The U.S. men's national team's rolling momentum slowed some in the final friendly before the CONCACAF World Cup qualifying Hexagonal, with the Americans settling for a 1-1 draw with New Zealand in front of 9,012 at Washington, D.C.'s RFK Stadium Tuesday night.
The Americans, coming off a 2-0 win at Cuba, went ahead through Julian Green in the 27th minute, but Monty Patterson scored an equalizer in the 72nd of a result that snapped the USA's modest three-game winning streak since finishing fourth at Copa America.
New Zealand, the favorite to seize the Oceania region's World Cup qualifying playoff berth, was coming off a 2-1 loss to Mexico on Saturday in Tennessee and had a chance early on, when U.S. goalkeeper William Yarbrough spilled Chris Wood's 18-yard blast on the doorstep, though New Zealand was whistled for a foul on the rebound attempt.
The U.S. settled down, and Green made it two goals in as many games just before the half-hour mark to open the scoring. It came off a rather simple sequence, with Yarbrough's long ball being flicked on by Jozy Altidore. Green ran at his defender and took a right-footed effort from long range, tucking it inside the near post, while New Zealand goalkeeper Stefan Marinovic remained rooted to the ground.
The goal was the third of Green's career, with the first coming in extra time of the 2014 World Cup round of 16 against Belgium.
It became a memorable night for another U.S. youngster just before the hour mark, as Lynden Gooch entered off the bench for his U.S. debut. Eligible for England and Ireland, Gooch, the 20-year-old California-born Sunderland midfielder, says he's fully committed to representing the U.S.
It was a New Zealand up-and-comer that starred next, though. Ipswich Town 19-year-old Monty Patterson capitalized on a failed clearance off a corner kick, and he tucked a low chance through traffic to beat backup goalkeeper David Bingham and level the score in the 72nd minute.
The U.S. had a pair of good chances late, with Michael Bradley stinging Marinovic's hands with an attempt at a winner, but New Zealand held firm and forced the draw. Terrence Boyd, who missed more than two years of action while recovering from knee surgery and ensuing complications, came on for the final minutes, making his first U.S. appearance since March 2014.
The USA's next match comes against Mexico in Columbus, Ohio, to kick off the 10-game Hex that will determine which CONCACAF teams go to the 2018 World Cup in Russia. The Americans have won four consecutive World Cup qualifiers against Mexico in Columbus, all by the now-famous 2-0 scoreline.
Here was the USA's starting lineup for the match:
And here were the rosters for both teams:
GOALKEEPERS: David Bingham (San Jose Earthquakes), Bill Hamid (D.C. United), William Yarbrough (Club Leon)
DEFENDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Matt Besler (Sporting KC), Steve Birnbaum (D.C. United), Omar Gonzalez (Pachuca), Michael Orozco (Club Tijuana), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle)
MIDFIELDERS: Paul Arriola (Club Tijuana), Michael Bradley (Toronto FC), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Perry Kitchen (Hearts), Sacha Kljestan (New York Red Bulls), Danny Williams (Reading)
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jozy Altidore (Toronto FC), Terrence Boyd (RB Leipzig), Julian Green (Bayern Munich)
GOALKEEPERS: Jake Gleeson (Portland Timbers), Stefan Marinovic (Unterhaching), Tamati Williams (RKC Waalwijk)
DEFENDERS: Michael Boxall (SuperSport United), Sam Brotherton (University of Wisconsin), Kip Colvey (San Jose Earthquakes), Andrew Durante (Wellington Phoenix), Louis Fenton (Wellington Phoenix), Liam Graham (Chesterfield FC), Themistoklis Tzimpoulos (PAS Giannina), Winston Reid (West Ham United), Deklan Wynne (Vancouver Whitecaps FC 2)
MIDFIELDERS: Henry Cameron (Blackpool United), Moses Dyer (Eastern Suburbs), Clayton Lewis (Auckland City), Te Atawhai Hudson-Wihongi (Auckland City), Michael McGlinchey (Wellington Phoenix), Matthew Ridentown (Wellington Phoenix), Marco Rojas (Melbourne Victory)
FORWARDS: Kosta Barbarouses (Wellington Phoenix), Rory Fallon (Truro City), Monty Patterson (Ipswich Town), Chris Wood (Leeds United)