US NATIONAL MEN'S  SOCCER TEAM FALLS TO COSTA RICA, 2-0 IN FIFA-2018 WORLD CUP QUALIFYING

U.S. MEN’S NATIONAL TEAM DEFEAT BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA 1-0 TO SET RECORD FOR WINS IN A CALENDAR YEAR WITH 17...!

CARSON, CA (SMI-SPORTS, 12.18-19.21) -- The U.S. Men’s National Team set a new record for most wins in a calendar year with a 1-0 victory against Bosnia and Herzegovina to close out a highly successful 2021. The victory was the 17th of the year for the MNT, surpassing the previous record of 16 wins which was set in 2013. Twenty-year-old midfielder Cole Bassett, one of four players to make his international debut on the night, tucked in an 89thminute game-winner for his first MNT goal, becoming the 57th player to score in his MNT debut. Bassett had entered the game in the 78th minute.

With a 17-2-3 record, the team also ends the year with a .841winning percentage, the team’s best in a calendar year in which five or more matches were played.

With Bosnia and Herzegovina settled into a formation with five defenders and three midfielders sitting almost right on top of the back line, the U.S. had to work hard to find space and dangerous opportunities in the attacking third. U.S. head coach Gregg Berhalter made the first three changes with a little under thirty minutes to go, bringing on fresh legs in search of an offensive spark. He then made three additional substitutes in the final 12 minutes and four subs combined to produce the winner.

Forward Gyasi Zardes (62nd minute sub) did well to keep a defender Bryan Reynolds (63rd minute sub) cross alive in the penalty box and it dropped to debutant midfielder Jonathan Gomez (78th minute sub) who ripped a left-footed shot from the top of the box through a sea of bodies. Bosnia’s second half goalkeeper Bemin Dizdarevic made the save, but he couldn’t hold it and Bassett (78th minute sub) pounced on the tantalizing rebound from close range for the game-winner.  

Goalkeeper Matt Turner posted his ninth shutout on the year, setting another record for most clean sheets in a calendar year and passing Kasey Keller’s eight which he achieved in 2005. Turner also extended his USMNT record for most appearances by a goalkeeper during their debut year with his 13th.

Midfielder Kellyn Acosta earned his 21st cap of 2021, marking the most appearances by a USMNT player in a calendar year since 1994.

With the match falling outside of a FIFA international fixture date, Berhalter fielded a balanced starting XI that featured five players with more than 10 caps and six with less, including debutant outside back Brooks Lennon.

Lennon was joined fellow first cap winners Bassett, forward Cade Cowell and Gomez when they entered in the second half, bringing the number of players to debut under USMNT head coach Gregg Berhalter to 53, the third most players to debut under a USMNT coach behind Bruce Arena (89) and Bob Bradley (60).

Despite being even on shots in the first half, it was the USA that created threatening opportunities. The first came after 12 minutes when Lennon pushed high from the right side and sent a cross to the near post where forward Ricardo Pepi narrowly missed re-directing the ball on frame from close range.

Winger Jordan Morris, in his first USMNT match since suffering a serious knee injury last January, was a bright spot on the night as he made his first appearance since November 2019. Morris continuously found himself in good spots from both wings. After sending in a number of threatening crosses, Morris nearly broke the deadlock at the half-hour mark, but his diving header from six yards out was incredibly saved off the leg of goalkeeper Nikola Cetkovic on the goal line.

Five minutes before halftime, Bosnia midfielder Amar Begic was shown a straight red card after a nasty challenge on Acosta. Playing a man down in the second half, Bosnia dropped even deeper and was content to defend and counter, making it even more difficult for Americans, who nevertheless kept pressing and earned the game-winner.

The USA finishes the year with a 17-2-3 record, having won the Concacaf Nations League and Concacaf Gold Cup and sitting in second place at the midway point of World Cup Qualifying.

Note Source: US Soccer Press Release