The US Men’s Soccer team looked like they were going to start 2015 with a bang as they took a 2-1 lead into the second half of an international match against Chile. However, they crumbled down the stretch and suffered a 3-2 defeat in this high-profile matchup.
Mark Gonzalez was the hero here as he scored two goals in the second half. Roberto Gutierrez also scored for Chile as they staved off the Americans. On the US side, Jozy Altidore and Brek Shea netted goals at the Estadio El Teniente.
The game plan here was for head coach Jurgen Klinsmann to give some younger players a chance. Klinsmann followed through by penciling Steve Birnbaum and forward Bobby Wood into his opening lineup. He also subbed youngsters Shane O’Neill, Wil Trapp, Perry Kitchen and Miguel Ibarra into the match.
Team USA also experimented with a new formation, lining up in a 3-5-2 formation that puts extra defensive responsibilities on midfield wingers DeAndre Yedlin and Shea. The strategy seemed to be working quite well early on, as Shea received a perfect pass from Matt Bessler and put it past Chile goalkeeper Johnny Herrera.
Just beyond the half-hour mark, the Americans took the lead again when Mix Diskerud found Altidore, who fired a shot in for his 26th career international goal. The US would take their 2-1 lead into the locker room at halftime, despite playing on the road in a passionate soccer country.
But this homefield advantage would prove to be crucial in the second half, as Chile started to look like the superior team. In the 66th minute, Gonzalez made some sensational moves to find the bottom right corner of the goal. He capitalized 15 minutes later on a rebound attempt on the left side of the box to give Chile the lead for good.
This was obviously a tough loss for the Americans since they played so well in the first half. However, it can’t be understated how this match didn’t quite feature both teams’ best lineups. As mentioned before, Klinsmann is looking to use the upcoming international schedule to get new players some experience. The goal is to try and upgrade the talent on this US squad, which showed plenty of heart in Brazil, despite not having the guns to hang with more-traditional soccer nations.
Klinsmann’s team will get another chance to gain some experience as they face Panama on February 8th. So if you’re looking to do some USA vs. Panama betting before then, you’ve got plenty of time to research the matchup and place a wise wager. Just keep in mind that, once again, there’ll be quite a few young players on the field for Team USA.