Cole Bassett scored on his US debut in a 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina’s 10-men in Carson, California, Saturday night.
Jordan Morris, who was on his first start for the USA since sustaining a knee injury for Swansea City in February, saw a golden opportunity that was saved before the half-hour mark.
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Amar Bejic of Bosnia received a straight red card shortly before the end of the first half after a very reckless challenge to Klin Acosta to leave his team to play the remainder of the match with ten men.
A grueling second half looked headed for a goalless draw, but Bassett popped up in the 89th minute to take advantage of close range to give Greg Berhalter’s side the win ahead of their busy 2022 World Cup qualifying campaign as the Qatar World Cup. Looming in December.
Bassett, the 20-year-old quarterback for the Colorado Rapids, rebounded from a shot from 18-year-old former Louisville City defender Jonathan Gomez, which headed for Real Sociedad. Gomez had just made his US debut as a second-half substitute.
The newcomers teamed up for a goal that saved the Americans’ 17th win in 2021, surpassing the team’s mark set in 2013.
Four Americans made their national team debut as an American player group made up almost exclusively of local talent, ending their camp in December. American coach Berhalter organized the camp to keep his players fit for bigger competitions early next year as he tries to expand his pool.
The United States begins a three-match World Cup qualifier series on January 27 against El Salvador.
Bassett’s late goal enlivened a quiet night in the men’s first US appearance since February 2020 at the Los Angeles Galaxy Stadium in suburban Los Angeles. The team is 13-2-3 with 11 closings in place, currently called Dignity Health Sports Park.
Berhalter has now made his debut to 53 players in the 44 games he has played. This is the third-most newcomer to get a chance under any coach in US history, and Berhalter has done it in far fewer games than Bob Bradley or Bruce Arena.
Atlanta United defender Brooks Lennon is making his US debut with the 24-year-old Arizona native. In the 78th minute, Bassett and 18-year-old defender Cady Coyle made their US debut. Gomez entered in the 84th minute.
New England’s Henry Kessler also appeared for the second time, while Internacional’s Johnny Cardoso appeared for the third time. Roma defender Brian Reynolds entered the second half in his second appearance in the United States.
This American squad struggled to generate a steady attack against a Bosnian side with eight starters on their first-ever international appearance.
Bosnia has already been eliminated from the World Cup qualifiers, and this exhibition was not in the window of FIFA, leaving its federation with a squad of inexperienced players from their first domestic league while international stars such as Edin Deko, Miralem Pjanic, Asmir Begovic and Sid Kolasinac. He stayed in Europe.
Morris looked sharp with several attacks early on in the Seattle Sounders striker’s US debut in more than two years, boosting his chances of earning a place on the roster for the next round of World Cup qualifiers. He tore a ligament in his left knee in February while on loan to Swansea, but has returned to play in three games for the Sounders.
Ricardo Pepe played the first 62 minutes in his seventh appearance for the United States since choosing his home country over native Mexico for his parents earlier this year.
Before the match, American football chose Chelsea striker Pulisic as the best player of the year, and Pepe as the best young player. Pulisic became the youngest three-time award winner, joining Landon Donovan (four), Clint Dempsey and Casey Keeler on the three.
Information from the Associated Press was used in this story.