U.S. Youth Project Hits Road Bump Against Ireland

The youth project continued for interim coach Dave Sarachan and U.S. men’s soccer with the second of three friendlies in the span of a couple weeks on Saturday in Dublin, Ireland. A young squad showed a few positives and a few more negatives in a 2-1 loss for the USMNT vs Ireland. 

Coming off an impressive 3-0 win over a dismal Bolivia side on Monday in Pennsylvania, the U.S. changed its squad a bit for the trip to Europe to face Ireland and France in an eight-day period. 

U.S. interim coach Dave Sarachan called up another young group; the average age of the starting lineup Saturday was 22.6. Christian Pulisic was allowed to stay stateside while teenagers Tim Weah, Weston McKennie and Tyler Adams started in midfield. Another teenager, Josh Sargent, came on in the second half while three players made their USMNT debuts as second-half subs: Tim Parker (25), Shaq Moore (21) and Luca de la Torre (20). 

Ireland started the stronger side and had a few chances to put one past U.S. keeper Bill Hamid, including this fizzing effort from long range. 

Tyler Adams nearly scored for the USMNT vs Ireland in the first half, only for teammate Rubio Rubin to deflect it off target. To be fair to Rubin, it was tough to tell if the ball would have found the back of the net.

Just before the halftime whistle, Bobby Wood scored the opener, reaching his leg out to reach a ball headed into the box by Matt Miazga. It was a much-needed goal for Wood, who scored just two goals with Hamburg and saw his team relegated from the Bundesliga this past season.

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Hamid, who has struggled to find playing time since moving to FC Midtjylland in Denmark in January, showed plenty of rust in goal for the USMNT vs Ireland. The Boys in Green took advantage to score the equalizer in the 57th minute. 

Hamid tried to go for a cross but didn’t get close to the ball, leaving the net open for Graham Burke.

It was the first goal the U.S. had allowed in 386 minutes dating back to a 1-1 draw with Portugal in November. Not long after, Ireland had a goal called back for offside.

In the 75th minute, 19-year-old Schalke midfielder McKennie used a stellar first touch to create a pocket of space to fire a shot at goal. However, the attempt went straight at Ireland keeper Colin Doyle and the score remained 1-1. 

The missed opportunity proved costly when Ireland won it in the 90th minute. 

Alan Judge scored his first international goal with just about his first touch on the pitch when he took the ball off the foot of James McClean, who made a nice move to find space to set up the opportunity. Hamid had no chance to stop this shot and was let down by his midfield, which allowed McClean to waltz through the box unmarked. 

The USMNT vs Ireland match saw both sides sport jerseys with rainbow-colored numbers in support of LGBTQ Pride Month. This was allowed because FIFA only forbids soccer associations making political or religious statements, not human rights statements. 

The match also doubled as a sendoff for John O’Shea, who made his final appearance for Ireland and was subbed off in the 35th minute after 119 caps for the Green Army. 

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