January 29, 2017
NO GOAL ZONE
USMNT, Serbia draw in Arena's first game back
SAN DIEGO, Calif. -- Jozy Altidore became the 17th U.S. Men’s National Team player to earn 100 caps as the U.S. struggled to a 0-0 tie with Serbia in a friendly match before a 20,079 crowd at Qualcomm Stadium Sunday.
The U.S., playing its first match under Bruce Arena in his second stint as the team’s coach, produced narrow misses in the first half on shots by Jermaine Jones and Darlington Nagbe, and had a last-minute opportunity to decide the contest as substitute Chris Pontius missed from close range.
Jones fired a 22nd-minute left-foot half volley wide off an Altidore layoff. Then, Serbia’s Jovan Dokic went down in a clash with Greg Garza, Jamaica referee Kevin Morrison awarding a free kick, though the foul appeared to occur in the penalty area.
Nagbe, making his first U.S. start, narrowly missed from the left past the far post in the 29th and 39th minutes.
In the second half, Sacha Kljestan headed wide off a Sebastian Lletget cross before Serbia produced two threats. A Nikola Cirkovic cross was defended by Graham Zusi, making his first start at right back, and gathered by Nick Rimando. A Lazar Jovanovic left-footer from close-range was parried by Rimando in the 89th minute.
Pontius, making his international debut, along with Lletget and Jorge Villafaña, had a clear shot but sent a low roller wide left after a Juan Agudelo penetration in the 90th minute.
The U.S. will next meet Jamaica in Nashville, Tenn., at 7 p.m. Friday.