The U.S. men's national team began to turn the page on failing to qualify for the World Cup for the first time since 1986 with a 1-1 draw in a friendly at Portugal on Tuesday.
Under interim manager Dave Sarachan, a young, experimental U.S. took the field against the Cristiano Ronaldo-less European champions, who are tuning up for the World Cup next summer. The Americans, meanwhile, are just looking to start fresh, with a trio of young goalkeepers in camp out to claim the No. 1 role for the next World Cup cycle and a host of other new or seldom called-upon names in camp looking to make an impression.
The USA looked to get out to a quick start and had a couple of early opportunities, with C.J. Sapong turning and hitting a weak attempt right at Beto in goal, while Kellyn Acosta followed that by firing well high over the bar.
Portugal, which also is featuring a largely young and experimental team, threatened as Bruno Fernandes weaved through the U.S. midfield on a sequence that concluded with Eric Lichaj clearing a ball out by the far post. Portugal, which is hoping to avoid any injuries in its run up to Russia, was dealt a dose of bad news nine minutes in, when veteran center back Pepe was forced off with an apparent foot or ankle injury.
Bruma had what appeared to be Portugal's best early chance in the 17th minute, when he was found unmarked by the left post, but he mis-hit his first-time volley, sending it across the box instead of steering it on goal.
The USA took the lead in the 21st minute through Weston McKennie. Sapong, who moments earlier was denied an assist to Tyler Adams after a save by Beto, fed McKennie with a ball from the left. The 19-year-old Schalke midfielder took his time in the box, created space and hit the target with confidence to give the Americans a 1-0 lead.
The lead lasted for 10 minutes, when Vitorino Antunes hit a pretty basic cross in Ethan Horvath's direction, only for the goalkeeper to commit the howler and have it slip through him and into the next for an ugly equalizer.
John Brooks thought he had given the USA the lead in the 44th minute off a corner kick, but Matt Miazga was called for a push on the sequence prior to the header, keeping the score at 1-1.
Adams was denied again by Beto in the 52nd minute with a header from the doorstep, unable to convert off Danny Williams's cross from the left.
McKennie was then denied his second by the bar moments later, with his header clanging off the woodwork.
The teams held from there, with Bill Hamid playing the second half in goal for the USA in a period largely devoid of clear-cut chances.
The Americans turn their focus to January, where a camp will be held prior to a Jan. 28 friendly against Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Here is how the teams lined up:
Here are the rosters for both teams:
GOALKEEPERS: Jesse Gonzalez (FC Dallas), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland), Ethan Horvath (Club Brugge)
DEFENDERS: John Brooks (Wolfsburg), Cameron Carter-Vickers (Sheffield United), Eric Lichaj (Nottingham Forest), Matt Miazga (Vitesse), Tim Ream (Fulham), Jorge Villafaña (Santos Laguna), DeAndre Yedlin (Newcastle United)
MIDFIELDERS: Kellyn Acosta (FC Dallas), Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Alejandro Bedoya (Philadelphia Union), Lynden Gooch (Sunderland), Weston McKennie (Schalke), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Danny Williams (Huddersfield Town)
FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Dom Dwyer (Orlando City SC), C.J. Sapong (Philadelphia Union), Josh Sargent (St. Louis Scott Gallagher Missouri)
GOALKEEPERS: Anthony Lopes (Lyon), Beto (Goztepe), José Sá (FC Porto)
DEFENDERS: Vitorino Antunes (Getafe), Edgar Ié (Lille), Kevin Rodrigues (Real Sociedad), João Cancelo (Inter), Luís Neto (Fenerbahçe), Nélson Semedo (Barcelona), Pepe (Besiktas), Ricardo Ferreira (Braga), Ricardo Pereira (FC Porto)
MIDFIELDERS: Bernardo Silva (Manchester City), Bruno Fernandes (Sporting), Danilo Pereira (FC Porto), João Mário (Inter), Manuel Fernandes (Lokomotiv Moscow), Rúben Neves (Wolverhampton)
FORWARDS: André Silva (Milan), Bruma (RB Leipzig), Gelson Martins (Sporting), Gonçalo Guedes (Valencia), Rony Lopes (Monaco)