The United States men’s national team ended their two friendlies in January without a win after a goalless draw against Colombia on Saturday at Dignity Health Sports Park in Carson, California.
The USA had the better chances, most of them coming in a riveting first half, but breaking through against an inexperienced Colombia side who, like the Americans, missed their European stars in the encounter outside the FIFA window.
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With just four goals in their last seven games, a lack of attacking power continues to prove the biggest problem for the USA to solve as they begin to build a co-host of the 2026 World Cup.
Caretaker coach Anthony Hudson opted for a more experienced squad than in Wednesday’s 2-1 defeat by Serbia, with all five players in the squad going to the 2022 World Cup starting.
There was plenty of youth left, however, including debuts for Paxten Aaronson and John Tolkin and a first start for DeJuan Jones. Aaronson’s presence meant he and Leeds United’s Brenden Aaronson became the eighth group of brothers to represent USA at the senior level.Paxten Aaronson followed in his older brother Brenden’s footsteps and made his USMNT debut on Saturday. Jenny Chuang/ISI Photos/Getty Images
Colombia, on the other hand, fielded four Major League Soccer players in a lineup with just one player with more than five caps.
Although several players on both sides were in the preparatory phase, there was a lot of intensity in the first 45 minutes.
And with both teams wanting to attack quickly in the transition period, there were plenty of opportunities for both sides, although a lack of precision in the final third prevented anyone from capitalizing.
The energetic Aaronson had two clear goals in his sights after failing to find enough hold after six minutes with a side shot that went straight at Colombia goalkeeper Alvaro Montero. Later, a desperate jump block from defender Andres Llinas deflected another Aaronson attempt off target.
“Paxten is a really exciting player, very confident. He was a day or two late but you can see his quality. We don’t know what his level will be but we believe in his talent and we’ll see what he can do .” ‘ Hudson said after the game.
Perhaps the best opening fell to Matthew Hoppe. But while Paul Arriola asked for a square pass, the Middlesbrough striker shot straight at the Colombia keeper after being found by Jesus Ferreira’s through ball.
The US defense still had plenty to think about at the other end, where LAFC’s Chicho Arango and Columbus’ Cucho Hernandez attempted to gain a foothold against an all-MLS back four. Yilmar Velazquez had Colombia’s best chance of the first half but the midfielder missed his shot on target.
After half time the chances were rather bad. Walker Zimmerman headed a difficult chance over the goal from a corner while Ferreira, playing against his native country, failed to fire when he found a short opening in the box.
With both teams making many changes over the period, the second half became more of a traditional, slower January friendly. There were USMNT debuts off the bench for Emmanuel Sabbi and Samual Rogers, but USA failed to find a goal for their effort.