The U.S. Men’s National Team ended a winless run in two January friendlies with a scoreless draw against Colombia on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, Calif.
In the non-FIFA-window competition, the United States had the best chances against an inexperienced Colombia team that was missing its European stars as well as the Americans.
– Carlisle: Aaronson’s debut USMNT bright spot vs. Colombia
– Stream on ESPN+: LaLiga, Bundesliga, more (US)
Now with just four goals in its last seven games, the lack of a cutting edge in attack continues to prove the biggest issue for the United States to address as the U.S. begins building up to co-host the World Cup in 2026.
Interim coach Anthony Hudson opted to field a more experienced side in Wednesday’s 2-1 loss to Serbia, with all five players from the 2022 World Cup squad getting a start.
There was still plenty of youth, including debuts for Paxten Aaronson and John Tolkien and a first start for DeJuan Jones. Aaronson’s presence meant he and Leeds United’s Brendan Aaronson became the eighth set of brothers to represent the United States at senior level.
“Overall, I think we achieved our goals,” Hudson said. “We have a group of players that we want to see in competitive situations with us. It’s about being able to look at those players in our environment and being able to physically go through two games.
Colombia, meanwhile, fielded four players from Major League Soccer in a lineup that featured just one player over five games.
The opening 45 minutes saw plenty of intensity, despite several players on both sides being in their pre-season prime.
And with both teams looking to attack early in transition, there were plenty of chances at both ends, although a lack of accuracy in the final third prevented anyone from capitalizing.
The energetic Aaronson had two clear shots at goal, first failing to find enough purchase with a side-footed effort after six minutes that went straight at Colombia goalkeeper Alvaro Montero. Later, a desperate diving save from defender Andres Linus deflected another Aaronson effort off target.
“Paxten is a really exciting player, with a lot of confidence. He came in a day or two late but you can see his quality. We don’t know what his level is, but we believe in his talent and we see what he can do,” Hudson said. said.
Perhaps the best opening fell by way of Matthew Hope. But with Paul Areola calling for a square pass, the Middlesbrough forward headed straight at the Colombia keeper after latching on to Jesus Ferreira’s through ball.
The U.S. defense still gave the U.S. defense a lot to think about at the other end, with LAFC’s Chicho Arango and Columbus’ Cucho Hernandez waiting to step in against all MLS back fours. Colombia’s best chance of the opening half fell to Yilmar Velazquez, but the midfielder fired his shot wide of the target.
After half-time proved to be at a premium. Ferreira, playing against the country of his birth, found a short opening in the box, Ferreira was unable to get a shot in, and Walker Zimmerman turned away a difficult chance from a corner.
But, with both sides making many changes as time went on, the second half turned into a more traditional slow-paced January friendly. There were USMNT debuts for Emmanuel Sabbi and Samuel Rogers, but the United States couldn’t find a target for its efforts.
“It’s a great group of players, and that speaks to the depth of our player base,” USMNT keeper Sean Johnson said. “We had a good time. We loved to win, we had our chances, but it was solid all around. As a team, I feel like this camp is a step forward.”