Young U.S. squad ties Por­tu­gal, 1-1

The Maui News - - SPORTS -

We­ston McKen­nie needed lit­tle time to make an im­pact for a U.S. soc­cer team start­ing a five-year wait un­til its next chance to play in the World Cup.

The 19-year-old mid­fielder from Texas scored 21 min­utes into his na­tional team de­but, a 1-1 tie against Por­tu­gal on Tues­day at Leiria, Por­tu­gal, in the Amer­i­cans’ first match since fail­ing to qual­ify for next year’s World Cup.

McKen­nie, who has played his way into Ger­man club Schalke’s lineup this sea­son, took a pass from C.J. Sapong, used three touches to cre­ate space from Ri­cardo Fer­reira and then beat Beto to the in­side post with a right-footed shot from 12 yards. McKen­nie joined with 18-year-old mid­fielder Tyler Adams to be­come the first pair of teenagers to start to­gether for the Amer­i­cans since 1988 and be­came the third-youngest Amer­i­can to score in his de­but be­hind Juan Agudelo (17) and Lan­don Dono­van (18).

“We just want to turn the page and show the U.S. what the fu­ture holds,” McKen­nie said. “This group is full of en­ergy. We went out there from the very first whis­tle un­til the end and we fought from be­gin- ning to end.”

The U.S. used eight starters 24 or younger in Dave Sarachan’s first match as in­ter- im coach, and the mis­steps of youth were on dis­play against third-ranked Por­tu­gal, which rested many reg­u­lars.

Ethan Hor­vath, a 22-year- old goal­keeper mak­ing his first ap­pear­ance since his de­but against Cuba in Oc­to­ber 2016, al­lowed Vi­torino An­tunes’ vol­ley from a flank fol­low­ing

Bruno Fer­nan­des’ pass to drop be­tween his arms, through his legs and into the net for a 31stminute equal­izer. Sarachan was the top as­sis­tant to Bruce Arena, who quit three days af­ter the 2-1 loss last month in Trinidad that ended the Amer­i­cans’ streak of seven straight Word Cup ap­pear­ances. Right back DeAn­dre Yedlin was the only player from the start­ing lineup in Portof-Spain to open against the Por­tuguese.

AP photo

We­ston McKen­nie (cen­ter) cel­e­brates with his U.S. team­mates af­ter scor­ing Tues­day.

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