Follow along for updates and highlights of goals and key plays as the USMNT faces Bosnia-Herzegovina in a friendly at StubHub Center on Sunday, January 28.

By Avi Creditor
January 28, 2018

The U.S. men's national team continued its rebuilding process after failing to reach the World Cup with a January camp-ending 0-0 draw vs. Bosnia-Herzegovina Sunday night at StubHub Center in California.

Both sides brought inexperienced, largely domestic-based sides to the match, meaning plenty of new opportunities for players seeking larger roles down the line. The same could be said for U.S. interim manager Dave Sarachan, who faces an uncertain future and is now 0-0-2 as interim manager since taking over for Bruce Arena after leading the Americans to a 1-1 draw in Portugal in November.

As for Bosnia-Herzegovina, which also missed the World Cup, the bulk of its talent–Edin Dzeko, Miralem Pjanic, Vedad Ibisevic and Asmir Begovic among them–remained overseas given that the match fell outside of a FIFA international fixture window. A mostly uncapped group was paced by Philadelphia Union midfielder Haris Medunjanin, whose 56 caps and 11 goals were by far the most on the roster–but whose missed penalty kick proved costly in the result. 

With the lack of familiarity on both sides, the opening moments predictably offered a feeling-out process with little cohesion. The first moment of danger came from CJ Sapong, who pounced on a poor back pass as a result of that lack of cohesion and forced a save from Qarabag goalkeeper Ibrahim Sehic in the seventh minute.

Chances were rare in the immediate moments after that, though Jordan Morris created a half-chance in the 23rd minute for the USA. After a long diagonal ball from captain Wil Trapp, Morris tracked it down, beat his defender to the end line and sent in a dangerous cross into the center of the box, only for Sehic to read it all the way and make the grab to end the threat.

Reigning MLS Defender of the Year Ike Opara was first to the ball to prevent a near-post run from turning into a chance on Bill Hamid's frame in the 29th minute, with his sliding challenge keeping Bosnia-Herzegovina from having an opportunity to get on the board.

Sapong came up with the USA's next chance in the 38th minute. Morris's attempted cross was blocked and popped up in the air, and while a slew of Bosnian defenders watched the ball, Sapong broke for it, leaping to head it on frame, albeit right at Sehic.

Hamid made the toughest save of the half in the 43rd minute, when center back Walker Zimmerman made a meal out of a cross from the right. Luka Menalo was there to pounce, but Hamid made himself big to block the point-blank opportunity. 

As was to be expected entering the second half of a January friendly, there were substitutions aplenty for the USA. Columbus Crew playoff hero Zack Steffen replaced Hamid in goal, while Paul Arriola and Kelyn Rowe stepping in for Sapong and Gyasi Zardes in the attack.

Rowe and Arriola made an immediate impact a few minutes into the half. Arriola ran at his defender down the right side and played it forward for Morris, who crossed for Rowe. The New England Revolution playmaker attempted a back-heel in front of goal, though he couldn't direct it on frame. 

A couple of minutes later, Morris nearly provided the breakthrough. Trapp sent in a pinpoint ball from the midfield, and Morris's first touch took him across the box, where he was forced to round the keeper. He couldn't direct his shot on frame, though.

The USA was let off moments later. Trapp and Zimmerman both appeared to commit fouls, with the latter being whistled for a penalty kick. Medunjanin forced Steffen, who was tremendous on penalties in MLS in 2017, to guess incorrectly, but he had his PK ping off the post to keep it 0-0 in the 54th minute.

Steffen denied Menalo on another Bosnia chance midway through the second half, getting down to his left to palm away the effort.

The USA's most fluid moment in the attack was sparked through another sub, as Juan Agudelo picked out his club teammate, Rowe, across the field with an accurate ball. Rowe lofted a perfectly weighted ball into the box for Morris, but instead of having a first-time go on goal, he elected to take a first touch to settle, which allowed his defender to recover and block his opportunity.

Neither side could find a late winner, and the U.S. turns its attention to the next fixture window in March, when it is expected to be playing in a pair of friendlies in Europe. The U.S. Soccer presidential election will have taken place by then, meaning changes to the men's national team could potentially go into effect in the time in between matches.

Here were the starting lineups for the match:

Here were the rosters for the game:


GOALKEEPERS: Alex Bono (Toronto FC), Bill Hamid (Midtjylland), Cody Cropper (New England Revolution), Zack Steffen (Columbus Crew SC)

DEFENDERS: Danny Acosta (Real Salt Lake), Justen Glad (Real Salt Lake), Nick Lima (San Jose Earthquakes), Justin Morrow (Toronto FC), Ike Opara (Sporting Kansas City), Tim Parker (Vancouver Whitecaps FC), Matt Polster (Chicago Fire), Brandon Vincent (Chicago Fire), Walker Zimmerman (Los Angeles Football Club)

MIDFIELDERS: Tyler Adams (New York Red Bulls), Paul Arriola (D.C. United), Russell Canouse (D.C. United), Marky Delgado (Toronto FC), Marlon Hairston (Colorado Rapids), Ian Harkes (D.C. United), Brooks Lennon (Real Salt Lake), Cristian Roldan (Seattle Sounders FC), Kelyn Rowe (New England Revolution), Wil Trapp (Columbus Crew SC), Gyasi Zardes (Columbus Crew SC)

FORWARDS: Juan Agudelo (New England Revolution), Jordan Morris (Seattle Sounders FC), Christian Ramirez (Minnesota United FC), Rubio Rubin (Unattached), CJ Sapong (Philadelphia Union)


GOALKEEPERS: Kenan Pirić (HSK Zrinjski), Ibrahim Šehić (FC Qarabag), Nemanja Trjulja (FK Borac Banja Luka)

DEFENDERS: Almir Bekić (FK Sarajevo), Daniel Graovac (FK Željezničar), Marko Mihojević (FK Sarajevo), Besim Šerbečić (FK Radnik Bijeljina), Darko Todorović (FK Sloboda Tuzla)

MIDFIELDERS: Dino Beširevic (FK Radnik Bijeljina), Marijan Ćavar (Eintracht Frankfurt), Zoran Kvrižic (HNK Rijeka), Stjepan Lončar (NK Široki Breijeg), Haris Medunjanin (Philadelphia Union), Elvis Sarić (FK Sarajevo), Adnan Šećerović (FK Mladost Doboj Kakanj), Ognjen Todorović (HSK Zrinjski), Tomislav Tomić (NK Olimpija Ljubljana), Goran Zakarić (FK Željezničar)

FORWARDS: Mersudin Ahmetović (FK Sarajevo), Nemanja Bilbija (HSK Zrinjski), Elvir Coljić (FK Krupa), Elvir Ibisevic (University of Nebraska-Omaha), Luka Menalo (NK Široki Brijeg)

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