CARSON, Calif. (AP) – Cole Bassett wrote down his two main goals for the US national team’s two-week December camp and made them sit on his bed so he could see them every day.
“Make my debut and score,” recalls Bassett.
What you need to know
- The 20-year-old Colorado Rapids midfielder slammed home after a shot by 18-year-old Jonathan Gomez, former Louisville City defender who joined Real Sociedad
- The Newbies ‘Gate saved the Americans’ 17th victory in 2021, beating the 2013 record
- Bassett’s late goal brought a grand finale to the U.S. men’s first appearance since February 2020 at the LA Galaxy suburban stadium
- The Americans begin a series of three World Cup qualifiers against El Salvador on January 27th
The 20-year-old Colorado Rapids midfielder dropped everything on his Christmas list on Saturday night as the Americans slipped into the holidays with one final win and even more optimism for the next month.
Bassett scored in the 89th minute of his US debut and the Americans set a calendar year win record with a 1-0 win over Bosnia and Herzegovina on Saturday night.
After a frustrating second half for a US team struggling to crack Bosnia’s Conservative line-up, Bassett slammed a ricochet from a shot by 18-year-old Jonathan Gomez, former Louisville City defender who went to Real Sociedad. Gomez had also just made his US debut as a substitute in the second half.
The Newbies ‘Gate saved the Americans’ 17th victory in 2021, beating the 2013 record.
“JoGo made a good shot and I’m just trying to sniff goals and be in the right place,” said Bassett, the 57th player to score on his US debut. “I’ve dreamed of playing for the national team all my life. … To be here for me at last and to score points right now is something special, especially for my family, because they sacrificed a lot to bring me here. “
Four Americans made their national team debut from a US group of players that consisted almost entirely of local talent. Manager Gregg Berhalter organized the camp to keep his players fit for bigger competitions over the next month and at the same time to expand his player pool.
After a 17-2-3 (0.841) in 2021 for the US team’s highest win rate ever in a year with at least five games, the Americans will begin a series of three World Cup against El Salvador on January 27th. Qualifying matches.
“It was quick and furious, but whoever was called up prevailed,” said Berhalter of the US’s busy schedule for 2021, which included a competitive game in 10 out of 12 months. “We are proud that this group shows their resilience and continues to compete against a compact opponent. … It wasn’t nice, but they made it. “
Bassett’s late goal marked the grand finale of the U.S. men’s first appearance since February 2020 at the LA Galaxy suburban stadium. The US team is 13-2-3 with 11 shutouts at the venue currently called Dignity Health Sports Park.
Matt Turner scored his ninth shutout, beating Kasey Keller’s one-year record for US goalkeepers in 2005. Turner played 13 games that year, most of them by a US goalkeeper in his debut year.
Berhalter has now made 53 debut players in his 44 competitive games. This is the third highest-coaching signing in US history, and Berhalter has made it in far fewer games than Bob Bradley or Bruce Arena.
Atlanta United defender Brooks Lennon competed against Bosnia in the 24-year-old Arizona native’s US debut. Bassett and 18-year-old defender Cade Cowell made their debuts in the 78th minute, Gomez followed in the 84th minute.
Henry Kessler from New England also only made his second appearance, while Johnny Cardoso from Internacional made his third appearance. Roma defender Bryan Reynolds came on as a substitute in the second half for his second career US appearance.
This raw American line-up struggled to get a steady attack against an eight-star Bosnian team making their first international match.
Bosnia has already been eliminated from World Cup qualifiers and this exhibition wasn’t in a FIFA window, so the association had to put together a team of inexperienced players from their top domestic league, while international stars like Edin Džeko, Miralem Pjanić, Asmir Begović and Sead Kolašinac stayed in Europe.
US midfielder Kellyn Acosta went down hard in the 40th minute after a tough foul from behind by Bosnia’s Amar Begić, who had just seen a red card. Acosta returned after a brief hiatus while 21-year-old Begić was furious to be thrown from his international debut.
Jordan Morris looked sharp in multiple attacks at the start of the Seattle striker’s first US appearance in more than two years, increasing his chances of a squad spot for the next World Cup qualifying round. In February he tore a ligament in his left knee while on loan to Swansea. Berhalter said he was “pleasantly surprised” by Morris’s entire camp.
Before the game, US soccer player Christian Pulisic named Chelsea striker Male Player of the Year and Ricardo Pepi named his best young player. 23-year-old Pulisic became the youngest three-time winner of the award, alongside Landon Donovan (four), Clint Dempsey and Keller in the Club of Triple.