McKen­nie scores in de­but as U.S. ties Portugal

Be­comes third youngest Amer­i­can to score in de­but

The Times Herald (Norristown, PA) - - SPORTS -

We­ston McKen­nie scored in his U.S. de­but, goal­keeper Ethan Hor­vath al­lowed a seem­ingly harm­less cross to drop be­tween his arms and into the net for an equal­izer and the Amer­i­cans tied Portugal 1-1 Tues­day night at Leiria in their first match since fail­ing to qual­ify for next year’s World Cup.

The U.S. used eight starters 24 or younger in Dave Sarachan’s first match as in­terim coach, the start of a five-year re­build­ing process ahead of the 2022 World Cup.

McKen­nie, a 19-yearold from Texas who has played his way into 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 right­footed shot from 12 yards in the 21st minute.

McKen­nie be­came the third-youngest Amer­i­can to score in his de­but, be­hind Juan Agudelo (17) and Lan­don Dono­van (18).

An em­bar­rass­ing mis­take by Hor­vath led to the ty­ing goal in the 31st minute.

Vi­tornio An­tunes volleyed Bruno Fer­nan­des’ pass to­ward the goal from a flank, and Hor­vath missed the ball, which bounced be­tween his legs and into the goal. Hor­vath, a 22-yearold with Club Brugge, cov­ered his face with his gloved hands. He was mak­ing his first ap­pear­ance since his de­but against Cuba in Oc­to­ber 2016.

Bill Hamid took over in the sec­ond half and tipped Goncalo Pa­cien­cia’s shot off the cross­bar in the 68th minute.

McKen­nie was among three Amer­i­cans to make their de­buts. Tyler Adams, an 18-year-old mid­fielder with the New York Red Bulls, also started.

Cameron Carter-Vick­ers, a 19-year-old son of for­mer NBA player Howard Carter, re­placed John Brooks at the start of the sec­ond half and put a header off the cross­bar in the 55th minute. Carter-Vick­ers was loaned this sea­son from Tot­ten­ham to sec­ond-tier Sh­effield United and has started to get play­ing time.

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 Port-of-Spain to open against the third-ranked Por­tuguese, who also used a mostly young lineup.

Brooks, who missed last four qual­i­fiers be­cause of a torn thigh mus­cle, was paired with Matt Mi­azga in cen­tral de­fense. Brooks headed the ball in the net off a cor­ner kick in the 44th minute, but the goal was called off be­cause of a push away from the ball by Mi­azga.

Eric Lichaj started at left back. Danny Wil­liams, cap­tain­ing the U.S. for the first time, was in mid­field along with Kel­lyn Acosta. Agudelo and C.J. Sapong, headed the at­tack.

Goal­keeper Jesse Gon­za­lez was on the bench but did not make his de­but. Josh Sar­gent, the first Amer­i­can to train with the un­der-17, un­der-20 and se­nior na­tional teams in the same year, did not dress be­cause of a strained right quadri­ceps.


U.S. player We­ston McKen­nie, cen­tre left, cel­e­brates with U.S. player Juan Agudelo after scor­ing the open­ing goal dur­ing an in­ter­na­tional friendly soc­cer match be­tween Portugal and U.S. at the Dr. Ma­gal­haes Pes­soa sta­dium in Leiria, Portugal, Tues­day.

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