The United States Men’s National Team was in Washington, D.C. Tuesday to face a game New Zealand squad. Ultimately, the teams split the spoils as each side scored once in a 1-1 draw that probably won’t satisfy many U.S. fans. The Yanks are now 15-3-6 all-time at RFK Stadium.
This was the first game between the two nations since a 2003 friendly that the USA won, 2-1. The Kiwis were coming off a game vs. Mexico on Saturday that they lost, 2-1, but showed some positives in, too. They showed resolve in scoring a second-half goal to earn a hard-fought road draw.
In Jurgen Klinsmann’s 96th game in charge, which ties him for second-most all time for the USMNT behind only Bruce Arena, Julian Green scored the only U.S. goal.
The USMNT started in a 4-3-3 formation with William Yarbrough in goal and a back four of Kellyn Acosta as left back, Matt Besler and Omar Gonzalez at center back, and Michael Orozco on the right. The three-man midfield consisted of Michael Bradley, Sacha Kljestan, and Perry Kitchen. Up top, the three forwards were Jozy Altidore, Julian Green, and DeAndre Yedlin.
An interesting note on the lineup is at least three players were out of position. Acosta is normally a midfielder for FC Dallas, Orozco is usually a CB for Club Tijuana, and Yedlin was at forward/winger while usually a right back for Newcastle United. The crowd was disappointing despite a decent showing by the American Outlaws.
Attendance of 9,012 is the smallest for a #USMNT game at RFK Stadium since the first U.S. game there in 1977.— Paul Carr (@PCarrESPN) October 12, 2016
Right off the bat, in the first minute, New Zealand’s No. 9, Chris Wood, tested Yarbrough, who unconvincingly blocked it. Then, in the eighth, a dangerous cross came into the USA box but there was a handball called on New Zealand. The first 10 minutes showed two shaky moves by Yarbrough, which could be chalked up to pre-game nerves.
In the 26th, Yarbrough’s long pass was flicked on by Altidore to Green, who showed some flair with a bit of skill as he broke to the right and fired a shot that sneaked inside the near post for a goal. It was Green’s third international goal and second in as many matches.
| Julian Green marca el 1-0 sobre Nueva Zelanda con una jugada que William Yarbrough inició https://t.co/8aF6HMiSn5— Univision Deportes (@UnivisionSports) October 12, 2016
In the 31st minute, Altidore relayed a nice pass to an incoming Yedlin, who carried inside the box and ripped a shot that was nicely blocked by Stefan Marinovic, the Kiwis’ keeper. The 40th minute provided a Bradely cross from a corner that was headed by Orozco but easily stopped by Marinovic.
In the 45th, a cross by New Zealand’s Kip Colvey was punched away by Yarbrough on what seemed like an easy cross he maybe should have caught. That did it for the first half, as the U.S. was better and the game was open with both teams getting chances.
The second half opened up with one change as David Bingham came in for Yarbrough in goal. Shortly after the restart — and a shot over the bar by New Zealand’s Wood, Lynden Gooch made his senior team debut in relief of Acosta.
New Zealand nearly equalized in the 60th minute, but Patterson missed a sitter inside the box that went wide.
The 64th minute saw a Gooch cross kicked out that landed for Green, who shot it over the goal. In the 67th, Moses Dyer for New Zealand sent a shot at Bingham who easily cought it. A minute later, Besler sent in a nice pass for Altidore, but Marinovic handled Jozy’s shot.
New Zealand came attacking in the 70th with a nice volley from Wood on a counter attack that just sailed high. Then, Patterson took advantage of a bad clearance from Altidore in the 72nd to slot the ball in between Bingham’s legs for a goal and the 1-1 tie.
In the 77th, Juan Agudelo came in for Green, who played well tonight. Action picked back up in the 87th when Kosta Barbarouses for the Kiwis hit a good cross that led to a shot for Wood but it was cleared off the line by Orozco. The final sub came in the 88th for the USMNT when Terrence Boyd came on for Altidore.
In the 89th, Williams got off a beautiful long-range shot that was parried by Marinovic and then deflected for a corner. That corner produced a shot on goal from Gonzalez, a header that sailed high. Finally, in the 90th, the USMNT’s best shot came when Bradley took a mean volley in the top of the box that was blocked brilliantly by Marinovic.
It was an open and interesting game for both nations. The U.S. seemed to be better, and dominated the last 15 minutes aside from two shots, and maybe should have won. The man of the match is no doubt New Zealand’s goalie Stefan Marinovic, who stopped four great balls. Overall, a decent to poor outing that does not inspire a great deal of confidence for next month's huge game vs. Mexico.