Photo by Matt West/ISIphotos.com
By FRANCO PANIZO
A lesson in frustration. That is essentially what the U.S. Men’s National Team’s friendly in Scotland was all about.
The U.S. settled for a disappointing and unimpressive scoreless draw with Scotland at Hampden Park in Glasgow on Friday in their penultimate match of 2013. The Americans endured a subpar performance in an underwhelming first half before showing more creativity in the final 45 minutes that allowed for more chances but ultimately no goals.
Jurgen Klinsmann’s side came close to breaking the deadlock on several occasions in the final 20 minutes of the match after several substitutions were made, but a lack of quality in front of goal saw the U.S. fail to score for the first time since a goal-less World Cup qualifying draw in Mexico back in March.
U.S. captain and goalkeeper Tim Howard was involved in arguably the game’s biggest moment. Early in the second half, a free kick from Robert Snodgrass was headed for the top corner but Howard denied the shot with an impressive leaping effort.
Howard also had to make some other routine saves, but by and large he went untested against a Scotland side that was looking for redemption after suffering an embarrassing 5-1 loss to the U.S. in friendly in May 2012 and failing to qualify for the World Cup last month.
The Scotsmen enjoyed more possession during a first half in which the Americans looked rather pedestrian, but the hosts only ever came close to scoring once in that stanza. Craig Conway had a golden opportunity in front of goal in the 36th minute following a pass from Snodgrass, but he failed to test Howard by scuffing his shot and sending it harmlessly wide.
Playing in a 4-2-3-1 formation, the U.S. saw more offensive production in the second half when it picked up the tempo. Klinsmann’s side, however, only began to really test Scotland once a plethora of substitutions were made.
Klinsmann’s insertion of Aron Johannsson, Brek Shea and Mix Diskerud allowed the U.S. to look more threatening in possession, which put the Scotsmen on the ropes.
Johannsson nearly scored on a couple of occasions, but he fired wide left on one chance and saw goalkeeper David Marshall get down low to deny him on another.
Starting forward Jozy Altidore also had a pair of chances to find the winner, but also could only watch in frustration as his shots were either cleared or off the mark.
The Americans will try and rebound from this performance when they close out 2013 with a friendly against Austria on Tuesday.
What do you think of the U.S.’s scoreless draw with Scotland? Which players impressed/disappointed you? Starting to become worried by the Americans’ tendency for slow first halves?
Share your thoughts below.