Soccer

USMNT vs. Serbia scores: Brandon Vazquez scores on debut, but the Americans fall in their first friendly since the World Cup

Brandon Vazquez, who scored a goal on his debut for the United States national team, was not enough to overcome a thin Serbian squad in a 2-1 loss on Wednesday night in Los Angeles. Vazquez was among seven members of the starting XI to earn their first cap and made it a memorable moment. Vazquez’s former Atlanta United teammate Julian Gressel, also making his international debut, played a superb cross that Vazquez headed past Djordje Petrovic in the 28th minute after the Americans had struggled out of the gate.

The lead would only last until the break as Serbia found an equalizer from a Luka Ilic free-kick. Ilic’s kick found its way through the wall due to every defender not jumping in unison and Gabriel Slonina couldn’t reach it in time. Just after the half, Serbia found a go-ahead goal from Velijko Simic when an opening between Jalen Neal and Jonathan Gomez opened up, which he capitalized on. The 19-year-old Neal has yet to make his Major League Soccer debut for the Los Angeles Galaxy, but could have had more help from his veteran partner Aaron Long.

Despite the final score, there were bright spots for the USA such as Alex Zendejas, who stepped up in the second half as some of the national team’s regulars entered the midfield. Cade Cowell was quite unlucky, hitting the post twice in a game more about individual performance than the result. Slonina also became the youngest goalkeeper in USMNT history, breaking the record set by Tony Meola in 1988.

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