Los Angeles, CA—The United States had a lot on they plate with the expiration of Greg Berhalter’s contract compiled that with the ex-coach investigation still ongoing.
The United States let one slip by with a 2-1 loss to Serbia at BMO Stadium in Los Angeles on Wednesday night in its first match since being eliminated from the 2022 World Cup by the Netherlands team.
Serbia had eight players making their international debuts with the team’s starters only sharing 15 combined international appearances between them.
The United States starting XI also had nine of the 11 starters age 24 or younger, one of the youngest sides put together in the US Soccer Federation’s history.
Brandy Vazquez opening the scoring in his first appearance for the U.S. with a header from Julian Gressel’s pass into the area.
Goalie Gabriel Slonina, who was also making his debut for the senior U.S. team, made several saves in the first half but was beaten at his near post by a Luka Ilic free kick to tie the score at the 43rd minute for Serbia ahead of the break.
Veljko Simic ran on to a loose ball to score from distance to make it 2-1 in the 46th.
“I have to say overall, I was really pleased with the performance,” interim coach Anthony Hudson said. “I loved the fact that players were really driving to get forward and run behind the line and attack the back line. So I’m disappointed, obviously, with the result, but the way they went about the game was pleasing to me.”
LA Galaxy forward Dejan Joveljic led a group featuring none of the starting XI from the team’s last World Cup match against Switzerland.
Hudson’s inexperienced group put on an exciting performance with much more action and attacking flair than normal in the exhibitions in January, but the USMT team has won just one of its past eight games, with four draws, and three losses.
Cade Cowell, who was active all night for the U.S., twice hit the post in the following minutes and smoked a shot wide of the Serbian goal soon after.
“I told the guys before the game in the huddle that anytime you put on this jersey, whether it’s in January or in a World Cup game,’ you have to have pride,” said U.S. captain Walker Zimmerman, whose 38 international appearances were 10 more than the other 21 starters combined.
Hudson named seven debutants in the starting XI for the friendly against Serbia and Brandon Vazquez headed home the opener in the 29th minute. Two quick-fire goals by the visitors either side of halftime meant USA suffered defeat.
“You never want to lose a game, but sometimes it’s good to get experience for guys and welcome them into this brotherhood. That’s what we feel great about.”
Goalscorer Vazquez added: “Making my debut tonight and scoring on my debut with my family here close to where I grew up, it’s something incredible. Seeing my family celebrate like that and it’s, it’s something amazing to see.”
for the U.S. is a friendly against Colombia at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California, on Jan. 28.