CARSON, Calif. – A young United States side showed pluck, guile and determination in coming back to draw 1-1 with Chile in front of 18,580 fans at the Home Depot Center in Saturday night's friendly.
The equally green Chileans opened the scoring early in the second half before Teal Bunbury provided the American strike, converting from the penalty spot in the 72nd minute after Juan Agudelo was taken down in the box.
Seven MLS-based Americans – Eric Alexander, Sean Franklin, Jeff Larentowicz, Zach Loyd, Sean Johnson, Chris Wondolowski and Anthony Wallace – earned their first senior-team caps, marking 12 debutantes in the US' last two games.
After a sloppy opening from both sides, the US began to dominate possession. Dax McCarty and Wondolowski both struck shots from distance in the opening quarter-hour, but Chilean goalkeeper Paulo Garcés punched the first one over the bar and smothered the latter attempt for the 2010 Golden Boot winter.
In the 17th minute, Francisco Silva brought down Brek Shea after the FC Dallas winger won a footrace. The Universidad Católica star earned a yellow card from Mexican referee Francisco Chacón Gutiérrez. Loyd returned the favor, drawing a caution six minutes later for a late challenge on Silva in the midfield.
The teams continued to trade blows as the half progressed, but neither side managed to find the back of the net. Chile's Esteban Paredes – the only player on the Chilean side who was a member of Marcelo Bielsa's World Cup squad in South Africa last summer – had perhaps the best chance, forcing a save from Nick Rimando on a free kick from 25 yards.
Bradley made two substitutions at the half, bringing on Johnson and Marvell Wynne for Rimando and Omar Gonzalez. Chile countered with Felipe Seymour for Luis Pedro Figueroa.
The South American squad broke through in the 53rd minute on a goal by Paredes. A backheel from captain Fernando Meneses freed Seymour down the right channel and the substitute put in a cross that eluded Wynne. The Colo-Colo forward controlled the ball poorly, but no American could close the attacker out before he calmly beat Johnson with an athletic side volley.
Immediately after the tally, Agudelo and Bunbury removed their warm-ups. The duo replaced Shea and Wondolowski, respectively, at the hour mark, and the youth infusion gave the US a much-needed burst of energy.
The Americans finally tied up the match on one of the best passing sequences of the game. Tim Ream started the play from midfield, hitting McCarty, whose touch found Agudelo. The New York Red Bulls forward played one-two with Alejandro Bedoya. After taking the return, the 18-year-old touched the ball to his right and was brought down by a Chilean defender in the box.
Gutiérrez pointed to the spot, and Bunbury's ensuing penalty was low and true, beating Garcés to his left.
Saturday's match concludes the USMNT's annual January camp. The US next take on Egypt in Cairo on Feb. 9, an official FIFA date in which Bradley will likely reconvene his full complement of senior-teamers.
Nick Rimando (Sean Johnson 45); Sean Franklin, Tim Ream, Omar Gonzalez (Marvell Wynne 45), Zach Loyd (Anthony Wallace 72); Dax McCarty, Jeff Larentowicz; Alejandro Bedoya (Eric Alexander 83); Mikkel Diskerud; Break Shea (Juan Agudelo 60); Chris Wondolowski (Teal Bunbury 60).
Paulo Garcés; Juan Abarca, Sebastián Toro, Paulo Magalhaes; Francisco Silva, Fernando Meneses, Eugenio Mena; Esteban Paredes; Luis Pedro Figueroa (Felipe Seymour 45); Daud Gazale (Luca Domínguez 71); Edson Puch.
Noah Davis covers the United States national team for MLSsoccer.com. Follow him on Twitter at @noahedavis.
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