The United States let an early lead slip in a 2-1 loss to Serbia at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles on Wednesday night in its first game since the Netherlands were eliminated from the 2022 World Cup.
Dual nationals Brandon Vazquez and Alejandro Zendejas got things going as interim coach Anthony Hudson handed eight players their senior team debuts – seven as starters – with Vazquez opening the scoring in his first appearance for the USA on a silky glancing header from Julian Gressels. cross into the area.
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Chelsea goalkeeper Gabriel Slonina, also making his debut for the US senior team, made several key saves during the first half but was beaten at his near post by a free kick from Luka Ilic to equalize for Serbia before halftime. -time.
Serbia then took the lead as the second half began when Veljko Simic took advantage of some poor defending from the USA, pounced on a loose ball from just outside the area and beat Slonina from close range to make it 2-1.
Cade Cowell, lively all night down the left for the USA, twice hit the post in the following minutes and fired a swinging shot past the Serbian goal soon after.
The USA kept up the pressure in search of another goal as Hudson brought on World Cup veteran Kellyn Acosta and Middlesbrough forward Matthew Hoppe off the bench, but an equalizer never came.
The U.S. team is in transition with interim head coach Hudson running the show while the U.S. Soccer Federation decides the future of coach Gregg Berhalter, whose contract expired at the end of last year.
Hudson is using the team’s annual January camp and accompanying exhibitions to provide experience for a new crop of prospects after the United States was eliminated in the round of 16 at the World Cup in Qatar.
The U.S. is using youth and MLS players in its winter camp, which falls outside a FIFA international window. The current group has 11 players getting their first callup and only five members of the World Cup roster.
Hudson’s inexperienced group produced an exciting performance with much more action and attacking flair than usual in these annual January exhibitions, but the American team has won just one of its last eight matches, drawing four and losing three.
Next up for the USA is a friendly against Colombia at Dignity Health Park in Carson, California on January 28.