennie made a line-breaking pass for Jordan Morris on the right. He centered for Zardes, who touched the ball into the path off Arriola to finish from close range, but linesman Philippe Briere ruled that Morris was just offside on the original pass.
In a match where USA goalkeeper Sean Johnson was left with little to do – Ecuador was limited by the U.S. defense to a single shot on goal – the MNT continued to control the flow of play in the second half, connecting well on passes, but coming up short with the final product. Defensively, Weston McKennie and Aaron Long combined well to thwart a dangerous counter attack from Renato Ibarra in the 52nd minute to help keep the team’s third-straight clean sheet.
The MNT continues its march towards the 2019 Concacaf Gold Cup against another South American foe, taking on Chile on Tuesday, March 26 at BBVA Compass Stadium in Houston. Kickoff is set for 7:55 p.m. ET with ESPN2, UniMas and UDN covering the action.
Goal Scoring Rundown:
USA – Gyasi Zardes (Tim Ream), 81st minute:
After collecting a pass from Tim Ream about 25 yards from goal, Zardes turned with space and dribbled towards goal before unleashing a shot that deflected off Ecuador defender Robert Arboleda and looped over ‘keeper Alexander Domínguez. USA 1, ECU 0 [WATCH] FINAL
Key Save and Defensive Plays:
ECU – Beder Caicedo, 6th minute: After a number of connected passes in midfield, Christian Pulisic collected the ball at the top of the area and threaded a pass to Tyler Adams on the right. The full back alertly sent in a low cross, but Caicedo slid through at the end line to put it out for a corner kick.
ECU – Alexander Domínguez, 26th minute: Gyasi Zardes and Weston McKennie connected well on a combination at the top of the box before the latter slipped a ball through to Pulisic at the penalty spot. The MNT attacker slid it to Paul Arriola in stride on the left, but his effort was thwarted as Domínguez came bravely off his line to thwart the effort.
USA – Aaron Long and Weston McKennie, 52nd minute: Ecuador forced a turnover and quickly transitioned into attack with Jhegson Méndez sending Romario Ibarra into space with only Long in his way. Long worked to slow down the run and McKennie made an 80-yard jaunt to track back before the duo forced Ibarra outside and cleared the ball for a throw in.
- Along with remaining unbeaten (3-0-0), the USA has not conceded a goal in the three matches under head coach Gregg Berhalter. The record for most consecutive shutouts at the beginning of an MNT coaching tenure is held by Alkis Panagoulias, who guided the team to four straight clean sheets from 1983-84.
- With tonight’s win Gregg Berhalter follows Bob Bradley as just the second MNT head coach to win each of his first three matches.
- The MNT Starting XI had an average age of 25 years, 268 days and 20 caps.
- Seven players earned their first caps of 2019: Starters Tyler Adams, John Brooks, Weston McKennie, Jordan Morris, Christian Pulisic, Tim Ream and substitute DeAndre Yedlin
- Making his 27th appearance, veteran defender Tim Ream captained the MNT for the first time.
- Midfielders Wil Trapp and Weston McKennie departed the match due to injury.
- Forward Jordan Morris made his first MNT appearance since recovering from a torn right ACL suffered with Seattle Sounders FC last February. The 24-year-old last played for the USA in a 0-0 draw with Bosnia and Herzegovina on Jan. 28, 2018 in Carson, Calif.
- A product of the nearby University of Central Florida, goalkeeper Sean Johnson kept his third career clean sheet in his seventh cap for the MNT.
- Having come through U.S. Soccer’s U-17 MNT Residency Program together, the match marked the first time the 20-year-old trio of Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Christian Pulisic started a match together.
- With the MNT dressing 20 players, Omar Gonzalez, Jesse Gonzalez, Nick Lima and Christian Ramirez are healthy scratches from the gameday roster. Teams were allowed six substitutions tonight.
- The USA improves to 5-5-5 all-time against Ecuador and 2-0-0 at Orlando City Stadium.
- U.S. Men’s National Team Match Report -
Match: U.S. Men’s National Team vs. Ecuador
Date: March 21, 2019
Competition: International Friendly
Venue: Orlando City Stadium; Orlando, Fla.
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
Weather: 66 degrees; clear
Scoring Summary: 1 2 F
USA 0 1 1
ECU 0 0 0
USA – Gyasi Zardes (Tim Ream) 81st minute
USA: 1-Sean Johnson; 14-Tyler Adams, 23-Aaron Long, 5-John Brooks, 13-Tim Ream; 6-Wil Trapp (4-Michael Bradley, 59’), 8-Weston McKennie (15-Cristian Roldan, 68’), 10-Christian Pulisic (17-Sebastian Lletget, 62’); 11-Jordan Morris (2-DeAndre Yedlin, 68’), 9-Gyasi Zardes, 7-Paul Arriola (18-Jonathan Lewis, 77’)
Substitutes not used: 22-Ethan Horvath, 16-Daniel Lovitz, 19-Matt Miazga, 20-Corey Baird
Head coach: Gregg Berhalter
ECU: 22-Alexander Domínguez; 4-Juan Carlos Paredes, 21-Gabriel Achiller (capt.), 3-Robert Arboleda, 13-Beder Caicedo; 8-Carlos Gruezo, 20-Jhegson Méndez, 18-Jefferson Orejuela, 16-Antonio Valencia, 5-Renato Ibarra (9-Leonardo Campana, 46’); 7-Romario Ibarra (19-Jhohan Jullo, 71’)
Substitutes not used: 1-Maximo Banguera, 12-Pedro Ortiz, 2-Cristian Ramirez, 6-Cristhian Noboa, 10-Ángel Mena, 14-Xavier Arreaga, 15-Jefferson Intriago, 17-Ángelo Preciado, 23- Jackson Porozo
Head coach: Hernan Dario Gomez
Stats Summary: USA / ECU
Shots: 5 / 1
Shots on Goal: 2 / 0
Saves: 0 / 1
Corner Kicks: 6 / 1
Fouls: 7 / 4
Offside: 1 / 1
USA – Paul Arriola (caution) 56th minute
ECU – Jhohan Jullo (caution) 90+3
Referee: David Gantar (CAN)
Assistant Referee 1: Philippe Briere (CAN)
Assistant Referee 2: Michael Barwegen (CAN)
4th Official: Adonai Escobedo (MEX)
ussoccer.com Man of the Match: John BrooksRead more