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US Men's National Team Play Gareth Bale-Less Wales to Scoreless Draw in Friendly

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistNovember 12, 2020

United States' Tyler Adams, right, controls the ball as Wales' Tom Lawrence holds him during the international friendly soccer match between Wales and USA at Liberty stadium in Swansea, Wales, Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Kirsty Wigglesworth)
Kirsty Wigglesworth/Associated Press

The United States men's national soccer team returned to action Thursday, and the young squad did enough to earn a 0-0 away draw against Wales in Swansea.

Even in a quiet offensive match, Tyler Adams, Weston McKennie and Sergino Dest stood out for the Americans in the international friendly at Liberty Stadium.

The match was the team's first since February because of postponements due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Head coach Gregg Berhalter went with a relatively inexperienced lineup with players based mostly out of Europe, likely in an effort to get a sense of the future of the program.

The team passed its first test against a tough opponent in Wales, which also used a younger lineup without superstar Gareth Bale. 

The match began slowly and remained scoreless throughout the 90 minutes as neither team was able to register many good chances.

United States controlled the action, holding 61 percent of possession, and showed impressive flashes from around the field in the first half:

Jeffrey Smith @Smith_JeffreyT

Man, this #USMNT is fun to watch. These young ones are growing confidence by the minute. And Dest is the real deal. #USMNTisBack

Cobi Jones @cobijones

A lot to like. Much more than not. Of note. US needs a #9. Needs the spark/flair going forward. Missing Pulisic. #WALvUSA #USMNT

Ives Galarcep @SoccerByIves

HALFTIME- Wales 0, #USMNT 0 . Some promising stuff from the USA, which were the better team. The expected choppiness of a squad that has never played together, but some good glimpses. Brooks and Adams = Outstanding. Musah = Confident Reyna = Smooth Robinson = struggled

The midfield of Tyler Adams and Weston McKennie did well to keep the squad on the attack, also making excellent plays on the defensive end:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Weston McKennie doing @WMckennie things 💥 https://t.co/yuCfChF5Dl

However, there were limited scoring chances as a result of struggles in the final third. Poor decisions and sloppy passes led to missed opportunities.

Wales took advantage with a few counter-attacks, with Tom Lawrence getting the only shot on goal for either team in the first half.

The home team also had one of the best chances of the match in the second half but Zack Steffen made the save:

FOX Soccer @FOXSoccer

Zack Steffen 🧱 https://t.co/15hNZ0QLww

The United States had positive moments from Yunus Musah in the second half during his debut:

Men in Blazers @MenInBlazers

Yunus Musah has given me more pleasure inside 65 minutes than I have had watching this team for last 3 years since World Cup elimination. Technically and tactically so exciting to watch. What do we have to do to win him over?

Sergino Dest was also active in the attack, although he couldn't help get the team onto the scoresheet.

Even with the limited action, there was a lot to like for Team USA, especially considering their youth. Gio Reyna and Musah each earned their first cap despite being just 17 years old.

Paul Carr @PaulCarr

Two 17-year-olds are starting for the #USMNT today (Gio Reyna and Yunus Musah). 🇺🇸 Per @ussoccer, this is the second time two players under 18 have earned USMNT caps in the same game. 🇺🇸 The other was of course in 1991 vs Jamaica: Mike Slivinski, Mark Jonas, Nelson Vargas.

Prior to Thursday, Only 11 players have made their USMNT debut before turning 18.

It was an incredibly young roster overall, with 10 players entering the day without an appearance for the senior national team and an average overall age of 22 years and 52 days. Prospects Johnny Cardoso, Nicholas Gioacchini and Owen Otasowie all came on late as subs.

Regardless of the outcome, there is a lot to look forward to with this team.

The United States will be back in action Monday against Panama in a neutral-site friendly held in Austria. Wales will face Ireland on Sunday in a UEFA Nations League match.

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