Gio Reyna makes his USA debut in a International Friendly against Wales

International Friendly: Wales and USA Settle For a Stalemate

Wales 0-0 USA

The USA men’s national football team finally played an International Friendly after a long hiatus, and they held a struggling Wales squad to a goalless stalemate last night at the Liberty Stadium.

These two nations battled it out in what was a defencive slugfest, which marked the first game since February 1 for USA when Ulysses Llanez free-kick catapulted the Stars and Stripes to a 1-0 victory over Costa Rica.

This game was also the first time that Robert Page was the manager in charge for Wales as Ryan Giggs had to deal with some personal matters back in Manchester. So prior to this match, there were some concerns for the Dragons on and off the pitch.

USA started the game on a great note when they outhustled and outpaced the weary Dragons in the first 18 minutes. However, Wales had some inspiring moments of their own too.

But overall, the Americans were in the driver’s seat all night long as they were led by their youth-laden lineup.

With their strong effort, it was a bit of a downer when they didn’t come away with a win since they were heavily backed by our International Friendly 2020 odds.

Nonetheless, Juventus midfielder Weston McKinnie, Borussia Dortmund’s Gio Reyna, and LA Galaxy’s Sebastian Lletget gave SBOTOP fans something to remember with their share of International Friendly 2020 highlights.

 

Highlights of the game

This match was basically a glimpse of the future for the Stars and Stripes.

Because even with Christian Pulisic out due to nagging injuries, the Gregg Berhalter-coached squad still have some cogs who were more than ready to contribute.

One of them was Gio Reyna, who emerged early on as a rising upstart in the Bundesliga, and he did well in filling in the void left by the Chelsea winger.

Right as the whistle sounded, the Americans put the pressure on Wales in order to keep them off balanced.

But Wales got the first chance of the night when Rabbi Matondo caught Antonee Robinson out of place near the box. The USA defender eventually caught up and the ball was played out for a corner kick.

The high press almost worked into perfection when goalkeeper Danny Ward’s clearance deflected off of a USA forward, but they eventually prevented a good chance.

Soon enough, the Stars and Stripes got their first opportunity of the evening when Sebastian Lletget volleyed the ball into the penalty area during the 28th minute. However, Danny Ward was there to clean it up.

Robert Page steps up to take charge of Wales when they face USA in a International Friendly

Wales Caretaker manager Robert Page during the match against USA

Four minutes later, the Dragons got another chance when Tom Lawrence was given all the time in the world to strike from long distance, but goalkeeper Zack Steffen read it well for a routine save.

Wales were caught off guard again in the 33rd minute when Konrad de la Fuente picked off a poor pass inside the penalty area, but his quick turn and fire attempt went over too high.

Another promising sequence happened early in the second half when Matt Miazga put a through-ball to Weston McKennie, who then placed the ball wide to Sergino Dest for a cross but it was parried away for another corner.

Sebastian Lletget forced another save from Danny Ward in the 52nd minute when he caught a lost ball and fired a curling shot that was on target.

The Dragons’ last chance came in the 62nd minute when Manchester United forward Daniel James tried to slot the ball home, but his low shot attempt was blocked by Zack Steffen.

Ulysses Llanez came on as a sub for USA and he almost got into the scoreboard when he forced a Danny Ward save after the Dragons turned the ball over again.

 

Key statistics

This was USA’s first match in over 285 days, so it was great to see them play more organised in their first fixture back.

The Stars and Stripes controlled 61-per cent of the possession and they had seven total shots. However, only one was on target.

Their group is arguably one of the youngest that we have right now as their average age is only 21.7, with 10 of them uncapped in the 24-man squad.

On the other hand, Charlton Athletic defender Chris Gunter has captained for Wales once more. He is their most capped player with 98 already.

 

What’s next?

USA will have another international friendly as they will face Panama next Tuesday at the Stadion Wiener Neustadt in Austria.

Wales, meanwhile, will continue their UEFA Nations League journey as they will clash with Ireland on Monday.

Three days later, they will face Finland to wrap up the group stages of the tournament.

 

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